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I've been asked a handful of times the question every person selling their skills wonders: How do I price my commissions? I've heard from many people on this subject, and since writing this guide back in 2015, I have a better understanding of how a person should price their writing.

The biggest question you should ask yourself is this: Am I writing for fun or do I need money for bills / school / etc? This is the main factor that should determine what you charge.

For example, for my commissions, I charge 4 USD / 400:points: per 1,000 words because of one main thing: I write for the fun of it, not because I need money for bills or any other financial need. My paypal is also not connected to my bank, so any funds I get from writing are used for online transactions.

I encourage every writer to charge what they feel comfortable with. If you feel your writing is worth the big bucks, go ahead and charge that. If you're still learning and want a little extra pocket change, plus improve while you're at it, charge the amount you think your writing is worth, whether that's 5$ or less; no one should make you feel like your writing isn't worth money.

However, if you need money for important things, I'd highly recommend selling yourself on more places than deviantART. Sell yourself on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, anywhere people could find your prices! You may find you'd get more business than just on one platform.

I'd be more than happy to help anyone who feels they need a second opinion for their commissions, but please keep in mind your commission prices are your decision. You can take what I say with a grain of salt, yet in the end, your prices are up to you. Don't let anyone make you feel you're not worth being paid, and don't be discouraged if someone thinks your prices are too high or low.

I stress this: YOUR PRICES ARE YOUR DECISION.

--

Hey, it's your Co-Founder, imaginary-rose! I was going to add this as comment, but it just grew and grew so I decided to tack this on here. I suppose this is a slightly more advanced guide to pricing. :XD:

My one real tip for pricing commissions is simply: self-reflect—honest self-reflection. This is why I think you can read a lot of pricing guides and get advice and suggestions from others, but ultimately your prices are your choice. Here are three things I'd consider during self-assessment: time, need, skill/experience.

Time:

  • How long does it take you to write a page, 1000 words, a short story, etc? How long does it take from story inception to final edits? However you're dividing your commissions, figure out how long it takes. And be honest. Work that doesn't take as long can be charged for less-obviously. A 1 page drabble will cost less than a multi-chapter story. I can write 1000 words in an hour. I can actually write 2000 words in an hour if I really focus. But I cannot write an 1000 word short story in an hour. Why? Because I can't write 1000 good words in an hour. So I have to decide - should I write 1000 junk words in an hour and then spend just as much time or more rewriting or should I go a little slower, take a little longer, but write a lot better and cut down on my editing time? That answer depends on the next question.
  • How much time do you have to devote to writing? Do you work long hours and then have to go home to prepare dinner and maintain your household? Do you go to school, then deal with afterschool activities and then have to go home to do homework? If you've only got a few hours a night without obligations your time is worth more because it's more precious. That will affect your price.

Need:
  • Why do you have commissions open? Are you doing it for fun? Do you desperately need money for bills? Do you just want some spending cash? Your prices should reflect what you need them to. Keep in mind, if you desperately need money - high prices may mean fewer customers, but the few customers you get will get your closer to your goal. One customer who pays $50 is worth more than 10 who only pay $1, but is worth less than 10 who pay $10. (Math—it burns!)

Skill/Experience:
  • How much time and effort have you devoted to your craft? Ten years of casual writing may mean more experience, but less skill than 5 years of intense study. A master craftsman can charge more than a beginner. You don't need to take classes or spend hundreds of dollars of writing books to improve. A self-taught writer can be just as good as one that has taken classes as long they're actually teaching themselves. Study. Learn. If you want to get paid for your writing you’re going to have to put effort into your writing even between commissions. If you're reading this, you have access to the Internet, a place where people love to give their opinions on things. Find tutorials, guides, tips, hints for writing in general and the specific areas you want to excel at. And more importantly: read. Read published books, but also unpublished Internet work, fan-fiction, whatever. Reread your old stuff and see how you've improved. Reading something you've set aside from a while ago can help you objectively look at what areas you need improvement. And then improve. As you get better, you can increase your prices.

Where to start? I suggest figuring out a base price of how much you'd ideally like to be charged an hour (100:points:, $5, minimum wage for your area, whatever) and then increasing or decreasing based on your time, need and skill/experience.

Still need help? I'm not comfortable offering specific price help, but our wonderful founder has said she'd be happy to offer help, when she has the time. Feel free to ask, and leave examples of your work, but don't wait around in commission limbo for a response.

--
What tips would you give for pricing commissions? Leave a comment!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconlostsoullover:
lostsoullover Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2019  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks dude
Reply
:iconxsakuyan:
xSakuyan Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2019  Hobbyist Writer
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconmoodyrobo:
moodyrobo Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This really helped, thanks!
Reply
:iconxsakuyan:
xSakuyan Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
No problem! ;) Glad it helped.
Reply
:iconjj-11:
JJ-11 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2018
Can this type of pricing be applied to characters? See, I don’t charge $5 per 1,000 words or anything like that, but instead I
write OC’s for people based on their fandom or interest they have. Basically, for $2 per character I wrote an OC template for someone. Does that seem too low? 
Reply
:iconfreddykrueger-holmes:
FreddyKrueger-Holmes Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2017
My opinion on that subject as a commissioner of written art:
I don't think anyone really has to be cheaper than 10$ per 1000 words. I find that to be a fair price, that doesn't hurt either side. It doesn't scare away too many customers and you don't feel like your completely underselling yourself.

Now, if you're insecure and fairly new to doing writing commissions, you can charge a bit less, maybe 7$ per 1000 words but I wouldn't go cheaper than that, unless you really don't do it for the money, but even than it feels like you are underselling you art.

More than 10$ can also be appropriate, if you're really good and have some experience, between 15$ and 20$ per 1000 words is still ok in my opinion, but you have to be good and probably wont get as many commissions. Only thing to keep in mind if you go up that high with your prices is, that there are many writers who charge less and aren't bad as well.

I consider anything over 20$ per 1000 words to be overly expensive unless you're writing about a topic that requires a lot of research.

One last point: If you set your prices, you can maybe include discounts for longer commission, or commissions of Fandoms or subjects you know a lot about or enjoy writing about.
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:iconhuntercirratum:
HunterCirratum Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2017
Considering this is how my work looks on average, and that I tend to do more than this (this piece is going to go for 31 days), what should I charge by? Per word or page seems like it would end up being way to expensive. And I don't want to charge too much, since it's just for some extra spending cash.

docs.google.com/document/d/1yM…
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:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I took a quick look at what you wrote (since I don't have time to read 16 pages x'DD;; ) but from what I saw you have a good grip on grammar and spelling. The only thing I saw was there wasn't a space between each new paragraph. I'd space them, because it looks congested otherwise.

Since you want to do commissions for extra spending money, I'd say 3 USD per 1,000 words, or perhaps 4 USD if you want. In the end, as we state in this journal, your prices are your decision, so it's ultimately up to you what you price your writing as. :)
Reply
:iconmagicaldisaster:
MagicalDisaster Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Hi! I haven't found much guidelines on art writing anywhere on the internet, except for those that concern artist statements, press releases and artist profiles. I haven't checked for other stuff but I do know that there are no guidelines in pricing one's art writing services. Let me explain, art writing helps represent an artist to an art market, or their work to potential buyers. It makes their art more appealing, or understood better through verbal articulation. Do these guidelines listed above still apply to what I'm aiming for, or should I price a little bit higher since its concerning art? Or maybe not, since I'm aiming for student artists as my target market....  Just needed assistance. Thanks!
Reply
:icondawneastpoint:
DawnEastpoint Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2017  Professional General Artist
What you're looking for is called Marketing and Branding.
Reply
:iconstarlord57:
starlord57 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Hey! I know I'm late to this party but I have a few questions, if someone doesn't mind answering.

First off, with the price-per-word-count deal of this, does the buyer set how many words they want? In other words, do I know how long I'll have to make the story for them? 

Secondly, to those with experience, what option do you think is better for an amateur considering opening literary commissions: A one time charge, setting the price depending on what was commissioned or a price-per-word-count deal? 

Thirdly, do I have to set my profile to an "artist" to open commissions? Today is the first time I thought to open literary commissions so I'm still fairly new to this.

My apologies, these are probably dumb questions. I just want to be fair in this. 
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
1. Yes, the buyer sets how many words they would like. Try not to go under too much, but say, if you're 200 words under, it's normally not a big deal. If you go over, don't charge your buyer; it's unprofessional and it'll bring a bad rep to you.

2. Price per word count is ideal. The buyer can decide how many words they'd like; for instance they may get a small commission first and if they like your writing they'll get a larger one. 

3. No. Your profile can be anything; it doesn't affect your ability to do commissions. It's just a title dA uses. You can set it to whatever you like.

Hope this helped!
Reply
:iconinspector-spinda:
Inspector-Spinda Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Disregarding the spelling errors, how much do you think something like this is worth?
inspector-spinda.deviantart.co…

about 2000 words
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Honestly, I don't give out prices as willy-nilly as I used to because as it states in the journal, your prices are your decision. It's up to you in the end what you think your price should be. However, if you want a base, look around at other's prices and their examples of writing and go from there. Also your prices should reflect your need for money; are you opening commissions because of expenses like bills and such or just for some extra pocket change? That should be a major factor in deciding what your prices are worth.

However if you're really unsure, just reply back and I'll see what I think.
Reply
:iconinspector-spinda:
Inspector-Spinda Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
okay thank you. I think I'm going to go with $4 per 1000 words
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
That's a pretty good starting point C: 
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:iconvinn3tt:
Vinn3TT Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Currently, I charge 10$ per 1000 words for most of my writings, though that's for a few reasons. One of which is cause of my time, I have around 6 hours a day free, and writing around 4000 words usually takes me a good few days since I put a lot of effort into making sure every paragraph is correct, consistent, and the best looking (I'm a perfectionist so I look over my previous paragraphs a lot). I am new to writing commissions, but I have a lot of experience with writing in general but never have done writing as an occupation. Currently need money to buy a few different action figure stuff, so that's also why I charge the $10. D'you guys think that's an okay price? It's just what I would put on mine, but I'm unsure of the market price.
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Honestly 10$ per 1,000 words is a great price for what you mentioned your situation is. I think prices should reflect a) your need for money and b) how much you value your time. It may be a bit more difficult to find customers since dA is dirt cheap when it comes to writing (and art but that's a different matter), but I think you have a good base. 

Good luck with future commissions !!
Reply
:iconvinn3tt:
Vinn3TT Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for replying, Kai! I was just curious since one of my friends said that was extremely pricey, but they were fairly new to Writing Commissions and also does very cheap art commissions.
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
No problem !! I honestly don't charge much (I don't think?? LOL) for my commissions because a) I don't desperately need money and b) I can be slow as hell when it comes to writing them, so I don't want to make people wait forever OTL So I think 10$ per 1,000 words is a fair price for intermediate writers. I hate when someone charges so low for art or writing, since it's like GET MORE CONFIDENCE IN WHAT YOU'RE SELLING YO but I also have a limited budget I can drain cash from to commission people so ?? 

Again, I wish you luck with your commissions ~ !! Feel free to submit your commission sheet to the featured folder so you can get more exposure, and any casual stuff you've written to the appropriate one, which is Casual Writing >w< ~
Reply
:iconvinn3tt:
Vinn3TT Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Right, thanks! I sort of forget to upload the commision sheet, too. I thought it did that.. uh.. automatically hehe. I'll be sure to submit it there!
Reply
:iconinside-our-mind:
inside-our-mind Featured By Owner Edited Sep 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm really torn on how to price my fanfictions. I personally think I want to charge by the chapter, because I worry that charging by the word count would entice me to do whatever I could to make the fanfiction ridiculously long, and charging the person more than they're willing to pay. If we agree to the price beforehand, then I have to make sure I push out 25,000 words if that's how much they ask for.... Which could affect the quality of my writing, I fear, if I'm struggling with the plot or theme requested.

What are your thoughts on charging by chapter, KaixChan ? I imagine you have more commission experience than I do.
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Hello !! My thoughts are this: if you're saying you'd make your buyer pay more per word count, maybe you should rethink offering commissions. Many people like per word count, since they can decide how long something is. If you think you'd cop out and charge them more simply to get more money, that's not very honest and quite unprofessional. I'd think about why you want to charge more to get more. Do you need money for bills or something along the lines of that? Or do you simply want more spending cash? Your answer determines your prices. You can go right ahead and charge more if you need money for needs, but if it's simply for wants, your prices should reflect that.

TLDR; people normally want their stories a certain length. Think of wants vs needs; prices should reflect it. Charging more because you want more cash is highly frowned upon and makes you seem dishonest. I'm not saying you're bad because of this, but it's what people would usually think. In the end, it's up to you.

Best of luck !! <3
Reply
:iconinside-our-mind:
inside-our-mind Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think I understand. I guess that, with my low self-esteem, I value my work incredibly low, so while typing that, I had it in my mind that I wouldn't have enough to buy a gallon of milk after 3,000 words.
I don't have confidence in myself, so I suppose I'm scared that old habits from school (writing "did not" instead of "didn't" to meet 900 words, breaking sentences into shorter segments if I needed 12 paragraphs, or using bigger, longer words if I had to fill a page) might come back up if I hit writer's block.
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:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
It's okay !! If you're, say, 500 words above what the agreed word count is, it's on you and you shouldn't charge you client for it. It's also good to have confidence in what you're selling. Potential customers can see if you have low confidence in your skills, and they'd turn to a writer who has high self esteem in what they're offering.

Why don't you try taking requests first? That way, you can see if you can handle paid work.

Good luck !!
Reply
:iconnightlikeday:
nightlikeday Featured By Owner Edited Jul 22, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Hello there. I'm pretty clueless on how much I should be charging and I would love some help. Right now I'm charging 100 points or one dollar for 1500 words. What do you think?

This is a sample of my work:

:thumb623159769:

nightlikeday.deviantart.com/ar…
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:iconthatonefacelessgirl:
ThatOneFacelessGirl Featured By Owner May 15, 2016
I'm pretty new to the Deviantart community, and I must ask, would you create a journal and give someone the link for donations to do literature requests, or would you make a normal commission thing? I probably sound like an idiot, but I have no clue what I'm doing, and help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner May 15, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
How I did it was make a standard commission journal, but everyone does things different. :)
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:iconthatonefacelessgirl:
ThatOneFacelessGirl Featured By Owner May 16, 2016
Thank you!
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner May 16, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Happy to help ^u^ ~
Reply
:iconambsn13:
ambsn13 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2016   Writer
I am thinking about doing commissions, but I have no idea about rating my work to see what exactly I should charge. If anyone can help that would be great. A lot of my work isn't on here...yet. I'm working on adding them on here.
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:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I may be able to. Send me a note when you have your work posted and I'll see what I can do. 
Reply
:iconambsn13:
ambsn13 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2016   Writer
I have my short story and all my fan fiction one shot requests all posted.
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I'll take a look, but I'm busy these days, so it may take me a while to get back at you. Sorry about that. o3o;;
Reply
:iconambsn13:
ambsn13 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2016   Writer
Take your time. I understand busy. I'm not in a rush, but I thank you for doing it when you have the time.
Reply
:iconeliza-aacher:
Eliza-Aacher Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2016
Pricing:
I really recommend looking at what you earn at your day job in an hour (or if you don't work, what the minimum wage for your age/skill set is) and using that as a rough guide for your rate. 
Example: you can write an average of 1000 words in an hour. The minimum wage for your age is $15. Use this a a guide: charge more if you're an excellent writer, charge less if you're just starting out.

Also, bear in mind, people negotiate. I set my prices at around $25 to $35 for 1000 words (that's in AUD), but am willing to go down to $23 if I like the client and the $35 is beyond their reach. Also, if I am commissioned to do an ongoing series of works, I'll usually do a slightly cheaper rate, as that's long term, secure work.

Consider also the value of your work to the client: if it's just a fanfic for their enjoyment, they obviously won't be making money off of your product, so use the "min wage" guide to set your rate. If it's any other kind of freelance work, in Australia, we're talking average rates of $700 to $850 for 1000 words, since this is work a client can use for their blog/business etc. Always investigate the standard rate.

So, know your product, know the *value of your time*, and know the value of your work to the customer. I really do recommend *not* dropping below minimum wage per hour, unless you're an ultra beginner. For every person who undervalues themselves, it creates a distorted view of the value of every other writer's time.
Reply
:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for your advice!

The problem with what you suggest is that many people on dA don't pay that much for art, much less writing. This guide is based on what people will pay on this site. Unfortunately, deviantART is cheap when it comes to getting business for commissions, thus the reason our low prices here. I base mine on what I believe people will pay; nothing more, nothing less. 

While it would be amazing if we could get people on dA to pay full price for writing (and art for that matter, but that's a different story altogether), it's rare it happens. 

Nonetheless, I hope serious writers who want to take their work outside of deviantART take your advice and charge the prices you suggest. 
Reply
:iconhouseofmarvels:
HouseOfMarvels Featured By Owner Edited Aug 26, 2016  Professional Artisan Crafter
I only get one commission a month but I insist on min wage. for example yesterday I sold one page for £10, or $15. before that I got 1000 words for £55 uk pounds or $70 (although through a cosplay group on Facebook not deviant art) this customer is planning to re-order.

It is very hard to find people who will pay these prices, but if you have professional writing qualifications and write in order to support yourself, (I have a degree in creative writing, am applying for a masters, I write and make art as a full time job) then its important to insist on a livable wage, if you can prove you are worth the price. 'Fair wages for creatives!'
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:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
While I agree professional writers should charge what you suggest, many on this site write as a hobby and don't have the qualifications others do. Also, as I said before, this guide is based on what people on deviantART will pay. I'm not qualified to write a guide for what people will pay outside of dA, since all my commissions have come from here and I know what people here can afford. 

While I could edit this to say professional writers should charge minimum wage, I believe they already know this guide is for casual, non professional writers as well as fandom price, not industry.

Thank you for your input though !!
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:iconhouseofmarvels:
HouseOfMarvels Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2016  Professional Artisan Crafter
fair enough :)
Reply
:iconzarinari:
Zarinari Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I've been writing constantly for three years now, but I'm new to DeviantArt literature, so I've started by keeping my prices $2 for 2000 words, and a dollar for every 1k words after.  I've never made a living off of writing, and I know that my writing (to me) is still pretty amateur. (I have not yet mastered the art of ending a story/chapter, haha.)

I actually have a friend in real life who does make a living as a ghostwriter and she charges $0.01 for every word.  To make that easier to understand, that's $10 per 1000 words.  So for the same work I do, she makes $18 dollars more than I would.  Therefore, I completely agree with this that your pricing is based a lot on how well you write and how long you've been doing it.

Side question people keep asking me: Is it legal to have someone pay you to write a fanfic?  Or, in other words, does it break any copyright laws?  I know it doesn't really have anything to do with this journal, but it's something I don't know how to answer, haha.
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:iconravenluvssesshomaru:
RavenluvsSesshomaru Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
My writing has advanced so I tend to charge a bit more but I have had someone pay me $15 for a 2000 word horror story. My prices aren't that high but I gave them the choice and it is what they paid and they were satisfied with the story.
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:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Advanced writing, yeah, makes sense to charge more. I've seen advanced writers sell theirs for dirt cheap because they don't know the value of their work, but beginners charge $100 for 1,000 words. It's rather bizarre, I have to say.
Reply
:iconravenluvssesshomaru:
RavenluvsSesshomaru Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah I'd pay no more than $1 for new writers. Tbh I mostly just give advice and maybe some construction criticism here or there. Although not everyone likes that but if they're serious about writing whether it be hobbie or becoming an author then advice helps.
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:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, some people are all MY WRITING IS PERFECT when it comes to critiques. It's pretty irritating when you sit there for twenty minutes writing down how someone could improve and they say something like that. =v=
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:iconravenluvssesshomaru:
RavenluvsSesshomaru Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed
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:iconmajorasmasks:
MajorasMasks Featured By Owner Edited Aug 5, 2015  Professional Artisan Crafter
I also ask a fixed fee for general plot and characters discussion, and an additional fee for poetry/lyrics since they are harder to write.  :)
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:iconkaixchan:
KaixChan Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, that's a good way to go I think. :'D
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:iconalisialanet:
AlisiaLanet Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
What would you say is a good price per hour model pricing type? This referring to per hour for writing then per hour for editing. I'm just curious. You can ignore this if you want though. It was an interesting read.
Reply
:iconimaginary-rose:
imaginary-rose Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015   Writer
I added my thoughts on pricing to the journal. I hope it helps a little. :aww:
Reply
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