Coming up with a price for ghostwriting jobs can make a writer feel like it’s back to the lawless wild west days again. Arriving at agreeable cost (and payment structure) can often serve as a breaking point between client and writer.
Arriving at a good rate doesn’t have to leave you high and dry though. If you keep a few key factors in mind you and your client can find a happy medium between affordability and getting paid adequately for your talents.
Here are five things to consider when pricing a ghostwriting job.
1.) How Easy Do You Communicate With Your Prospective Client?
Ghostwriting is about so much more than just putting words on a page. Anyone who has worked as a writer for hire knows that the raw writing often comes as a secondary challenge.
I’ve been ghostwriting for almost ten years now and I’ve learned one thing above all other. I must establish some chemistry with the prospective client and this requires valuable time.
2.) How Much Extra Research Is Required?
I fashion myself a jack-of-all-trades. I know a little bit about a lot of things, a trait that stems from my insatiable curiosity. Writing a manuscript or credible non-fiction article requires more than just a little knowledge though. Sometimes a little knowledge can be detrimental.
If you have a base of knowledge in an area, you already have a head start on the project. One of my areas of expertise is baseball. When I was pitched a baseball project years ago, I felt it was right in my sweet spot and the research came very naturally to me.
This isn’t always the case though. Be aware that all the research required will take time and should come with a corresponding bump in pricing.
3.) How Much Do You Love The Project?
You’re the ghostwriter. You have to love the project or the person you’re working with enough to stick with the for the necessary time to finish.
Do you want to spend three to six months (or more) on this material? If you cannot answer yes, or even maybe, it may not be right for you.
4.) Does The Work Balance?
I add this consideration because I work concurrently on other projects. My books. My speculative screenplays. I am very careful that what I’m working on to advance my career balances out with what I’m hired to write.
For example, when I am pushing to write a new screenplay for my manager I tend to put cinematic or fiction work aside. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. That might be the best time to take on a memoir or non-fiction book.
You as a writer have to know where that balance exists best for you.
5.) Is The Client’s Project Viable?
This is a question that I ask too often. Is the work going anywhere? I’ve ghostwritten enough manuscripts that were dead in the water before my pen hit the paper. I don’t make that judgement because of the book quality but because either the client wasn’t willing to market their work or the idea was one of pure vanity.
Vanity pays. Sometimes handsomely. You might like that. The question you need to answer is whether or not at the present time and place vanity is something you can afford.
Last week my blog took a candid look at a few critical traits that make successful writers. Check out that blog here.
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