I’ve had several queries this week about “standard” rates for writing projects.
I cover this in detail in Devilish Writer: How to Charge What YOU Want, and Get PAID, so here’s an excerpt…
The “Standard Rates” Canard: Don’t Fall for It
Buyers who are experienced in hiring writers are different from those who are not. Many experienced buyers will use the specter of standard rates as a weapon against you.
Therefore, when you’re writing for a publication, or a business, or are negotiating a book contract, it’s usual for the buyer to offer you his “standard rate for this kind of work” which, he’ll proudly inform you is – $X.
(By the way, in publication guides, the Writer’s Guidelines are just guidelines, nothing else. They’re the standard rates ploy in print.)
When you hear an editor’s recitation of the his standard rates ploy, I’d like you to be quite cynical, and think, “Yeah, right.” (Don’t say it – but you should think it. :-))
Please remember: there are NO standard rates, for anything at all. Editors have been beating writers over the head with this canard for decades, if not at least a century.
This is a biggie, and it’s the one big takeaway I’d like you to have from this book: THERE ARE NO STANDARD RATES FOR WRITING SERVICES.
Writers keep falling for “standard rates”, but please don’t. Editors and other buyers of your writing always have discretion.
I’ve learned this the hard way – over and over again. I learned that there are no standard rates for ANY writing service… Not for books, not for magazine/ newspaper articles, (and in the online world) not for web content and blogs.
Again: there are NO standard rates.
People will take advantage of you if they can. It’s in their interest to do so; it just means that they’re good at business, and it’s not an insult.
Anyone who likes your writing enough to make you an offer, is negotiating. They want you to write for them. Not only that, they have discretion on what they’ll pay you. So their first offer is just that, an offer, no matter how much they try to dress it up in “standard rates” clothes.
Here’s a rule of thumb which I employ, and which you can use too. When I hear anyone spouting off about their standard rates, I immediately triple the amount I first thought of, and then make that the very least I’ll accept for the project.
However, this rule of thumb comes with a warning. Don’t use it in your first year. Wait until you have some experience, and can use it with confidence. It works… but sometimes it doesn’t. Therefore you have to be quite prepared to walk away from the project, without looking back.
It works many times more often than it fizzles. Once you’re at the stage in your career where you have lots of ongoing projects, it’s powerful, because you genuinely don’t care whether or not they accept your rates.
You can get paid what you’re worth. Discover how in: Devilish Writer: How to Charge What YOU Want, and Get PAID.