How to arrive at a quote for a magazine writing/editing gig?

8 replies
Hey all,

I wonder if anyone can give me a bit a help on this as I'm totally at a loss concerning what to quote for what I feel is an exciting project on the horizon.

I do regular freelance work for a company with a few tattoo studios in a Western European capital city - interviews with staff/choice customers, blog content, landing page blurb, any text for website, etc. The company is going places and they want to start making a quarterly magazine to give the company that added bit of gravitas. They're just waiting back to OK my price and it's all good to go but I feel a bit clueless. It seems like a good idea to just quote for the first issue and see how much work is involved, and go from there, but I'm even stuck at arriving at a ballpark figure for that.

I'm usually paid around €70/$85 per blog article (approx 700 words) which I make sure to put proper effort into, including sourcing images, uploading to the site and writing short copy to go with social posts.

This magazine would be mostly distributed online but there'd be around 60-100 hard copies made to begin with.

There's an in-house photographer who I'll be working with on the design aesthetic but they said basically all editorial decisions are up to me.

I envisage each quarterly mag including something like:

two or three interviews, around 1000 words each (recorded face-to-face, dictated, edited)
at least one feature article around 1000-1200 words
around three other columns of 'overheard in...' quote panels. Interesting facts, that sort of thing.
one or two shorter written informational pieces of around 600-700 words each
For the first issue I think there would probably need to be a bit of description/mission statement/editor's message as well.

Probably the majority of pages in the mag would be devoted to photography however, as highly visual content works best for the tattoo industry.

There would also probably be a few bits of promo copy required for the launch as well.

Does anyone have any advice on a ballpark figure or know where to look, or indeed, the correct further questions to ask?

Any help would be greatly appreciated
#arrive #gig #magazine #writing or editing
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    One place to look is They just published their 2018 pricing guide (free) for 75 different copywriting projects. It's in US dollars, so you'll have to translate that to your market and euros.

    Otherwise, start with what you are being paid per blog post and how long it typically takes you to do that post. This will give you a personal hourly fee, which you will not share.

    Now go through your projected content, and add up how many "blog post" units each issue will take. Convert to hours and add 25% (maybe 50% for the first issue or two).

    Multiply the number of estimated hours by you personal hourly fee.

    This will give you a ballpark estimate. Remember, you aren't writing/editing a magazine. You're writing/editing a series of pieces, which will be assembled into a magazine. Tackle this the same way you eat an elephant -- one bite at a time.
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    • Profile picture of the author OldTennisShoes
      Hi John,

      Thank you very much for that detailed response. Its very useful. Awai looks like a handy reference point.

      That's a good idea to add the percentages and thank you for providing those specific ones.

      One bite at a time; I'm feeling peckish. Looking forward to starting into this. All the best in your pursuits!
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    The kind of work you've been asked to quote on is usually done by employees, not freelancers (essentially you'd be a magazine editor, with some writing on the side). Find out what the going rate would be for a magazine editor around your age/experience and add 1/3 for the full-time benefits you're not getting. That's the right ballpark.

    If you work up from €70/$85 per article you'll be undercutting yourself very seriously.

    And as for published rates, AWAI's are not relevant because this is content writing and editing, not copywriting. Instead look at Writer's Digest rates. They deal with magazines.

    Good luck

    Marcia Yudkin
    (author of two books on writing for magazines)
    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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  • Profile picture of the author Prakash Dayani
    prepare 4 or 5 of them and then get your friends and family to vote.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonleecontent
    You need to establish a rate per word or 100 words.

    From reading what they want you to produce it seems like it's around 4000 or so words so I'd ask for at least 10 cents a word which is similar to what you're getting paid for articles.

    I'd also add in some padding to the quote in case they say it's too expensive.

    Try 600 E and be willing to settle for 500.

    It's a lot of work they're asking for.
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    • Profile picture of the author OldTennisShoes
      Thanks a mill for the advice! That sounds like a good ballpark figure to go for. I feel like if it goes particularly well I can quote a somewhat higher amount for subsequent issues of the mag. The first one will be a testing of the waters for all involved I think
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

    And as for published rates, AWAI's are not relevant because this is content writing and editing, not copywriting. Instead look at Writer's Digest rates. They deal with magazines.
    Marcia, while I don't disagree with you re; looking at Writer's Digest, the AWAI pricing guide does have a section on content writing. It will give the OP one more datapoint to work with.
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