As any freelance writer or journalist will tell you, it’s tough to find out what different publications pay writers. Ensuring a magazine, website, or newspaper is paying fair rates–and paying writers what they’re worth–isn’t easy. But, thankfully, two new-ish websites called WordRates and Pressland offer amazing crowdsourced databases about different editors and publications.
Reviews As Leverage For Writers
Pressland is a self-proclaimed “Yelp for Media,” with ratings and reviews for different editors and publications. WordRates, meanwhile, bills itself as a site where users can “rate magazines and editors, share information, and uncover the hidden world of publishing economics.”
In other words, both sites are writer’s aides for the world of freelance journalism.
Part of the challenge for freelance journalists looking to make a living at their job is the fact that, well, companies are slashing budgets left and right. This year alone, Mashable, The Guardian, and Time Inc. all announced significant layoffs (and we’re sure we’re missing many more organizations). Alongside layoffs, many publications have also reduced their freelance budgets.
WordRates and Pressland make things easier for freelance writers by giving them a quick, one-stop information source. In theory, at least, the idea is that you can visit a website and instantly glean essential data on an editor and a publication.
Does It Work?
Both sites have generally accurate information, but have different strengths. WordRates is great for finding out about which publications pay quickly and (equally importantly) which editors to pitch to at different publications. By comparison, Pressland’s best parts are the detailed information on editors.
The challenge is that both sites are crowdsourced–which means, of necessity, they rely on the journalist public to feed them with information. After all, a crowdsourced site is only good as the data users provide.
But my favorite part is that it evens the odds for freelance writers a little bit in two main areas:
- Finding out how much different publications pay
- Finding out which publications pay on time
This is important because of the profound, deep and crazy information asymmetry at the heart of freelance writing. Editors hold the resources and commission the work. Writers pitch to them, and accept commissions from them. The editors generally (this has usually been the case!) know what their budget is, how much they can afford to write writers, and how often they can use the writer’s services. The writer knows none of these things.
Neither WordRates or Pressland is perfect–but they both have a wealth of useful information, and are great first steps for any writer pitching stories to a magazine, newspaper, or website.