Saturday, June 21, 2008

Article Prices

I've been through a lot of different payment methods for determining article and ebooks rates. For ebooks rates I've come up with a per-page system that reflects the length of the overall book in relation to how long it will take and how many other things I will have to turn down to get the ebook done. But for articles- pricing can be extremely tricky.

Per-Article Pricing
When I first began, I started with a per-article rate that was the same no matter how long the article was, how many keywords it needed and what it was about. I was able to slowly raise that rate as I developed more clients, more online bylines and experience with more topics. It was not, however, turning out to be a great method of pricing. One article might take 30 minutes while another might take two hours, but both were the same price. It didn't really make good sense.

Per-Word Pricing
I then moved to per-word pricing. This worked a lot better than the per-article pricing, but it still didn't tell the whole story. I was chugging along pretty well at my per-word rate when I got smacked in the head with a few highly-technical articles. They were short, and the per-word rate was good. Unfortunately, they took longer than most long articles and reduced my hourly income to about minimum wage. What to do? Funny you should ask because I did come up with something better.

Topic Rates
I've been using topic rates for the past two months or so and this has been working out better than either of the last two rates. With a topic rate, I charge more for things that I know for a fact will take longer. A longer article won't necessarily take longer, but a completely unfamiliar topic will. So far I've had no problems with this with private clients. As for companies, well, they generally won't change their rates to suit your new pricing plan, the bastards. So, in those cases I've been choosing topics that are more in line with what I would be charging another client for them if they were paying what the company does. Make sense? Well, it does to me.


Dana Prince said...

Yes, I agree with you! I've learned the hard way at times that not all assignments are created equally.

I have a particular client that has contracted me at a specific rate to do all their work so I get some projects that take an hour and others that take a whole day. Because of the volume, I can't do too much but I definitely keep this in mind for other clients, especially new ones after a recent experience with long tail keywords that needed particular density formulas. The topic was easy but the fiddling took ages.

I also recently gave a client a rate per article based on the brief and it took me three times as long because I didn't realise until I got knee-deep into the assignment how treacherous it would be. Lesson learned there!

L. Shepherd said...

Ahh- the fiddling. Sometimes it seems like that's where most of the time goes. It's hard to get that elusive percentage sometimes, and prices have to reflect that.