Boost the freelance bank balance with a bit of corporate

FREELANCE journalism per se can be a tough row to hoe when it comes to actually making a decent living - but often it provides you with commodities which, in many spheres, can yield fees beyond the dreams of your average newspaper, webzine, etc: namely expertise, insights, informed opinions.

The Freelance recently chatted with, um, Freelance X who agreed to at least outline how she regularly alchemises what she learns writing for specialist industry and science journals into... well, here's her how-to and why-to account:

"The business and science publications pay OK, but my income really shoots up when I write reports for corporates and law firms.

"Sometimes they come to me because they've seen my byline, sometimes it's because I've done my networking at conferences I'm reporting or I've attended out of interest. You know, 'What do you do?' 'I manage Company Y's Z operations.' 'Oh, that's what I write about for B magazine, you know it? Well, I wonder if I might be able to do some useful stuff for you. For instance, blaaa...' Selling yourself!

"So, sometime down the line, they maybe ask me to write a report or a memorandum. In my experience, they want you to tell it like it is from your point of view - give them expert insights and which, basically, create a set of tools for their decision-making process. You don't get your name on these reports, they're sort of 'ghosted' and come out under the company's name either internally or externally. But then they do pay well.

How much?

""For a 100-page report you might work on over the course of several months, I've had anything from £20-60,000. If it's a memorandum they want, maybe five or six pages, it could be £5-6,000. And there may be follow-ups, such as conducting Webinars, and I'd negotiate a separate fee for that."

Any other wrinkles?

"They normally send you a proof to check over and sign off on, and often people in the company have added their own helpful contributions from bad grammar to whole chunks which are wrong in some crucial area - including legally. So you have to make sure you sign off on copy as corrected by you."