Frequently Asked Questions
Click on one of the following topics to read FAQ for that category.
The Ghostwriting Process
Questions about Laura the Friendly Ghostwriter
How much do you charge?
I charge a dollar per word to ghostwrite. This works out to $25,000 for a 100-page (25,000 word) book or $50,000 for a 200-page (50,000 word) book.
Article Discussion: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?
How do clients pay you?
I’m flexible about payments but have discovered that a milestone approach works best. The four milestones I use are:
- The completion of the outline
- The first half of the first draft
- The completion of the first draft
- The final manuscript
Because I use four milestones, I break up the payments into four equal parts. My policy is to be paid ahead of the writing. The first payment is sent at the signing of the contract, before the work starts. That is 25%. Then, when the outline and sample is completed and approved, the next 25% is sent. And so on.
For example: If your total price is $30,000, the compensation for each segment would be $7,500.
What is your minimum fee?
I have a minimum fee of $5,000 for a new client (which would cover a mini-eBook, children’s book or a few blog articles).
Do you ever work for deferred pay and split the profits of the sales?
Someone quoted me $2,000 to write my book. How can they charge so little?
Since professional ghostwriters typically charge twenty times more to write a full-length book, a bid of two thousand dollars doesn’t make much sense. Please be careful and do your due diligence before you hire one of these “affordable” writers. Often these low-rate writers will plagiarize material; after all, copying words doesn’t really take much time.
If their quote is way below market value, you probably won’t be happy with the result.
Article Discussion: Cheap Ghostwriters
The Ghostwriting Process
What is the ghostwriting process like?
Each project is unique because each client has different needs. However, almost always the process can be broken up into three phases:
- The Research Phase: It’s hard to write a book without all the information upfront, so I like to dive in and immerse myself in the content before I begin writing. Once I have everything I need, I’ll write up an outline for the client. This will act as our road map for the entire process.
- The First Draft Phase: Once the outline is approved, I’ll start on the first draft. As I write the book, I periodically send pages to the client, getting feedback and approval along the way. Not every ghostwriter works this way, but I find it works well. I wouldn’t want to finish the book only to realize I’d misunderstood a key element.
- The Editing Phase: After the first draft is approved by the client, I begin editing. I normally hire one or two editors to review the manuscript. The client is rarely involved in this stage as I would have already received all the feedback and comments in the previous phase.
Article Discussion: What to Expect When Hiring a Ghostwriter
How much time should I plan to spend each week with my ghostwriter?
Yes, there is a time commitment on the part of the author when he or she hires a ghostwriter. Plan to spend 2-3 hours a week reading, preparing notes, commenting, editing, talking on the phone, answering emails, etc. Most clients find the process rewarding.
What do I need to do before I hire a ghostwriter?
Nothing. It’s better to hire the ghostwriter first, then work with them to provide what they need. Otherwise, you might spend hours and hours on tasks that aren’t helpful. A professional writer will act as your guide for the project.
Article Discussion: What Do I Need to Start with a Ghostwriter?
How do you get the information needed to write a book for a client?
Usually I work off of notes provided by the client. Sometimes those notes run hundreds of pages, a bit like a very rough draft of the book. Although this rough draft needs to be completely rewritten, the notes are very helpful.
I also always do my own independent research and occasionally hire a team to help me gather information from various sources.
There are rare instances when a client doesn’t like to do research or write notes. In those cases, I will interview the client extensively over the phone.
How long does a ghostwriting project typically take to complete?
A book will take 8-18 months to complete. The amount of time required will depend upon on my schedule and the length of the book. I will always take the needs of the client into account and will be upfront about what I can do.
There are many times when I won’t be able to start immediately. However, I can usually begin to work with a client slowly (helping to gather notes, etc.) and commit to begin more intensively within three months.
What is in a ghostwriting contract?
It is vital to have a good, clear ghostwriting contract. That way you and your writer know what to expect, and there can’t be misunderstandings down the line. Basic clauses should include:
- A description of the book
- The proposed length in pages and word count
- The deadlines for the four milestones (see above)
- A confidentiality agreement
- A copyright agreement
- A delineation of the services provided by the ghostwriter to the author.
Article Discussion: What You Need in a Ghostwriting Contract
How long should my book be?
A full-length novel or memoir is typically 200-300 pages long. Or more accurately, it will be 50,000 – 75,000 words in length.
Shorter books can be any length. Some novelettes or memoirs are only 100 pages (25,000 words). Of course, small business books or short stories can be much shorter.
How many words are on a typical page?
I consider 250 words per page as an average, so a 200-page manuscript should run about 50,000 words.
Is ghostwriting ethical?
YES! I feel strongly that ghostwriting books for people is ethical (or I wouldn’t be in this line of work). The way I see it, I’m helping people achieve their dreams by getting their books written. If a person can’t write the book on their own, why not hire someone to help them?
Article Discussion: Is Ghostwriting Ethical?
Is it OK to fictionalize a memoir?
Yes, if you say that’s what you’re doing. All memoirs have embellishments, but the reader will expect the main story to be true if you say it’s true.
Article Discussion: Should I Fictionalize My Memoir?
How does a business book help a business owner?
A business book will help a business owner generate leads, then close them. This produces additional income. Being a published author also gives a certain credibility and fame to you and your business. After all, you will be able to say, “I wrote the book on that subject!”
Article Discussion: It’s Good Business to Write a Book!
Questions about Laura the Friendly Ghostwriter
Who typically hires you?
Over the last twenty years, I’ve worked with many different kinds of authors. I have found they generally fall into one of five categories:
- Business leaders
- Entrepreneurs with expertise in a particular field
- Family historians
- Fiction writers
- Memoir authors
Article Discussion: Who Typically Hires a Ghostwriter?
What genres do you ghostwrite?
I love writing most genres. I have written thirty memoirs, novels, how-to books and children’s books. Memoirs are hands down the most popular request, but I enjoy the diversity of working on multiple genres at the same time.
Having said that, I specialize in uplifting books that help, inspire, or teach others. I won’t take on depressing subjects that have no real purpose to help others.
Do you ghostwrite blog articles?
Yes, I have written a few hundred blog articles on a variety of subjects. I charge a dollar per word for these articles.
What do you look for in a client and project?
When a client writes or calls me, I interview them, while they interview me. One key factor for me is communication. Can I converse with them easily? If we don’t bond on some level within that first conversation, I know from experience that I’m not the best ghostwriter for them.
Personally, I will only write meaningful stories, with good, uplifting endings. There is plenty of bad news in the world; I don’t need to add to it. It’s very rewarding for me when a reader walks away from reading a book I wrote with a new positive outlook and fresh approach to life.
I love working with new authors but am very selective about the books I write and the people I work with. My clients become my partners for the period we work together; most become good friends. It’s a special relationship, one I cherish.
I want to write a book for my family to read. Can I still hire you?
Of course! I am often hired for that purpose. I love helping a family historian record their story for their children and children’s children. You can always self-publish it as well, but it’s wonderful to record the stories for your family history.
Article Discussion: Record Your Family History for Future Generations