Freelancer writers, you must have a professional writer’s invoice. Here’s an example of an invoice for magazine articles, blog posts, or other writing jobs. I’ve used this invoice successfully for years, and have thrown in several invoicing tips for writers…
“Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators.” – Olin Miller.
He also said: “If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”
Fellow scribes, don’t put off creating a solid invoice tracking system for your freelance writing business! For more info on running a writing business, read How to Set Up a Freelance Writing Business: An Insider Guide to Setting Up and Running Your Own Copywriting Business.
9 Invoicing Tips for Freelance Writers
Below is an example of an actual invoice I sent to Reader’s Digest. If you have any questions about these tips for sending invoices for articles, please ask below!
1. Include your contact information. Put your name, address, phone number, email address, and even your website at the top of the invoice.
2. Create an invoice number tracking system. I use the year the article was submitted (2010, for example) and a simple numerical system. So my first invoice of 2010 would be 2010-01, the second is 2010-02, etc. This is important for tracking late payments, and for keeping the bookkeeping aspects of your freelance writing business organized.
3. Add the publisher’s or editor’s details. Reader’s Digest, for instance, assigns an annex number to all their assignments, and that number has to be on each invoice. You still need to include your own invoice number for your own records and tracking system. This invoicing tip will help you track late or lost payments.
4. Clarify certain information or details. Sometimes you’ll invoice the editor, and sometimes you’ll invoice the office manager, accountant, or publisher. Sometimes you’ll even invoice a third party, such as a bookkeeping company. I always send my invoice to the editor; rarely, he or she will send will request a change. Make sure you state the article’s title, magazine issue if known, when you emailed the article, and to whom.
5. Describe the article you wrote. Under “services”, I include the article length, description, agreed payment, and total invoice amount. This is where GST for Canadian freelance writers, PST for certain provinces, and taxes for states is included. Canadian freelancers don’t need to apply for a GST number or charge GST if they earn less than $30,000 CAD per year.
6. Include an “invoice due by” date? Many freelance writers ask for payment within a month of invoice submission. Others offer a 2% or 5% discount if the magazine publisher or editor pays on time. I don’t do this – offering a reward for something that should go without saying sticks in my craw – but I understand why some writers do this.
7. Email the invoice with your article. I attach the invoice to my email, and I always tell the editor in the body of the email that my invoice is attached. This may seem redundant, but attachments can get missed.
8. Make notes in your invoice tracking system. This is one of the most important invoicing tip for freelance writers! As soon as you send the invoice, make sure you record the invoice number, date sent, invoice amount, and any other details you think necessary. This way, you can keep track of who has paid and who is in arrears. And, when your invoice is paid, make sure to record the date you received payment. These tips help you stay organized for tax time.
9. Be specific when tracking down late payments. When you email an editor asking about a late payment, make sure you include your invoice number, amount, date the article was sent, and the date you emailed the invoice (if that’s different than when the article was sent).
For more info about tracking systems and spreadsheets for writers, read Tracking Your Article Pitches and Submissions.
An Example of a Freelance Writer’s Invoice for Magazines
Bowen Island, BC Canada
Annex #XXX-XX (optional)
To: Editor, Accountant, or Office Manager’s Name
Reader’s Digest Magazine
Article: “Top 5 Things Women Look For in Men” for rd.ca
Emailed (Date) to Editor’s Name
|350 word article about what women want in men||$200.00|
Total Amount Due
|no gst or pst|
Freelance writer invoices don’t have to be complicated! The most important things are the invoice number, date, name of article, amount, and tax information.
To learn more about working as a freelance writer, read Should I Quit My Job to Work as a Writer for Hire?
And don’t forget about How to Set Up a Freelance Writing Business: An Insider Guide to Setting Up and Running Your Own Copywriting Business — it could change how you do business!