Fortune Cookie Writer Salary and Job Outlook

The global fortune cookie market is big business. Currently valued at 30.62 billion, fortune cookies are projected to become significantly more popular in the coming years.

Some people genuinely enjoy the taste of fortune cookies, of course, but for most, it is all about the experience — and the fortune is by far the most exciting part of opening a fortune cookie! Who writes those messages? Fortune cookie writers, of course!

Have you ever wondered what these writers earn per year, on average, or how to get a job as a fortune cookie writer? Here’s a deeper look.

Average Salary for Fortune Cookie Writers

The median annual salary for writers and authors in the United States is, the most recent data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, $67,120. Salaries for writers vary heavily, however. The lowest-paid 10 percent of writers and authors earn less than $35,880 per year, while the highest earners rake in a handsome $133,460, or even more.

The earning potential of any individual writer heavily depends on factors such as the qualifications they have, their years of experience, and their location. The industry a writer works in and their precise job description also influences their salary, of course. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that the Bureau of Labor Statistics only collects data relating to employed workers. Many writers, on the other hand, are self-employed professionals.

Fortune cookie writers work in a very narrow niche. It is not clear how many people in the United States do this job on a full-time basis, or even how many people are engaged in writing messages for fortune cookies at all.

Ordinarily, large and reputable salary-tracking platforms such as Indeed, PayScale, and Glassdoor would offer insights into the average annual salary among writers in a particular branch, but sadly, that is not the case for fortune cookie writers.

Reliable information about average salaries for fortune cookie writers is hard to come by, but:

  • JobFlare estimates that fortune cookie writers typically earn between $40,000 and $60,000 per year. The website adds that the majority of fortune cookie writers are freelancers, and that they have the potential to earn up to 75 cents for each fortune they write. They don’t describe how they obtained these estimates.
  • PayScale confirms the idea that most fortune cookie writers are freelance writers. That means that writing fortunes would simply be one of many gigs for most writers. For the record, PayScale also estimates that freelance writers earn, on average, around $41,116 per year. The platform reports that most freelance writers bring home anywhere between $20,000 and $81,000 per year.

What Do Fortune Cookie Writers Make Per Hour?

Data from PayScale would suggest that freelance writers have an average hourly rate of $23.89. Fortune cookie writers will likely be paid per fortune rather than per word, in contrast to most freelance writers, with the size of the paper and the font size the manufacturer uses determining the minimum and maximum characters for each fortune.

If 75 cents per fortune is the upper limit in this industry, some fortune cookie writers likely earn between 30 and 50 cents for each saying they create. The hourly earnings of an individual fortune cookie writer will depend, then, on how fast they are able to work.

Based on Experience

No reputable data is available to shed light on the way in which a fortune cookie writer’s experience impacts their earnings. However, PayScale’s data relating to the more general category of freelance writers demonstrates that entry-level freelance writers earn an average of $15.50 per hour, while those who have been working in the field for at least five years tend to earn between $24 and $30 per hour.

Based on Education

Fortune cookies offer customers a fun experience, and the message inside the cookie forms the core portion of the enjoyment anyone gets from having a fortune cookie. The fortunes contained in fortune cookies generally consist of a combination of quotes, “fortunes” made up of broadly-applicable messages, and clichés.

While a writer certainly needs an abundance of creativity — and good general writing and grammar skills — to craft fortune-cookie messages that consumers will love, it is unlikely that manufacturers will require their writers to have a Master’s degree or PhD. It is more plausible that they have a certain budget, and will select skilled freelance writers based on their portfolios.

In short, it is not very probable that education, beyond the undergraduate level, will impact the earnings of a fortune cookie writer very much.

Top Paying States for Fortune Cookie Writers

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program shows that the highest-earning writers and authors are typically those who live in Washington, DC, California, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.

Freelance writers, including those who accept work as fortune cookie writers, can make full use of the fact that a large portion of freelance work is carried out remotely, however.

Job Outlook for Fortune Cookie Writers

The general outlook for writers and authors in the United States is mildly optimistic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for writers will grow by around nine percent in the coming decade. This is about as fast as the growth projected across all sectors of the US economy. Skilled, experienced, and versatile writers are always going to have work opportunities, whether as employed professionals or as freelancers.

However, those writers who would love to write fortunes for fortune cookies on a full-time basis will almost certainly be out of luck. Each fortune can be used many times, and fortune cookie manufacturers update their messages only periodically.

The same freelance writers who craft fortune-cookie messages can perform excellently in writing horoscopes, tarot card readings, or inspirational sayings for calendars. All of these tasks have significant overlap.

What Exactly Does a Fortune Cookie Writer Do?

Fortune cookie writers craft a variety of messages to be printed on the strips of paper that are subsequently incorporated into fortune cookies. They will have to conduct research and word their messages in the way that will appeal most broadly to consumers.

The fortunes found in fortune cookies generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Generic predictions that are so broad that they are likely to apply to most people.
  • Quotes.
  • Inspirational sayings or messages of common wisdom.

In addition to writing the messages and ensuring that they fall within the prescribed character limits, fortune cookie writers also have to proofread their messages and double-check that quotes are correctly credited.

How to Become a Fortune Cookie Writer?

The best path toward becoming an occasional fortune cookie writer would be to complete a degree in a field related to writing — such as journalism, communications, English, English literature, or creative writing — and then to build a career as a freelance writer.

Fortune cookie manufacturers may advertise freelance opportunities for writers, but aspiring fortune cookie writers could also certainly pitch them directly. Overlapping work experience, particularly in the area of horoscopes and inspirational sayings, will be helpful.

Qualifications to Be a Fortune Cookie Writer

No particular qualifications are required to become a fortune cookie writer. The majority of successful freelance writers will, however, have completed at least a Bachelor’s degree. The most common degrees that those who later become freelance writers pursue include:

  • English
  • Journalism
  • Creative writing
  • English literature
  • Communications

Skills to Be a Fortune Cookie Writer

Fortune cookie writers need to possess excellent writing and editing skills, and be competent at conducting background research. Extensive knowledge of common maxims and inspirational quotes will be helpful.

A basic understanding of psychology is going to help fortune cookie writers craft messages that are simultaneously almost universally true and appealing, and fun for consumers to read. It is important that the messages contained in fortune cookies are not offensive to anyone, as well.

Because most people will not be able to write fortunes for fortune cookies on a full-time basis, here is a look at the skill set freelance writers will generally depend on, as well:

  • Excellent communication skills are required both when writing a variety of texts, and to attract new clients.
  • Up-to-date software skills are another must for freelance writers.
  • Freelance writers will have the solid time-management skills they need to organize their workflow and meet deadlines.
  • A good business sense, including the ability to self-market, is crucial for freelance writers.

Can You Be a Fortune Cookie Writer Without a Degree?

Although most fortune cookie writers are freelance writers who only work as fortune cookie writers on occasion, no particular qualifications are required to be able to write effective fortune cookie messages.

It is important to note that the majority of freelance writers will have at least some college, however. Many hold a Bachelor’s degree or above.



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