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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

How much to charge for your creative: Writers, Photographers, Journalists, Designers, Artists

Over the last decade or so of teaching students in the fields of communication, media, journalism, etc, I've had the same queries year after year from students, peers and friends who wish to spread their work far and wide but don't know how much to charge. To those of you who wish to get writers (all kinds, fiction/non-fiction, journalists) photographers, artists and designers to submit their work to you or "offer help" or "support you", you should PAY them for their help/support/job. They may be your best friends but they need a livelihood. As for how much should you pay or how should they charge you, here's a rough guide. Every organisation is different and will have their own budgets and goals but I am putting it down because I know people, even the most seasoned journalists, exploited by companies/NGOs and made to work for almost free because they found it "too awkward" to ask for money. Don't be. If you don't know how much you should charge, let this be a guide:
1. Cost per word/per article for writing: Most organisations will have a benchmark like Rs 300-500 for a 500 word piece. (Global organizations pay anywhere between Rs 2000-7000 for the same. You need to figure where you stand)
2. For photos published many organizations have a fixed rate per picture depending on the size of the pic used. But, nothing is for free. A thumbnail warrants at least Rs 100. If you've spent a whole day at a photo shoot with your equipment, break it down to hours, say Rs 500-1000+ an hour, depending on whether its a studio shoot, outdoor shoot, location, etc. Rented equipment is extra. Photo-processing, pre and post-production costs could be extra.
3. Editing: Most people still believe it's only about correcting grammar but it's not. If you are going to spend eight hours reading a 60000-word journal and then combing through it for days after that, at least get paid a rupee for each written word. Simple math: 60,000 words edit means you've got to rake in at least Rs 60000. If you're going to add a bit of design to the text, factor that in too. For websites, the same.
4. Design: This is the pain. Software is expensive and the clients can never figure what shade of blue they want. And Indian clients who aren't into publishing, just don't know what they should get and how much effort goes into it. Go by the number of pages for print. If it takes you say a couple of hours (over many days, maybe) to get what the client wants, quote by the hour. It could be anywhere from Rs 500/hour for a simple pamphlet to anywhere in the range of Rs 2000-5000 per hour for a digital on XD.

Of course, these are just ballpark figures and there maybe deviations across the country but it could be a starting point for both clients and creatives to know how much it costs. What I have written here is mostly English-language writing but I don't see why writing in any other language should mean that you get paid a pittance.

#howtochargeforcreativesinIndia #howmuchtopay

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