Being a ghostwriter is not frustrating… quite the opposite!
If you stop to reflect on what has been said, and, moreover, these are things that you can verify yourself, you could conclude that ghostwriting is a loser profession; maybe you write something that sells a lot, but you have no merit and no recognition.
Well! In reality it is not quite like that …
If you think carefully, most of the professions are done without putting a signature on every work done, but when we see the concrete results of our commitment, we are ready to exult, regardless of whether we are recognized the merits or not!
Someone could oppose my statement with the following:
“Yes, okay but it’s a bit different, in an employee workplace, for example, there is a boss who can complement you and enhance your work. You can also aspire to make a career, and to get a raise ”.
Yes, all true, but it is also true that the ghostwriter works for someone, the one who commissioned him to dcost to hire a ghostwritero the job; and if he cannot aspire to earn more, he can reasonably think of retaining his client, and in any case, it will be the latter who will be satisfied with his work, and maybe even a good word of mouth !
As you can see, being a ghostwriter is equivalent to doing a service, from which you receive a pay and you can have satisfaction every time we can see concrete results.
Why does the word ghostwriter make us think of a slave who writes on command?
Ghostwriters and Confusion
In my opinion it’s the prefix “ghost” … mmm … yes, yes …
The word ghost suggests a hidden image: it makes one think of someone being obscured, whose copyrights are “stolen” .
The ghostwriter, in fact, must renounce the authorship of the work , whatever it is: articles, books or the text for a public discourse.
As I told you above, however, the ghost offers a service, from which it receives a profit and, by virtue of this aspect, it must be considered a real entrepreneur.
The confusion very often derives from the fact that the ghostwriter is associated with the idea of author / artist ; it’s the kind of approach that many writers have with this figure that is wrong!
Who writes as an author obviously has the right , and in a certain sense, the duty , to enforce the copyright of his work? This is because his purpose is NOT to write on behalf of others, his “enterprise” is not based on this revenue mechanism, and the approach is closer to the artist.
The Ghostwriter has another kind of approach; his business is based on the offer of a service estimated at a certain price, on the basis of a careful evaluation of time-difficulty and quantity.
How are prices established in ghostwriting?
Here, in fact, let’s talk about prices…! Like any good business, even for ghostwriting it is necessary to establish prices according to the time and difficulty encountered during the processing path. We exclude raw materials, since writing does not involve production costs (everyone has a computer nowadays!).
Here comes the beauty, because determining the price is not easy, especially if there are no past references in the type of work that is requested.
An author can establish the price of his work (short story, article, novel or essay) also on the basis of the offers that are made to him. Certainly, he will need to estimate the time required to write his work, therefore, the research, or any interviews to obtain certain information, and only then will he be able to make an estimate from which to start.
Then he can decide to sell his work independently on the internet or send it to a publishing house, which will offer him a percentage of earnings on sales. The same thing goes for authors who have a contract with the publishing house, which in addition to a fixed fee, will pay the writer a percentage of the sales, and this makes a big difference with the ghostwriter.
Many ghostwriters find it hard to give up the earnings on the percentage, but in reality, if you give up signing the work you cannot ask for a percentage on the revenues, because you are no longer the author!
Therefore, it is CRUCIAL to evaluate the price very carefully before selling the content
We need to make a precise estimate of the workload, trying to understand how long it should take us to obtain a certain result. To get a more correct idea, I personally recommend evaluating the time to subtract from other jobs, with the possibility of earning; it is also healthy to get an idea of the daily earnings based on the time spent.
What are the average prices for ghostwriting?
I strongly advise against the useless waste of time spying on the web, looking for answers … Prices must be calibrated on their own writing experiences, since everyone has different timelines to write the same type of paper, and the results will always be different!
If you have already done a search, you will have seen for yourself that it is practically impossible to find the same prices on the various sites of agencies and freelancers. Everyone tends to evaluate their prices based on various factors.
Ghostwriters are not just freelancers , there are several ghostwriting agencies that have made ghostwriting their core business , and they can afford to take different commissions by having other writers work under them.
In this case the prices are established considering also the rates of the ghostwriters and the cost to hire a ghostwriter who work with VAT, or if the writers work under contract, the price of the contents will have to be calibrated, taking into account the tax wedge like any other company.
Having said that, it is obvious that prices vary mainly based on the contents. You have to be quite aware of the time it takes to write an article and understand well the difference between the topics and the specificities of each single work.
Calculate prices based on content difference and specific features
The jobs that are required of a ghostwriter are of various types. It goes without saying that the value of working on an entire book is very different from writing an article; however, each commission may vary according to the client’s needs and the difficulty of the topics. The price must therefore always be calculated case by case.
It is not possible to establish a fixed price for each category, unless it is decided to establish the processing methods in advance. However, this could preclude many commissions. Before going into the specifics of this possibility, let’s see some variables that can determine the price!
Variability of the Guda lines
The commissions do not differ only in the service that is requested, i.e., an article for a blog is different from a public discourse; what also differs is the way of working that is required.
You may be asked to write an article about a specific branch of a business in three different ways:
You are provided with important news and given an activity report. You will have to compose a paper that highlights this type of production, without providing you with any additional references.
You are provided with all the news related to the development of that business branch, books and reports; moreover, you are given precise guidelines on the drafting of the article: H 2, H 3, tables, general layout of the contents
You are asked to rework a draft and adapt its format to another type of medium (for example from a printed magazine to a blog)
They provide you with audio or video media from which you will need to make your article.
As you can see, they are all very different working methods, which require a specific evaluation of the price for each type. The calculation of the rates can only be done after evaluating the times for extracting the contents: searching for information, times due to unwinding or watching a video, or reading a draft.
Later it will be possible to estimate the times of writing and actual drafting of the article.
The same goes for any type of commission. Usually those who have well-defined guidelines and content ready to be extracted do less work than those who do the work from scratch.
Those who decide to take this type of commission, in addition to the significant increase in working hours, must also take into account the risk ; since, the probability of not satisfying the customer becomes higher starting from the blank sheet, compared to a ghost that writes a content taken from a draft or an audio.
The risk of the ghostwriter: getting the focus wrong
In the specific case of commissions, the risk is linked to the inability to satisfy the customer. And when it comes to a commission where the minimum guidelines are not provided, the risk of “messing up” becomes higher.
For example, you may be out of focus or not understanding the purpose of the article. In this regard, it is good that the client is extremely clear, and it is certainly your job to demand maximum clarity.
However, when guidelines are not specific, misunderstanding is always around the corner.
And the ghost must learn to put every pros and cons on paper in order to regulate its price well.
Length of the paper
It is obvious that the papers are not all the same length: you will be asked for books of 80 pages and books of 120, they may ask you to write a speech of 10 pages or an introduction of 6; a 500-word article or a 1500-word article.
The workload changes depending on the length, so you will need to be able to evaluate the price considering the required length as well.
I advise you to evaluate the length always considering the difficulty of the topic: an article on technical-scientific topics, 1500 words long, cannot be worth as much as a post on spring fashion, of the same length …
Summing up …
This is probably yet another article you read about ghostwriting pricing without finding a single figure. This is because, as I tried to clarify in the article, it is impossible to establish a single figure for each type of work, as it depends on a number of factors.
And then, each writer is different and can obtain results of different value: the prices of different writers are unlikely to align, just as the results are unlikely to align.
To set the price in a sensible and profitable way for both parties (ghost and customer) you need to know how to evaluate your writing and the related timing to obtain a high-value result.
Then, you will have to analyze the request and any guidelines, or if the necessary material is provided.
My advice is to start from the evaluation of a basic item, add the variants of the request and the variables that can raise the price or make it decrease.
After that you can start drawing up your quote.
You can also decide to organize your own personal price list, where you can estimate your basic prices, depending on the categories: book by folders, article by words, press release, dialogues or text.
Then you will go to modify the price based on the variables.
What else to add?
Try to make judgments wisely, you must always think of the other party, remember that if you raise the price without a valid reason, you will always be the loser!
You risk losing the commission and a customer. You also risk getting yourself a bad name.
And now? Get to work!
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