Word Count is not the Only Project Pricing Factor

Pam at DeskWhen you are a business owner in a specific industry, you can increase your knowledge by reading and studying others in your chosen field. Laura Spencer is a freelance writer I follow regularly. Sometimes other writers say exactly what I have been saying.




August 27, 2012 | Laura Spencer | Comments 0

FAQ: 8 Factors that Cause Writing Projects to Cost More

Often writing clients want to know my rate–what do I charge for a specific type of project?

My usual answer is that I don’t have a rate, but that I would be happy to provide a customized proposal. I’ve learned over the years that the amount of effort that goes into writing projects varies greatly.

Many clients don’t understand the factors that cause a writing project to cost more money, so I’ve listed eight of those factors in this post.


Every project really is different. Even if two writing projects seem similar, they usually require a different amount of effort (and therefore have a different price).

8 Reasons Your Writing Project Costs More Money

In most cases, the longer it takes to work on a project, the more expensive the project is.

Here are eight factors that will cause a writer to spend more time on your project. If you include these factors in your writing project, it will cost you more money.

  1. Meetings. While I include an initial meeting in my project estimates, additional meetings generally add to the project cost. I do understand that sometimes it’s desirable to have a regular meeting on long-term projects, but project meetings can also take a lot of time. To save money, make sure that the information presented in the meeting is really relevant to the writing task. A meeting where lots of contractors give their status on unrelated projects can be a waste of time.
  2. Extensive Research. If the topic of the writing project is common knowledge, then the piece can be produced much more quickly. However, if the topic requires research then the writing piece will take more time. In general the more obscure the topic is and the harder it is to find information about it, the more time the project will take to complete and the more money it will cost.
  3. Revisions. Like any writer, I’m happy to correct mistakes if they occur. However, I limit the number of revisions that are included with each project. Of course, additional revisions are available at an extra charge. To keep revision costs under control, be as specific as you can about what you want up front. Too many clients take a trial and error approach to writing–they don’t know what they want, but they’ll know it when they see it. This approach can be very costly to the client.
  4. Levels of Approval. In general, the more levels of approval a project requires, the more the project costs. For example, a project that requires me to write a weekly column on a money-saving tip of my choice would be less expensive than a project that requires me to write a weekly column on a money-saving tip when the topic must first be approved by the client and an outline must be submitted in advance.
  5. Interviews. Interviews can be a great way to spice up an article or blog post. But getting an interview takes additional time, even if the project only needs a few quotes. Not only does the writer need to schedule a time to get with the interview subject, they also need to learn about the interview subject so that they can ask relevant questions. Then, after all of that is completed, they can write the piece.
  6. Images. I highly recommend that all writing that will be published online include an image. However, finding an appropriate image takes time or costs money (or both). As a writer, I either need to purchase an appropriate image from a stock photo site or I need to find an image with a license (such as Creative Commons) that allows it to be shared. If you publish a lot of pieces online, you may be able purchase stock images for less than an individual writer could.
  7. Non-writing Tasks. In most cases, I am happy to include non-writing services along with my writing services. Such services typically include managing other writers, managing a writing project, checking the work of other writers, or promoting the publication online. However, such tasks take time and typically involve an additional charge.
  8. Rush Work. Work that requires an extremely fast turnaround typically costs more. Not only does doing such work mean that I will be working on the project during what would normally be my leisure time, rush projects typically require extra care to avoid miscommunication. My preference is to avoid rush work whenever possible, but I do understand that sometimes it is necessary.

Naturally, I’m happy to provide any or all of these factors when a client needs them. However, many clients don’t realize that these factors add to the cost of a writing project.

Of course these are just eight factors that can cause a writing project to cost more. Can you think of others?

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About the Author: I am a successful freelance writer with 20 years of copy writing experience. I am available for consulting, business writing, copy writing, editing, technical writing, and web content writing. In addition, I have written an ebook, How To Start A Freelance Writing Business, to help new writers. Find me on Google+.

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Guest Post: Writing Then and Now

One of the awesome benefits of full-time freelancing online is the opportunity to meet and interact with so many wonderful people around the globe. I receive so much great information and inspiration from one of my wonderful and talented writer friends from “across the pond”…enjoy her post, follow her on Twitter, and check her websites with the links below.

Sharon Hurley Hall
Sharon Hurley Hall

When I started as a writer, all I needed was a notepad and pen. Over the years I’ve collected significantly more gear. Some things have stayed the same, like how I approach the writing task. How I execute it has changed a lot. Here’s a peek inside my writer’s toolbox over the years.

My First Day as a Writer

On my first day as a working journalist, more years ago than I care to remember, my editor walked me to the stationery supply cupboard and issued me with a couple of notebooks and pens. That was pretty much all I needed to start writing.

After working there for a month or so and with my first big interview coming up, I splashed out on a tape recorder. Now, we’re talking about the old days so it wasn’t as small as even a Walkman (anyone remember those/). It was big, it was heavy and it drank battery juice. I always had to make sure I had four spare batteries before starting an interview. That was what my writing toolbox looked like for the next couple of years.

Small Technological Improvement

It stayed pretty much the same for quite a while, with the recorder getting smaller and then becoming digital. It was nice to have a recording tool that could fit in the palm of my hand. Even though my recorder was digital, all it did was improve the sound, but there was still no easy way to do anything useful with the recording. I also had a computer, but owning a laptop was still something that only high powered business people did.

A Big Change

But by the time I went freelance in 2005, the writing world had changed for good and the technology I used had changed along with it. By that time I had a laptop which I had been using to prepare and show presentations to my journalism students. I also had a slightly better digital recorder. And within a couple of years when I was once again working as a journalist I found that I took with me was slightly different.

My Writing Toolbox

Now, although I carry a notebook and pen (preparing for technology failure is a lifelong work habit), I hardly ever use them. Instead, I type my notes directly into a new document on a laptop that isn’t much bigger (and is certainly a lot lighter) than the old fashioned tape recorder I used when I first started. Typing the notes gives me a head start on completing the finished article, which is a bonus.

Of course, being paranoid, I still record all my interviews, but instead of using a purpose built recorder, I use my smartphone (which has much more memory than my first three computers put together!). My recordings are saved as MP3, making it easy to share them online if need be.

Dealing With Carpal Tunnel and RSI

There is one other tool that has become an essential part of my writing life. That is Dragon NaturallySpeaking — speech recognition software that saves me from carpal tunnel syndrome or RSI and massively improves productivity. When I first worked as a writer, no-one was using computers and no-one talked about carpal tunnel. These days, it’s a reality for many. Dragon allows me to remain productive even if my wrists are aching. And now that there’s a smartphone version for dictation on the move, I’ll be adding that to my arsenal in the near future.

A Love of Writing

During my writing career, I’ve seen a big change in technology, but there’s one thing that remains a constant. Although I have replaced putting pen to paper with putting fingers to keyboard, I still love to write – and that’s one thing I don’t expect to change.


I’m Sharon and I was born to write and blog. I’m a word nerd, a Scrabble fiend, fanatical about grammar, and am fascinated by learning new things. I’ve been mentoring other writers at Get Paid to Write Online since 2005 to help them improve and build sustainable and successful writing careers. I also blog professionally; check me out on sharonhh.com.

Begs The Question

This is a commonly used expression.  But what does it mean exactly? To say that an argument or point of view “begs the question” means that the argument is assumed to be true without any evidence present to make the case.

Example:  “That car is worth nothing because it’s worthless.”

This sentence is not only redundant, there is no evidence for the argument.  The sentence in the example simply doesn’t have any substance for the reader to believe the point of view.

Example CORRECTED:  “That car is worth nothing because it has worn out brakes and it is older than me.”

Although the corrected example is still vague, there is at least supporting evidence of why the statement is correct.  Often times people think to ‘beg the question’ mean that the statement raises a question; that is not the case.

Provide evidence for any statements that you make; don’t leave your reader or listener “begging” for proof.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!


These tricky little devils can be the friend or foe of sentence structure.  There are essentially 3 basic rules when dealing with parentheses, so this post will be straight to the point.

Use to show words or figures that clarify or are used as visual aids or asides.

  • My assignment was to write a one thousand (1,000) word paper.

To use numbers or letters when listing items.

  • In my potential mate I’m looking for someone who is (1) thoughtful, (2) funny, (3) stylish and (4) a great listener.

When using parentheses, periods only go inside if a whole sentence is inside the parentheses.

  • It took quite awhile to get used to stairs again (he had broken his leg earlier this year.).

Hopefully now, errors in parentheses use will not escape your proofreading eye any longer.  Happy Writing!

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules,

contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You.

We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Your vs You’re

Ah, yes those wonderful conjunction confusions.  Don’t you just love getting a little red mark on the paper you spent days working on, just because of a little conjunction misplacement?  *Insert sarcasm here* Now, let’s take a moment to release that anger.  Are we good? Ok, here’s the breakdown:

  • YOUR: Possessive; adjective.  Describes anything relating to you/yourself.
  • YOU’RE: Conjunction; adverb.  Joins “you are”.

This dilemma is a good place to remind you of the ‘place or replace’ rule.  If you are in the process of forming sentences and are unsure of which is the best choice, replace one for the other in the line and un-jumble the conjunction.  If the sentence makes sense, the right choice was made.  Example:

  • I’m you’re best friend and you’re mine. INCORRECT
  • Un-jumbled: I am you are best friend and you are mine.

Note: This sentence doesn’t make sense when the conjunctions are broken down.  One conjunction is in the wrong place, one isn’t.

  • I’m your best friend and you’re mine.  CORRECT

‘Place or replace’ is really one of a writer’s niftiest tricks!  I use it all the time.  Don’t be shy in using it with YOUR own work.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

If vs Whether

This is a case of duality, in that both of these words can have similar meaning.  However, these words are not necessarily interchangeable.  Let’s take a look at why.

IF – Conjunction; Used to assume an event, consequence with a variety of results.

WHETHER – Conjunction; Used to demonstrate a consequence of only alternating results; normally one of two.

Most readers and writers would agree that ‘whether’ sounds better.  ‘If’ is more common and modern, the variety of outcomes prompts ‘if’s’ popularity so to speak.  ‘Whether’ originated in Middle English language, 12th Century.

So, while ‘whether’ sounds (and looks) better depending on the consequences in the perceived action, plain ole ‘if’ may be your best bet.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Then vs Than

I don’t know how many of you are on Twitter (twitter.com/wirfy), but I see this mistake made with 140 characters on my timeline far too often.  Let’s begin by defining both terms.

Then:  Adverb.  Used to explain something at the time it is taking place.  Then can also be used to demonstrate the order in which things are to happen.  Also used is to infer, to say something appears a certain way or to show a necessary consequence.

HUGE TIP: The “If – Then” rule.  Starting a sentence with ‘if’ ‘then’ isn’t usually far behind.

  • Incorrect: If you’re making lemonade than you’ll need lemons, silly!
  • Correct:  If you’re making lemonade then you’ll need lemons, silly!

Than:  Conjunction.  Function word used to demonstrate the difference of type, manner, or identity.  Than is commonly used to show comparisons.

  • Incorrect:  To ride in the larger car than you should ride with mom.
  • Correct:  I’d rather ride in the larger car than the smaller one.

Here are a few common uses:

  • Rather than…
  • Other than…
  • More than likely…

So, the thing to remember is, ‘then’ is used to describe or demonstrate in a matter of time or an order of actions to take place.  ‘Than’ is used to compare.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Subject Verb Agreement

When you are writing, do your subjects live in harmony with the verbs?  They should; that’s what makes a happy sentence, paragraph, term paper, and everyday conversation.

To clarify: a subject is a noun (person, place, or thing) and a verb is an action.  Now, verbs and nouns can be singular or plural.  Most plural nouns end in s. Obvious you say?  Well, you’d be surprised at how often this escapes people.  Hey, it happens to the best of us.  Here’s a quick example of subject-verb agreement and disagreement:

  • The boy runs to catch the bus.
  • The boys run to catch the bus.

Rule of thumb: A singular verb is always paired with a singular subject.  Likewise, a plural verb is paired with a plural subject.

  • Trick # 1: Determine if the subject of the sentence is singular or plural.
  • Trick # 2: Determine if the verb of the sentence is singular or plural.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

I vs Me

Oh, the frequency of this error!  So I’ll keep this extremely brief.  When dealing with ‘I’ or “me” (rarely, myself) you must remember:

  • Use ‘I’ (pronoun) when ‘I’ is the subject of the verb.  In the example sentences below the subject is plural.
  • CORRECT: Felicia and I are going to the movies.
  • INCORRECT: My brother and me went to the store.

An easy way to see if you’re using the correct personal pronoun in a sentence with a plural subject, remove one noun.  Here’s an example of a plural subject sentence with the noun removal test:

  • ORIGINAL SENTENCE: The cat follows my mom and me around the house.
  • NOUN REMOVAL TEST 1: The cat follows my mom around the house.
  • NOUN REMOVAL TEST 2: The cat follows me around the house.

If you passed parts 1 & 2 of the Noun Removal Test, there’s a good chance your sentence-filled paper would get a passing grade from your teacher and me!

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Comma Splices and Run-On Sentences

Do your sentences seem to be more of a marathon than a sprint?  If so, you are probably one of many heavily worded people with a comma splice or run-on sentence occurrence.

A run-on sentence combines two independent clauses without a conjunction or any punctuation.  A comma splice uses a comma to join two independent clauses without a conjunction, semi-colon, or period.  Note: A clause is an expression that has a verb but is not a complete sentence.  An independent clause presents a complete thought and can pass as a sentence.

  • Comma Splice: My cat is a clown, she’s got a big personality.
  • Corrected: My cat is a clown; she’s got a big personality.

  • Run-On Sentence: The sky isn’t red it’s blue.
  • Corrected: The sky isn’t red; it’s blue.

Another good way to see if you’ve got a run on sentence is to say your sentence aloud and note if there should be a pause in the sentence on paper.  If you need to take a breath while reading aloud, your sentence may have run on and on…and on.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

Allusive, Elusive, or Illusive

All of these words can sound alike and thus, be confusing to anyone.  So, in this post we will strictly look at the definitions and different versions of the words defined.  Note: the suffix –ive indicates a present action.  Each of the following words is an action word.

Allusive:  From the word allude.  Allude means to make a reference that is indirect or implied.  So, to be allusive means to be in the act of alluding; to be hinting at something.

Elusive:  From the word elude.  Elude means to avoid usually with some demonstration of resourcefulness.  Elude can also mean to escape understanding, most times conceptually.  To be elusive is to be in the act of eluding; tending to avoid pursuit, being difficult to understand or being difficult to isolate.

Illusive:  From the word illusion.  An illusion is the action of deceiving visually or mentally.  Illusions can be misleading images seen or something that causes one to be mislead mentally.  Illusive derives from illusory which is the act of creating an illusion.

It always helps to know the root words in words with a common suffix.  I hope I wasn’t being too elusive!

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

When is a blog a cheese sandwich?

Nigel Legg Using social media to promote your blog. This question was posed on twitter some time back, and the point the poster was trying to make is a very valid one.  In essence, the question is the same as the old one about whether a tree falling in a forest makes a sound if there is no one there to hear it: if no one reads your blog post, would your time have been better spent making (and eating) a cheese sandwich? Writing a blog post is only a part of publishing your thoughts, ideas, and news on the internet. The second, and equally important, part is gathering an audience of readers. Without readers, your posts are an interesting record if nothing more.  Don’t let these comments discourage you, however; remember that posts that you might have made in the past, which might not have been read by many people, are still there, and you can still promote them. I will cover four Social media tools you can use to gather an audience (or draw traffic) to your blog: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and bookmarking sites.

Twitter. With around 105 million registered users, twitter is currently the second largest social media site, but, by its nature it is fast moving and it can be hard to gain traction there. When you post an article to your blog, it is good practice to post a link to it to twitter, telling people that it is there and giving them a very short taster of the content.  A number of blogging services will automatically post for you, including Posterous, and twitterfeed will also post when the article is posted.  If you use these services, however, be aware that they only post the title of the article, and they post as soon as the article is published; you need to be sure everything is correct before you use them.

Facebook. In facebook you can do one of two things: you can set things up to bring the whole blog post in as a Note, or you can post the link to the article in your news feed.  The advantage of Facebook over twitter is that you can explain why it would be useful for your Facebook audience to read the article – the downside is that you may blog about business, but use Facebook for personal connections.

LinkedIn. If you use the WordPress platform for your Blog, you can set up the LinkedIn WordPress application, which will publish your blog posts to your profile.  This is especially useful if you are the only person using a blog and it is about your professional field.  Otherwise, you can post link to your blog articles to your news feed as status messages or to groups; as with twitter, in some cases this can be done automatically (for example, links to posts on my blog are automatically fed into the Bright Business Thoughts group).

Social Bookmarking. There are a number of social bookmarking sitesyou can use. Links to blog articles are posted to Digg, Stumbleupon, or Delicious, in the appropriate category, where they are available for any subscriber to view and vote on.  The more votes a post gets, the higher in the rankings, the more people will take a look at it. I don’t use all of these for every post; it depends on how important I feel it is, or how relevant it is to the audience in each place (followers, friends, or contacts).  Without these means of promoting posts, however, I would not have an audience, and I might as well have stayed in the kitchen, making a cheese sandwich.

Nigel Legg is an independent social media monitoring, measuring, and marketing consultant based in Bristol, UK.