How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

“I’d like to hire a ghostwriter! How much does it cost?”

I get this question a lot! Allow me to address the answer upfront. I mean, why hide the information and bury the pricing in a hard to find spot? No need to dance around the subject.

The cost to hire a ghostwriter really depends upon a few factors:

  • What is the subject matter?
  • What is your deadline?
  • How many words is the book?
  • How much do you value the quality of the writing?

The cost fluctuates greatly from writer to writer, but I can promise you: you get what you pay for!

A Trial Period

Propose a trial when deciding whether to hire a ghostwriter for the first time. Please plan to pay for the service. Don’t try to put together a book from a lot of samples written by various writers (yes, I’ve seen people try). If you pay for the piece, you’ll own the rights to it at the end and can use it anytime.

I charge a dollar per word to ghostwrite. In the trial phase, I allow my client to pick the word count then I charge accordingly. If someone is writing  their memoirs, I select a story from their past to write. 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 from our budding relationship.

A Little Warning

Have you received a lowball offer to write your book?

While that might sound attractive, but rarely works out for you in the end. I have met a number of prospective clients who made “excellent” deals hoping to save money, only to find they had to shell out a lot more cash to have everything re-written. It’s frustrating for them and the ghostwriter who has to take over the project. The client is usually not a happy camper.

Three Categories of Writer

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 (yes, that does happen).
  • Professional writers will usually charge between $15,000 and $125,000 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. I charge $50,000 for a 200 page (50,000 word) book.
  • 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.

What Is Right For You?

Most people recognize that they would like a mid-ranged professional writer. It’s a reasonable budget for most people looking to hire a ghostwriter. A lot of time, energy and hard work goes into writing a book, which accounts for the price tag. An excellent professional writer will often spend up to a year or two 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,  don’t hesitate to contact me! Check out my testimonial page to hear from my clients.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

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

A Writer’s Community

Eric Mertz, writer

Guest Blog by Erick Mertz

One of the most difficult things for writers to achieve is that sense of community. Yet, regardless of what “level” your writing practice may be, professional ghostwriter or newcomer, finding your tribe is critical to success.

Sure, writers are by nature solitary creatures. Often we write in quiet rooms with the door closed. If we’re lucky, our loved ones will  give us that necessary time, explaining to friends and family that, well, it’s just what they do.

It’s OK. They’re happy in there.

As writers, sure, we’re happy to have that solitude. It is a necessary element in the process of creating narrative art. Perhaps only the muffled din of a coffee shop can rival silence for the writer at work.

But as much as we require solitude while in the process of writing, creating a community with other writers is critical. Solitude gets that good writing down on the page, but a vibrant community, helps get the page out to the world.

Modern networking has allowed our sense of community to evolve beyond “in person” scenarios. Sure, in person handshakes are a part of it (and we’ll go into that in just a bit) but writers are no longer forced to mingle, body to body with their fellow scribes in stuffy hotels.

Here are three ways to effectively network with other writers.

Facebook Groups

Social media is a part of our lives, for better or worse. Logging into your Facebook or Instagram profile the most time efficient way to keep up with your Uncle in Austin who ties flies, as well as your close-but-not-too-close friends and how they’re getting by as members of their local PTA.

More and more, however, Facebook Groups are becoming the preferred way to network on the world’s biggest social media platform. These groups are great because they are laser focused on a single topic and, unlike the basic platform, are governed by administrators who make sure content stays on topic.

Tired of the political morass on your feed? Then joining a Facebook group around your specific writer niche is the way to go.

Also, what defines a “niche” is fairly broad. Just for me personally, I’m part of groups geared toward the professional ghostwriter, local feature writers, as well as my unique brand of paranormal mystery fiction.

If you can dream it up, there is probably a group in there for you.

Direct Contact

This may sound too obvious to believe, but it bears mentioning here. Writers and authors have websites or Facebook pages. On their sites are contact forms or buttons to send emails.

If you like someone’s writing or have something in common in the terms of subject matter, contact them. Send an email. Fill out the form. I’m amazed at how many times I meet people in person and they tell me they were on my site and they shyly defer, saying they weren’t sure about sending an email.

Send the email… Writers may be (largely) introverted, but that just means that they are probably sitting there, on the other side of the computer, waiting for an email to come through. So many of my professional and personal writing connections have come from simply sending a cold email. Many of the companies I work with as a ghostwriter, as well as colleagues in the mystery-writing world, all came by reaching out.

Direct contact has always worked and will continue to for the rest of time. Regardless of how big and nuanced the digital wall becomes, people are always going to feel good about someone reaching out to say hello.

Writers Conferences

All right, you caught me.

I know, I know, I started this blog out by saying you didn’t have to go out and rub elbows. And you don’t, I promise…

But, if you’re feeling up to really going for it, I highly recommend the writer’s conference experience.

People tell me I’m an extrovert – I’m not. But when I get around a room full of writers, another side of me comes to life.

Other writers are, for me, a genuine source of inspiration. Everyone has a unique project they’re working on and are passionate about taking to another level. In that, you automatically have something in common.

I could write another half-dozen blogs (and have on my website) but I firmly believe that the writer’s conference experience is a little slice of heaven. There is nowhere better I can think of to go and eat mediocre hotel catering, catch classes on niche topics in your specific medium and meet other writers.

What makes the writers conference environment so helpful for me is that you get a chance to see writers of all stripes. You meet everyone from those just starting out, all the way up to authors at the top of their game.

It assures you of where you are and gives you something to aspire to.

Most importantly though, you get to meet a lot of very cool people. By the end of the weekend, my pockets are always stuffed with business cards of new contacts, connections and friends.

And, yes, at the end of it all, I get to close the door all over again.

Erick Mertz is a ghostwriter and editor living in Portland, Oregon. When he is not writing manuscripts for other clients, he enjoys cooking, spending time with his family and writing the paranormal mystery series, The Strange Air.

How to Write a Prescriptive Nonfiction Book

Prescriptive nonfiction is basically a how-to book that gives someone direction or information on a subject. It does not tell a story. Instead, it helps readers understand about an area of life. Readers wishing to improve a skill or educate themselves on a topic would reach for a prescriptive nonfiction book.

Should you write a prescriptive nonfiction book?

To answer that question, I’d like to ask a few more:

  • Have you developed a niche area of expertise?
  • Do you have specialized knowledge in a particular field?
  • Is your way of doing things better than the norm?
  • Would someone be able to do a task better and more efficiently by using your method?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you should consider writing a prescriptive nonfiction book to share your knowledge with others.

Define your terms

Being an expert in your niche area, you probably are fluent in the language of the field. Remember, though, that your reader is probably a novice. Can you think of a time when you were surrounded by people speaking a language you didn’t know? If so, you probably felt left out. That’s not an enjoyable experience.

To prevent that in your book, make sure to define all the industry terms you use. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that people will be impressed with your liberal sprinkling of hard-to-understand technical words throughout the manuscript. The goal is to teach; the goal is to be understood. Keep it simple, so that everyone can understand.

Start with an outline

Start with an outline. Get the key principles out of your head and onto paper. I like to bullet-point the important topics, only jotting down a few notes at this stage. This outline will later form the table of contents of your prescriptive nonfiction book.

Next, take each important point and expand on it. Don’t write out the entire chapter now, but rather, express your thoughts in a few paragraphs of prose. Create further bullet points which will serve as your subheadings.

Add personal stories 

While your readers have picked up your prescriptive nonfiction book to learn more about a subject, they still want to be entertained. No one enjoys dry text.

Your readers will want to hear your stories and anecdotes that complement the lessons. When you’re outlining, add a few lines to jog your memory about these stories. 

Include practical exercises

Very few people can absorb information without trying it out. Add in a few practical exercises for your readers. It’s a good idea to get people out of the mode of just reading and put them into action. Make the assignments simple and easy to follow. The goal should be that they can accomplish a task and feel they can do it again and again. The last thing you want to do is frustrate your reader.

Starting your first draft

When you have your detailed outline worked out, start on one chapter. This can be any chapter; you don’t need to start at the beginning of your book. I suggest starting with your favorite section, one you know very well. You’ll gain confidence that way.

Continue to write each chapter, in any order that you like. You might find it helpful to start at the beginning, now that you’ve gotten your feet wet.

Don’t edit as you write. Just let the words flow onto the pages.

As you progress through your first draft, you’ll most likely think of other things to include in other parts of your book. Simply add them into the detailed outline; don’t stop midway to write that new segment. Finish the chapter that you’re on.

Final steps

When you complete your first draft, review it all and make sure it flows. Take out any repetitions.

If you are self-publishing, your prescriptive nonfiction book can really be any length. Having said that, be sure to cover your topic thoroughly. When you’re done, I highly recommend that you hire an editor to polish your manuscript and fix any typos.

Please understand that every writer needs an editor. We all make errors, which are hard for us to see because we’re too close to the piece.

Share your knowledge in your niche area of expertise with others. You’ll feel great when people write in to thank you! And if you need some help writing your book, please email me. I’d love to help you write your prescriptive nonfiction book.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Seven Tips For Writing A Great Memoir

Why Should I Hire a Ghostwriter?

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

Working With A Ghostwriter – What Steps Should You Take?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Guerrilla Marketing for a First-time Author

A first-time author needs to roll up their sleeves and get creative in order to sell copies of their book. Let’s start with guerrilla marketing as an approach.

What is guerrilla marketing?

Simply put, guerrilla marketing is a low-cost way to promote, which relies on creativity and ingenuity rather than large amounts of cash.

When you’re a first-time author, you probably don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to throw at marketing and promotion. Am I right? However, you must get the word out about your book, if you want to sell copies. That’s where guerrilla marketing comes in.

Many people seem to have the misconception that if you write a good book, it will sell on its own. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. These days, authors must sell their books. Even if you have a traditional publisher, they will expect you to have a killer marketing plan. And if you self-publish, your book will die on the vine if you just put it up on Amazon and hope for the best.

As a first-time author, you will need to find some simple, free ways to promote your book. Sure, you can always throw money at the problem, but let’s start with guerrilla marketing. Keep in mind these tips aren’t a complete marketing system by any means; rather, they are suggestions to get you started so that you can reach readers and make yourself known. The rest is up to you!

Know your reader

Before you begin to promote your book, you must know your reader. Who are the people you want to pick up and read your book? Take the time to consider your market.

Define this demographic as precisely as you can. Then brainstorm ideas about how to reach them. There really is no cookie-cutter plan when it comes to guerrilla marketing your book. Remember, you’re substituting brilliant creativity for cash.

For instance, if you’re promoting a sci-fi book, why not create bookmarks featuring your book and hand them out at the next sci-fi convention? You could also create a T-shirt with your book’s title on it, along with a catchy tag line.

The World Wide Web Is Yours

Many of us spend a good portion of the day online. This is where we shop, find information and just hang out. Reaching people online is a vital part of any promotional strategy. But be warned: Nobody likes to be harangued into buying books. It’s annoying. Instead, become engaged with the folks who share your interests. Become a vibrant, vital part of the community you join. As you establish yourself as an expert in your field, others will take notice and naturally become interested in what you have to offer.

I recommend using these tools to promote your book:

  1. Author Website – Every first-time author needs their own website. This is your “virtual home” where your readers (and future readers) will come to find out all about you and your books. I highly recommend avoiding the free websites and splurging for your own domain name. It looks more professional.
  2. Blog – Your author website needs a blog. Write content that is relevant to your audience, sharing your expertise, viewpoints and experiences. Plan to post once or twice a week. In addition, exchange guest blogs with another author. It will help you both.
  3. Facebook – Set up a personal page and a separate author page for your book. You can share content between the two, but you should not flood your personal page with a lot of book announcements. Also, consider starting or joining Facebook groups that relate to your book topic or genre.
  4. YouTube – Book trailers are a key part of any marketing plan these days. They should be short and sweet and, of course, very catchy. Check out mine for Chess Is Child’s Play. If you get lucky, it might just go semi-viral. If you have a non-fiction book, consider also creating a how-to video series related to your book’s content. Be creative in sharing your expertise. And don’t forget to include links to where viewers can purchase your book.
  5. Other social media platforms – Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are three other key websites you might explore. Each has their own style and purpose. Engage with the ones you like best. It will be more fun for you, and you’ll probably be more authentic on the platforms you enjoy.

Get reviews

Feedback from readers is one of the cornerstones of any marketing plan for first-time authors or even experienced writers. Amazon and Goodreads are two important platforms to collect reviews.

Always offer a no-strings-attached free book to any reviewer. Keep in mind that not everyone will follow through, so budget accordingly. But never be stingy with the number of books that you’re willing to send. Also, be sure to give people time to properly review your book. Don’t rush them. Having said that, you can politely request that they let you know when they can schedule time to read and review your book. That gives you some leeway to tactfully nudge the process along.

Marketing for Chess Is Child's Play

In addition, consider requesting reviews from popular bloggers. Those can be harder to get, but they are invaluable. Find people who would appeal to your target readership. For instance, to promote Chess Is Child’s Play (a book which instructs parents how to teach their young children chess), I approached parent bloggers as well as chess enthusiasts, as these were two of my key target readers. Sometimes readers would send me photos featuring my book (see photo above from the West Pasco Chess Club).

In-Person Promotional Activities

While many of us are learning to master online avenues for reaching our audience, the tried and true promotional activities are still effective. Honestly, nothing beats the thrill of live interaction. Here, again, your emphasis should be on establishing relationships and helping others; don’t just peddle your books. And whatever you do, don’t just go to friends and family and beg that they buy a copy of your book. That’s always an uncomfortable approach.

Instead consider these ideas:

  1. Hold readings and book signings – Your local bookstore is likely to set up a table for you one Saturday, even if you’re a first-time author. In addition, libraries are often game. However, think outside the bookstore and consider setting up a table where your readers might be hanging out. Get creative!
  2. Teach classes – There are many venues that would appreciate hearing you share your expertise. Again, go where your readers are and offer your advice for free. If they like what you have to say, they will probably pick up your book.
  3. Partner with other writers – It’s a well-known business axiom that businesses do better when they are positioned together. That’s why you often see a Coffee Bean near a Starbucks or a Papa John’s near a Pizza Hut. As an author, you can apply the same principle and join forces with other authors to market your books together. Besides, you might find the process more enjoyable.
  4. Attend events – Go to any event where you might find people who are interested in the topic of your book: conventions, craft fairs, business networking meetings, vendor fairs, etc. Connect with others, share with them, maybe even bring along some copies of your book and hand them out. You never know what these connections might lead to.

Of course, these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg for a first-time author. Keep your eyes and ears open for any and all opportunities to share your expertise and your story with others. Be genuine and focus on helping people and book sales will naturally follow.  I’d love to hear your guerrilla marketing ideas in the comment section below!

Here are a few other articles you might enjoy reading:

Need a Ghostwriter?

Ask a Ghostwriter: What about Character Development?

Do You Need Help Writing A Book?

Four Common Memoir Mistakes

Memoirs are a very popular genre in literature. We all love to step into the shoes of another person and learn about their world for a few hours. Memoirs allow us to delve deeply into the lives of people who have overcome incredible odds to be successful in some facet of life, fought an illness or acted as a caregiver, or lived through an extraordinary event. Through this medium, readers can learn so much about others and themselves. However, first-time authors can sometimes fall into pitfalls and make some basic memoir mistakes. Don’t worry, they are easy to sidestep.

Error 1: Focusing on the trivial rather than the big picture

When you write your memoir, you aren’t producing a laundry list of everything that happened to you. Don’t write about your meals or share other mundane details of your life. These would be high on the list of memoir mistakes. Toss most of the trivia and focus on the big picture, which would be the themes or main messages of your book.

Before you begin writing your memoir, ask yourself, “What can the reader gain from reading about my life experiences?” You might need to dig deep and really mine for the gold that’s there. The lessons you learned will form the backbone of your book and help you develop your themes.

Some popular memoir themes you may have seen:
  • Hard work pays off
  • Self-pity gets you nowhere
  • A positive outlook helps you attain your goals
  • Change can be a good thing
  • Life is too short not to forgive

Once you’ve determined what your book’s themes are, you choose the incidents that illustrate these ideas for your readers. Of course, you wouldn’t want to come out and say, “Hey reader, you should realize that being a parent is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever have!” Instead, show them how you’ve raised your children. Chronicle the journey you took and describe the sacrifices you made. Share the blunders and the successes. They’ll get the message!

Error 2: Covering your entire life rather than focusing on a specific time period

A typical memoir mistake for new authors is to try to start with birth and move forward chronologically. Remember, you’re not writing a school essay or an autobiography. You’re writing a memoir, which should be an intimate excursion into the author’s relationships, memories, and raw emotions. A memoir is usually just a slice of life, not the whole pie. For that reason, it often focuses on a certain period, one that would fascinate readers and teach them about something new.

Now, it’s worth noting that a memoir is usually not written in diary form. Journaling can be a wonderful and beautiful expression of one’s deepest thoughts, but it usually doesn’t translate directly into a book. For one thing, the target reader of a diary is, well, you; a memoir is written for others to read. However, as a professional ghostwriter, I can tell you that diaries are an excellent source for details when I write a memoir for a client.

Error 3: Not considering the feelings of the real people mentioned in your book

I always advise authors not to use a memoir as an excuse to get back at someone. Writing a book for revenge is very sharp-edged, and can do permanent damage. Plus, you open yourself up to lawsuits.

Obviously, you can’t avoid discussing the lives of the people around you when you write a memoir. However, you can make minor changes that go a long way to conceal the true identities of the characters in your book. For instance, you can change the name of the grouchy neighbor or maybe make the schoolteacher a brunette instead of a blond.

The safest approach is to ask all your friends and relatives who are featured in your book to sign a release. You can find examples of a legal release online. If anyone refuses to sign, it might be best to leave them out of your memoir.

Error 4: Writing for every reader rather than settling on a demographic

A common memoir mistake is to write for “everyone.” You need to determine who your reader is before you even outline your book. You need to pinpoint a demographic and write to them. The more specific you can get, the better.

Some examples of specific target audiences for a book:
  • Teenage boys who are addicted to video games
  • Medical professionals who are open to holistic cures
  • Parents who have lost a child to cancer
  • Fans of Star Trek

Memoirs are an important part of the literary world. They offer a peek into the soul of another individual. Avoid the common memoir mistakes and you might just make a difference in someone’s life. Enjoy the journey!

Ask a Ghostwriter: How Do I Start Writing a Book?

Dear Friendly Ghostwriter, I have an amazing story to tell, but don’t know how to start writing a book now. I have so many things all jumbled up in my head and I don’t know how to get it out on paper. Help! -Art M.

Dear Art M.,

When I received your question, I did a little search on the internet: “How do you start writing a book?” I was curious to see what other writers had to say. Up popped a dozen articles that made the process seem ridiculously easy. In my opinion, these articles pain a false picture; writing a book is far from easy and you’re not the only one to have difficulties in this area! So, I don’t want to answer your question with a cookie-cutter twelve-step to-do list; instead, I would like to give you some broad-stroke advice.

Make a list

A movie is made up of hundreds of scenes. These flow together to tell the story. With a book, these scenes can be better described as incidents. Basically, think of these incidents as the things that will happen to your characters (or if you’re writing a memoir, they are the experiences that have happened to you).

Some people like to make flashcards. They write the individual incidents out onto three-by-five-inch cards and put them into the order they think will work best. I prefer to open a word doc and write out the incidents there. I don’t number them, but just get them out of my head in the simplest way possible. For example, it might look like this:

Incident: Bob discusses breaking up with Mary in a coffee shop.

Incident: Terry says good-bye to her parents before entering her new college dorm for the first time.

It just needs to have enough information to jog your memory when you create a more complete outline later on. Don’t worry about putting the incidents in any order. You’re just trying to get the information out of your head and onto the paper (or computer document). It simply is a list of what happens.

Note: Some incidents might be super short. That’s fine!

Give each incident a time stamp

Photo by Mohammed Fkriy on Unsplash

You should end up with dozens of incidents (perhaps even hundreds). Next, go through and give each incident a time stamp, which tells you when it took place. Some timestamps might be simply a month and year. For example:

Incident: Sam starts high school: September 1979.

Incident: George gets a job at Mercury, Inc.: May 1983

Sometimes, the time of the incident will be relevant. In that case, be as specific as you can. If you know the exact date, mark that down. For instance:

Incident: Bernice gives birth to her daughter: June 17, 1988, 4:30am.

Incident: Lonny graduates high school: May 25, 1999, early afternoon.

Again, these are notes for you. Don’t get bogged down. If you don’t the exact date, just put in the year.

Put the incidents in order

Now that you have the time stamps, you can put the incidents in chronological order. It’s possible that some incidents will serve as a flashback. If you know that will be the case, you can group them after the appropriate incident. For example:

Incident: Joe waits for Sally at their favorite park bench: September 2002.

Incident: Flashback: Joe and Sally share their first kiss on the bench: August 1994.

Flesh out your incidents

Now that you have all your incidents in order, it’s time to drill down and examine each one. I find it helpful to use a kind of journalistic approach with each incident.

Here are some questions you can answer:

  • Who is in the incident? (Name all the characters, even minor players.)
  • Where does it take place? (Be as specific as you can.)
  • When does it happen?
  • Describe what occurs (very briefly)
  • What is the purpose of this incident? (Why should it be included?)

You might have other points to mention, but it is important to keep it very brief. Don’t indulge in lengthy descriptions. It’s not time to start writing your book quite yet. For one thing, some of these incidents might not make the cut!

Note: The most important element on this list is the last one—the purpose. You must have a strong purpose for including this incident in your book. If you can’t come up with one, cut the incident immediately.

If you feel inspired to write a scene from this list, go for it. You might need to rewrite it later, but that’s OK. I understand the need to get the ideas/images out of your head! Sometimes I just write a few notes under the incident description. This helps me free up my attention and move on to the next incident on the list.

The next step

After you finish creating your master list of incidents, you want to make sure they flow one into the next. Once you have them all in sequential order and you’ve weeded out ones that don’t fit or have a real purpose, take a step back and review it. Read the list over a few times to make sure it works for you. This is one way to create an outline. If you want to change the format, it will be easy to do so, because you now have all the information you’ll need.

You may just find that the book is pretty much written! Yes, it’s still in your head and you’ll need to write the 50,000 (or so) words, but now you know where you’re going.

The incident list is a great tool to help you sort out the ideas that are jumbled in your head. And it will act as mile markers for you on your journey, helping you make sure that you’ve included all the important occurrences and events. It’s much easier to start writing a book if you have a well-laid plan. Enjoy the process!

As you begin your new adventure, you might find yourself hitting a few distractions. If you’d like some tips on how to avoid these, read my article on the subject. And, of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me!

Need a Ghostwriter?

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Do you have a great idea for a book and want to make that dream a reality? Maybe you need a ghostwriter!

I know quite a few people who spend a lot of time tossing around book ideas. They plan to write it themselves, but for one reason or another they have trouble getting started. Does this sound familiar?

When to hire a ghostwriter

Maybe you don’t have the time or the discipline. Perhaps you’re not a huge fan of research. Or maybe you just plain don’t enjoy writing. Whatever the stumbling block, it doesn’t have to keep you from finishing your book. A ghostwriter can help you take your idea from conception to fruition.

Here is a handy checklist to help guide you through the steps of hiring a ghostwriter:

Decide on your budget

Before you begin searching for a writer, it’s a good idea to determine your budget. What can you comfortably afford? Don’t go into debt when hiring a ghostwriter.

Pricing for ghostwriting can span a broad range. You should know that you will get what you pay for. Some ghostwriters advertise extremely low rates, but if you’re interested in producing a high-quality book, written by an experienced author, you’ll need to pay them what they are worth.

Be ready to answer basic questions

Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

In order to get a bid from a ghostwriter, you need to be able to answer various questions. A ghostwriter will need to know:

  • How many words your book will be
  • If you’re self-publishing
  • Your deadline
  • The general subject matter or genre of the book.

It’s also wise to ask your prospective ghostwriter about their fee before you get too far in the conversation. There is no sense in pouring out your heart and story, only to learn that the writer is way out of your price range. It’s worth noting that most ghostwriters share their price on their website.

Find a good fit

It’s a good idea to do a little homework on a ghostwriter before you interview them. Start with their testimonial page. After all, it’s more important to read what others say about them than what they say about themselves. Also, review their writing samples to see if you like their style.

Once you’ve determined that they have the experience and writing expertise, It’s important to find someone who you will mesh well with throughout the ghostwriting process. Writing a book is a financial investment, but also an endeavor of the heart; there is a balance.

Pay your first installment and get started

Once you have made your momentous decision, plan to make the first payment and sign the ghostwriting contract so you begin working on the project. These will be required by any professional writer. Don’t wait too long to make your decision. If you love a writer and know you want to hire them, don’t dawdle, because the more popular ghostwriters will get booked quickly.

Plan the time to work with your ghostwriter

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

As your project unfolds, it’s important to answer your writer’s emails and phone messages promptly. After all, you and your ghostwriters are partners in this project. Your ghost needs you, assisting them to achieve your goals. For that reason, don’t allow too much time to go by without communication.

When I work with a client I love to shoot emails back and forth throughout the week. I also find myself picking up the phone to talk to him or her at least once a month.

Create a marketing plan

Writing the book is certainly the foundation of your project, but make sure you have strategies in place for marketing your book once it’s published. It’s a good idea to create an author’s website and start blogging before the book is released. Also, be active on social media and connect with your readers. It’s never too early to think about marketing.

With a great book idea, a little bit of help, and a lot of preparation, your book can become a reality! If you realize that you need a ghostwriter, please email me and let me know how I can help!

Progressing as a Writer

Guest blog by Dan Sherman

Few things can match the satisfaction a writer feels at capturing, in words, their mind’s vision. Even the description of an actual place or event gives a kind of permanent record through which the author’s style and insight shines through.

For these reasons, and perhaps as many others as there are writers, a great many of us find pleasure in writing. Some will simply record daily events to keep the juices flowing, but most who partake in this endeavor have gripping stories to tell. The stories may be short or long and of any genre, fiction or non-fiction. All the same, each tale is told in the unique voice of the author.

Unfortunately, many writers never pursue their craft. Some might make an initial stab, but wind up shelving it, unsure how to proceed. How many writers have the intention to “get back to it at some point? Sadly, they can put this wonderful endeavor off until retirement, or forever.

So, how does one walk down the road as a writer? If you follow the path I give, you will both develop your craft and have a body of finished work to show for it.

Determine your medium

For some writers, determining their medium is a simple matter. They always think in terms of a grand plot that will take at least a couple hundred pages to give its due; or the reverse, of shorter and separate plots, each its own work. A specific genre, such as action or mystery, may even be preferred.

The purpose here is not to limit you. If you look over the careers of your favorite authors, very few novelists do not have at least one collection of short stories, and the best short story writers have tried their hand at full-length work. And who is to say that a novel would not also make a good theatrical play or a good screenplay, or vice versa?

No, the purpose here is to get started. Examine your ideas. Choose the vehicle that best places them on the written page. Be sure you are familiar with the medium you select – an old-fashioned trip to the library brings one to the best teachers, whether of novels, short stories, screenplays, etc.

Outline a project

Depending on your project’s length, and depending on your own style, your outline will vary in length and maybe format. At the very least, it is important that you delineate what will happen in each chapter or section of a book. This will remind you what to include as you write, as well as guide you on your path of the plot.

With short stories, treat each as you would a full-length novel, even if you wish to complete a good many. Give each one its own heading in your outline, along with any notes you think necessary.

There is no need to follow a formal structure, as the outline is a communication from you, to you. You just need to draw your road map, so that you can write your book without interruption.

Complete your writing project

This advice may seem comical in its apparent simplicity. Now, we’ve hit the pen to the paper phase. This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say. There’s no way around it, you need to convert your idea into words; it’s the great make-break moment for any writer. Have no fear though. You have your outline, your vision for the course your story will take.

If you find you never have the time to complete your book or you struggle to make productive use of the time you allot, please refer my wife’s article, Writing Tips: How to Avoid Distractions. She gives a lot of good advice on how to keep on a steady path.

The bottom line is that you’ll need to sort out your own ways of handling challenges you encounter. Under what circumstances do you produce the most? When you find yourself getting stuck, what frees your mind up and gets you rolling again? Those will be your go-to strategies.

Continue with the project you have outlined until you are finished. If you must change elements of the plot as you proceed, or even find you must go back to alter some earlier portion, do so. Just limit these impulses as much as possible. Remember, the goal is to have a completed product.

Where to go next

Once you complete your first draft, you will feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Many experience a huge feeling of being unburdened. Save editing for a later time; give yourself time to enjoy the moment: you’ve completed your first book! The process you just went through of developing a plot, creating and resolving a conflict, and describing your ideas in words, has improved you as a writer. No dissertation on the subject can substitute. After a week or two, take the time to review the manuscript for edits and begin that whole process.

When you have completed your book, I’m sure you’ll have a few new projects ready to consider. Every step, from the initial spark of inspiration to the final written word, will become more grooved in with experience. You are well on the path to creating a good body of personal work.

Dan Sherman has been a ghostwriter for two decades. He specializes in fiction and memoirs. He welcomes emails from all his readers.

Help! Help! I Need Help Writing a Book!

help writing a bookMany aspiring writers need help writing a book.  For first-time authors the task of writing two hundred pages can seem mammoth. It’s always much harder than it appeared when they first started the project.

Actually, this can be true for well-educated and talented writers, as well as novices.

Writing experience is key

The process of writing a book is not really taught in school. If you talk to seasoned writers, you’ll find they uniformly say they learned their craft from experience. It comes from reading and writing and reading and writing and…(you get the picture.)

So, if you want to write your first book, what do you do?

One option is to hire a writing coach, who will charge by the hour to assist you in organizing your thoughts and ideas and getting through the mental blocks that are stopping you from making forward progress. This is a great solution for writers who are doing well overall, but just need an occasional helping hand.

Hire a friendly ghostwriter

If you are having great difficulties and it seems like you may not be up to the task of writing your book at all, consider hiring a professional writer, a friendly ghostwriter like me, to help you.  If you’re an excellent storyteller, who lacks the writing expertise to get your story into book form, your ghostwriter will get the job done.

On the other hand, if you are one of those talented writers who just needs a little help, the ghostwriter’s minor rewrites and editing skills will be invaluable in making your dream a reality.

A professional ghostwriter will help troubleshoot your book and work out the kinks.  For instance, he or she can assist you with character development and story line. You can do the majority of the writing yourself or leave most of it to your writer, depending on what your goals are for your book.

It isn’t cheating

Some feel that it’s cheating to hire someone to write a book for them. After all their name will be on the cover right? How can that be ethical to take credit, if someone else wrote the book for them? Although I understand the concern, let me assure you, it’s done all the time. It’s an accepted practice. After all, it’s your idea and really should be your book.

Having an experienced professional to help guide you through the book writing process will help you grow as a writer. It will give you an experience boost that will carry through to your second and third book. Your next literary adventure won’t be fraught with the perils of inexperience. You will have traveled these waters already.

Please feel free to reach out to me anytime. I’m here to help!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Seven Tips For Writing A Great Memoir

Hiring a ghostwriter

Should I Write and Publish My Memoirs

Four Different Ghostwriting Methods

 

Should I Fictionalize My Memoir?

cartoon my life“I’ve been told by many friends that I should write a book!”

Does this sound familiar?

Most of the ghostwriting requests I get are from people who want to share their life story. It’s definitely a good indication if many people are pushing you in that direction.

At some stage in the process a person consider writing a book will decide it’s time to pick up the phone and ask for advice from a professional.

Fictionalizing your life story

Once a person has decided to write their memoir, one of the first questions they face is, “Can I fictionalize a memoir?”

That’s a good question! And as you might guess, the answer really depends on you and your project.

I will say that it’s always more appealing to readers to learn that a story is completely true (unaltered). Readers love stepping into the author’s shoes for that brief moment of their life. However, there are reasons why you might not be able to stick to the complete truth.

When you should fictionalize a memoir?

Are you in the middle of this internal debate? If so, here are a few reasons why you might choose to fictionalize your memoir:

  1. Bluntly, your story just isn’t interesting enough. I tend to be rather straightforward, so I apologize if I’ve offended you. It’s just that there are stories that are fascinating and others which might make a good short story, or as a fellow ghostwriter and good friend of mine would say, “That sounds like a newspaper article!” If you need to add some content and pizzazz, consider turning your book into a novel that’s just based on your life story.
  2. You’d really like to add in a space ship or two. There are times when you might like to alter history a bit. Most fictionalized memoirs don’t enter the realm of science fiction, but there might be a few tales you wish to add to your story, which never really happened.
  3. Your family would never speak to you again if you aired your dirty laundry. It’s easy to disguise most people’s identities in your book by simply using an alias. It is common to change names, or even just use Dr. Q. instead of Dr. Quincy, to protect the identity of a character. However, your brother is your brother and there is no way to get around that. Your family is more than likely to know whom you’re talking about if you discuss your brother, as they know him just as well as you do.
  4. You’re a stickler for details and it’s all just overwhelming. Most people fudge the facts a bit in a memoir, not worrying if Grand Central Station was truly crowded on Christmas Eve back in 1965. It’s hard to remember such a minor detail and the small handful of people that do probably won’t make a ruckus if you get it wrong. Still, if some of these facts are important to you and you don’t want to worry about getting them all correct, why not turn your memoir into a novel?

Of course, in the end the decision to fictionalize your memoir is up to you. If you have a fascinating story, one that works as is, keep it nonfiction. When you can keep the real timeline in tact and still have a fascinating story, it’s the best course of action.

Still unsure? Feel free to give me a email me if you need a sounding board!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Seven Tips For Writing A Great Memoir

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

Working With A Ghostwriter – What Steps Should You Take?

So, How Does Ghostwriting Work, Anyway?

You are the author

I get a few emails a month asking how the standard ghostwriting arrangement works. While there are some commonalities, the truth is, no true two projects are alike, because no two clients are the same. There really isn’t a “standard ghostwriting” deal.

How to present your notes to a ghostwriter

Different clients present me with notes in different ways. Some clients will drop 60,000 words in my lap and ask me to write a book. Others will give me a rough concept of a story or nonfiction book and let me “have at it.”

Which do I prefer?

I love both!

Both also offer their own challenges. The first option gives me a wealth of information and I begin the project with a good idea of what the client wants. I always still need to do extensive research in order to fill in gaps and be sure I have a complete understanding of the material, but with a good set of notes a lot of the initial homework has been done.

The second option gives me complete creative freedom, and, I’ll admit, there’s something very appealing about that!

Either way, I’ll need to write the actual book from scratch, as the notes need to be sculpted into the proper form required for a memoir, novel, or business book. Sometimes the notes are presented to me as a manuscript, but it’s rare that a simple edit will turn it into a book.

Cost of hiring a ghostwriter

My cost is very straightforward and easy to calculate. I charge a dollar per word for standard ghostwriting (for either method discussed above). So, a 200-300-page book, which would be 50,000 – 75,000 words, would run $50,000 – $75,000. I’m flexible on the payment plan but would need to be paid before I begin the work. Please email me for specific details on how you and I could work together.

The time I need to complete a book

The standard ghostwriting contract gives me eight to eighteen months to complete a full-length book project. Even a short, 100-page book, requires a lot of research. It’s rare that I can commit to completing even a mini-eBook in under a half a year. However, if that is important to you, I can sometimes move things around; however, in that case, the price would need to be adjusted.

Sometimes a client will ask me to write a book in a few months. I can do that, but I pretty much have to drop everything, kiss my husband and children goodbye, and rent a cabin in the woods to get it done. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but there is a nugget of truth to my hyperbole.

The time required by the client

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Some authors are happy to sit back and let me write their book with little input, while others prefer to see the pages unfold and comment on them regularly. I will never just take a client’s money and write the entire book on my own in a vacuum. That is a recipe for disaster, on many levels. After all, their name will be on the cover and my client will need to answer for each and every word.

The first thing I do is outline the story and run it by the client. Once they sign off on the summary or outline, I begin writing the chapters of the book. During the early stages, I’ll send a few pages at a time for them to review. Then, as we really establish the style and voice, I’ll send larger chunks.

So, as you can see, every author does need to be somewhat involved in the project. My clients should plan to spend a couple hours a week on average answering emails. The feedback they provide doesn’t need to be polished. Many clients use speech recognition software, so they can send me notes on the road or from their balcony as they sip Chardonnay. Punctuation and spelling don’t matter, as long as I can understand the message.

A fast turnaround time by my clients helps me complete the project faster.

One of the things I love about ghostwriting is that I get to work with many different people on many different projects. Each relationship is truly unique, and the process is always fun and challenging!