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:

Writing Tips: How to Avoid Distractions

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

Budget for a Ghostwriter

Are you interested in writing a book, but don’t know where to start? Feel free to contact me for some advice. You can also browse my blog for some of my thoughts on the subject. One of your first steps will be to determine your budget for a ghostwriter. As you probably know, ghostwriters aren’t cheap.

How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?

Honestly, you’ll find that 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. I like to be very direct about this.

An experienced ghostwriters will charge somewhere between $25,000 to $125,000 to ghostwrite a book. I run $50,000 for a 200 page book. That’s about a dollar per word.

If you get a bid that falls far below this estimate, ask a lot of questions and get a lot of references before you hire that person.

Can a ghostwriter write a book for free?

One of the top questions I get is, “Can you write for free?” or “What if I offer to split the profits with you?” The answer is simply, “No.” 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 support their family without income.

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 expect to hire a dentist on a deferred basis to fix your teeth, hoping you might land a major film deal with those pearly whites?

I know that these examples are silly. But honestly, it’s a similar situation for a writer. If your book doesn’t sell, the writer won’t get paid for the months of work they did.

Consider writing a book proposal

If you have a limited budget, 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 about $10,000 and will include:

  • A table of contents
  • An outline
  • Your biography
  • Two sample chapters
  • A marketing analysis.

Choosing the right ghostwriter

When you budget for 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. Find out which one can really capture your voice.

Hire an editor

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. When you have a completed manuscript, you can hire an editor to help you polish it. 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. You’ll need 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, please email me and I can give you a quote, so you can budget for a ghostwriter. 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?