Measly sums of money for hours of writing, along with unreasonable expectations for working deadlines, the iterative process of writing, and the costs for each project. Selling yourself short is easy to do when you're just starting out as a ghostwriter. If you do decide to take on work that doesn't offer that much to you in the way of money, then you need to take a long hard look at how much your writing skills are really worth.
What I mean to say is that you can do a lot better than a mere pittance.
You need to do some research before you set your pricing, and look into the least amount you're willing to take. Understanding that the bar should be set high, and starting on a minimum rate won't bode well for future ghostwriting gigs.
Often many clients are inexperienced when it comes to hiring writers, it's your job to lay out the facts of what is required in order to complete a job. You can tell them what kind of rates to expect, and extras including revisions that will add on to the final price.
Every writer knows their own self-worth, so how and what they charge may be completely different to what you may have been thinking. Some like to charge per word, others by how many words are written.
Explaining your writing process will help the client understand what goes into each ghostwriting project, and even if they're not totally onboard with the fee they've been given they'll understand what basic needs are being met.
Harness Your Own Potential
Invest in a Portfolio
If you want to get paid more you need to showcase the work you've already done, because no one is going to hire a writer they have no faith in. You can do this by creating your own portfolio, filled full of work you've done online and off. This could be anything from articles, blog posts, books and social media posts you've already written, and it can include your own blog posts and content you've written for other sources.
People like to see what they're investing in, especially if a writer is credited with writing through stories published, journals and literary magazines. Trust will come much more quickly if you have a file full of work you've already written yourself.
Don't Sell Yourself Short
If you've done work for one client then you can write for more, and that's why you should never sell yourself short even if you're just starting out.
How to Charge for Your Services
The Royalty Payment
This term refers to a legally binding payment made to an individual or company for the ongoing use of their assets, including copyrighted works. Book royalties are paid to authors by publishers, typically for every book sold, the author will receive an agreed amount. investopedia.com.
Now let's look at how you charge for a ghostwriting job.
By the hour
This has ups and downs, the upside is a lot of writer's already charge by the hour, so carrying that over to ghostwriting work doesn't make that much difference. The downside is that you may be left wondering how much a job is worth in monetary terms.
A flat fee
The flat fee rests on what your writing is really worth.
When you're spending months on one project you need to take into consideration the hours you've spent pouring over the manuscript and how long it's taken you to do the research. This all mounts up, which is why well-established ghostwriters can charge their clients bigger fees. This can be anywhere from $30,000 - $80,000 and above. The success you have as a ghostwriter will tell you how much you should be charging per ghostwriting gig.
If you're at the top of the tree then you can expect to be earning anything from $80,000 upwards, for those ghostwriters finding their feet, and trying to gain experience you should be looking at $5,000 - $7,500. Remember ghostwriting isn't just about writing books, it can be anything in print including brochures, newsletters, articles, the list goes on.
You could make some inquiries and see what other ghostwriters are charging just to get a rough idea. There are plenty of websites online that will show you standard rates for various kinds of writing. Values shown above may be outdated by the time you come to read this.
Ghostwriting Rates Can Differ from Individual to Individual
Ghostwriters come in many different molds, some are book doctors, and some are collaborators. A book doctor will take a manuscript and reshape it and make it readable, hence the name book doctor. A collaborator this means the writing is the same with or without the ghostwriter's credit.
Other ghostwriters go from research material given to them, this may be written or recorded, which means they can charge by the hour.
You need to workout how many revisions you're willing to make before the author starts paying extra. All of this needs to be included in your contract, otherwise you'll lose out big time.
Make a note of how much time it takes you to research, write, revise and edit each project, then work out how much you're going to charge your client.