For copywriters, words are both the most powerful and rarest of commodities. You can’t necessarily buy them, and you can’t produce as many as you need. But you can negotiate for more with your copy. Which is why charging for content is such a tricky subject. Especially since there is no exact science to calculating how much to charge. What you need is an understanding of the current market dynamics, and then you can make an educated decision.
The Current Market Dynamics
The first and most crucial element to consider is the current market dynamics. What are people paying for content now? And, more importantly, what will they eventually pay? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when pricing your content. After all, you can’t write an exact science on pricing. You need to go with your gut and trust your instincts.
The Product That Sold The Most
One of the best places to find this information is within the Amazon ranks. If you look at the products that are listed under the Kindle subsection of Amazon’s publishing group, you will see a mixture of books, some of which are bestselling novels, and others which are not. Take a good look at these products:
- The Fault in Our Stars (Shaun Toub)
- Half a Millionaire (Guy Kawasaki)
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson)
- The House of Gucci (Mark Sullivan)
- Loving Annabelle (Claire Messera)
- The Girl Who Loved Shoes (Tamar Edelman)
- The Beach Lane Diaries (Peter May)
- The Kitchen Diaries (Stacy Roth)
- Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
- The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
- Fantastic Beasts (J.K. Rowling)
- The Martian (Andy Weir)
- The Night Circus (Niall Sloane)
- The Silk Road (Walter Mosley)
- A Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin)
- To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
These are all bestsellers. Some have even gone through multiple editions. So you can see that people are willing to pay for content. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will pay what you are asking. Especially since you are asking them to pay for content that is not always of high quality. This is why you need to consider the market size when you are setting your prices.
Quality Versus Quantity
When you are deciding how much you should charge for content, it is important to consider quality versus quantity. That is, how important is it to you that the person reading your copy gets the most out of it? And how important is it to you that you write as much as possible?
If you want to be a professional copywriter, you should aim to write at least 500 words per page. This is equivalent to about five double-spaced pages. That’s a lot of words! And it’s important to remember that content that is well written, is more difficult to replace. Which is why you should charge more for it. But if you want to be a prolific writer, you might want to consider producing a lot of content for free, just as a learning experience. In this way, you can eventually establish yourself as an expert in the field, and be able to command a higher price. But only if you put in the time to learn the craft.
Cost Of Production
The cost of production is something else to consider when you are pricing your content. For instance, what is the production cost of a novel? If you are writing a novel in a week, it will probably cost you less than a dollar to produce it. But if you are writing a five- or six-part mini-series, which takes a lot of time to produce, then the production cost will take its toll on your earnings. Be mindful of this when you are deciding how much to charge for your content.
The Bottom Line
Pricing your content is not an exact science. But it’s not supposed to be. You need to consider your gut and trust your instincts. If you wrote this article using only your copy, then chances are you can sell it for $5 or $10. But if you want to maximize your earnings from this piece, then you should consider investing in some of the gear on this list:
- Dictaphone (for taking notes during meetings or rehearsals)
- Polaroid Pocket Photo (for quick selfies)
- Skype (for video conferencing with clients)
- Wired Connection (for connecting to the Internet during meetings or rehearsals)
- iPad (for drawing on top of presentations)
- Kindle (for reading e-books)
- MacBook Air (for taking notes during lectures or classes)
- Moleskine (for writing down ideas or observations)
When it comes to billing, you must clearly identify material that is unique to your work and separate it from what you would normally write. For example, suppose that you are writing a sales letter for a new product that you have never pitched before. You have never written a sales letter for this product or company. So you are presenting information that is new to the reader. You will then need to establish a value for this unique content. That is, you will need to decide how much you should charge for this particular letter. This will depend on a number of factors, including the length of the letter, how complex the information is, and whether you plan on repeating this content in other letters or not. Remember: it’s the quality of your work that will determine your earnings, not the quantity.