First I want to say hello to all the NBT readers and a big thanks to Deb and Jennifer for inviting me participate.
Over the last several months, I’ve missed being in touch with my entrepreneurial and work at home side.
Recently I was approached with an issue that, to be honest, I wasn’t sure about. So often, I don’t trust my gut instinct because, well, I have been known to be wrong. And later, I find I often wish I had trusted my instinct.
A writer that I’ve grown to admire and have watched increase in value over the last couple of years wrote to me for advice. The advice was on what to charge for freelance writing. When the details were sent to me, I couldn’t help but notice the offer included some requirements that I would personally not feel comfortable with.
The offer was not only for lengthy articles written rich in specified keywords but they were requiring the articles be submitted to an ezine article warehouse.
Something about that doesn’t settle so well with me.
Forgive me if I’m wrong and by all means, if I am, please feel free to tell me so. But it seems to me if a person values their writing and wants to keep the value of their freelancing high – they shouldn’t allow their name and content to be victimized as duplicate content around the web.
I liken this to a celebrity or sports figure keeping the value of their signature high by not pandering it at every stop. Sometimes you just have to say no.
If you aspire to become a well paid writer, you must realize that you are the prize. You can name your terms, your price and conditions under which you will write.
I’ve written articles that are quick, easy and do not have my name associated with them for $10 – however, when I’m putting my name on the line, the terms become far more defined. I’ve learned that by taking pride in my name and my expertise in some areas – I can easily quote a price of $40 – $100 per article and get it.
Be careful discussing what to charge with other people in the same industry, it could be considered illegal price fixing. Not trying to be crazy, I just don’t want you guys to get in trouble.
I’ve been discussing freelance rates for years and never heard of anyone being accused illegal price fixing.
We discuss this at FWJ all the time. Rates are a subjective thing and I never tell anyone what I feel they should charge because I think it’s up to the individual. Everyone’s situations are different. Yes, there are people who charge too little just as there are people who charge to much. Only the individual writer can determine his or her own self worth.
Gayla McCord says
I’m not trying to tell people what to charge, but I certainly wouldn’t want them to hope for making more in the long term – only to have what they do today end up on a site that dilutes their value.
There’s a formula that I was shown to calculate what I should charge. I base it on overall project and never just quote outright without all the details.
I’ve found when you set a particular price for a post or article, the one hiring will likely milk it and you for all you are worth.
I understand Gayla. I just meant for me and my freelance writing blog, there’s no bigger way to start a war than to talk about rates. I’m learning it’s all up to the individual. I do understand what you mean by writers devaluing themselves, however. I often see things that make me scratch my head.
Deb–It becomes an issue when you mention specific prices. In the U.S., because of a law called the Sherman Act, it is illegal for professionals in the same industry (i.e. “competitors” under the Act) to discuss what they charge. Most messageboards and email lists that cater to professionals who often work as freelancers won’t permit any discussion of “what to charge” because of this reason. See, for example, HTML Writers Guild.
It’s obviously no skin off my nose if you continue to discuss what you charge, I just wanted to give you a heads up on the law.
Gayla McCord says
Fern, Deb isn’t the one that brought this up it was me. And I posted a range – there’s nothing wrong with that – I think everyone falls somewhere between $10 and $100 most times.
I was not aware there was anything wrong with posting a “range”
Fern R says
Gayla–I was responding to Deb’s comment right under my first comment (July 10th, 2008 5:27 am). As I said earlier, it doesn’t affect me one way or the other if you discuss your rates, I was just giving a heads up. In law school we discussed cases where people were prosecuted for merely mentioning to friends (who were in the same industry) that they planned on raising their rates. Research it more if you want, or don’t… 🙂
Gayla McCord says
I find this very interesting. I do have to wonder just how people are supposed to stay competitive if they aren’t allowed to discuss rates.
So much for freedom of speech huh?
I will be researching this more because frankly, I think a law like that is nothing but BS and I find stupid laws to be both fascinating and entertaining at the same time – after a few cocktails of course. 😀