How I Negotiated $700 for Ghostwriting Six Pages of Writing

I’ve been a writer for five years now, and although I got my start in the Travel industry, I learned that sometimes you need to broaden your horizons in order to increase the amount of money in your bank account. While travel writers have certainly found ways to earn more, I found that getting experience in trending fields was the way to go.

This is how I ended up writing about technology, cybersecurity, IT, cloud infrastructure, and everything in between. Because there are so many companies in this industry — companies that generally have a lot of money — I knew I’d have more leverage as I got more experience. Slowly but surely, I started to work my way up in the industry, having references and samples to showcase my work.

Eventually, I also had negotiating power, and I was able to negotiate $700 for 6 one-page articles.

And, you can, too, if you follow some of this advice:

I Got Into an Industry with Many Sub-Categories

My experience has always been in writing — not IT. Of course, this goes both ways, as you won’t find too many software developers who would say content writing is their forte, either. But, like with anything, the more you’re exposed to it, the better you can understand it. This is what happened for me. I had one client who had a marketing automation business, and after I began writing for him, he introduced me to some of his friends who were in also in need of a content writer.

Little by little, I wrote diverse blog articles for a managed service provider. Then, that same original client, because he worked in a B2B company, knew other clients that needed similar work. Soon enough, I was covering a wide range of topics, which all seemed to fall beneath this IT umbrella in some way. This gave me a chance to have samples on all kinds of topics, which meant I could pitch to companies and websites far and wide.

I Keep My Work and My Expertise Organized

When you start to write on so many different topics, it’s important to keep a list of what you know. That list started to grow — SaaS, Cloud Computing, Compliance, Artificial Intelligence, Biometrics, Marketing Automation Software, etc. I was able to target companies who focused on just one of these topics, or a combination of several of them.

In addition to a list, I kept every article I’ve ever written organized and displayed on my website. This proved to be one of the easiest and most reliable ways to get jobs. Everything the potential client needed to see was there in a click of a button. Because of this, I also started to refuse writing unpaid sample articles.

I Made Meaningful Connections

Even though the internet may have changed the way we look for jobs, it’s still very true that it’s “who you know.” By getting to know other writers as well as maintaining strong relationships with previous clients, I always had opportunities available. I wasn’t afraid to reach out to others to ask for help or information on job opportunities. When I saw a job posting, call for pitches, or a person looking for help with writing articles for their company, I jumped on it right away. I made sure to emphasize my expertise in those areas that I had on my list, and direct the hiring person to my site.

Over time, I went from getting paid $20 an article to at least $50. A lot of this was merely due to supply and demand. I had many clients with a lot of work they needed done, so if they wanted me to prioritize their work, they’d have to pay me more. Most of the time, this worked, and for clients who could no longer afford me, I was happy to move on. I knew that my time was valuable, and that I could charge more due to my experience and wide range of knowledge on very specific topics.

I Wasn’t Afraid to Shoot High

As a writer, it’s so important to know what you’re worth. When I first started out, I would take any job (even unpaid jobs) to gain experience. This is necessary for a beginner in any line of work, but eventually, it’s time to recognize that what you’re offering has a price tag. Sometimes, you’ll need to bite the bullet and take a job for less in order to pay the bills. But, by being confident in what you’re charging, you’ll lead the client to trust that you know what you’re doing. Think about it — would you rather go with the person charging $100 or $5? Depending on what it is, your first reaction will be that $5 seems too good to be true, and you’d rather go with better quality.

Too many writers are afraid to ask for more, whereas I felt that I had nothing to lose.

At a certain point, I became firm. I had a starting price of $75 for a very standard 500-800 word article. Since most clients in this industry want more text than that, it was easy for me to charge at least $100. Even that was great money for me, so if they would offer me a bit less, I was content.

So, when I came across a company looking to contract writers in the areas of my personal expertise, I knew that the ball was in my court. There were factors involved that assured me I could ask this company for more and have those terms met. It was a ghostwriting job. It was outsourced, so I knew the company was taking a commission. There was a lot of research involved. It was for a top-name company in the industry known as Okta, who had a lot of money (Obama is going to be speaking at one of their events!) On the other side, I had the experience, the writing skills, the quick turnaround rate, as well as the SEO proficiency.

While it may seem bold to express your knowledge about these things, it prevents the client from underpaying you or avoiding transparency. When the conversations started, I immediately asked for $150 per article. 

They had asked for my rates; and this is what I sent them in response:


Same to you! So, for this kind of job I generally charge $150 per article. These articles would include SEO strategies like keywords, headlines, subtitles, attractive formatting, and images if the client so chooses. I will also make sure to have a quick turnaround with these articles.
As a published writer who has covered countless niches over the years, I believe that my rate is quite competitive compared to other writers who have similar experience.
So, with that in mind, if I write six articles a month, this would come out to $900, of course. But, if that number is an absolute no-can-do, then just let me know and we can discuss what you had in mind. How do you normally send payment?
Just two questions:
1) Do you have any testimonials from other writers that have worked with quietly? If so, that’d be great!
2) Would I receive a byline on these articles or are they all essentially ghostwriting jobs?
Hope to hear from you soon,

Note that I was clear about my desired rate. I was also clear that I was easy to work with; and strongly implied that I expected them to be easy to work with as well.

As a contracting company, told me they usually pay $100 an article, but that they might have some “wiggle room.” They also compliment the testimonials on my website, and asked for a writing sample.

Shortly after, they offered me $700 for six articles total, which was an excellent deal for me.

After the first round of articles, I continued to do some more jobs for this company. This experience taught me that I could continue asking for more money without being afraid. It’s generally easy to tell which companies are able to afford you, and which ones can’t.

Be bold. Be brave. Let yourself get what you’re worth, because you deserve it! Writing is a job just like any other, and should be treated as such. The more that writers demand higher pay, the more respect we’ll earn in this industry.


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