Rate Inquiries

| October 9, 2014

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Understand that a rate inquiry is a numbers game.

I get in a number of rate inquiries a month. Most of these inquiries don’t amount to much of anything.

When I first started charging for my services and I’d get an inquiry, I figured that the inquirer was ready to hire me. It’s difficult enough to get a writer to hire an editor–getting them to acknowledge the need for one was often the hardest step. Then they would work with me and discover just how helpful an editor could be.

As the years went on, I’d get more rate inquiries, but I then noticed that creators were just gathering numbers. Doing research. And I became less excited as time went on. Lots of “Thanks! I need to get things together, and I’ll email you.” And that’s the last I’d often hear from creators.

Understanding that rate inquiries are a numbers game helps. Very often, it isn’t about you, it’s about the rate.

If you go to the store to buy some milk and it’s $3/gallon, you might think that’s a little high. Then you go down the block a little bit, and that store is selling the same gallon of milk for $2.50/gallon. Which would you buy? Very often it’s the same thing for rate inquiries.

However, understand this: you got the inquiry due to your skill. If someone contacts you out of the blue, it was your skill that attracted them. Your rate may be out of the inquirer’s range, but that’s the numbers game. Some people inquire just because they’re nosy, because they had no intention at all of hiring you for anything. Others are new and when you give them your rate, it may be something of sticker shock. The serious ones will inquire, and they’re ready to go right now. You just have to survive the numbers game.

Stick to your guns. You know what you’re worth. Lowering your rates in order to get more work very often leads to doing more work for less money. Creating comics is a passion, and is something that few of us can make a living doing. Very often, you’d be better paid flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. Doing more work for less money isn’t worth the aggravation.

Rate inquiries are a double-edged sword. However, one edge is much duller than the other. Always be grateful for any inquiry you get. Again, each and every one of them is a testament to your skill.


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Category: Columns, The Daily Dose

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at stevedforbes@gmail.com for rate inquiries.

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