A quick addendum to the previous post on publishing your rates.

I suddenly remembered another situation where posting your fees may be useful. Maybe.

A while back I had gone through a long stretch of woeful skunk work. Worse, I could barely get anything approved. Clients attacked my copy with meat hooks. I was revising revisions to revisions that they hated. I was a galley slave.

Then, I got a chance to write a big series of web videos for an insurance client.

They turned out surprisingly well. Rave reviews all around. The pieces were edgy and irreverent, in my trademark way. And emotional and dramatic. The clients really loved those things. I saved all the emails where they called me brilliant.

I figured I had arrived. I had finally broken through. Leaped from the mire.

After all, I had, quote, “a cleverly deft touch and flair” and the scripts “will raise the bar in the industry.”

I was no longer a mere hack.

So the next day, high on my own genius, I went to my web site and declared that my per diem rate was now a hefty $3,500.

I became, in one fell swoop, a world-class $3500-a-day creator of breakthrough content.

It said so, in plain type, right there on the Internet.

Of course, no one gave a damn.

No one acknowledged my sudden elevation to elitehood. No one called saying, “Gee if you charge that much you must be amazing. Let’s talk business.” There were a number of hits on that page, so somebody saw that rate. Maybe there were guffaws. I don’t really know.

One of my regular clients did notice the rate. “Yipe. Is that what you’ve been charging us all this time? That’s crazy.”

“Nah,” I said, “I only say that to keep out the riff-raff.”

After about a week. I quietly took the rate off my site.

Writers who actually get $3,500 a day don’t crow about it.

But actually posting that rate, in public, made a little gear click over in my head. It didn’t look so preposterous. It was a lot more real.

To this day, I still consider myself a $3500-a-day scribe. Only now I keep that to myself.

Although I do discount that rate generously in certain cases, such as, you know, for actual jobs out there in the real world.