What Should I Charge?

A common issue that freelance writers face is pricing. How much should one charge for an article, ghostwriting a book, writing content for a web page? The answer to this question will not be easy at first, but you will learn. Here is one way to start.

My personal rule of thumb, for new writers especially, is not to work for less than a penny per word or a certain fixed rate per hour. Entry level office jobs pay at least $12 per hour, and if you have absolutely no experience, your hourly rate should come out to at least that much. A standard per hour rate should be a minimum of $20 per hour (again with little or no experience). Freelance writers often make $100 or more per hour, and that should be a goal to strive after.

You will have to determine for yourself how much you want to make. Set an annual goal and break it down all the way to the hour. Then create a list of services, eg web articles, press releases, editing,research, ghostwriting, and set a price range for each. It is good to be flexible, and set a minimum and maximum cost for each category. Consider how much time certain tasks take (you might need to guess at first, but you can always adjust your pricing later). Charge based on these factors:

-experience

-who will have the rights (I charge a higher price if I don’t get the byline)

-how much research (if any) is involved

-how long will it take to complete

-will they want revisions (I give one free and charge for additional/extensive revisions)

-What is the average writer charging for the work? (The Writer’s Market always has a chart on this) According to salary.com, the average web writer makes around $45,000 a year. Break that down, and set your pricing around that or higher.

Pricing will ultimately depend on your cost of living, your goals, and how much you value your knowledge and skills. If you value your writing highly, you will set a price that is respectable. The best piece of advice that I can offer is to be consistent in your pricing, and never work for less than you think you are worth.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow, very illuminating article. As a new freelancer (I just quit my day job in order to go out on a limb and earn all my college tuition from my pen) I had no idea that I was being undersold as much as I have been… Your advice is well-received and very useful.

    Robert M.D. Minto

  2. […] What Should I Charge? — really good article. It’s good to know what’s the going price for writing services–good to know enough not to be undersold. There are lots of markets out there that ask for you to name your price… So far that question has left me a bit uncertain. But not anymore. […]


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