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  • How Much Should I Charge For Editing Someone’s Story?

  • PassionforWriting

    September 3, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Hi all,

    I have a question that I would like to pose to you all on Masterpiece, and would love to get your feedback/opinion:

    I’m editing someone’s life story (whom I “met” via a Jewish online community) and I’m wondering how much I can charge. Originally, she wasn’t going to pay, but said she would consider it if I did well. She is very happy with my work and said I did a good job. Of course I don’t think so because I’m by noooo means an editor or professional writer, but I’m doing it, I enjoy it and she likes it 🙂

    I’m not really keeping track of how long it’s taking me, but I think I’m working on it for about 5-6 hours and it’s hard work (maybe because I’m not an editor…), and I’m wondering how much I can charge. I would say something like $20-$30 per hour, my mother suggested 15-20 dollars bc I’m not a professional at this. Is 20-30 dollars per hour too much? Should I do 15/20 dollars per hour?

    I’m rewording sentences, adding in words that sound more appropriate, and collaborating with her via Google Docs.

    What do you fellow Masterpiece ladies say?

  • PassionforWriting

    September 4, 2020 at 2:38 am

    Hi all (again!),

    Does anyone have any ideas?

  • Brocha

    September 4, 2020 at 2:46 am

    Whenever I do writing work by the hour (editing, transcribing, all things that aren’t per word) for the magazine I write for, they pay about $20 per hour. They sometimes went up if they thought it was warranted, but usually it’s $20. But that’s just this magazine 🙂 I have no other experience.

  • Bookworm

    September 4, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Passion, I don’t want to mix into your business but if this person wasn’t going to pay you and you say it’s hard work… then it could’ve been a trap! There’s nothing easier than getting a writer to work and do all the “dirty” job and then when it’s done she disappears into cyberspace without paying you! Yup, it has happened! So make sure that this person will pay you! Did you send her a sample of pieces you edited before? That’s the safest way. She can say whether she finds you good enough and if you are good enough (like you said you are), then you are good enough to get paid. And don’t be shy to charge enough money so you feel that all these hours of work were worth-while for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are professional or not. Doing a good job is enough. I am sure your mother means it well, but she is not doing all the work after all. So you charge the way you feel is enough so you won’t think after that it was actually a waste of time.

    Hope that helps!

    Good luck!

  • PassionforWriting

    September 4, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Thank you Brocha and Bookworm for your help! I think $20 an hour sounds good, but I still want to hear what others have to say. Could up it to $30, or that’s way too much?

    But to what Bookworm was saying, I’m not sure what you mean by a “trap”, but she is planning on paying me, as far as I know. I just gotta get the amount set!

  • A Willing Pen

    September 4, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Passion, I don’t doubt you’re doing a great job with the editing but I think the way the payment was dealt with makes the situation a little sticky and can become uncomfortable for both parties. It’s always best to be upfront and discuss payments options ahead of time. Perhaps you can offer a price range, or give the ‘client’ a bit of leeway? Just my two cents…

  • PassionforWriting

    September 4, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    I hear that, Sherry. I guess I should just come up with an amount and stick with it. Hopefully I can get Rivas take.

    • riva pomerantz

      September 6, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      So Riva’s take is that you’ve gotten some great answers from Sherry, Bookworm, and Brocha.

      It sounds like you started out this project as a chessed/hobby and now you’re trying to shift into being paid for it, which is a good idea. In general, unless there is a case of great need, it’s best not to give away your professional services because by doing so you risk unconsciously devaluing yourself to…yourself!

      If you are just starting out, you probably want to charge less just so that you don’t feel tremendous pressure to do something that you’re not yet sure you can do well. $15 an hour seems like a good starting point, but you can definitely ask for more if you’re comfortable doing so and if it won’t create too much pressure for you. In general, the “market value” is anything the market will pay :-). I do think that it’s really important to establish the price up-front; it avoids A LOT of trouble later on. We all have a bit of squirmy squeamishness around money, so try to get that out of the way immediately or you may end up procrastinating on having that conversation and that could mean awkwardness at the end. Let us know how it goes, ‘kay?

      And awesome for you, Passion, for putting yourself out there and doing this! Yay!!

  • PassionforWriting

    September 6, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Does anyone else have anything to add?

  • PassionforWriting

    September 7, 2020 at 12:52 am

    Thank you Riva! I really appreciate your suggestion! I’m going to “sit” on it and think about how much I want to charge.

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