Updated on 6 July 2020, to include information on extraordinary stories.
I got tired of explaining this for every new quote I did, so here’s an article about it.
On my ghostwriting pricing page, I offer a range of prices and say that the pricing depends on the project.
1. Extraordinary stories
If you have an extraordinary non-fiction story to tell, pricing is both highly negotiable and extremely competitive.
I am actively seeking these kinds of projects at the moment and will liaise directly with literary agents on your behalf in order to see if the story has a high potential to be published before we start work.
No one can guarantee publication, and I cannot work for free, but I might be willing to take a leap of faith with you on these kinds of projects in return for a percentage of the publishing profits, in addition to a highly reduced ghostwriting fee.
Please contact me to discuss.
2. My work is collaborative
For other projects: To understand part of the reason for my variation in pricing, you must first understand the way I work. My work is extremely collaborative. I try to offer the best possible quality within your resources. It’s not merely a matter of slapping a price on a bunch of items and then dashing off bland and boring copy.
My goal is to make my copy original and useful. This makes offering fixed rates per word difficult.
3. I charge fixed prices per project, and every project is unique
I like charging fixed prices, and my clients like this as well.
Everyone knows where they stand when there’s a fixed price. If I’ve underquoted, I pay the penalty, but the client remains happy, and I still deliver the best possible job. After that, I’ll tell the client that the next job will likely cost more, and they can decide if they want to stay with me or not.
I feel this is a good way to do business for everyone involved.
But charging a fixed price means I have to understand the project thoroughly so I can quote accurately. Two thousand words for one client, and in one industry, does not equal the same for another client and industry.
Every project is unique.
4. I start small with new clients and go from there
Because I charge fixed prices, it’s difficult to quote on some projects. I try get as much detail as possible to estimate how much work is involved.
I know that clients don’t want to pay exorbitant prices, but I also don’t want to work for peanuts.
So there can be some back and forth before I can quote, especially if the project is a large one.
I’ve found that the best way to push through this initial inertia is to start small — do one project together that is comfortable for both parties. I’ll usually do a small initial job at my highest quality, for a lower-than-usual-price to try and get an idea of how many hours it takes me to deliver that quality.
After that, I either do another job at that rate if I can, or I tell the client that it is impossible for me to continue at the lower rate.
Everyone’s happy, and the relationship either continues, or we go our separate ways with smiles on our faces because no one suffered unduly.
5. Larger projects are done at more competitive rates
This is purely mathematical.
Because my work is collaborative, I tend to spend a lot of time initially getting to know a client’s business, goals, and even “voice” (a writing term which, in its simplest form, means “How they speak”).
If we’re doing a small project and then waving saionara to each other afterwards, there’s no way for me to recoup those initial costs.
If the project is long-term, I can work at a slight loss for the initial project(s), and then recoup my costs later as I get to know the business thoroughly.
So, longer projects are naturally priced more competitively.
6. Less collaboration and input = higher prices
I’m a ghostwriter, not a “freelance writer” in today’s understanding of the word.
My work is collaborative. I know I’ve mentioned that several times, but it is the foundation of my business.
You know your business. I know how to write. We need to put our minds together so that I can write as if I were you.
But some clients want only some articles on a specific subject, for the sake of search engines. They want me to do all the research, come up with unique content, and run with the project myself.
Those projects are far more expensive than other projects.
Essentially, I’m trying to earn an hourly rate, and I’m trying to deduce how much work is involved in each project, before delivering a quote.
If I have to do all the research and come up with all the ideas, that’s going to cost a lot more.
Honestly, if I have zero input from you, the articles will suffer. I much prefer collaborative projects, because the content really shines at the end of it.
You have something to say, and I’m there to help you say it. But I can’t speak for you if you give me nothing to go on.
7. Technical subjects are more expensive — but only slightly so
If you work at SpaceX and want me to write knowledgeably about orbital spin, gravitational forces, and a gazillion other things I know little about, the cost will be slightly higher.
Why only slightly?
Because my work is collaborative (there it is again). Whether you’re an accountant, a lawyer, a plumber or an aerospace engineer, I still need to spend some time on the phone with you, getting to know your business and role.
New subjects excite me. Often I’ll charge only slightly higher fees for them because I enjoy the work so much, and I get to learn something new, which is always a good thing for a writer.
But it can’t be denied that the research does take more time, and I can’t work for nothing. So, highly technical subjects raise the price a bit.
8. Other factors
I’m sure there are other factors I can’t think of right now. Each project is unique, and I try and treat it so.
But the essence of what I’m trying to say is that I’m not a mass-production line, I’m a writer who takes pride in emulating my clients’ voices.
I’m also building a business, not hunting for “gigs”. I have no interest in doing a job and getting paid and not being personally invested in its success once the job is done.
If you’re more successful as a result of my work, you’ll give me repeat-business.
The only way I can build a business is to offer you the best possible service (by which I mean a return on your investment) at a reasonable price.
This, too, is good business practice.
So, there you have it, that’s why my pricing varies so much per project.
So give me a shout if you want to get an idea of what your project might cost you.