Online writing in Kenya: academic & article writing jobs

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Money making is one of the most important exercise for any Kenyan, especially for youth who are in campus or have just graduated from their college studies.

Kenyans earn money through online writing by engaging in either one or both of the two major categories of online writing:

  1. Academic writing
  2. Article writing

Academic writing in Kenya

One of the ways Kenyans can make money online is through academic writing. This is perhaps the most dreaded form of online writing because of the strict rules of academic writing. Academic writing is not only formal but also packed with different formatting styles a writer must master. A writer should learn at least two of these styles for them to be successful.

Formatting styles academic writers must master to be successful in Kenya

The two most relevant of these styles are MLA and APA because they are used in most educational institutions in the world.

APA is the most common because it is used in the USA, and it has the student population!

While majority of the online academic writers in Kenya discover the trade while in the first year of college, others venture into it after unsuccessfully tarmacking for several years.

Academic writing is so popular in Kenya than anywhere else in world. Most academic writing agencies rely on Kenyan writers because of their dedication in writing. At one time, the Uhuru Administration tried to recruit youth into academic writing through the Ajira Digital. Some online writers in Kenya are now successful thanks to the former CS ICT Joe Mucheru.

Ajira Digital

Kenyans’ influence in the academic writing industry is significantly high that they forced one company out of the market by boycotting. The company was probably sold to another for survival. Few writing agencies do not rely on Kenyan writers, comprising only those that hire native English speakers. This significantly reduces their hiring scope to talents from the UK, USA, Australia, and Canada. A firm like Ultius hires only Americans in the US. However, Kenyans know how to navigate through such restrictions.

Article writing in Kenya

While article writing is easier than academic writing, it also has its requirements. While academic writers provide content for students and for academic use, article writers make content for websites, company blogs, and social media posts. What you’re reading is an example of an article written in a blog.

Article writing may involve different writing styles. It can be long-form content or short-form content, formal or informal, listicle, informational, conversational, analysis, opinion, and many other forms.

While academic writing is seasonal, peaking in the months of April and November every year, article writing jobs are available throughout the year.

So what factors influence how much a writer can earn in Kenya?

1. Writing skills

Writing is an art. Just like any art, such as photography, rates vary. Writers with less than one year experience earn between sh200 and Ksh300 per page (275-300 words). Experienced writers earn more than Ksh400 per page. However, these rates are for those writers working with middlemen. When you are an experienced writer who can deliver quality working without the input of a third party, you can earn more than $5 per page.

Even when working with a writing agency, writers are still categorized to three major groups: beginner (junior), college (intermediated), pro (expert). Beginner writers are matched with jobs for high school and college students, while pro writers can work on Masters and PhD works. Intermediate writers can work on any the two including University orders. It is a continuum.

Masters and PhD writers earn the most per page.

Below is an average pay for writer categories in one of the writing accounts in Kenya (

The figures represent pay per page for non-urgent orders with more than 48 hours. Urgent orders pay can pay more, depending on the time available. To increase a writers’ earnings, one should balance between urgent and non-urgent orders.

  • High School, $5;
  • University (yrs. 1-2), $6;
  • University (yrs. 3-4), $7;
  • Masters, $9;
  • PhD, $11.

2. An individuals’ motivation level and their hard work

Even when you are a good academic writer, without enough motivation and hard work, you will earn nothing. In other words, you can’t be a ghost worker in academic writing. Even when you have to delegate the work, a certain level of motivation is needed because you have to interact with both the writer and client. Sometimes both can cause you a headache.

3. Source of writing jobs

Where one gets jobs from also influences their income. If you are hired by a writing agency, your income will be lower than when you have direct clients (where you deal directly with the client). Even with direct clients, the pay differs significantly with the clients’ purchasing power. Customers from China seem to pay the highest followed by those from USA and UK. Clients from India and Australia are problematic and want to pay peanuts, yet their works have very strict demands.

How much do article writers earn in Kenya?

There is a big income-inequality when it comes to earnings for article writers. Kenyan employers tend to pay Ksh1 per work for articles. However, when you visit freelance platforms such as Fiverr or you will experience a culture shock. Some freelancers can earn up to $500 per article!

I think this is the best path to explore if you think you can scale up.

How much do academic writers earn in Kenya?

The amount of money earned depends on several factors. While some writers can earn more than Ksh1 million, others hardly make Ksh5,000 monthly.

Why do Kenyans explore online writing jobs?

It takes a Kenyan graduate more than 5 years to secure a job in Kenya. Kenyan universities also churn out more than 50,000 graduates into the unemployment pool comprising of more than 3 million unemployed youths.

Online writing jobs become the second-best alternative for these graduates. Others in the online writing industry are students looking for some income to supplement their parents’ pocket money. A number of friends have quit their jobs to join the online writing industry. Some have succeeded, others have regretted their decisions. Some writers have joined the industry out of their passion for writing while others due to frustrations at work (if employed).