Comedy writing is possible –
I’ve shown you how to find comedy writing clients and what you need to show them so they’ll hire you. But can you make a living off freelance comedy writing? Yes. . .and no. Or maybe no. . then yes. This is one of those careers that starts slow . . . you need to do it a lot and get to the point where people know about you and come to you when they need some jokes.
What do they pay?
For freelance jokes, I’ve been paid anywhere from $5 to over $200 per joke, not including the free stuff, but $5 is almost free. The best paying are late night TV and, believe it or not, greeting cards. But as I mentioned, those are the hardest to get into and the hardest jokes to write. . .plus there’s lots of competition. And we’re talking about freelance jokes. . .not getting on the paid staff of a show. That pays a lot more and you can make a great living on that.
3 main ways to charge for jokes . . .
- By the joke, which is what I do. I take a non-refundable deposit, so I get something, and then I apply it to any jokes they buy. They usually buy more than the deposit, so it works out. I like this method because it assures the client that they’re getting some jokes they like. If you want a sample of my “joke writing rules,” just email me and I’ll send it to you – Jan@TheWorkLady.com
I include things like
“you have to pay before you use it.” Comedy can be tough. . . and if you don’t say it right, like you miss a word or something, OR if there’s some other factor (lunch being served) that distracts from the show, then the joke may not hit. I can’t be held accountable for that. . .so pay before you use. If they think it’s funny and I think it’s funny, then it’s probably funny. I do try to avoid telling them how many jokes I’ll give them for their review. . .because this is a creative process, so it’s kind of hard to say just how many my brain will come up with.
2. By the hour.
Some of my friends charge for the hours that they spend writing. . .and they give the client everything that they’ve written. This is also a great idea, because sometimes you write stuff that you don’t think is funny, but someone else does. . .or they know how to make it funny. So giving them everything that comes out of your head might be good. One caution. . . make sure you put the stuff you think is funniest at the beginning. . .so they laugh right off the top. If you put random stuff at the top, and it’s not the funniest, they may form a bad opinion of your material before they get to the funny stuff.
3. By the page.
And I do know comedians who charge by the page, and tell the client they’ll give the X number of pages of material. This is basically doing it by the hour and giving them everything you’ve written. . .but if it’s a tough topic, you may get yourself in a bind by promising 2 pages of material, and in reality you are straining to come up with 1. So be careful with this one.
But you can make a living,
or at least a great 2nd income by freelance joke writing if you work it really hard and keep on top of things. . . and it may take a while, but once you get some clients under your belt, and you get more and more known, then it gets easier to make the money.
I do have a book Click Here if you want more tips. Also, email me for the list of what I tell my joke clients.
That’s it. . happy joke writing!