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How to Get More Money for your Writing

Updated on December 15, 2009

How to Get More Money for your Writing

Establishing a pricing strategy for a product or service is one of the most difficult aspects in business.

Price your service too low and will miss out on valuable profits; price it too high and you will miss sales opportunities as customers pass over your produce or service for a competitor.

Price setting ideas, using value pricing methods are covered here so you can maximize the price you charge.

Here at Hubpages, we’re more likely to be selling writing services rather than a product so I’ll refer to service. However, if you are selling a product, these pricing strategy and value pricing tips are transferable.

Have everything aligned!
Have everything aligned!

How to determine your pricing strategy

Before discussing price setting, I want you to step back a moment and look at what value you can build or add.

A critical component of your pricing strategy decision relates to the value you can build or value pricing. It’s simple - if you build value you can charge more.

Building Value


Building value as a basis for price setting your service is often referred to as value pricing. 


For context, another price setting method is to use cost plus.  A cost plus pricing strategy is to take the cost of providing the service (your time) plus a margin to cover overheads (like power, replacing your laptop, a percentage for rent etc).  The total is your price.  I don’t recommend you use cost plus pricing because you are potentially missing out on valuable profit.


To build value in services you must consider a number of factors:


What are you offering?  Be very clear about this.  If you are an expert in some particular field, you need to shout about it.  Or at the very least, you need to sound very confident about your ability in this area.


You could say “I’m offering my services as a writer”.


That’s not very specific so I encourage you to reframe that statement and say instead something like: 


“I have expert knowledge in the breeding of Martians.   I can write about their breeding program with humor and in plain language.”  You will word this in your own unique way and your message will reflect your voice.

Price isn't always about price

It’s an oxymoron but price is rarely about price. The price is a function of the exchange of the service. Oftentimes when price is mentioned it’s just a way to communicate. Often when a potential customer is not sure what to say they will say “what will you charge me?”

You’ll be half way to getting the sale if you understand the sub text.

An example of value pricing

If I promote wine by offering samples to customers to taste, I do this.

Sometimes, even before tasting people will say “what’s the price?”

Sometimes the sub text of the question is “can I afford it?” Therefore, what they are asking is “can I afford to like it”!

If at all possible, I will side step the question (just for now) and pour some wine for them to taste.

I want to build value before mentioning price because if I can do that I am more than half way to the sale.

Everyone has a different hot buttons and it’s helpful to understand what these are. To build value in the wine for one person I might say:

– “this is crafted by a family run vineyard”. For another I might pick that they are more analytical and so their hot buttons will be different. For this potential customer I may talk instead about where the vineyard is located and the impact that has on the wine produced or outline the more technical qualities of the wine.

The key point is that what works for one person will be completely irrelevant to another. You won’t get it right 100%, but at least you are in the game!

The exciting thing is that this concept is transferable to service businesses.

Why Will People Buy From You?


A key factor when price setting is to establish what will trigger your potential customers to buy from YOU.

Who is your potential customer?

Walk, for a moment, in the shoes of your customer. What will convince them to buy from you instead of your competitor?

Find out as much as you can about the business. What is emphasized in their marketing material? This knowledge will help you to target your responses to hit their “hot buttons”. Also know that:

  1. Customers are generally nervous. They will be nervous because they can’t see what you are delivering which will cause their anxiety levels to be higher than when purchasing a product. You must find a way to reassure them.
  2. They will certainly want you to be able to deliver on your promise. Include precise statements from other people who “sing your praises”. Don’t expect your potential customers to mine your material to find the gold nugget which convinces them to buy from you. Provide appropriate but succinct statements and testimonials.
  3. Profile: Your profile is your image. It needs to communicate in your own unique way what you are about. You must appeal to your audience.
  4. The profile and choice of words used by a hubber who writes about games will be different to someone seeking work in the business market. Someone writing romance will promote themselves differently to someone writing about the Roman Empire etc.

When I’m promoting travel articles, I use friendly, relaxed and perhaps (depending upon my target market) fun language.

When I write general business articles or I write about business travel then my language becomes more formal because that will appeal to my target market.

Price Price and Price

There will be some people for whom it will be price, price and price! Price gougers are eveident in all business. You need to decide whether you want to scrap in the sandpit for this type of business. My experience is that you never win long term as there is always someone cheaper.

What are the competitors doing?

Try to establish what your competitors are doing. Your business plan will detail more information about competitors. For now, when price setting be aware of what your competitors are doing, how powerful they are and how they are charging.

By understanding this you can build more value than your competitors.

Market Expectations

If the market you are working in has prices established it may be difficult for a new writer to charge more. You may need to meet the market. That is you will need to charge the going rate.

Or will you?


Cheep Cheep

People new to business often want to drop their price to ensure they get the business. It’s a flawed pricing strategy and seldom works. Why?

If you are tempted to drop your price to rock bottom you could still loose out because many people are happy to pay more because they perceive they will receive a product or service that has more value.

Another reason I recommend you avoid rock bottom pricing is because once you have established a price at a low level it is extremely difficult to raise the price again.

Businesses who start up using cheap price setting to get customers after a time realize they aren’t making any money. So, to continue in business they need to raise prices. In the process they will most likely loose the existing business because those clients were price sensitive or they didn’t see value because you didn’t build the picture for them.

However, you will be wiser and have more experience as you begin to accumulate new clients.

When Everything is Aligned - Price Setting

Now that you know your value proposition, your profile is aligned to the type of customer you want, you understand what your competitors are doing all your ducks are lined up.

If you have managed to establish your value proposition well and better than your competitors you can confidently charge a premium.

The process of engagement

Throughout the process of confirming the sale you must continue to build value.

Reassure your customer that:

  1. Will do what they want
  2. You know what they want (using the hot buttons)
  3. You’ve done it before (samples)
  4. You are reliable (promises and testimonials)
  5. You will meet their deadlines

Get the details in writing. What’s required by when and the terms. This will overcome any possibility of misunderstanding and it shows professionalism.

Over-deliver on your promises by adding value. Its unlikely writing more words will add value but depending upon what you’ve discovered about your prospective customer, you could add a side bar with unexpected information.

Delivering your finished copy early is sure to impress.

Then keep top of mind by keeping in touch. With a little good luck but more good management you will be chosen for another contract. You may still have to go through many of the steps outlined here. However once you’ve done the ground work many of these pricing strategy and price setting tips can be tweaked as you progress in business.

This article and photographs are copyright Travelespresso. Respect my work and if you wish to use, please ask.

For more information: Value Based Pricing Article

This article is copyright Travelespresso.  Respect my work and if you wish to use any of it, please ask.


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    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Great article, that would be my problem I would not know what to charge.

      At least with hub pages we do not have that problem. Just need to get people reading and clicking. thanks for that

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Great that you found useful tips in my hub. Cheers.

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 8 years ago from uk

      great hub...very useful advice! Have shared this with my husband too...! thank you for sharing

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      you have wonderful tips here. I wish I could be a good writer. thanks

    • lindagoffigan profile image

      lindagoffigan 8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great sales advice for the selling of products and services as in contracting or subcontracting and even retailing. However on hubpages, Google Adsense is the marketing strategy that you have to be knowledgeable of when promoting selling your writing. The key to Google Adsense earnings is to write revelant articles about everyday living with Google keywords. Check out lindagoffigan on hubpages for more information on promoting and selling your writing online. Great article to promote salesmanship and great job on accomplishing that initiative.

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hi and thanks for stopping by Katyzzz. Hmmm, if only what? I am not sure what you might mean by that.

      Perhaps, if only you were being considered for writing work? If I've got it right - do hang in there and try for contracts or the type of work you want. These pricing methods work for other types of work where you have some control over what you charge. Cheers.

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hmmm,. if only..... but your points are well made in a good hub.

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      James how right you are! Many people overlook that a cheap price means cheap/poor service. I like your idea of a written rate schedule. I noticed that many hotels in Asia used that and then when visitors tried to beat them down in price they just pointed to the written schedule! Discussion concluded.

      Of course it is more difficult when you need the work.

    • James McV Sailor profile image

      James J Mills 8 years ago from Northern California

      Nice article... As a consultant I always struggled with setting my rate. Too high and nobody wanted to talk... too low and people felt that I probably didn't know what I was doing. Keeping a written rate schedule always helped, especially when I had the urge to discount myself. JM

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Thanks so much Dolores. I appreciate your comments.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Very well written and clear information. I like how you mention that the use of language differs with each situation.

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      I agree - it is difficult and we often underestimate our value. Also, clients can underestimate the time involved in preparing, researching and writing good copy. Thanks for your comments and for stopping by.

    • profile image

      kuboje 8 years ago

      travelespresso, thanks for sharing, I think one of the most difficult thing to do is to asses and value the working we have devoted to produce writing materials. Some of your methods are excellent I will definitely bookmark this page for future reference.

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello Dohn - you are the BEST! Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

      I enjoy encouraging people people to step out of their comfort zones to explore more whether that be travel, wine, business etc.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Wow! You're a natural when it comes to selling! (It takes one to know one, I guess). You outlined everything is such a clear and concise (not to mention detailed) manner. Excellent work, travelespresso! Thanks.