If you pick up a freelance writing job as a ghostwriter, consider yourself lucky. Ghostwriting is a great way to earn money, while expanding your knowledge and expertise.
But, this type of work is not without its pitfalls. If someone contacts you about a ghostwriting project, be upfront about your ghostwriting rates. Make sure you do this before anything else. Grab a calculator, draft a proposal, and send it to them. In doing so, you will save yourself the time and aggravation of a client-turned-Casper.
I’ve dealt with a few in my time: prospective clients who vanish once the subject of price arises, usually (and to my chagrin) weeks after I’ve been charmed with their idea. Business execs have approached me about writing their 200- to 300-page business memoir, which they intend to self-publish. Most of them have no connection to writing or publishing and think writing is cheap. What starts out as a lively encounter becomes strained as they attempt to hire for cheap.
The truth is that ghostwriting requires a ton of work. The writer must devote huge blocks of time to the project, which means turning away other business. I’ve seen ghostwriters charge the following rates, based on years of experience:
- 0-2 years: $5,000 or less
- 2-5 years: $5,000 to $8,000
- 5-10 years: $9,000 to $14,000
- 10-15 years: $15,000 to $20,000
- 15+ years: $20,000 and up
How to set your rate
As you can see, the pay can be quite lucrative, but how to charge is up to you. A few writers charge upwards of $50-$100/hour for ghostwriting projects. It all depends on the size of the client and whether or not they feel comfortable doing an hourly rate or a flat fee. Remember to be true to whatever rate you set. The client will respect you for it.
In sum, ghostwriting is no work-at-home, get-rich-quick business. It takes years to develop a positive track record of success in dealing with clients who are organized, insightful, team-players, and who value you enough to pay you what you’re worth.
About the Author:
Daniel C. Bartel is a Dallas-based copywriter with experience writing for both print and online media. His main emphasis is writing web copy and content for companies in need of online marketing and advertising. For more information, check out his web site at dbartel.com