Written by KinkCraft
I was reading Girl on the Net’s brilliant article on Freelance pricing: deciding what to charge and I thought I could offer a little insight into the other side of that coin. We are an up and coming adult toy company and have been lucky enough to have been at the last two Eroticon’s. We have met a lot of the most prominent members of the community in the UK (and a few from Europe) and I have to say you could not meet a more friendly or welcoming group of people.
But that is the problem, they are such a friendly and welcoming bunch many tend to undervalue what they offer. So I am here to tell you to stop it!.
Getting it cheap
That is probably going to sound strange coming from someone who works with Girl on the Net, and Molly, among others, to create the content for our blog. Surely I want them to be as cheap as possible?
The simple answer to that is no I don’t. I have met them, and they go beyond just working with us, they are friends. I want to support them in what they do. The best way I can do that is to pay them.
But don’t think I’m a pushover. I’m mercenary.
If I am paying for a product or service I expect a return on that investment. For writers it comes in the form of a quality article. To get quality I expect to pay. But I am buying more than just the words. I am buying insight into their communities, their unique perspectives, and even in a small way a little access to their audience.I know where Molly or GotN goes their following comes with them.
Is there ever a case for working for free?
I know some are going to say never work for free, and I am in that crowd…usually. But there are occasions when working for free makes sense. If you do it make sure it is on your terms:
When you are starting out
You don’t have an audience yet, you have a lot to learn, you want to show people what you can do. Offer guest blogs and other things for free to get exposure on sites that have the following you want a slice off. Make sure they link back to your site, this helps build your portfolio of work so others can see. It also gives you valuable experience of how to deal with these bigger companies and how they work.
When you want to try something new but don’t want the pressure
A little pressure can be a good thing, it kicks your butt enough to actually get up and do the work. But when you have real paying work or a day job to do AND you have something you need to write but you know you won’t get paid for it.. that is going to kill your motivation dead.
Do it for charity
There is nothing like the feeling of doing some good in the world and if your skill is writing then use that as your gift. You still gain experience and they gain something they didn’t have.
In all these cases you need to think “What’s in it for me”. I know that seems very greedy but you need to protect your time. You only get your time once, so make sure you are using it for things you actually care about. There will always be plenty of people who want something for nothing.
Start charging but be realistic
Next time someone asks you to write something for them I want you to think “What am I getting out of this?” There should always be something you value (even if it is just feeling good). If there isn’t anything you want then it is time to charge.
Here are some factors you need to consider when you are looking at your pricing:
- How good are you really? – Are you the next Hemmingway or could you really do with tightening up your prose.
- How well known are you? – Do you have a blog with a relevant following, published work that speaks for you?
- What following do you have on social media? – 100 followers? 1000? 10,000?
- How long does it take to write a 1000 word article?
- How long do you spend doing research?
Ironically undercharging is also a problem, if you come out a lot cheaper than everyone else then I am going to start wondering why.
How we do it (some of our secrets)
There is no hard and fast rule on pricing, you can ask for anything you want. I have had offers from people happy to write for free (I always turn them down.. shocking I know) to £250 for 1000 words.
Our opening price for writing a 1000 word article is £30. There I have said it.
That is a price we won’t go below because we don’t think it is fair someone should spend an hour or two writing for less than that. After that it really depends on the author, who they are, do we know them, do we like their style and other work they have done, does they style fit our ethos and audience?
We have said no to plenty of people, and will continue to do so. If you want to be paid to write you need to hit a certain standard. Every business will have a different standard just as they will have different audiences, so it’s not easy to quantify. The basis though is to engage the reader and keep them interested. For our business, we both need to feel the writer understands our audience and has a feel for the type of articles we have on our blog and site. If you can’t engage us, interest us, surprise us and give an informative, humorous or insightful piece of writing, then why am I going to pay you?
You are professional now, time to act like it
Something else happens when you are being paid for your writing. You are now a professional writer. That means you need to act like one.
Pitch me, don’t ask me
Don’t ask me what I would like written. I want you to pitch your ideas at me. Our time is stretched across so many things if you take one of them off me (having to think of what to have written) you are likely to get the work. Your pitch should always be relevant to who you are pitching to. Pitching an article on the pros and cons of remaking Ghostbusters may appeal to me but isn’t really relevant to our site.
Girl on the Net is master of the pitch and if you don’t do it already it’s time to learn (P.S. I would love to see her teach this at Eroticon, I would attend that session). It doesn’t have to be a page long pitch. A short and concise paragraph on what you write and what would be included is all that’s needed.
When we get a pitch. Most times we are happy to accept it as it is and other times we will ask for things to be included or removed. Don’t be disheartened if this happens.You have achieved gaining our interest and we are tweaking your pitch to better fit our audience. This is a good thing and should be seen as such.
Deliver on time
You are being paid to deliver a product, you are not a child. We don’t want to have to chase you to get the work we are paying for. Agree a deadline and stick to it, delivering it early is even better. We all have the unexpected crop up and if this happens and you can’t make the deadline let us know so we can work with you.
There is nothing more frustrating than work not coming in, or having to chase someone you are paying. You jeopardise your reputation and run the risk of not being asked to write again.
Everyone is always delighted when you deliver more than you were asked for. It doesn’t have to be more words or even better words. Maybe it is more ideas for articles, maybe it is some suitable images that work with the article. Even something as simple as thinking about how an article will be put onto the page so it is formatted correctly to work on the web can make my life a whole lot easier. I will appreciate it.
Go get it
There is nothing wrong with writing for free if it is what you truly want to do and are gaining something from it, even if it is just a feel good factor. You DO deserve to be rewarded for your skills so don’t sell yourself short.