How Much Can A Freelance Writer Expect To Earn In India?

Written By: Trina Moitra

Yes, I can already envision all the newbie and inspired would be writers pushing their geek glasses up the bridge of their noses and sitting down with pen and paper to evaluate financial projections of their future.
Well, that was limned pretty tendentiously….so forgive me for stereotyping wordsmiths! The information that I have for you today is very accurate but a few points do beg clarification before we proceed further.

#1: India is becoming liberal. Even in Kolkata, I see more and more engineers, doctors and chartered accountants giving up lucrative practices to answer the siren call of writing. And they are not hiding in shame behind equivocal statements like “I am taking a sabbatical” or “I write for pleasure”. It indeed is encouraging. So many free spirits have embraced writing passionately and they are NOT starving! So you will not be an iconoclast if you give up that tedious job for a career penning lyrical love!

#2: Having said that, I must interject: Setting up a solo writing business or content factory is not an easy dig, unless you are immensely talented (I mean majorly so) and are resourceful and network savvy to boot. So take some time out and salute our blog mistress Shuchi who has accomplished this rare feat.

#3: No need to say the glass is half empty. Even if you can’t take the entrepreneurial plunge right away, you can freelance with a bidding site like Elance or Odesk where it is fairly straightforward to jump start a well-paid writing career. I have mentored so many eager, fresh faced and virtually scripturient content providers (as part of my Mobilizer program) and they are all eking out pretty decent lives honing their skills and anticipating a vista of limitless future possibilities.

#4: The monthly or average pay you pocket from these bidding portals is subjective. It depends upon the platform you are associated with and your level of skill. Elance for instance rarely ever has jobs offering less than $10 per hour whereas Odesk has a plethora of bulk writing projects valued at $3 an hour. It all depends upon the phase of your freelancing career and your willingness to acquire new skills (like SEO and even graphics designing) so that you can supplement your projects with that extra zing going above and beyond your client’s expectations.

I recently ghost-wrote a 100 page internationally placed eBook on the “Art of Mastering Freelancing” and had to put in a ton of research. I am happy to declare that the bidding portals are undergoing major reshuffles. Some long time contractors have climbed up high on the levels ladder despite possessing mediocre skills at best and with the new intuitive algorithm introduced by Elance, actual dedication and quality win over the antiquity of the membership tag in a big way. Why did I choose to bring this up? To encourage those who are standing at the precipice of the adventure called freelancing. It doesn’t matter that some people have been vegetating on your portal of choice for a gazillion years. They may be valued by archeologists, but you- you can race past them if you have the juice in you. So true meritocracy is here bulldozing previous norms and this is the best possible time to embark on the freelancing journey.

I know I tend to filibuster, but now some hard facts. These statistics are powered by Elance but I am sure that oDesk, Guru and Freelancer have similar averages.

·        Currently the top two countries posting the maximum number of jobs in the Writing and Translation category are USA and United Kingdom. Now there is a subtle difference between the content preferred by the Brits and their cousins across the pond. Do be a little more open and friendly when extending your proposal to someone from the US! They like an amicable greeting.
·        Video script writing, web copy and journalistic papers are the most in demand categories shooting up by staggering 407%, 55% and 60% respectively over the last quarter.
·        On the other hand financial writing and non-fiction gigs have suffered considerably plummeting by 34% and 55% respectively. Now you know what to target and which skills to add to your repertoire.
·        There are currently 111,003 registered freelancers in the Writing & Translation category of Elance hailing from our fine country.
·        As a content writer dabbling in web copy creation, business writing and ghost writing, you can expect to earn anywhere from $19 to $22 per hour if they work with dedication and develop an eye for details. However the top 0.1% of Indian freelancers writing for a living can charge up to $35 per hour.

I would like to reiterate that talent can never be circumscribed by averages or numbers. You can very well be the first renegade writer charging a fabulous sum of $80 an hour! There are contractors who do so and receive regular work from Elance’s roster of elite clients. So don’t forget to dream big and keep courting hard work.

The next post I will pen will deal with the top 5 tips to ace the freelancing game, courtesy my new found knowledge.

In the meantime if these 800 odd words have ignited a passion in you to sample the world of freelancing get over to and change the landscape of your future. I am always around at and have already helped scores of faithful IFW habitu├ęs.
Remember: “If you haven’t hit gold yet, you are simply not digging hard enough”.
Till next time…..

Chief Consultant Times and Trends Learning Solutions
Top 200 of Elance


  1. It is a very helpful tip for Freelance writing jobs
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Do inform me how a fresh freelancer cope up with latest trends in India


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