By Steve Fountain, Chief Copywriter
Q: How much do you charge?
A: Copywriters usually estimate for jobs using a daily rate. For example, a four-page A4 brochure may take two days. I charge mid-market prices for a top-quality service.
Q: Are there any sectors you don’t write about?
A: Yes. I’m fine with most subjects. But I know nothing about healthcare, the legal industry, nuclear physics or heavy-duty finance.
Q: Anything else you avoid?
A: Yes, jobs involving politics, promoting various social causes or campaigns, idealisms, religions or unethical business. As a journalist, my scam-radar also detects pyramid-selling and dodgy business schemes very quickly.
Q: What are your terms and conditions?
A: I send these when I estimate for jobs. My payment terms are 30 days from invoice. Once my invoice is paid, the copyright for the text belongs to you.
Q: Do you offer more than one-off projects?
A: Yes. I work on a retainer basis for companies that need regular help. For example, they may pay me for a couple of days per month.
I’d like to meet face-to-face, is that OK?
A: Yes, as long as the project represents more than 1-2 days’ work – or if you’re prepared to pay for my time.
Q: You sound busy – are you available?
A: I’m usually 70-100 per cent busy. But most times I can accept new projects.
Q: I want to become a copywriter, any tips?
A: Yes. It’s a long road. (If you’re a student, first follow a career in journalism or marketing.) Forget any notions that copywriting is an easy way to make money. A newcomer will find it incredibly hard to find work, especially without a portfolio of projects. I’m unaware of any ‘copywriter qualifications’ being helpful either. Basically, you need to love writing – and be doing it already. Write for local papers, websites, magazines, friends’ businesses … for free, or just a few pounds. Also, write about your passion (eg, cars, football, health, etc) because that’s where you’ll shine. Before long, your style will improve and you’ll build up a portfolio. But even then, it’s hard finding work and struggling with cashflow. I’m sorry, I can’t offer you any work.