2010 Average Salaries for Writers and Editors

See Also: Can You Make Money Writing Novels?

This is a list of the average salaries for a number of writing and editing professions. The figures represent typical scales for a mid-sized metropolitan area in the United States. Larger markets tend to pay more and smaller markets tend to pay less. Remember that these are typical salaries for people who are employed by other companies. There is a much greater income variation among people who freelance or own their own businesses.

Note: These figures were compiled using a variety of sources including salary information at indeed.com, salary.com, stc.org.

  • Acquisitions Editor: $37,000 to $57,000
  • Assistant Editor: $26,000 to $40,000
  • Associate Editor: 33,000 to 44,000
  • Blogger: $17,000 to $38,000
  • Copy Editor: $21,000 to 42,000
  • Copywriter: $41,000 to $63,000
  • Editor: $37,000 to $54,000
  • Editorial Assistant: $24,000 to $38,000
  • Editor-in-Chief: $51,000 to $95,000
  • E-learning Developer: $42,000 to 75,000
  • Fact Checker / Researcher: $25,000 to $37,000
  • Grant Writer: $35,000 to $47,000
  • Junior Copywriter: $29,000 to $44,000
  • Junior Technical Writer: $31,000 to $42,000
  • Legal Editor: $36,000 to $45,000
  • Managing Editor: $37,000 to 49,000
  • Medical Copy Editor: $29,000 to 44,000
  • Medical Editor: $37,000 to 52,000
  • News Editor: $25,000 to 35,000
  • Newspaper Reporter: $24,000 to $51,000
  • Online Editor: $31,000 to $50,000
  • Proofreader: $29,000 to $41,000
  • Proposal Writer: $41,000 to 69,000
  • Public Relations Writer: $34,000 to $46,000
  • Publications Assistant: $25,000 to $37,000
  • Senior Copywriter: $54,000 to $80,000
  • Senior Editor: $42,000 to $66,000
  • Senior Technical Writer: $56,000 to $81,000
  • Speech Writer: $51,000 to $73,000
  • Technical Copy Editor: $36,000 to $52,000
  • Technical Editor: $36,000 to $57,000
  • Technical Writer: $42,000 to $63,000
  • Web Editor: $22,000 to $44,000

51 thoughts on “2010 Average Salaries for Writers and Editors

  1. According to the AMPTP.org, the average screenwriter makes more than a surgeon. What happened to that poor down-on-his-luck surgeon? Gambling, drink, drugs?

  2. Thanks for your salary survey. It is really useful.

    Can you mention the salary range in India? for 3 years experience in technical writing (only in hardware field – VLSI)

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  4. Sarah,

    Freelance writers work for themselves. They are not paid a salary. Only employees receive a salary. The income of a freelance writer can vary dramatically, which makes it hard to measure.

  5. Hi John,

    Thanks for posting this. This seems much lower than the figures posted on the Writer’s Market site. I am trying to figure out what an hourly wage for a part-time position (20 hours per week) as Research Editor would pay for an in-flight magazine. The job description includes research, i.e., fact-checking, proofreading and some copy editing.

    Thanks for any more specific information you can offer me.
    :-) ej

  6. P.S. I forgot to mention that there are no benefits with this job. Also, I would have to pay my own taxes out of my paycheck.

  7. ej,

    Thanks for your question. The first thing you need to understand is that you are not being offered a job. If you pay your own taxes and get no benefits, you are freelancing and should be paid freelancer rates. This article isn’t about freelancing rates, but I would advise you to charge a minimum of $30 an hour. For more information on setting freelance rates, I’d advise you to visit: http://freelanceswitch.com/resources

  8. What if you are a technical writer who edits Web copy? Does it all depend on your title? They are about to do a salary review at our company, and I have a feeling I’m about to get screwed.

  9. It might be helpful to list Web Content Managers or Directors, the salaries of whom generally range from 40K on the low end to 70K on the high end, depending on experience and level of responsibility.

  10. Another writing profession to include is Instructional Designer (in the field of e-Learning/online learning; not to be confused with E-Learning Developer).

  11. I would encourage anyone who wishes to pursue a writing career to explore opportunities that are off the radar. Learn how to write in different styles, such as ad copy, brochure copy, online copy and columns. Most important, if this is what you really want to do, don’t quit. Most people get 90% of the way to success, then quit. In 1998, I made $17,000. Today, I earn in the top 2% of writers nationally. I did it because I took the advice I just gave you, which was given to me in 1996. Good luck.

  12. editorial assistant, $10 hour. Out of college.

    2.5 years onthejob experience, hired as reporter at $15/hour.
    3 percent raise annually.
    Master’s degree does not = bigger raise!

    You do the math.

    Journalism majors TAKE SOME BUSINESSES COURSES, so that when you decide you’ve had enough of mac and cheese, you can start making a living in a 2nd career.

  13. Creative Writing isn’t really a job title. Companies don’t hire many creative writers. it is more of a freelance position, and as a freelancer you can make very little or a lot, but chances are … very little.

    John Hewitts last blog post..A Career in Technical Writing: Workaround

  14. I’ve just interviewed for an Interpretive Writer position, and if there’s a job offer I’d like to know what the average salary range is.

    Thanks!

  15. Just offered a medical editing job, at mid level but with great bonues (which I realize may or may not materialize)…. this getting back into the grind is not easy! Have been used to working at home where I can work killer hours, but can roll out of bed and over to the desk, or fall back into bed as the case may be. I’ll make less money a week, but the way my last job worked, you made major bucks while there was work, and if it was slow, nothing. One comment though, my last editing job, they told us we were all independent contractors… only to find out after a long mess with unemployment that for three years they should have been picking up the tab for their part of my SS taxes etc. Of course they’re not happy now, i have a feeling the gvt is going to be breathing down their necks about a lot of their employment issues. Be aware that different states have different laws about what makes you an independent contractor… i was depending on my accountant to know (DUMB DUMB DUMB!) and the company that hired me (DUMBER YET!)

  16. Hello,

    I’ve found this information very helpful so far. I’m thinking of working as a translator for a news agency or perhaps a magazine. How much does a translator make? Does it depend on the language? Arabic? French? Spanish?

    Thanks.

    1. There are many variables for translators, but a skilled translator can make about $50,000 a year in the business world.

  17. These numbers are not completely true. I work in communications, my primary job responsibility being to write and edit for a non profit hospital newsletter. I’m only 24 and I make in the high 50s. There is hope in finding what you love to do and getting a decent salary to do it.

  18. I am currently working on a BA in English and would like to find a telecommuting position that has something (anything) to do with writing. When I finish my degree I would like to have work experiance as well. Do you have any suggestions as to where to apply or what to look for?
    And what kind of a salary should I expect when just starting out in my position?

    Thank you,
    Laura

    1. There are far too many variables for me to tell you how much your could make. Indeed.com has a salary feature, you might want to try that with some of your job choices to see what is possible in your area and with your level of experience.

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  20. Thank you soooooooo much for posting this! Now I know what kind of pay I’ll end up getting for my work and this is great for my career project.

  21. Your salary guide does not indicate if there is a difference in pay for an editor at a daily newspaper vs. a monthly news magazine. I am currently a reporter for a monthly community newspaper and the editor job just opened up. I would like to know what the average salary is for this position before I go in for the interview. The paper is almost 200 pages, probably 25% editorial. Thanks!

  22. I have visited a few other websites related to this subject in the past few days in doing a research report for my boss. I have to say that what you’re saying here makes perfect sense and is helping me to get my head around this subject. Do you have any other websites you could recommend to help my research?

  23. Hi, I am offered the position as editor-in-cheif although it is not for a publication
    but rather for a publishing company. It is also a non-for-profit org.
    So I was wondering if that influences the salary rate, and how much would be the proper wage monthly?
    Thank you!

  24. Hi John,

    great stuff. I worked as an editor in the B2B space for years before freelancing. I’m looking to get back into a staff position. I’m considering a Sr. Writer position at a B2B magazine…been so long (6 yrs.), not even sure what those salaries are looking like today. Any ideas? thanks!

    1. Hi John,

      A great deal depends on where you are working (city). In some cities it may be higher and in smaller locations it may be lower, but I’m thinking between 60k and 75k.

  25. I am considering applying for an online editorial assistant position. It’s a part-time job and I’m supposed to state how many hours I’ll be able to work and how much I expect to be paid, both weekly. Any recommendations?

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