Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Writing for Magazines: Can you Make $5,000 for Writing One Article?

Did you know top consumer-health magazines pay up to $5,000 for a feature article?

Pay rates for consumer health writing, of course, depend on several factors: whether the article is to be published in print or online, the type of article, the word count of the article/or the number of pages and whether diagrams, line drawings or photographs are included. Generally speaking, any article submitted to a magazine goes to a specific article editor, whereas any pictures or photographs go to an art or photographic editor. Both will have specific guidelines and rates, depending on the specific requirements of that magazine.

The standard average industry rates for writers are a general guide, but the reality can be very different. Smaller consumer health and other magazines can only afford the lower rates, whereas the larger magazines can afford considerably more. However, this does not by any means guarantee that each sized magazine is the same. In fact, the rates vary greatly. The following are the basic ranges expected by writers (freelance/staff/ghost), whether writing consumer health articles or other articles:

Print publications (freelance, staff and ghost writers):
  • General Copy/News Articles/News Releases - $5 to $500/page
  • Brochures/fact sheets: $50 to $1,000/project
  • General advertising copy: $8 to $150/hour
  • Advertising articles: $0.10 to $2/word, $5 to $3,000/article or $8 to $100/hour
  • Medical reports/technical medical articles/General Consumer Health articles: $0.10 to $2/word, $50 to $16,000/project, or $8 to $125/hour
  • Government publications (news stories/news releases/medical studies/medical reports: $1 to $3/word, $50 to $100,000/project, or $8 to $125/hour
  • Newsletters (written only): $0.10 to $1.50/word, $50 to $6,000/issue, or $8 to $80/hour
Online Magazine/Web Content/General Website/Blog publications (freelance, staff and ghost writers):
  • All types of articles and projects: 0.10 to $3/word, $2 to $3,000/article, $8 to $100/hour, or $50 to $16,000/project
The important thing to remember is that the rate of pay can be higher for writers that editors are more familiar with or have worked with before. New writers tend to accept these rates without question, which can hinder their ability to earn a livable income. In fact, the difference in the earning capacity of a new writer and an established writer, both of whom may possess equal and exceptional talent, is simply that the established writer has learned to negotiate pay rates and has kept a portfolio of their published works (self-published and other) as proof of their abilities. This is something that every new writer has to learn.

Remember also that I offer an 8-week consumer-health writing home study course!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Five Habits For Writers

By Julie Gray (Guest blogger)

I have dear friend who recently told me that particularly on days when he feels frustrated about his writing, he asks himself – what did I do today that will move my writing career forward? And as he looks closely at that, he's usually surprised to find that he did a whole lot of things. It's just that like so much of life, forward movement is incremental, yes?

To paraphrase somebody – most of life is spent standing in line for something. But if it weren't for the small, pixilated steps, the larger picture can never come into focus. Every day, we are pointillist painters, we writers. And here are the five areas of your writing life that for my money, are going to collectively bring a career into focus.

Write Promote Network Learn Live well

That's right: WPNLL – pronounced – wipnill

So consider adding the following to your daily regimen:

WRITE every day. You might have more than one project you're working on; tend to at least one of them. And yes, generating ideas and spitballing is most productive and falls under this category, absolutely.

PROMOTE your material. Write and send query letters, enter screenwriting or prose competitions, follow up on calls, meetings and queries. Stay very on top of who has your material, when you'll hear back and what new opportunities have since cropped up.

NETWORK both with other writers and with professionals where possible. If you belong to a message board about writing or screenwriting, visit it daily seeking to build relationships. If you blog or read blogs, visit and comment. Keep building those relationships. Are you signed up for a class? How about a one hour Learning Annex course? Is there a festival or film community gathering in two weeks? Sign up. Continually seek opportunities large and small to create, sustain and nurture relationships with other writers and filmmaking aspirants of any stripe. Networking is extraordinarily powerful. It is impossible to overstate that fundamental truth.

LEARN more about the craft and the business constantly. Follow the trades. If the Hollywood Reporter or Variety are too much to absorb regularly, read Entertainment Weekly – a quasi-trade with pull-quotes, box office and celebrity news. Subscribe to Creative Screenwriting, Script Magazine or Written By. Sign up for classes, read books and see a lot of movies. Prose writers should subscript to Poets & Writers or Writer's Digest.

LIVE WELL by taking care of your essential core. We writers are sensitive souls. Pouring our hearts out onto the page is what we do. So be sure to exercise, get enough sleep, meditate or in some way return to your creative, essential self so that you can sustain and nurture the energy required to do steps one through four above. This one cannot be overstated or over-emphasized either. A burnt out writer doesn't produce good material and isn't fun to hang around with. Put your wellbeing before all else because everything you produce flows outward from that.

Know that life is good and writing is joyful. If this feels like work – well, it should, there's no candy-coating that – but it shouldn't feel like drudgery. Remember, nothing worth having comes easily. Any writer who makes a living at it is one who has worked long and hard for the privilege.

Real life moves much more slowly than the stories or screenplays we write. But if you can, do one thing to move your career forward today. Maybe it's that you just read this. Maybe you went hiking and had a great idea and stopped to write it down. Creation is the highest form of human expression. Tend it well.

Each day: Write, Promote, Network, Learn and Live Well. Wipnill©.

Side effects may include: productivity, career opportunities, dizziness and wealth.

Julie Gray is a mother, writer and story analyst living in Los Angeles, CA. Article Source here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Blog - Vaccine Risk Communication

Just a quick note to tell you about my other blog, in case this is a topic that interests you. Check it out here.

Microsoft Word for Medical and Technical Writers

I met one of the authors of this book at the AMWA conference a few days ago. Instead of a simple Word tutorial, the book "summarizes the authors' extensive experience with using Word to create regulatory documents, books on information processing, scientific manuscripts, and other long and complex documents."

I think it is worth looking into it. To see the full table of contents and get more information, click here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

AMWA Salary Survey 2007

Back to work from Atlanta. AMWA's annual conference was great, as usual, and I brought back some notes that may interest you: the results of the 2007 AMWA Salary Survey.

Tinker Gray and Cindy Hamilton gathered an impressive amount of data from this survey. The 76 slides of their presentation are available at the 'members-only' section of the AMWA Web site ( and the article summarizing their findings will come out in the May 2008 issue of the AMWA Journal.

So, how much do medical writers make? Of course, it depends on sex, educational level, years of experience, and type of employer.

Mean Income by Educational Level and Sex (working full-time for a company)

Bachelor's: $73,522 (women); $90,640 (men)
Master’s: $77,339 (women); $86,240 (men)
Advanced: $91,797 (women); $101,872 (men)

Mean Income by primary Employer

Biotechnology company: $102,297
Pharmaceutical: $97,807
Medical device company: $85,451
Communication or advertising: $83,338
Clinical research organization: $76,620
Medical Ed company: $77,088
Web/medical company: $73,500
Government: $71,014
Association or professional society: $68,574
University or medical school: $64,438

Income by Job Category

Supervision or administration: $120,629
Writing/editing/supervision: $99,004
Writing (primarily): $80,441
Writing/editing (equal mixture): $73,954
Editing (primarily): $64,500
Research and writing: $69,099
Education: $63,000
Other: $91,021

Freelance Income

Mean gross income: $119,295
Mean net income (gross income – deductible expenses): $93,306
Net income as percentage of gross: 78%

Net Freelance Income by Job Category

Writing (primarily): $110,232
Editing (primarily): $46,071
Writing and editing (equal mixture): $75,891
Research and writing: $76,620
Other: $97,181

I will incorporate some other info in my ebook very soon. Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Should You Use Rhetorical Questions in Medical Writing?

Last week I went with my boss to the annual conference of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) in sunny San Diego, CA. We were at the exhibit hall promoting our Web site and some of our new publications, when we had a couple of interesting encounters.

A couple of years ago we wrote a booklet called "Are Vaccines Safe? Evaluating Information About Immunizations on the Internet," which provides some guidelines as to how to find reliable information on the web and how to sort out misinformation. The "Are Vaccines Safe?" part of the title is, of course, a rhetorical question--we don't actually deal with vaccine safety in the booklet. But of the dozens of people who came by our booth, two people read that title and assumed we were anti-vaccine. We try not to advocate, just to provide science-based information--but we are certainly NOT anti-vaccine. However, these two ID doctors got that impression.

Was it a bad idea to use a rhetorical question in the title? I confess that the motive was to grab the reader. And I guess it does grab the reader based on the booklets' sales (more than 11,000 sold so far).

My thought is that it was not a bad idea because the rhetorical question works well for our target audience--parents considering immunizations for their children. If our target audience were ID experts, I would not use a rhetorical question. So, as always, think about your audience in everything you write.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Drawbacks of Freelance Writing From Home

By Matthew Bredel (Guest blogger)

The life of a freelance writer isn't all glitz and glamour. Before you take the plunge into freelance writing at your work-at home career choice, there are a few things to consider. While you can work from home earning money in your pajamas, there are negatives to this career choice. Here's a list of ten of the common drawbacks of freelance writing.

1. No sick days. Sometimes you have to work while you're sick. If you don't, you lose money and maybe a client. Clients aren't very forgiving unless you have a solid relationship with them and even then, sometimes their deadline is more important to them than your health and well being.

2. No medical benefits, a 401K or even a guaranteed income. You have to pay your own taxes too. This can make budgeting tricky when you take the plunge into freelance writing for a living, especially if you're the main breadwinner in your house.

3. Pay day is not guaranteed. You may go from famine to feast and then famine again regularly and payday doesn't come every second Friday so it can be a tricky balancing act, especially in the early days.

4. Juggling deadlines and family responsibilities can be challenging at times. You may have to give certain parties and events a miss because you have a deadline. You may feel conflicted at times when you have to let the laundry or dirty dishes pile up so you can finish an assignment. You may have to learn write with a crying baby on your lap.

5. Chasing payments isn't fun. There are customers who aren't as eager to pay you as they are to take your hard work. Sometimes people don't pay on time or try to short pay or not pay at all. You have to develop skills to protect yourself and may have to act as your own collections agent part-time.

6. Freelancers can have regular work, one-off gigs and can have a great paying regular deal that might suddenly disappear. The well can dry up regularly so you have to keep a constant lookout for work.

7. Reworking and multiple edits. You can slave over something for a client and they might hate it. You have to take criticism and might have to deliver work you don't think is as well written after your client asks for changes. You need to develop a tough skin in this business.

8. Projects can be difficult to estimate. You can underestimate prep time and working time for a project and find that it has lost you money in the end. This can be difficult but until you're very experienced, it will probably happen.

9. Sploggers, spammers and scrapers are rampant in online markets and want to steal your work and benefit from it! Be prepared to be plagiarized.

10. You have to have a really good eye for scams. When trying to establish yourself, it's a learning process and many new writers are scammed a few times before they become wise to all the tricks and signs of a scam.

Regardless of the negatives listed here, freelance writing can also be a great gig that can earn you money, offer a flexible home based business and can be personally fulfilling if you love to write. With time and experience, you'll find you are able to better deal with the downsides of writing for a living.

Matthew is the founder of TheWebReviewer: Home Based Business Ideas, and NetWebVideo: Work at Home Free Membership. Matt currently resides in San Diego, CA and is married with two children and has been an internet marketer since 2006.