Sunday, February 8, 2009

I’m thinking of striking out on my own to become a freelance writer. What’s the
competition like? How many freelancers work for Canadian magazines?

An excellent question to which there is no good answer. Freelancers are rugged independents and don’t tend to be joiners, so they’re hard to count. There is no licensing or census, which is just as it should be.

Looking at the latest data from Statistics Canada (2004-05), most of the $73 million in freelance fees is spent by consumer magazines ($44 million) and trade/farm magazines ($23 million). If we assume that the average freelancer makes about $15,000 a year (some considerably more, some a good deal less), that would mean there are about 5,000. Of those, probably 1,500 make a decent full-time living.

(Published in Masthead magazine October 8, 2006)