Are you charging too much as a ghostwriter?

There have been some online discussions recently about ghostwriting fees. Mainly, ghostwriters want to know what they should be charging for their work. They want to know what the “right” amount is to bill. And, truth is, there is no blanket “right” amount for ghostwriting work. Every ghostwriter has to decide for him or herself what an appropriate fee is for the ghostblogging assignment, article drafting, or speech or book writing, to name a few.

Personally, I rarely charge the exact same fee for book ghostwriting projects. That’s because every project is different in some way. So I weigh factors such as the availability of existing information I can draw from, the amount of research still to be done, the timeline for project completion, the length of the book, the number of sources to be interviewed and/or quoted, and how accessible the client is. Then I look back on what I’ve charged in the past for a similar project, look at my schedule to see how much time I have available to devote, and quote a fee accordingly. Yes, if I’m busy, I charge more and if I have some free time, I tend to charge a little less (unless I’ve been working too hard recently and need a break, in which case I increase my fee even more).

So if you don’t win a project you were hoping to get, you may wonder, “Am I charging too much?” The short is, probably not. There are so many factors clients are considering when they evaluate ghostwriters that you price was likely not the deciding factor. Unless, of course, the client indicated that your fee was higher than everyone else’s quoted fee or that your fee was above their budget. Then, yes, you were charging too much for them. Unless and until you’ve heard from several potential clients that you are out their price range, I’m not convinced that you’re charging too much for your services and that lowering your rate is in your best interest. Yes, it would certainly be in your potential clients’ best interests, but perhaps not in yours.

In fact, if you’re winning every project you bid on, I could argue you’re not charging enough. Only when you start to get client push back about your rates should you start to question your current rate structure; I’m not saying change it, only to do some research to see how you stack up against other ghostwriters doing similar work.

Because your ultimate goal to should be to make as much money as possible doing work you enjoy without burning yourself out. If keeping your rates higher than average helps you weed out lower paying gigs and enjoy more balance in your personal life, I’d say your rates are just right.

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Marcia Layton Turner

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