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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bidding to Get the Gig

When you freelance for print and online publications, you're offered a rate (almost always per-word) for your work. You either take the assignment or turn it down. Easy enough. But what happens when you have to bid on a job? Then you've got to determine what you'll charge, and this is tricky even for seasoned freelancers.

With that in mind, I offer these tips on bidding. First, try to get a sense of the client’s budget if at all possible. Let's say I'm asked by a regional publication how much I charge for reprints. I'll counter with, "What does your market usually pay for reprints?" The response will  affect how much I ask for. Here's the thing--I've had reprint markets pay as little as $40 and as much as $500 for rights to a story. I want to get as much as I can, but for a reprint (which requires very little work on my end), I'm more than happy to work with a publication's budget. 

Second, give reasons to support your bid. If I'm asked to quote my fee for a speech, for example, I point out that I've been a professional speaker for more than 10 years, and have keynoted corporate and nonprofit events. If I'm asked to quote a fee for ghostwriting, I'll highlight the fact that I've been ghostwriting books for nine years, and have experience working with traditional and POD publishers. Never give a bid without demonstrating what you're worth it. 


Third, if at all possible, provide your bid in writing. A written bid lets you demonstrate that you are clear on the the scope of the project and your client's goals. Taking the time to provide a written bid also prevents you from blurting out a number that's too low--and then regretting it later.  

Finally, make sure that you demonstrate how your background and experience sets you apart. Chances are that your potential client is looking at other writers, too, so your proposal needs to make it easy for the client to choose you over them, especially if your bid comes in higher than others. I'm upfront about the fact that I charge more money than (some) other ghostwriters. So I want to convince the client she wants me enough to choose me over someone who may be cheaper. That's why I always explain how I will approach the project (without giving too much away) before I bring up money. In other words, sell the client on you first, and then state your price. 


**Readers, do you agree with my tips on bidding? Would you like to see an example of a bid to a potential client? Let me know by commenting below. 

**Want to know more about ghostwriting, including content marketing? Check out Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More, Second Edition on Kindle. Prefer print? Stay tuned--Improvise Press will be releasing the print version in September, 2014!