The median annual wage of writers and authors was $55,420 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,610, and the top 10 percent earned more than $109,440.
Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of writers and authors in May 2010 were:
|Advertising, public relations, and related services||$62,260|
|Motion picture and video industries||62,000|
|Radio and television broadcasting||53,400|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional,|
and similar organizations
|Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers||47,230|
Freelance writers earn income from their articles, books, and, less commonly, television and movie scripts. Although most freelance writers work on an individual project basis for multiple publishers, many support themselves with income derived from other sources. Freelancers generally have to provide for their own health insurance and pension, unless they receive coverage from another job.
About 26 percent of writers and authors work part time. Some writers keep regular office hours, either to stay in contact with sources and editors or to set up a writing routine, but many writers set their own hours. Freelance writers are paid per assignment; therefore, they work any number of hours necessary to meet a deadline. As a result, writers must be willing to work nights and weekends to produce something that is acceptable to an editor or client. Although many freelance writers enjoy running their own businesses and the advantages of working flexible hours, most routinely face the pressures of juggling multiple projects or continually looking for new work.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition