1. tezebe
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    tezebe New Member

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    How much would you charge?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by tezebe, Dec 3, 2012.

    My friend just got an opportunity to write children's stories for a guy that likes her writing and is willing to pay her and publish her stories in the form of illustrated children's books. She's not yet what one might call a "professional" writer (she's young, 22), but she definitely has golden talent, and this is her first opportunity to get paid for her wonderful talent. She already wrote a "test short story" that this guy absolutely loved! And now he offered her to choose her rates by which he will pay her in the future. The question is now, how much should she charge? Judging that she's a beginner and hasn't got much experience in the field, but at the same time judging that she's really really good. Also, should she go by page-rate? Hourly rate? Price per short story? Any kind of information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)
     
  2. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Consider that your friend is still a writer. Were she to go to Random House or Writer's House or wherever and sell her stories, they would not say, "We-ell, since you've never published before, we can screw you over and only pay you a fraction of what we would pay anyone else."

    No. Excluding the mega-payouts of established authors, your friend is entitled to the going rate regardless whether this is her first story or not. Not to do all the work for you but, research just what those shorts are paying with magazines and anthologies and kid-lit & PB publishers. That will give you a roundhouse target for estimating the worth of the stories. Now, bear in mind, if you are pricing the selling price on Picture Books, the authors of which we have several here who are better equipped to discuss that specific area, unless she is producing the artwork for the books as well as the copy, she is going to have to consider that any royalties, fees, and payments will be divided between the copy writer and the artist.

    I will now sit back and wait for brighter minds to give you better 411 on the subject.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I have come to the conclusion over the years that things that sound too good to be true usually are. So I would advise your friend to tread carefully.

    Who is this "guy" and what does he do? Is he a legitimate publisher? If so, why would he be offering her a "rate" and, moreover, giving her the chance to name her price? That's not the way any publishers I know of do business. Writers of books are paid royalties based on sales.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, there are writers who are hired or contracted to write stories for publishers. I'm sorry I can't think of the actual term for it - I don't think it's ghost writer but could be - but books like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew used them. Hopefully someone here knows what I'm talking about - researching that could help determine rate or contract details.

    Sorry - I obviously need more coffee...
     
  5. tezebe
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    tezebe New Member

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    I forgot to mention, I am doing the illustrations for her stories. But the guy who commissioned us is paying us separately. That's mainly because at first I was only doing the illustrations and he's paying me $10-15 per illustration. And when he mentioned that he needs a new writer, I asked her to write for him and he liked the sample story a lot, and thus decided to pay her for more.

    He's not too professional, that's obvious. But he seems to be just a guy who wants to publish a children's book. He seems genuinely nice and quite naive actually. So I'm not afraid of him scamming us or anything like that.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just make sure you have everything in writing and know what rights he's going to claim, how the illustrations/story will be used, etc. It's still a business transaction.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    tez...
    i write children's books for a chicago publisher and i ghostwrite books for clients, so i can answer your questions and make sure you've got all your bases covered before going into any deal with this guy... however, i'd need to see the contract he's offering, before i can give you any valid advice on fees... you can send it to me and i'll be glad to look it over and let you know if it's on the up and up... meanwhile:

    first of all, $10-15 per illustration is below slave wages, kiddo!

    secondly, who is going to be credited for the art and the story?... you and your friend?... or is this to be a ghostwriting/drawing gig where the guy paying you will publish the books as his own, with only his name in the credits?

    will he be paying you and the writer up front?... or is he proposing to pay you 'after the book is published'?...

    next, who's going to get the royalties?

    is this guy an actual publisher, with books he's published currently on the market?... or does he have a publisher waiting for these books?... will he self-publish with lulu/amazon/whater?... or will he have to shop the books around and hope he can get a paying press to take them on?...

    i am very worried about you and your friend being taken advantage of due to your not knowing how the business end of writing and art works... please email me so i can help you avoid giving away your hard work to a scam artist... i can also provide you with a good collaboration contract, if he turns out to be legit... that will be a must, before you draw another line, or your friend writes another word...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  8. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Maia's advice is spot-on.
     

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