Here’s What You Need to Know When Hiring a Professional Writer
© 2017 by Kristine M Smith
When you need “evergreen” sales copy that converts browsers into buyers, or compelling content that turns Looky Lou’s into loyalists year after year, here are the reasons why you should be willing to adequately compensate the professional writers you hire.
Why Professionally-Written Evergreen Copy and Content is Pricey
Proficient professional writers have spent decades honing their craft. As with other professional practitioners–doctors, attorneys, counselors, etc.—our expertise is hard won and painstakingly acquired.
When you hire a professional, you get professional results. No true professional offers bargain basement rates; only hobbyists, wannabe’s and foreigners can afford to work for deeply-discounted rates.
The term professional means “someone who makes their living in a specific field of endeavor.” Professional writers never agree to write for clients who pay minimum wage, entry-level, or even executive secretary-level wages.
Although professional expertise is expensive, you can EXPECT cost-effective results (ROI). By hiring “on the cheap” you’re taking a big risk that you may not even recover your costs (in time and money), let alone advance your cause and credibility. People generally visit a website or marketing materials once—and then only briefly—unless what they find there rivets them in place and makes them to want to stay and play (do business with you).
Freelance Professionals Must Cover All Costs of Making a Living and a Life
Unlike company employees, freelance writing professionals from the USA must cover the costs of looking for work, doing the work, and all living expenses, from mortgage or rent to 100% of their health care costs, business networking, vehicle insurance and gasoline. And very few of us have 40-hour-per-week billable practices. There is a lot of work search, unpaid meetings, travel expenses, and other costs of doing business that must be factored into making a living as a writer.
Here’s an analogy that helps a lot of clients understand the value of professionally-written evergreen copy:
It takes only about 45 minutes to produce a vehicle on an assembly line. So have you ever wondered (as you do about professional writers) “Why does buying one cost so much?”
Here’s why: Because you’re paying for the human labor, the raw materials, and the proven processes that go into producing a reliable vehicle that you can buy, and because the VALUE you receive from having one at your beck and call is many times greater than the money you exchange to own it.
Your vehicle conveniently and safely gets you from where you are to where you want to go without expending excessive personal effort.
Your vehicle earns you money by taking you to the places where you work to achieve your financial goals.
Your vehicle saves you time, helping you afford leisure time to enjoy yourself and your loved ones.
Evergreen copy provides exactly the same benefits!
So expecting to procure professional evergreen copy for anything less than $1 per word or $100/ per hour (most professionals can generate between 350 and 500 riveting, engaging words per hour) indicates that you consider our services interchangeable with the less-adept output of hobbyists, wannabe’s and third world ESL providers (most of whom are taught British English and idioms, not American English and idioms).
Below is what you can expect to pay a 100% fluent, professional U.S. provider for various professional writing/editing services:
Online/Web Site Writing
Varies widely; “business” sites pay higher
$1 to $3 per word
$60 to $100 per hour
$350 to $500 per page
$750 to $1,000 per project for brochures
$75 to $150 per hour
(articles commissioned by advertisers)
$0.40 to $2 per word
$100 to $3,000 per article
$40 to $100 per hour
Reports/ Marketing Plans/ Technical Writing
$1 to $2 per word
$300 to $12,000 per project
$50 to $125 per hour
Varies according to publication/project
$30 to $60 per hour
$500 to $20,000 per project
Articles Generally 2-3 times the usual rate
Books $10,000 to $50,000 flat fee
Entire advance + 50% of royalties
$1 to $3 per word
$500 to $100,000 per project
$50 to $125 per hour
Writing only; layout extra
$0.30 to $1.50 per word
$400 to $6,000 per issue
$50 to $80 per hour
Large Daily Newspapers
$0.30 to $1.00 per word
$250 to $2,500 per article
$330 to $1,250 per column
Smaller Community Newspapers
$0.10 to $0.50 per word
$75 to $1,000 per article
$75 to $500 per column
General Interest/Consumer Magazines
$1.00 to $2 per word
$500 to $10,000 per article
$400 to $1,500 per column
Trade/Special Interest Magazines
$0.30 to $2 per word
$500 to $4,000 per article
$300 to $1,000 per column
Radio (highly variable)
$40 to $80 per minute of script
Television (highly variable)
$60 to $130 per minute of script
$500 to $8,000 per speech
$60 to $130 per hour
$25 to $80 per hour
$200 to $800 per day
Common professional editorial rates fall within the ranges indicated below, but rates vary considerably depending on the nature of the work, the time frame of the assignment, the degree of special expertise required, and other factors.
The industry standard for a manuscript page is 250 words
|Type of Work||Estimated Pace||Range of Fees|
|Copyediting, basic||5-10 ms pgs/hr||$30-40/hr|
|Copyediting, heavy||2–5 ms pgs/hr||$40–50/hr|
|Developmental editing||1–5 pgs/hr||$60–80/hr|
|Indexing||8-20 pr pg/hr||$35-65/hr
$3.50-12 ind pr pg
|Layout | books||6-10 pgs/hr||$45-85/hr|
|Layout | newsletters||1-4 pgs/hr||$40-100/pr pg|
|Project Management||NA||$9-30/pr pg
|Proofreading||9-13 ms pgs/hr||$30-35/hr|
|Substantive | line editing||1–6 ms pgs/hr||$50–60/hr|
|Writing||1-3 ms pgs/hr||$50-100/hr
5¢-$2/wd(evergreen copy costs more)
RUSH PROJECTS: $100 MORE PER DAY IF DEADLINE IS WITHIN THREE DAYS
$50 MORE PER DAY IF DEADLINE IS WITHIN TEN BUSINESS DAYS
“Writers who create content for clients but work for themselves are often paid by the word or by the project, but many have hourly rates. The Editorial Freelancers Association, which updated its rates this year (2012), reported a range of rates for writers between $50 and $100 an hour.
“Other types of freelancers, including editors, graphic designers and project managers, may charge $60 or more an hour. But freelancers pay more in taxes, provide their own benefits and often don’t have paying work, or billable hours, for 40 hours each week.” (MSN.COM, June 22, 2012)
“PRICE IS ONLY A PROBLEM WHEN VALUE (ROI) IS A MYSTERY.” — John Assaraf, Best-Selling Author & Business Coach
Kristine’s words helped me make a $2500 sale the day I implemented her vocabulary into my sales script. (Price of Enhanced Sales Script: $220) — Sheryl L. Lynn, CA
It’s a pleasure to work with someone who has a high quality standard for their work. Highly recommend! –dkmarketing
My sales have jumped since I added Kris’s content. –Tom Kelly
Outstanding! Kristine saved the day and completed a project on a very tight deadline. Our collaboration was a pleasure. I’ll be calling on her services again. — Jamie Dunne
I am so grateful for your help. It has been a life-changer for me. T. McLane, Scholastic Books
“In almost every instance where potential clients visit my website to find out about me for the first time, they end up coming through my door, convinced that I’ll be the perfect provider to help them. Kristine M. Smith’s copy has made all the difference. Thanks, Kris!” – Debbie G.