Ghostwriting involves writing texts like books, articles, poetry, etc., that are officially credited to another person. This type of writing can be rewarding and frustrating at the same time; on one hand, you get the pleasure and satisfaction of writing, but on the other hand, not getting credit for your work can affect your morale in the long term. In these circumstances, getting paid appropriately matters more than anything else. The fees depend on a number of factors like the particular job you get, amount of research required, experience, time needed to complete the manuscript, etc.
How to Determine the Rates
The kind of content written has the biggest influence on the rates. Content in the form of articles, blog posts, books, movie scripts, song lyrics, etc., call for different rates. Also, you may be hired by academic institutions, websites, or film producers. Your fees may vary for each of them depending on the content you are expected to write.
The quality of the content is another major factor. If the client is not satisfied with the quality of your work, then it may have an adverse impact on your future assignments. Remember that most of the work a ghostwriter gets depends on the recommendations and referrals from previous clients. If the quality is unsatisfactory, then you may have to negotiate your rates, and ultimately lower them for future clients.
The time taken to complete the work may range from a few hours for an article to months for a book. For example, an article written after five hours of research is going to be easier than an article on the same topic that was finished in a couple of hours. Here, the research done, which is the effort taken by the ghostwriter, is being paid for. Also, if it is an autobiography of the client, it is mandatory that the ghostwriter and the client decide the timings and places that they will meet to discuss the book. The client will need to pay for all the expenses of the meetings.
Experienced ghostwriters are bound to get a head start over beginners or inexperienced ones in the number of offers they get and also in the remuneration they receive. Simply put, experience matters a great deal in this industry.
Method of Payment
Whether you will receive your payment one-time or on the basis of per hour, day, or page, should be decided while formulating the contract. Some ghostwriters accept their payments as ⅓ at the beginning, ⅓ halfway through the job, and ⅓ on completion. The method of payment impacts the fees you get since the number of words or pages you write in a day varies. How the payment is received can be at an experienced ghostwriter's discretion, but the same cannot be said for a beginner.
When you have finished your work, it could happen that the client asks for some minor changes or even complete re-work of certain parts, which may require extra effort. This can be taxing for you. So, a clause needs to be mentioned in the contract beforehand, wherein you can get paid for the extra effort you put in for the changes made at the client's request.
At the contract stage, it should be decided whether or not you will get the royalties, in case the book turns out to be popular. In such a scenario, the percentage of revenue you will receive should be stipulated in the contract.
Ghostwriters charge their fees based on their experience. The fees can be anywhere from 10 cents to USD 4 per word. Hence, depending on the content, an article or a blog post can cost anywhere from USD 20 to USD 800 based on the experience and reputation of the writer. Also, suppose you have a significant amount of expertise in a particular field, then even though you may not have the required experience in ghostwriting, your experience in that field can help you to receive good fees.
According to the Writer's Market, these are the freelance rates charged by various writers: USD 70 an hour, with a per project low of USD 5000, a high of USD 100,000, and an average of around USD 35,000. The per word costs are 50 cents low, USD 3 high, and USD 1.50 average. A ghostwriter receives an average of USD 20,000 for a book of standard length of about 75,000 to 1,00,000 words, without royalties. These rates may also vary depending on whether you are working for an organization providing ghostwriting services or as an independent ghostwriter. A beginner's rates fall in the lower brackets. If you have enough confidence in your writing skills, then there is no reason why you should not go ahead and ask for higher rates.
The money you receive is proportional to your writing skills. Overall, if you are as passionate about writing as Gloria Steinem, when she said, "Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else", then ghostwriting can be rewarding for you, not just monetarily, but also in giving you immense satisfaction.