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I ask up front what they're offering, and if they fire it back to me as a "How much do you want?" then I give a reasonable, but highball figure for my position.
If they want you and can pay your high estimate of yourself then they'll pay it.
If they want you but can't pay your high estimate of yourself then they'll tell you what they can offer and you negotiate.
Otherwise they either don't want you enough or they're foolish.
I've never had a correspondence for potential work die because I asked for too much, and I've never been turned away for asking what they are looking to pay.