A Malkuth of Me,  reading,  S. Connolly

Why I Had to Start Charging (More)

Once again the question has come up why I started charging more for readings. I figured I’d best write a blog post so not only people know, but I can direct them to this blog post when they ask in the future.  Back in 2005 I didn’t charge for readings at all. If ANYONE asked, I would read their natal charts, tarot cards, and even give them Daemonolatry readings (where I connected with the Daemonic Divine) for free.

The problem with free is that everyone wants something for free. I soon found that I was spending up to 50 hours a week giving free readings to people.

That wasn’t acceptable because it was taking time from my job (writing) and my family. So I began charging $25 for all readings but tarot. Tarot I did for $5-$10. After a few years at this rate (from 2010-2012) I learned that while charging something for readings had slowed down the traffic a bit, I was still spending about 30 hours a week doing readings and the Daemonolatry readings were killing me because they’d literally suck my mind dry for hours after I’d perform them.  So I wasn’t just losing 30 hours a week. I was losing a lot more.  My writing was suffering for it, too, as was my writing income, which was making the household finances shaky.

Finally, in 2013 (after a long talk with my husband) I sat down and re-figured it all.

First, each tarot reading takes me about an hour to perform. Not only do I sit down and meditate on the cards with the name of the person I’m reading for, for about five minutes before laying them out, but it also takes me about 15 minutes to perform the spread and another 20-35 minutes to write up the reading (after close examination and using my intuition to feel things out). So it can take me from 40-60 minutes to do a single tarot reading. I don’t think asking $25 an hour for that is all that unrealistic. Doing tarot readings does require intense focus and they tire me a bit, but where the real exhaustion comes in, is in Daemonolatry readings.

In Daemonolatry readings, it takes me about 5-10 minutes of meditation to make the initial connection needed. This is like being plugged into an electrical socket. Then, I go through and the Daemon and I share a conversation. I ask any questions I have, the person I’m reading for has, and the Daemon answers. I often ask for clarification as I go (taking notes). For the most part, when I connect, I’m connected for a minimum 1 hour per reading (sometimes a little longer). Add to that anywhere from a half to one hour to write it all up. When I’m done, I’m horribly exhausted and usually cannot function (anything mental) for about 6 hours afterward – which basically renders me useless and unable to write (which is my bread and butter) during that time. So ultimately – each Daemonolatry reading takes 8 hours of my time away from me, my job, and my family. At $25 – I was only making $3.13 per hour for my time lost on those.

My husband stepped in and told me that was unacceptable. If you know my husband you know that he rarely says anything or steps in unless he see’s that it’s having an adverse effect on me. He suggested that either I raised my rates to make it worth the time the readings took me away from family and work, or I needed to stop doing the readings all together. Many of my clients were upset when I suggested I was going to stop offering that particular reading and many of them told me they would be willing to pay more. So I raised the rate to $100 per reading, which comes out to about $12.50 an hour. It pays me for the 1-2 hours it takes me to do the reading, and it compensates me for the 6-7 hours I cannot function afterward. I also give 1 free follow up.

For the chart readings, it only takes me about 15 minutes to run the chart, start the email, and attach all the computer generated information to the email. But I spend anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours on the chart looking it over and writing up the information for the person the chart is for. So that comes out to around $25 an hour on those. It’s actually more profitable for me to do tarot and charts than it is Daemonolatry readings. Not to mention I always offer my clients the ability to ask questions about their reading results without asking for additional payment.

The reason I don’t do readings as my sole source of income is because they’re so damn exhausting. I only schedule readings on 2 days a week nowadays. It keeps it manageable and keeps me from over-doing it.

Do I do as many readings now that I charge more? No. Volume has dropped a bit. I only do anywhere from 2-6 readings a week now. However, this is a good thing for me and my clients and here’s why — I no longer have to do 4+ readings a day, thereby exhausting myself, and not getting any writing done. Also, I’m making at least $12.50 – $25 an hour which appeases (and helps feed) my family.  With me doing fewer readings each client is getting his/her own morning/afternoon/evening not shared with anyone else, which means I am focused on that person and no one else. Fewer readings per day also  =  clearer details, communication, and vision on my part.

So I am not sorry I started charging, I am not sorry that I raised my rates, and quite honestly – I am happy I’m not doing as many readings. I don’t mind doing them, just not to my own detriment.  🙂

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at swordarkeereon@gmail.com


  • Laura

    Your prices are your prices you shouldn’t have to explain to anyone why you charge what you do. If people aren’t willing to pay your prices then they can go else where but they won’t get you else where so it’s their loss. It took me a long time to get that through my thick head lol. After reading a few posts, on pricing, by the awesome Corrina Gordon-Barnes it finally sunk in.

    People will balk at paying £100 for something that will help them but will gladly spend the same amount on a night out or a ton of booze for Super Bowl party ( go Seahawks!!) sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.

  • Jen

    Steph – your prices are perfectly fair and very reasonable. I have seen other people, like those in African Traditional Religions, that charge much, much more for a reading that is not nearly as detailed as your readings. You can tell that you put care into your readings. I think a lot of readers out there just mechanically read the tarot or throw the bones, etc.

    • Steph

      Thanks Jen! I do. I get excited for my clients when good things happen and worried for them when bad things happen, and I’ve counseled them through difficult situations. In a lot of ways being a psychic medium sometimes becomes a job of counseling people. Maybe even life coaching to some degree. Yes, I’ve seen that, too.

  • Morgan Eckstein

    I gave up doing free readings for people because it was so exhausting–it wasn’t something that I could do for free anymore. The interesting part is that I discovered that people who had money were not willing to see the value in paid-for readings–if they had money, the more likely they were to try to get a free reading; and failing that, try to lowball me on the price. Poor people on the other hand, actually understood the value of a reading–and how ten dollars an hour was a reasonable price (this was couple of decades ago)–and were willingly if they could not find enough folding cash, to give me something of equal value. I did a lot of readings for excess government cheese and canned pork. Sure, one could argue that it was not money; but given the fact that I was also poor, food was as good as money. Today, I would not think about doing a reading for less than twenty-five dollars a hour.

  • Lacerti

    It’s good business sense. It’s all about supply and demand. Increasing the price reduced the demand, which is better for everyone. It’s less taxing on you, plus clients won’t be frustrated for waiting too long for their turn. As a bonus, you probably end up with a better quality of clientele. People who want everything for free tend to have an attitude of entitlement and can be difficult to deal with.

    This is a capitalist country. Capitalism means the money goes to those who’s services or products are in demand. I’ve seen artists who have also worked for free, until the day they realized that not everyone has their skills, which is why others ask them to do stuff for them. No different than a mechanic, a plumber, a lawyer or a doctor. They all get paid for the skills and experience they’ve acquired. Why should it be different for anything that doesn’t fall into a “traditional” career path?

  • Trish

    You are charging very, very low rates. I’m an astrologer/astrology teacher, as well as a tarot reader/teacher, shaman and psychic medium. I don’t do anything for less than $150 per hour.

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