Ghostwriters Who Charge According to Topic

21 replies
How many of you ghostwriting (or marketers who use ghostwriters) charge (or pay) a fee depending on the topic?

I noticed in talking to some current ghostwriters that they were feeling concerned about getting assigned topic they didn't want to do. Nothing porn or whatever - just boring, hard to research topics.

I told them to either:

1. Thank the client for the opportunity and explain that it wasn't a good fit or...

2. Deliver what they originally hired you for and explain that due to the grueling nature of the project's research, they wouldn't be able to do it at that price (charge more).

Here's a tip, too - for the buyers who USE ghostwriters:

If you have a difficult or boring topic that no one seems to want (ie: you're always losing writers after one project), assuming they're not avoiding YOU but the topic, you can do something that alleviates the cancellations:

Gather some research and send it to them with the project. Or, if they come back to you with increased rates, consider doing this. It could be hard copy books (John Reese used to send me about 10-20 books for each project I did for him - and let me keep them), or cut and pasted research from the Internet (however with some writer's you're going to have to STRESS that it's for educating them, only - not rewriting.), or link to some sites or videos or other resources that might make their job quicker.

Tiff
#charge #ghostwriters #topic
  • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
    That's interesting.

    I used to do rewrites and I had several people assume I would charge more for "sensitive" subjects.

    It was all just words to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesrich1
    Its seems as if these writers can anticipate getting projects with unfamiliar topics. If it would take them 3 hours to do research and another 2 to write they should estimate that each article they write would be $150 or whatever rate they choose to avoid running into this scenario. I know $150 is low... Its just a figure I threw out.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    I never charged more for a topic that required loads of research. Instead, I would reject the job.

    If the client persisted, I would explain the issue and let them know that I would only consider the job at a much higher price. Sometimes people would pay the higher price, just so they could get me to write their stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    I've never charged extra for a project but I have turned down projects due to subject matter. Some topics would require so much research time to the job correctly that they aren't cost effective for me. In that case, I suggest another writer who I think will be a better fit for the project.

    I've only done this a few times since I write on a multitude of subjects. But I'm not a techie person. So for me to take on a project about computer programming would result in too much stress or a poor product -- and I don't want either one.

    Rose
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    • Profile picture of the author John Lenaghan
      I avoid the problem in the first place by only writing about specific topics. It limits my target market a bit, but because I know the topics better I tend to get plenty of repeat business.

      John
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      • Profile picture of the author Jennwith2ns
        Personally I would explain how much extra research time it would take and therefore would need to charge more. I have turned down a few topics because I knew even if I got paid more, it would be more hassle than it was worth - but that's rare.
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      • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
        Originally Posted by John Lenaghan View Post

        I avoid the problem in the first place by only writing about specific topics. It limits my target market a bit, but because I know the topics better I tend to get plenty of repeat business.

        John
        This. I have a standard rate and I only write on topics related to my area of expertise.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      Originally Posted by Rose Anderson View Post

      I've never charged extra for a project but I have turned down projects due to subject matter. Some topics would require so much research time to the job correctly that they aren't cost effective for me. In that case, I suggest another writer who I think will be a better fit for the project.

      I've only done this a few times since I write on a multitude of subjects. But I'm not a techie person. So for me to take on a project about computer programming would result in too much stress or a poor product -- and I don't want either one.

      Rose
      That's what I do. If I feel that I cannot do the topic justice, I turn down the project. There are some topics that if you don't actually have experience, the result is likely to be full of errors or misconceptions. When I was ghostwriting regularly, I routinely turned down anything highly technical or anything related to Forex.

      I have charged more due to research time, though. To me, that only makes sense as I have to make a certain amount per hour in order to pay the bills. A project taking 10 hours of research time is naturally going to cost more than a project taking 2 hours.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    I was just thinking... we have a directory for copywriters on this site -- maybe we should have a directory of ghostwriters with a list of the topics or types of projects they specialize in writing. Sometimes I've wanted to refer a client and haven't known who to send them to.

    Rose
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  • Profile picture of the author GuruGazette
    I personally think the topic and type of writing is more important than many beginners realize. There is a world of difference between legal articles and gardening articles for example, and product review pieces are copywriting - not article writing. When I wrote for clients full time I always adjusted the budget based on scope. A software manual was not the equivalent of "X" number of articles or words and 500 words of regulatory content was not the same price as a 500 word press release, decorating article, etc. Anyone who wants to start in business for long without going ballistic needs to learn this fast.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradCarroll
    I charge a little more for highly technical stuff, because it takes more time to research. But unless I'm feeling really hard-up for money, I don't do topics I don't like. And if I am feeling hard-up, I do the research...and end up surprised at how there is rarely such a thing as an uninteresting topic, if you dig down far enough!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jackson Tan
    coool.. thanks for the tips..it is interesting to know how you guys think so that we can have a better working relationships.. cheers!

    To Your Fun & Freedom
    Jackson
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  • Profile picture of the author Micah Medina
    I've been on both sides of the client/employer thing. And really, if you're hiring someone you should just... ask whether the writer is into that kind of content. If you've got a pulse you know if your topic is grueling or embarrassing, so it's best to just ask about it.

    Now, if you're going to charge extra for a certain topic, you better be so good that I don't want to get someone who charges the same amount and is comfortable with the topic. Just depends on your working relationship vOv
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    If topics are too hard but I feel that I can do them with more time I would ask for additional money. If it is too hard, I refuse the job and explain why.

    If a topic is too boring, I usually refuse it by saying I am too busy...which is often the truth anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sandra Martinez
      I do have different prices for different services.

      I like to do the hard ones, those that take a lot of research. And they are well priced.

      The "easiest" I take are those for rewriting news. Those are the cheapest.

      I also love to do personality writing. Pick up the style of someone and put it in their communications. Or create personas and build the whole thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author seriousmny
    This is what I love about ghostwriting. You can pick which projects you want to work on. If you decide to work on a more complicated project, then you can tell your client that it's going to cost you more. If they don't like it, they have the option to continue to shop around.

    I think individuals who are looking for quality are starting to realize that it is going to take some out of pocket money to get what they want. People are tired of spending money on work and then having to proofread and edit work that should be done correctly the first time.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      I used to turn some subjects down, rather than charging more for them because of my perception that "extra research time" would be involved. But I don't think that's an unreasonable thing for writers to do, at all.

      And I think your suggestion above about supplying some "research material" for the writer is an excellent one (as well as stressing that it's for research, not for re-writing, of course!), and if some clients had done that, I might have accepted more.
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      • Profile picture of the author catcat
        I usually just turn down a project now when it requires a lot of research time. I am a poor judge of the time it may take to do the research and have lost some money in the past by charging for extra time up front.

        Cathy
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  • Profile picture of the author WriterWahm
    When I was still ghostwriting non-fiction, I once had a job that was extremely technical and it was only after I began writing that I discovered just how technical. It was a terrible job for peanuts. When the client came back, I turned him down. He got persistent and I increased my fee. He went away after that.

    I'm still ghostwriting but I limit myself to fiction and yes, my fee has gone up. I have genres I'm comfortable with and I state those clearly. If I have to move outside my comfort zone, so does my fee.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I've had clients pay me an hourly rate for research time on difficult subjects. I don't quote a rate until I know what the work involves and then I quote accordingly.

      The projects I turn down are on subjects that I have no personal interest in - if I find a topic boring...I wouldn't do it justice.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Writers often will often have a more difficult time creating content for technical areas. Therefore they will charge more. Also, some topics are controversial and might create problems for ghost writers if their identity is expose. Perhaps they have too much work now and do not want to tackle a difficult project in a highly specialized arena. Technical manuals can be a bit dry and not as much fun to write about as movie reviews.
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