By: Staff reports

Content-Exchange Surveys Free-lancers

Despite the gloomy predictions for content-only Web sites, online
venues are matching print publications in what they spend for the
written word, reports a Content-Exchange survey.

About 270 writers – all self-selected – participated in a survey
posted on, a site founded by E&P Online
columnist Steve Outing that connects writers with online venues.
Of the 270 writers, 55% of them make a living as full-time

When directly asked which pays better, 39% of the writers said
online clients, 34% said print clients, and 27% said they pay about
the same. Respondents consider $1-a-word to be healthy compensation
for their work, but the majority of respondents get paid less.

Nearly half of the writers said they work out a pre-negotiated flat
fee with online venues. Only 22% said they are paid by the word and
16% of the writers get paid by the hour at an average of $40.

Online venues have varying terms, or contracts, for their free-lancers. Work-for-hire agreements – where the publisher gets the copyright and
the writer cannot resell a story – were the most common (54% of the
writers). Twenty-three percent give online venues non-exclusive rights,
allowing them to keep copyright and to resell their work.

So how does it all add up? Forty-six percent of the free-lancers said
they’d make less than $20,000 this year. For those writers who
free-lance full-time, 25% said they would make less than $20,000. But,
at the other end of the spectrum, 11% of free-lancers said they would
earn over $70,000 this year. Among those who write full-time, 17% said
they would top the 70-grand mark.

For complete survey results, click here.


Staff Reports

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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