Contract prices for marketing, writing, editing, art?


Advice and Rules Questions


So I'm doing some RPG stuff on my own now days on the side. I'm trying to figure out how much would be the normal cost to pay out to people in regards to contracting things out.

For example, with an artist...how much should I expect to pay them for

Sketches (small pencil drawings)
quarter page sketches.
Full page sketches
Full page color drawing
Cover illustration

Or with marketing, how much pays for what and who should I look to for marketing?

And finally, how about proofing or editing, who should I look for on that and how much would that cost?

Thanks to anyone who knows these things and replies.


I wish I could help you, but I can't. However, I wanted to say that I feel that the "market" price for such things may no longer exist, as so many new ways of generating income for art are being introduced.

Many on line comic artist who have well established reputations, and regular income from years of selling print editions of their work, are using Kickstarter to generate ridiculous amounts of money to do the same things they did in the past for a fraction of what they are making now (which seems to fly in the face of what the purpose of Kickstarter is all about, but I don't understand it, as an example just look at Phil Foglio's efforts - sheesh the guys had a successful career for thirty years, and somehow he needs to do a Kickstarter?) while some are turning to other On-line subscription support systems and collecting monthly "salaries" to make one or two pages of art each week.

The world, it is a changing.

Paizo Employee Senior Editor

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Start by looking online—for example, here's a website that gives standard market rates for editing/proofreading. The exact amount will depend on how much heavy lifting the freelancer has to do (most people ask for a sample so they can gauge that), how experienced the freelancer is, etc.


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Based on the Graphics Artist Guild:
B&W Quarter Page: $100 to $350
B&W Full Page: $500 to $3000
Color Quarter Page: $200 to $400
Color Full Page: $500 to $1500
Cover: $700 to $2000 (or more)

These are not hobby industry rates, but general commercial art rates—most artists are lucky to get a tenth of that for roleplaying games.

Marketing is an entirely different ball of wax, and the rates for that largely depend on what you want done.

If you're looking for people to hire for these tasks, you should post something in this thread with the rates you're offering. Somebody is sure to bite.


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I've done more freelance editing than anything else in the games industry, and I'm often lucky to get more than $0.01/word for proofreading, $0.03/word for prose line editing, and $0.07/word for rules editing and development. I usually get no more than $3/page for B&W layout, and maybe $10-$20 total to index a book regardless of size. I get rejected about half the time by folks in games who say they can do the same quality of work themselves (especially in layout and indexing).

Outside of games, I generally get 5 to 10 times those rates for editing, 3 to 5 times that for layout, and can charge hourly rates for indexing that work out to about $40/hour.

If you're looking for editors familiar with RPGs, your best bet is to look at well-reviewed books in that game's system—Endzeitgeist does a particularly good job calling out well-edited Pathfinder books in his reviews—and see who's credited with editing them. Look the editor up to see if they post rates or contact information, reach out to them with your budget and project details, and ask if they'd be interested or could refer someone to you.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I've not put pen to paper for some time, damn muse is on strike.

but I wanted to comment on how awesome the community is, including the Paizo staff themselves for the openness and transparency of sharing information.

Carry on!


You can always do what big corporations are fond of, go to foreign nationals who will charge a small percentage of what locals charge.

Contributor

I've been editing for many years in the RPG industry, and .01/word is about average, especially for large projects. RPGs are very niche, so they don't pay what professionals get paid in other industries. Writing for PDF projects generally pays .01/word, as well, as you are very lucky if you sell 100 copies of something, so it is difficult to recoup your money. Some companies pay more, of course.

As for art, try to use stock art when possible. Many game companies and individuals sell rights to use those rather cheaply. See Purple Duck Games, Misfit Studios, Rogue Genius Games, and Fat Goblin Games for folks who have things available--I even have a few things under Christina Stiles Presents. If you pay for created items, that is where your main cost will be.

Layout prices vary from $1-$5 per page in my experience. Of course, if you do the writing and layout, you save money. I have yet to learn the layout process myself. One day.

Hope that helps.

Christina


$0.05 a word is about "right" for RPG writing, in terms of the talent pool, but the realities of small budgets on small projects mean that 1 to 2.5 cents a word is more common. Hiring a writer involves a mix of respect and pragmatism, supported on pillars of honesty.

Art isn't as depressed... but below standards in other industries. $600 for a full page color is not bad. Artists often settle for half that... maybe a fourth if you are willing to take a chance on someone with little industry experience. My suggestion is that, when the budget allows, you negotiate for all rights and try to pay at the higher end; this will be cash in the artist's pocket, a resource for you to use forever, and will help build mutually beneficial relationships. This is for unique art resources. You can save a lot of money, of course, by using stock illustrations when feasible.

You can pay more for editing, you can pay less, but for good technical chops and some straightforward suggestions, falling short of development work, I expect to pay a buck a page.

Most of my proofing I get done by fans working for product. This may not be feasible for larger products.


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As a PR guy I'd recommend anyone publishing to really go out of their way to have a great cover. After you have a name in the industry it's not so important, but when starting, it's really the easiest way to grab a reader/buyer.


Even as an experienced freelance writer I'm lucky if I get $0.03 in Pen & Paper. Art is equally low. An artist I know has their rates like this: 1/4th page B&W $35, 1/4th page color $45, cover $250. That's fairly close to what we can pay out on a lot of thing

Honestly though- when I produce something it more matters what my budget for the project is. I can pay a lot more for a full color cover for a big Kickstarter funded project than I can for a 10 page splat book. I've shelled out over 1k for some art but other time my entire art budget is $60.

To be honest- we don't hire that many external writers. We solicit a few for small parts or we pay out when people pitch us with an entire project but we largely are focused on in-house material. At the moment LRGG has an in house team of 3 and we each get an equal share of the profits after expenses have been recouped (+1 share for the company to fund future projects). When freelancing do NOT accept payment on % royalty. The only reason we do it is because we have worked together for 5+ years, we all have our hands pretty much on everything (meaning they have a lot of agency in what we make), and ultimately we know (more or less) what our projected sales are for a given kind of project.

Hope that helps?


I guess since I am in marketing
it depends what marketing you want

website/seo?
online advertising?
remarketing?
email marketing?
social media?
branding?
print marketing?
radio?
tv?

my agency has different rates for different services
different retainers for different lengths of time

a better question to ask yourself is:
how much money per month can you devote to marketing?

then have a professional tailor a campaign based on your budget


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Little Red Goblin Games wrote:

Even as an experienced freelance writer I'm lucky if I get $0.03 in Pen & Paper. Art is equally low. An artist I know has their rates like this: 1/4th page B&W $35, 1/4th page color $45, cover $250. That's fairly close to what we can pay out on a lot of thing

Honestly though- when I produce something it more matters what my budget for the project is. I can pay a lot more for a full color cover for a big Kickstarter funded project than I can for a 10 page splat book. I've shelled out over 1k for some art but other time my entire art budget is $60.

To be honest- we don't hire that many external writers. We solicit a few for small parts or we pay out when people pitch us with an entire project but we largely are focused on in-house material. At the moment LRGG has an in house team of 3 and we each get an equal share of the profits after expenses have been recouped (+1 share for the company to fund future projects). When freelancing do NOT accept payment on % royalty. The only reason we do it is because we have worked together for 5+ years, we all have our hands pretty much on everything (meaning they have a lot of agency in what we make), and ultimately we know (more or less) what our projected sales are for a given kind of project.

Hope that helps?

It helps me, thanks. How does the ownership of art factor into it - as I understand it the 'default' is that the artist retains ownership of the work. Is that right? How does it factor into the fee if you want to purchase the rights to it outright?


Steve Geddes wrote:
It helps me, thanks. How does the ownership of art factor into it - as I understand it the 'default' is that the artist retains ownership of the work. Is that right? How does it factor into the fee if you want to purchase the rights to it outright?

It very much depends on the contract. Many places are work-for-hire, with limited rights to the art after it's been completed. (Prints and book compilations are okay, but re-selling it to other companies—not okay.) ArtPact has sample contracts that can be used and purposed for your needs, but again, contracts vary from company to company.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Thanks, Lilith. What I meant was how the price varied (I appreciate the ongoing ownership would be a term of the contract).

$250 for a cover seems awfully cheap to me - I presume the artist would generally retain ownership for that (with the exception of reprints, perhaps). I wondered whether buying the rights to the art tended to double, triple, quadruple...the price? (In a ballpark, general rule, every artist is different, kind of way)

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