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The idea of a flat fee doesn't mean one fee regardless of the project.
You can either give them a flat fee based on length/difficulty of a
project or how many passes you'll be required to make, or how many
tables/sidebars vs full text pp. But you need some context for a bid.
For example, using $rate x [#pp / hr/pp rate] e.g.,
$25 x [240pp/3pp/hr] or 80 hr = $2,000
Make sure you know the ratio of ms pp to printed pp. (usually ms pp is
10 words per line x 25 lines double spaced) and be sure to use the MS PP
in your estimates or you'll be working or 1/2 to 1/3 the real worth of
An alternative to hr/pp is a page rate. In either case, your fee needs
to be based on some info.
If your client tends to do approximately the same product each time
(e.g., a series of monographs w/illus and tables or sidebars--all about
50 pp), then you could offer a price per issue.
Probably a good idea to build in a price review/adjustment after 2 or 3
projects, once you're more experienced with the client