Professional Writing and Editing

January 11, 2010

A Ghostwriter’s Fee

What do ghostwriters charge? How much does it cost to hire a copywriter?

Well, the answers to those questions varies as much as the different skills, education, and experience a writer brings to the project.

Regardless of the answer, suffice it to say that writers deserve to be paid a fair and honest wage. They work, just like other people do, but often are asked to work for ridiculously low rates that would set them up for financial suicide. 

Guru.com is a site where employers can find freelance writers. Today, a project was posted seeking an article writer at the going rate of $1.25 per 300 word article. Wow! That’s .004 per word. Several years ago, inexperienced junior copywriters were being paid .08 per word, and I’m sure it’s higher now.

At the rate of $1.25 per 300 words, an employer should consider themselves lucky to get someone who can read, let alone write. I guess a writer could compile 300 words quickly, if there were no guidelines, no research, and if they were already an expert on the subject matter. But let’s face it, if the writer is an expert, they’d most certainly demand a much higher wage. This was the criteria posted for the job:

We would like for you to be able to write 8-10+ of these articles each day of the week (Mon-Fri). Our budget for these types of articles is $1.25 each, which can usually be written within a few minutes time.

We require someone who is fluent in English (first language preferred), has excellent grammar skills and can provide us with articles which require no/minimal editing.

All of your work submitted to us must be original – we use Copyscape and Google to check all submissions.

You must also agree that none of your work submitted to us will be used by you or anyone else in any way. You may not post it on a blog or in any other media.

So, providing original copy, using excellent grammar and delivering a perfect article which requires little or no editing can earn a writer as much as $7.50 per hour (if the writer can complete six such articles in one hour.)

Good writers are worth a fair wage. They also have to dedicate a chunk of time to finding work. Like any other job, it doesn’t knock on their door every morning. Every time they apply for a writing job, it’s like applying for any other job. A writer must compose a personalized cover letter and resume which addresses that project and answer any and all questions to the employer’s satisfaction. And that’s before the writer even begins to put letters to paper.

Alicia Dunams talks about ghostwriter rates in her article at http://ezinearticles.com/?id=2750989. Anyone interested in hiring a ghost or copywriter should read her article.  My rates are below those mentioned, yet they are competitive enough to attract some at the lower end of the pay scale.

If you’re in need of a quality, ethical writer, give them a little respect. They deserve to earn a living, and as any business entepreneur can tell you, they also deserve to make a profit, even if it’s a small one.

If you can’t afford to pay a respectful wage for a talent and skill (yes, writing is a talent and a skill), then write your own copy and hire the best-quality editor or proofreader you can afford to clean and polish your message.

And, if you’re like many I’ve talked to, you’ll appreciate the contribution a professional writer can bring to your message, company,  or book. Good ones are worth their fee.

Patti McKenna

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2 Comments »

  1. Patti! You hit the nail on the head. My husband is a Communications Consultant for an insurance company by day and also does freelance work. The requirements you posted on that job are RIDICULOUS!!! As if the rate wasn’t insulting enough on its own, add in the fact that they’d like it to need no edits. Of course, that wasn’t enough, so they also want full and exclusive rights to the work. The writer is basically paying the employer to work, in that situation! And the sad part? Someone will take it. I know a buck is a buck and things are tight right now, but accepting jobs at those rates drags the market down for everyone.

    Thanks for a great post!

    Comment by Amy (@HappyMomAmy) — January 11, 2010 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

    • Amy,
      Yes, you’re right. Someone will accept it because they believe they need a dollar. When they realize they’re using a professional skill/talent and getting paid $5 an hour, they might reconsider. The bad part is that experienced, proven professionals who are really good at what they do, like your husband, must compete with inexperienced writers, editors, designers, etc. The economy is bad, but accepting professional jobs at slave wages or less will only make it worse. Thanks for the comment. I’d like to hear how your husband deals with this situation when he provides quotes, etc.

      Comment by PattiM — January 11, 2010 @ 8:18 pm | Reply


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