Pricing a Ghostwriter

Pictofigo_-_IdeaIf you are interested in writing a book, but don’t know where to start, one of your first steps will be pricing a ghostwriter. Our fees vary quite a bit from writer to writer. People often write in or call, wondering how much they can expect to spend to hire someone to write their book for them. It’s a good question!

One of the top questions I get is, “What if I offer to split the profits with you, could you write my book?” A professional writer will never accept these terms. It isn’t logical.

You might not realize it, but it takes 200 to 300 hours minimum to write a 200 to 300 page book (about 100 hours for 100 pages). Most likely your writer will need to interview you over the phone many times throughout the six to eight month period it takes to complete your project. Unless he or she is independently wealthy, they cannot afford to work for free. Would you ask a roofer to fix your roof for free in the hope that you might sell your home and be able to pay him? Would you hire a dentist on a deferred basis to fix your teeth, hoping you might land a major film deal? These examples sound silly, I know, but it is similar with writers. If your book doesn’t sell, the writer won’t get paid for the months of work they already put in.

If you don’t have a lot of money, but have a book idea you feel will sell well, you can always opt to write a book proposal and pitch it to agents and publishers. This is a much less expensive route to take. Then you can take the proceeds from the advance and hire a writer.

The cost of a book proposal should be between $5000 and $10,000 and will include: A table of contents, an outline, a bio, two sample chapters and a marketing analysis. Plus some writers have ins with agents and can help you find a home for your project.

When you are pricing a ghostwriter, you will want to treat the process like any other major purchase. Consider your bids and don’t always jump at the lowest one. Instead, interview each candidate and check their testimonials and experience. Ask for a few samples of their work and make sure their writing style matches your needs.

One good option I strongly suggest is that you hire a few writers to write a sample for you. Test them out and see which writer is best for you. Part of the assignment should include interviewing you, so that you can see how well they capture your voice.

If after reading this article, you realize that you really don’t have the money to hire someone to write a book, my suggestion is that you do your best to write it yourself. Then you can hire an editor to help you polish it a bit. Editors run four to ten cents per word, which is much less than a ghostwriter. Keep in mind though, that if you want your book rewritten, you are no longer looking to hire an editor, but are looking to hire a ghostwriter.

You can write a book yourself and sell it as an ebook. It can be any length and you can sell it for any amount. There are many options available for you, many ways to get your story out there.

If you think a ghostwriter is the way to go, give me a call and I can give you a quote and some free advice. All I need to know is your deadline, your story concept, and a few other details.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Writing a Book Proposal

Do you need help writing a book?

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

hiring a ghost writerBy far, the number one question I hear the most is, “How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?” It is also one of the most searched for questions on the net. I always like to address this upfront, so that people aren’t left wondering.

The answer to this question really depends upon a few factors:

  • What do you want written?
  • What is your deadline?
  • How long is the piece?
  • How much do you value the quality of the writing?

The cost to hire a ghostwriter fluctuates greatly from person to person, but I can promise you, you get what you pay for!

It’s a good idea to propose a trial when working with a ghostwriter for the first time. You will need to pay for the service, of course, but in the end you’ll own the rights to the piece and can use it anytime.

I charge a dollar per word to ghostwrite. In the trial phase I allow the client to pick the word count and charge accordingly. If someone is writing  their memoirs, I might select a story from their lives and write it for them. Some clients ask me to write an essay or a blog article. Those few pages give a new client a good idea of what he or she can expect. And it allows me to gauge what pricing will make sense for the whole project.

WARNING: A lowball offer to write your book can sound attractive, but it is dangerous. I have met a number of prospective clients who made “excellent” deals hoping to save money, only to find they had to spend a lot more to have everything re-written. It’s frustrating for them and frustrating to the ghostwriter who has to take over the project. The client is usually not a happy camper. Every now and then you can luck out and find a writer who doesn’t know their true worth, but for the most part, you will get poor writing when you pay cheap rates.

Writers for hire fall into three main categories: cheap writers, mid-range professional writers, and high-end celebrity writers. The following is the best detailed answer I can give about the cost to hire a ghostwriter to write a full-length book:

  • Cheap writers can be found who will write a 100 to 200 page book for as little as $2,000. If this is your budget (and you’re a gambler by nature), your best bet is to find a student new to the industry. Please be careful that he or she is actually writing your book and not plagiarizing another writer’s work.
  • Professional writers will usually charge between $12,000 and $90,000 to write a 100 to 300 page book. This price varies depending on the writer’s level of expertise and the amount of work required for the project.
  • High-end celebrity writers are usually hired by actors, politicians, musicians and other famous personalities who will sell books just by virtue of their name. The writers for these celebrities are well-established authors with a lot of experience. They can charge $150,000 to $750,000 for a book. Sometimes more.

Most people recognize that they would like a mid-ranged professional writer. It’s a reasonable budget range for most people. A lot of time, energy and hard work goes into writing a book. An excellent professional writer will often spend up to a year researching, writing and editing a book for you. If you’re paying a fraction of the usual price, you often get a fraction of the quality.

If you have questions and need help, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Hire a Ghostwriter to Record Your Family History for Future Generations

It’s Good Business to Write a Book!

Four Different Ghostwriting Methods

Eight Reasons Why You Should Write A Book

What You Need in a Ghostwriting Contract

What Is the Difference Between a Ghostwriter, an Editor, a Proofreader and a Publisher

 

“When my partner and I decided to write a book, we interviewed many ghost writers. Some were very inexpensive, while others were too pricey for our budget. Laura wasn’t the least expensive writer, but we chose her because she was so passionate about writing. Laura went above and beyond our expectations. I am very pleased with all her work and will continue to use her for my future writing needs.” Edwin Carrion