How Much Money Do Writers Earn

The business of writing is a lucrative and competitive industry and many writers and authors may be wondering just how much on average, does a writer earn. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the median annual wage for writers and authors in 2010, was $55,420. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,610 and the top 10 percent earned more than $109,440.

Industries employing the largest numbers of writers and authors include:

  • Advertising, public relations, and related services: earned $62,260
  • Motion picture and video industries: earned $62,000
  • Radio and Television broadcasting: earned $53,400
  • Religious, grant-making, professional and similar organizations: earned $52,750
  • Newspapers, periodicals, books, and directory publishers: earned$47,230

Writing income is most commonly earned from freelance work such as the writing of articles and books. In 2010, writers and authors held about 145,900 jobs and about 68 percent of those writers and authors were self-employed. Many work on multiple projects for multiple publishers; however, many writes and authors support themselves through other income sources as their primary means. On average, about 26 percent of writer and authors work part-time, giving them the freedom of setting their own hours and writing schedules. Writers can work from anywhere; in an office, at home, or anywhere where there is access to a computer and internet. Some travel only for the purpose of meeting with customers, publishers, to do research or conduct in-person interviews.

Most writers and authors are paid on  a per assignment basis; therefore, to meet deadlines the writer or author will work any number of hours, night or day to meet necessary deadlines. Some writers and authors will even work weekends to stay consistent with their writing schedules and to meet deadlines. Many writers and authors enjoy the flexibility of running their own business and setting their own hours; however, they are also faced with the pressures of managing multiple projects and publishers and continually looking for new work.

The employment of writers is expected to grow 6 percent by 2020 and strong competition is expected given many people are seeking careers within this industry. Despite slow expected growth, publications are growing in number and sophistication, and presents a demand for writer and authors with internet and multimedia experience. Writers and authors that adapt to the transition of online media, the internet, and a variety of electronic tools will have the advantage when seeking work within this industry.