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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Writers Worth: 9 Reasons You're Worth a Lot as a Writer

Sometimes friends are more like family. Such is the case with Anne Wayman, who with me started the About Writing Squared 5 Buck Forum for writers and creatives (still the best bargain in town at $5 a month). While I gave up the forum co-ownership to pursue my poetic side, Anne and I are still like family.

She's the type of person who's been there, done it, and happy to share what she knows for free. She builds community like nobody else, and creates a welcome atmosphere for writers at all career levels.

Per usual, Anne reached out this year and has put together yet another great post on worth, maket value, and making sure you understand why your skills matter to clients. Anne, thank you, dear friend.

9 Reasons You're Worth a Lot as a Writer

by Anne Wayman

Over the years I’ve worked with many freelance writers who don’t know how to make enough money to survive as a writer, let alone thrive. One of the stumbling blocks that many of them have is not understanding their worth as a writer. That’s one reason I was delighted when Lori started her writer’s worth month years ago. It gives us a chance to really look at this issue.

Rate Setting

The question of a writer’s worth comes up when you set your rates, and when a potential writing client says your rate or bid is too high.

Fee setting is always a bit mysterious, but there’s plenty of good information out there. Setting your freelance writing fees is also always an experiment so you need some flexibility.
It Really Isn’t About You

When clients say you’re charging too much for your writing, they may couch it in terms of their budget, and that may even be true. But the other part of the message is the writing you’re proposing to do for them is not worth what you’re asking. What they’re really saying is that it’s not worth it to them – which actually says nothing much about you or your rates when you think it through.

Here are 9 reasons you’re worth a lot as a writer:

1. You’re a professional freelance writer. You’ve taken the action to step out and start freelance writing. That makes you a pro, even if have only a few credits.

2. You’re smart. I’ve never met a freelance writer who isn’t smart – maybe not about everything, but about many things.

3. You’re a quick study. You can quickly absorb new information and use that to write whatever.

4. You know your stuff. You know how to write – maybe not all the nit-picky details about grammar and punctuation, but enough so you write correctly. You also know a whole lot about several subjects, which means you have lots to share in your writing.

5. You know where to get help. You recognize you don’t know everything – who does? But you know where to get help and you’re not afraid to ask for it.

6. You know how to set and meet deadlines. You know roughly how long it takes for you to complete projects – you can meet the deadlines you agree to.

7. You know how to follow instructions. If the client wants what you’ve written in the body of an email or as a .pdf or whatever, you do exactly that.

8. You know part of your job as a writer is to help educate your clients. You know your clients really don’t understand the writing process, and often don’t understand what kind of writing works best in various situations. You happily and gracefully share your knowledge.

9. You’re not afraid to turn down clients. You know you can’t write for everyone. You trust your intuition, and you trust the rates, etc., you’ve set. If a potential client doesn’t feel like the right one or won’t meet your criteria, you turn them down – with confidence.

It may not feel all the time like each and every one of these statements is true for you – all of us, even seasoned pros, have moments of doubt. But we quickly get back to knowing as writers we are worth a whole heck of a lot. And so are you. If you don’t feel that way, find a way to embrace it.

Anne Wayman has been writing successfully for far longer than she likes to admit. She blogs about freelance writing at:


Cathy Miller said...

Bravo, Anne. I love the idea that when a prospect/client says your fees are too high that it means the cost is not worth it to them - and that has NOTHING to do with you, the writer, or your rates. It simply may mean they cannot afford you.

There's lots of things in life I can't afford. And the main one is I can't afford to reduce my rates below my worth.

Cathy Miller said...

Make that there ARE lots of things...

LOL! Did I lower my worth? :-)

Lori Widmer said...

Not at all, Cathy. :)

Anne, thank you for your post and your wisdom. Much appreciated, friend. :)

Jennifer Mattern said...

Great point Anne (and Cathy). It's always nice to see a reminder that one prospect doesn't determine the value of our work.

Anne Wayman said...

Cathy... "I can't afford to lower my rates..." excellent way to say it.

Jenn... yes, even a couple of potential clients doesn't determine the value of our worth, and certainly says nothing about us.

Ashley said...

I can't afford to lower my rates! I'm stealing that for sure :)

Just tweeted this post for #writerWednesday and Writers Worth!

Lori Widmer said...

Actually, Cathy has hit on the perfect reason to give to clients: I can't afford to lower my rates. How can they argue that? ANd frankly, no client should argue your rate. Negotiate, yes. Argue? No.

Samar Owais said...

Great post Anne!

This is one of the scariest things to do in freelancing but when you raise your rates, you start attracting the clients that can pay those rates.

They won't come to you immediately. But slowly and gradually, you'll find them.

I feel every time I raise my rates, I have to up my marketing game because past marketing activities were attracting clients at my old rates. New rates require some new marketing activity.

Cathy Miller said...

Steal away, Ashley ;-)

Paula said...

Hey, if the cable company's snotty customer service rep can defend a massive rate hike by saying, "No one's forcing you to have cable. It's a LUXURY," surely we can say no to lower rates.

Lori Widmer said...

Samar, I've found the same thing -- higher rates net clients who understand they're paying for skills.

Paula, that's when I'd switch providers and let the old provider know why. No one should talk like that to any customer!

Sharon Hurley Hall said...

Excellent advice, Anne - the longer you freelance, the more all of those reasons apply. And I love Cathy's line too - every client understands the concept of affordability.

Devon Ellington said...

Yes, we are worth a lot. When a client starts to nickel-and-dime you, walk away.

They're not doing you a favor by hiring you -- they're lucky to get you.

I'm lucky right now in that I"m booked fully until the end of June. I'm not going to even start pitching until the beginning of June, and have turned down several projects this past week that simply weren't worth my time, especially in the time/money/annoyance ratio.

Raise your standards on the type of client you want, and the positive experiences and fair pay come into play.

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