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What Would You Pay a game writer with this XP?

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Any game devs: what is the max you'd be willing to pay a game writer with this experience?

l have some paid offers on the table but need to figure out a fair hourly rate:

  • 15 years of writing experience with a heavy focus on original fiction
  • Published author (short and flash fiction) across multiple contests and literature magazines
  • Already been working with 2-3 game dev teams for the past month (rev-share)
  • lf you care enough/have the time, you can check out my latest published story to get an idea of my skill level

l'm a writer discussing direct payment for working on a game. Neither l nor the team leader have a clue what a fair hourly rate is for someone of my experience (or even if it should be done hourly, a single lump sum, weekly, etc) since this is both our first time in this situation (me getting paid directly to write outside rev-share, him paying a game writer).

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Surely if you have 15 years of experience you could tell us what has been your rate in all those years?

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I wouldn't pay anything and just have to write it myself. You like have the same chances of making money off games as a hit AAA title film. If I were you, I would get to employing your skills thinking of clever ways that involve plot and writing that can make game developers and publishers money, that make your skill essential. Just go into writing novels or adopt some kind of a all-purposes-involving-text role. [edit] Alternatively I would start some kind of a life long journey with some friends or whoever you decide to team up with to make a living doing this.

Edited by polyfrag

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If I had the money and the need to hire a writer, as well as the faith that my game would yield a profit after investing in employees, then I would start by googling "game writer salary" and see that the result saying the average is about $50k per year (I'm assuming that's USD). That works out to about $24/hr. From there I would attempt to take into account my perception of the complexity of the deliverables I'd be expecting and any estimates of the time it'd take to complete. I would also factor in my budget as if I only have X dollars to spend on a writer then that's that.

I don't know how that'd compare to a writer's evaluation of the worth of his time and skills or his assessment of whether a project actually is as complex as the developer thinks. It'd probably be quite different.

But yeah, I guess when it comes to it, the max that I would pay would completely depend on what kind of budget I have.

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1 hour ago, TheChubu said:

Surely if you have 15 years of experience you could tell us what has been your rate in all those years?

My freelance writer's rate is $50/hr

However, that's because of all my experience and accomplishments in the industry. l don't know whether or not it's fair to translate that to my game writer's rate, since i only have 1 month experience in game dev.

Even if it is, l also doubt that most independent teams l meet through game dev forums on sites like GameDev.net or game dev subReddits can afford/are willing to pay $50/hr. So l don't want to quote that rate and scare them off or something; l'm willing to be flexible as a game writer since i'm just starting out. Or maybe i don't need to be?

l honestly have no idea, that's why i'm asking more experienced people

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1 hour ago, polyfrag said:

I wouldn't pay anything and just have to write it myself. You like have the same chances of making money off games as a hit AAA title film. If I were you, I would get to employing your skills thinking of clever ways that involve plot and writing that can make game developers and publishers money, that make your skill essential. Just go into writing novels or adopt some kind of a all-purposes-involving-text role. [edit] Alternatively I would start some kind of a life long journey with some friends or whoever you decide to team up with to make a living doing this.

l'm not sure what you mean in the beginning... l know it's next to impossible to get a full-time or even part-time position as a Game Writer with nothing in your portfolio. That said, l have 2 teams willing to pay me hourly/by the word/whatever to help them write the story, characters, dialogue, etc for their game. lt's not a permanent job, but it is money, however small. l'm more focused on building my game writing portfolio, but still need to eat

Maybe l wasn't clear in my post; l've already written tons of fiction. Several of my pieces have been published and won contests or awards. lt's not "writing novels" but as far as story-building skills go, it's essentially the same thing

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I don't know if it's helpful to you to have Canadian stats but I had found this document awhile back Canada's Video Game Industry 2015. It indicates on page 16 some average salaries for 3 different company sizes. I believe you would fall under the Creative category. You'll have to figure out how it's relevant to your situation. Or maybe there's a similar study you can search for that's relevant for your location.

But maybe around $56k CDN for an intermediate position at a mid sized company.

Edited by kseh

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"what would you pay a writer" is a Production question - not a Writing question, not a For Beginners question, and not a general Lounge question. Moving to Production/Management.

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