There’s nothing quite like receiving a letter from the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) to encourage you (well, me) to address the issue of pricing. I have been mentioning raising my prices to just about every client for the past two years (and have received some great author/client perspective on this), but haven’t, as yet, been brave enough to put any price rises into action. It is, however, crunch time for me, and I can no longer avoid it.
I am an editor, but I’m primarily a ‘stay-at-home’ mum, and carer to two boys with Autism. Of recent, I was diagnosed by other editors as suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’.
Imposter syndrome is described as: ‘a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been found to affect both men and women, in roughly equal numbers.’ Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome
I know I’m not a fraud as I never pretend to be capable of anything I know I can’t do, plus I believe in being honest upfront. If anything, I’ll talk down my skill set rather than run the risk of sounding like I’m ‘bragging’. With every edit I do (usually at the halfway point), I experience a nagging voice in my back of my mind telling me I’m not doing enough or worrying about missing things. I can, and do, dismiss this voice so it doesn’t affect my work directly, and judge my ability on the fact that clients return with new books for me to edit, recommend me to others, or sing my praises to the world (which I shrug off as *just* doing my job).
I’ve seen (and helped) several editors get a foot off the ground who charge more from the start than I’m charging after three years of solid editing experience (and this isn’t a gripe about them – this is about me). Imposter syndrome makes it hard for me to raise my prices because despite having experience, taking editing courses, and furthering my knowledge through self-study, that voice in my head is telling me I’m already charging too much (and I know I’m not because my pricing is nowhere near the editing associations’ recommended rates).
But, it’s crunch time. My financial situation will change in the coming months and if I’m not running a sustainable editing business, I’ll need to march down to the job or recruitment agencies and find paid employment (which I really don’t want to do because I love editing with the same passion that most of you have about writing). What I do need to do is work out how much I need to earn (before taxes etc) through the year, decide how many jobs (edits) I need to do to sustain this figure, and then work out my price structure per job type. Fortunately, I have three years of data (pricing versus job type versus timing) to fall back on for this.
So, this post, in a nutshell, is just to inform you that the time has come for me to raise my prices. Anyone who has booked with me already will not be affected by this immediately, and I will be emailing all clients before I made any further announcements about pricing. I will do my best not to price myself out of everyone’s budgets, but I do need to do this and hope you will understand the reasoning behind it.