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Professional Rates for Freelance Writers

Post contributed by Toiya Kristen Finley, SIG Committee Member.

What Are the Going Rates?

The prospective clients you want to attract will expect you to charge professional rates.

Only the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain has suggested professional rates for videogame writers. They say a fair rate is £350-£450 per day. For an 8-hour work day, that equates to about $60-80 US per hour.

Other writers’ organizations have suggested rates for copywriting, scriptwriting, and ghostwriting. These types of writing are somewhat comparable to writing and narrative design tasks. You can use suggested rates for these to determine what you’ll ask for.

The Editorial Freelancers Association says $40-50 per hour or 20-25 cents per word for fiction writing) and $50-60 per hour or 26-50 cents per word for ghostwriting.

You might also want to look at “How Much Should I Charge?” This PDF is available online. It was published almost 10 years ago. The numbers may be outdated, but they’ll still give you ideas.

The Scale for Professional Rates: Minimum, Maximum, or Somewhere in Between? 

The professional rates you can command are based upon your experience, education, and professional writing history.

If you’re experienced and have a degree in writing, game design, or game development, then you want to aim for the maximum end of the scale.

If you have little or no experience, ask for the minimum, or a little less than the minimum. Prospective clients aren’t going to expect you to ask for $50 per hour or $2500 for a game design document. They’re going to recognize you’re new to freelancing. That’s why you should start with smaller jobs and work your way up.

Definitions for levels of experience:

Experienced: Have worked several years as a freelancer, have a degree in your area of expertise, have published extensively, or have worked professionally as a writer.

Somewhat Experienced: May or may not have experience as a freelancer, may or may not have a degree in your area of expertise, have some credits as a writer, or have done some writing work professionally.

Less Experienced: Little or no experience as a freelancer, working towards a degree or no degree in your area of expertise, few or no credits as a writer, or no work professionally as a writer.

Ask a Game Writer: February-March, 2015

Ann Lemay, BioWare writer, has graciously agreed to host a Q&A for members of the Game Writing SIG.

Please note: I’m keeping questions not answered in a file. If I haven’t answered you in this batch, your question may yet come up later. 🙂



What are some best practices for group writing, or writing content when you are part of a writing team?


Writers tend to be solitary creatures. How do you interact with a collaborative writing style like a writer’s room like you find in television or some videogame studios? What do you personally do to adapt and flourish?

*** Merging two questions here, since my answer got a bit longer, and things overlap nicely.

Cooperation. Communication. Organization. A clearly structured confluence/wiki setup. Concrit (constructive critique)—both knowing how to give it and how to receive it. I could go on, but really, most of them will keep hitting the same thematic—being a good team player and understanding that your word babies sometimes have to be given up.

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Job Posting: Game Writer in Seattle

This job post was found on Craigslist. Apply for the job via the link on that page.

!!!!!!!!!! NEED IMMEDIATELY !!!!!!!!!
We are seeking a talented and passionate game writer. As a writer on this creative team with our company, you will be part of the team responsible for driving the game story. The ideal candidate is an experienced multi-media story-teller with excellent competency in game writing and a passion for the PC and/or SmartPhone game narrative. The writer will be relied upon to collaborate across the team to bring the game story to life.

Job Responsibilities:
• The writer is responsible for developing the story, pitching scenes, writing scripts and refining game pacing.
• Be familiar with the current state of game writing across a wide range of genres across all platforms.
• Help us push our narrative design further by identifying issues and offering solutions.
• Provide a receptive ear so that other team members can offer input on the game story and narrative design.
• Evolve the narrative pipeline.
• Evangelize the game story and narrative vision to the team.

Work Experience:
• 2+ years experience as a writer or narrative designer
• Must have shipped at least one AAA game.

Education, Professional Training, Technical Training or Certification:
• Bachelor’s degree preferred, or equivalent game writing experience.

• Knowledge of cinema and cinematic techniques.
• Understanding of voice directing and editing techniques.
• Excellent understanding of 1st and/or 3rd person game-writing.

Other Requirements:
• Ability to work well under pressure and with deadlines.
• Excellent attention to detail.
• Excellent understanding of
• Excellent communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
• Passion for first-person shooters and multiplayer gameplay.
• Passion for strong, character-driven game story content.
• Experience with game editors and scripting systems
• Ability to work and contribute effectively in a team environment.
• Ability to meet deadlines.

Application Requirements:
• Writing sample

  • Location: Eastside
  • Compensation: 30-40 per hour DOE
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Job: Narrative Designer For Someone With “a passion for the Halo series.”

This job was posted at A link to the application can be found on the page.

Title: Narrative Designer : Redmond, WA
Job ID: 600009065
Location: Redmond, WA
Description: We are looking for a talented and passionate Narrative Designer. You will be a part of the team responsible for the technical implementation of the game story. The ideal candidate will have extensive experience with scripting, a strong sense of story-telling, and a passion for the Halo series narrative.

Job Responsibilities

*  Under supervision of the Narrative Director, the Narrative Designer is responsible for technical implementation of game content.

*  Collaborate with the design, art and the audio teams to design and implement the story using the game editor and scripting systems.

*  Pace story content to tell an active and exciting story.

*  Be familiar with the current state of narrative design across a wide range of genres across all platforms.

*  Help us push our narrative design further by identifying issues and offering solutions.

*  Provide a receptive ear so that other team members can offer input on the game story and narrative design.

*  Evangelize the game story and narrative vision to the team.


*  2+ years experience as a Narrative Designer, VO Scripter or equivalent.

*  Shipped at least one AAA title as Narrative Designer, VO Scripter or equivalent.

*  Excellent understanding of scripting languages

*  Excellent sense of pacing and knowledge of cinematic techniques.

*  Excellent communication and collaboration skills.

*  Enthusiasm for the game series and passion for the game story.

*  Ability to work and contribute effectively in a team environment.

*  Ability to meet deadlines.

Job: Writer for Interactive Content for Disney

This job was found on Disney’s website. The position is located in Glendale, California.

Writer Interactive Content
Disney Consumer Products (DCP) is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company that extends the Disney brand to merchandise ranging from apparel, toys, home decor and books to interactive games, food and beverages, stationery, electronics and animation art.
• Write story and dialogue for a non-linear, interactive children’s experience.
• Work closely with play designers to craft believable, humorous, and on-character interactions across a variety of interaction modes and play mechanics.
• Craft dialogue that is true to the character’s personality and maintains the overall mythos of the world and characters.
• Bring story telling with emotion to the content.
• Experience writing for game play scenarios.
• Experience writing children’s interactive content. Disney franchise experience preferred.
• Experience writing multi-threaded open-ended branching interactions preferred.
BA/BS in related field
Digital / Interactive
Products and Licensing
Be sure to take time to explore all the exciting Disney Consumer Products lines of business at and read about the variety of people who have made DCP the success it is today.

Job: Creative Writer for Educational Game

This job is located in the Mission District of San Francisco. The posting was found on Craigslist.

A small start-up is looking for a talented creative writer/designer for an educational game. We need a very detail-oriented person who will own all the scripts of the game from the creative and usability point of view. Previous experience writing/designing a game is a plus.
Contractor, 40 hrs per week. Compensation based on the experience (equity + salary).
Local candidates only please.
Please send the sample of your work with the resume.

  • Compensation: based on the experience (equity + salary)
  • Telecommuting is ok.
  • This is a contract job.
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Pixelberry Studios is Hiring a Game Story Writer and Designer

This job position is located in Mountain View California. It was found on Craigslist.


Pixelberry Studios is a startup focused on bringing innovation to mobile games. The team consists of veterans from the mobile games space who have previously released original, Top 25 games on the iPhone. Pixelmzl.rzxakkft.480x480-75berry’s designers, writers, artists, developers, and submissions team are currently hard at work on a new game called High School Story, which is currently available only in Australia and Canada. Pixelberry is also responsible for maintaining two story-based adventure mobile apps.

We are seeking a full-time Game Story Writer and Designer to work at our Mountain View office. This position may require overtime.

Job Description

You will be working with a small team of writers to deliver weekly, quality content to our two story-based adventure apps. This position involves creative writing, extensive editorial work, game testing, and some social media networking. Our ideal candidate writes stories with interesting characters and compelling narrative, is able to consistently meet tight deadlines, and possesses excellent copywriting and editing skills. A passion for gaming and familiarity working on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are a plus.

Given our small-studio format, you might find yourself wearing a variety of hats; candidates should be open and eager to work in several roles and learn new skills.


1. Creativity. A game story writer will be expected to contribute to the direction of the game and story script.
2. Organization. A game story writer will need to handle multiple story arcs and their relationships with each other. Writers should also be able to develop a script that tells a story in a nonlinear manner as story arcs often have multiple endings.
3. Willingness to work under direction and follow established style, tone, and voice of characters in-game while maintaining creativity.
4. Ability to receive frequent feedback and adapt writing to meet the requirements.
5. Ability to deliver stories on a weekly deadline.
6. Ability to write from a variety of voices and perspectives (different genders, social classes, ages, etc.).
7. Excellent written English skills required.
8. Strong ability to communicate.


1. Major in English, specifically creative writing.
2. Technical proficiency (some computer science coursework).
3. Knowledge about and strong interest in the gaming industry, specifically the mobile gaming space.
4. Familiarity making posts on Facebook, Twitter, and tumblr.
5. Familiarity with Photoshop, Pixelmator, or other photo-editing software.
6. Understanding of current high school trends and pop culture.

Materials Requested

1. A cover letter, indicating why you’re interested in the position.
2. A current resume, highlighting writing and educational experience.
3. A writing sample (short story, script, or game writing). We prefer samples of writing that target a teen audience. If you have more than one applicable sample, you can send more than one.

Please copy and paste your cover letter, resume, and writing sample into the body of an email (no attachments) with the subject line ‘Game Story Writer’. Candidates will not be considered without a writing sample.

Location: Mountain View, CA