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Getting Paid Extra

Read Time: 3 min

Catchy title, eh? Everybody likes to get paid a little extra for their work—and writers are no exception. When you write for magazines, you will sometimes have the opportunity to hold out for a bit of extra cash. Here are some of the top ways to earn more from a print article:

Reprints/Royalties

I wrote for a magazine that wanted to publish my article again, and they paid me a royalty for it. Granted, it was far less cash than the first time out, but it’s really “free” money in a way, as I didn’t have to write anything again. Same goes for if the publication wants to reprint part or all of an article you wrote for them in another of their magazines. Personally I don’t haggle here—I take whatever they are offering and consider myself lucky to get the payment.

Know Where Your Work Is

Keep an eye out for people using your content without permission. Be sure and Google yourself periodically and check on that. If you find someone has posted your article on the web, e-mail and ask them for compensation. Chances are they will just remove the article (which is also good), but once in a while, you will probably get a check. I have made a little money doing this—and it’s something you should be doing anyway to protect your work and your name.

Web Rights

This one can be a little tricky. Sometimes you will run into a situation where a magazine will want to have the right to run your copy on their website in addition to the print publication. Generally speaking, you should get paid some additional fee for this. After all, they are getting more for their money—why shouldn’t you benefit as well? That said, you won’t get the same amount you got for the print piece, but you might make a little bit more. One magazine I wrote for automatically paid $20 extra for web rights to a piece. That worked nicely for me. (Also, if you supply photographs that you took, you should get a little extra for them as well if they run on the web.)

Re-sell

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Re-sell whatever you can. Slant it different. Find a fresh angle and re-use the research when possible. Selling a version of the same article to five different magazines cuts down on the time you have to spend doing the writing. Simultaneous submissions are not welcome in print as a general rule, but if you make sure the idea is different enough, you can maximize your earnings.

Additional Requests

If you agree to write a 500 word piece for $200 and the editor asks you for 500 more words when you turn it in—get paid. Any significant increase in word count should be matched by an increase in what you make. Don’t feel you are out of line asking for it.

Expenses

Some magazines will pay expenses—especially smaller ones, such as a long distance call or a toll receipt. Even so—never assume, and try not to ask after the fact. Knowing up front is the best way to make sure you are reimbursed, and if not, you may be able to write it off as a business expense. (Check with the IRS—I’m no CPA!) While expenses may not seem like a way to make money, they actually can be a perk. I’ve had publications pick up my hotel bill, pay for my (really really nice) dinner and expense my gas for a trip. It’s nice to get that check.

Ask For A Raise

If you know that the magazine you are writing for pays between .50 and $1 per word and you are making .55, there will come a point to ask for more. Once you have a couple of articles under your belt with a print publication and a good relationship with the editor, you can bring up the subject gently. (Some editors will actually offer that, which is fantastic!) Don’t take a huge leap and go for the maximum amount, but do see if you can up your payment a little once you are established. Editors like working with reliable writers who get copy in on time.

Writers should always be thinking about how they can make more money. These are just some suggestions that have worked for me—I’ve used every one of them. Does anyone else have something to share that I didn’t include here? Let’s keep that good karma going with one another....

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3 thoughts on “Getting Paid Extra”

  1. @Ron – just raising your rates to raise them may not be wise, but asking for an increase with an established client is a good business strategy–especially if you are reasonable about it.

    Personally I have found that holding out for better rates is well worth the work it takes…although I admit, it takes a lot of work to find them! 🙂

    @Jennifer Agreed. I think targeting the right markets is more than half the battle!

    Reply
    • That’s an excellent point he needs to keep in mind. You can’t charge more just because you want to. You have to make your work worth more first. If you’re not worth the rates you want to charge, you’ll figure that out quickly when no one in the right market is willing to hire you.

      Reply
  2. It’s all fairly complicated actually! Your point is a good one–if you aren’t getting bites at your current rates, you either need to re-evaluate your rates or try a better paying market and see if you can compete at the next level.

    I should mention that it is always a bit nerve-wracking to ask for more money–at least for me–but I try to keep in mind that I have to keep up with inflation, etc. in order to keep making a good profit. That helps!

    Reply

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