(all exchange rates noted below were determined on 18th
January 2004, and are subject to change - constantly!)
All freelance writers
- non-fiction and fiction alike - seek ways to increase
their writing income. Many simply write more, some aim at
higher-paying markets and others aim at selling and re-selling
to international audiences.
As a freelance writer living in Australia, I learned very
quickly that the International Currency Exchange Rates
have the power to potentially increase my writing income
- or drastically reduce it!
The trick is to know in advance how each international
payment will translate once it hits your bank account.
for an international audience has always had plenty of
benefits. Here are just a few:
- You have the benefit of being able to add that accolade
to your bio or to a query letter.
- You might have an opportunity to sell reprint rights
for an existing piece of work to an overseas publication.
- You reach a much wider audience
- And you have the opportunity to use the exchange rates
to potentially increase your income.
course, selling work to an international editor can also
have its drawbacks.
- Your work might not have an 'international' appeal.
- Your exchange fees on foreign cheques can sometimes be
- Payments made via snail-mail can often take weeks to
- Some banks may take between 20 and 40 days to clear an
People often associate the term 'Freelance Writer' with
non-fiction writers, but freelancers can write and sell
fiction, too. In fact, it is sometimes easier to re-sell
a fiction short-story to an international market than a
non-fiction article. This is because fiction can have a
much broader, international appeal, while a non-fiction
article may seem more pertinent to a local audience.
No matter what you write, it should still be possible to
research into potential international markets for your
Can Earning International Currency Help?
out the difference between the value of your
own local dollar and then compare it to your intended
target market's local dollar value. In many cases,
the value of the dollar in the foreign country you are
aiming at might be a little lower than your local
currency, but the value to your personal income might be
worth far more in terms of landing a subsequent sale for
a piece of work that has already been bought locally.
Example: Only a few years ago, the
Australian Dollar was worth approximately .49 cents in
the American dollar. This meant that if a US magazine
bought an article for $100, the exchange rate would
convert it into $204.08 AU that went into my bank account.
Obviously, it made a lot of sense for me to sell as much
work as possible to American audiences at that time.
Since then, the Australian dollar is up to around .78
cents US, which means I would actually have to work
harder to see the same kind of return for my money.
However, with just a little research, I found out that
the Australian Dollar is currently sitting at around .4255
of the British Pound Sterling. Guess where a lot of my
queries are being sent now...
to Work it Out
your convenience, the friendly people at xe.com have
supplied a Currency Converter program (at the bottom of
Obviously it will help to begin by only checking out the
exchange rates for those countries in which you speak the
language. For the vast majority of readers of this
publication, that's going to be English.
Once you have a basic idea of how your international
payment will look in the local currency, it's time to
research those international markets!
Before submitting any of your work anywhere, try to
determine the possibility of selling the exclusive rights
for the highest possible amount first. Also try to
be sure that each piece has a secondary market in mind,
for reprint and even foreign sale purposes.
Let's say for the purpose of this example that I have a
Sci-Fi short story to sell. An Australian
magazine might pay me $100 AU for the rights. Upon
further research, I might learn that the same Aussie
market might accept reprint rights - so I'd be
potentially better off selling it to a different
market first. Let's say I find an American market for the
story. If the US market pays a hypothetical $50 US - then
I would receive $64.87 AU (less any bank costs). I am
then free to re-submit the exact same piece to the
Australian market as a reprint, receiving another $100 AU
for doing nothing more than sending it out again.
Those International Markets
advent of the Internet is a god-send for freelance
writers worldwide. Many publications display their
submission guidelines online, and some even accept online
submissions. There are also plenty of Market Guides
available in libraries and bookstores. I would also
suggest subscribing to an high-quality ezine, like
Absolute Markets (http://www.absolutemarkets.com/premium.htm)
We won't go into finding and researching markets here -
that's another article.
part of the Foreign Currency Exchange is not fun. All
banks charge exchange fees. Some are more exorbitant than
others, but most are amenable to some negotiation -
especially if you plan to deposit on a regular basis.
I asked the managers of several local branches to put in
writing their fee-schedules for depositing and exchanging
foreign funds. Then, when I had a few to compare, I went
back to those same branches with some ammunition. Most
were willing to negotiate lower fees and charges.
afraid to negotiate with banks; they need your business
to stay in business.
speak to an accountant before altering your income to
include foreign income. Never take a chance and never
rely on hear-say of other writers. The tax laws in each
country are complex and involved. Leave nothing to chance
- check, then double-check what kind of impact a foreign
income could have on your taxes.
you are aware of the impact foreign exchange transactions
can have on your income, it's time to research some
potential international markets - and send those queries
out the door!
© Copyright Lee Masterson. All Rights
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