A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

 “What is a ghostwriter’s fee?”

A ghostwriter’s fee is a hot topic! There seems to be a mystery about the subject, so I thought I’d tackle it for you, upfront, head on, so that you can be armed with knowledge before reaching out to talk to a ghostwriter.

If you’d like a more specific breakdown on fees for ghostwriting a book, please read my article on the subject.

This article will highlight how a ghostwriter’s fee can be calculated. There are a few ways and it depends on the project, but here are the most popular methods:

Hourly

When I began ghostwriting about twenty years ago, I charged by the hour. However, I quickly realized this wasn’t terribly practical for a freelance writer. Most clients want to know how much a book will cost to write; they don’t want an open-ended quote. I get that, so now I charge per word. The only time I bill by the hour is when I consult. My rate is is $145 per hour.

Per Page

I’ve never charged on a per page basis, but know that some writers bill this way. It is hard to calculate because the word count per page really depends on the page layout and font used. On average, you can consider that there are 250 words per page, so it is possible to make this calculation. It’s just less precise.

Per Word

Having tried a number of methods, I like to base my quote around the proposed word count. That way there is no room for doubt or question. Researching prices, I’ve seen professional writers charge $0.50 to $3 per word. Personally, I charge a dollar per word.

Per project

When I bid on a book, I will always bid on the project, but base it on the number of words the client anticipates the work to be. For a full length book, I would charge anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000.

There are other incentives you can offer your ghostwriter, in order to negotiate the best price. Here are a few inducements you might consider:

  • A percentage of the back end: Never ask a professional ghostwriter to work solely for a percentage of the back end (royalties). It’s not something a reputable writer would do. Having said that, a student, who wishes to gain experience, might jump at such an offer. I will sometimes work out a deal where I get a percentage of sales on top of my fee, but in those cases, I agree to help with marketing and promotional ideas. These are not within the purview of a typical ghostwriter, but I love working on this aspect of projects.
  • A cover credit: Most often my clients do not want to share the cover credit with me. They prefer that I remain a ghost in the process. That is always OK with me. I consider that part of the job. However, some kind people will give me a quiet acknowledgment at the end of the book. And once in a while, an author will offer me the coveted “with” credit on the cover. It lets the world know the author hired me to ghostwrite for them. I am always honored to receive that gift.

In addition, it is always nice to present your ghostwriter with a written testimonial at the end of the project. I have gathered a collection now, which you can see on my testimonial page.

Please feel free to email me anytime with questions. I know this area can be confusing. I’m here to help!

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

What You Need in a Ghostwriting Contract

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?

Steps You Can Take To Write Your Book

StepsDo you often think of how you would love to record your life story, or maybe pen a novel?

Getting a book published is not out of the realm of possibility. With the advent of new technologies, it’s easier than ever to be a published author. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Answer the question, “What is my book about?” This may seem like a simple task, but it can be difficult. You should be able to answer this question within a few lines, as a sort of pitch. Once you have this down, you have a guiding light to see you through the journey. This answer will help you stay on track through the writing process.
  2. Create an outline or table of contents. This is a step that will give you the mile markers you need to get from point A to B then C and all the way to the end. Don’t spend too much time on the details, just summarize the sections.
  3. Write the rough draft. Get the words out of your mind and onto paper. Follow your outline, presenting your scenes as you go. Do not edit at this phase, just write and write and write!
  4. Take a break. It’s a good idea to walk away from a manuscript after you complete the first draft. It is much easier to edit if you can see it with fresh eyes. I usually give myself three to ten days before starting the editing process.
  5. Edit all the way through. Now is the time to play with the words and tighten your book. If you love a scene, but realize it doesn’t fit, scrap it. It might help to pretend it isn’t your book, but a client’s manuscript. Nothing is too precious to keep.
  6. Hire an editor or show the book to fellow writers. Now is a good time to get other feedback. What are you missing that someone else finds glaringly obvious? Get good feedback then make changes as you see fit.
  7. Read your book again. If this is your first book, I highly recommend that you read it out loud. There’s no better way that I know of for catching errors or stale dialogue. If you can, read it out loud to another person.

Next, you can brainstorm titles and a tag line. Write down candidate titles. I like to ask friends for their ideas, too. Once you have a few, you can survey them with many people, discovering the title that really communicates to your readers. That’s the one to pick.

Once you have your title and tag line, and if you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to hire a designer to create your cover art. It is important that it be professional and appealing. If you can get your artist to create three unique designs, survey those and see which is most popular. If it’s close, survey more people. You want the winner to stand out.

If you don’t have a blog, now is a good time to start one. Blog weekly (or biweekly) about your book. This will help promote your book. If you get an agent and publisher, they will be looking for a healthy blog promoting the book.

I would also recommend getting onto various social media sites. Start now, as it takes time to build a following. Keep your content relevant for you and your readers.

Writing a book is a huge undertaking. Finding a ghostwriter to help can aid the effort tremendously. Please feel free to email with any questions you might have about the book writing process or click here to submit a quote request.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Tips For Writing Good Dialogue

How To Write A Nonfiction Book

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

Do You Want To Write A Book About Your Life?

 

 

How To Find A Ghostwriter

Find a GhostwriterSo, you’ve got an epic book idea and you dream of getting it published, but you haven’t been able to find a way to complete it. Do you need help? Hiring a ghostwriter can certainly bring that dream to fruition, but it’s tough to know who to hire, who will be the person to see your project through to the end.

Just doing a search in Google for the term “ghostwriter” will provide a myriad of results. It can be a bit overwhelming if you have no clear plan of action in place. Here are a few tips to help you make sense of it all and find a ghostwriter to be your voice.

1.       Understand the different ghostwriting service providers. There are freelance sites like Elance and Guru, where you can find someone willing to do the job. They charge much less than the market generally demands, which may sound good, but should be a blaring warning sign. Consider if the average writer bids $15,000 to $60,000 to write a full length book, knowing that it takes six to eight months to write, how on earth can someone bid $500? There’s a reason for the low bid. If you hire someone in this ballpark, you will need to rewrite the book once it is delivered. After having experienced a low budget writer, most people are very willing to spend the money required to get an experienced and qualified expert to write their book.

2.       Establish your budget. As you search out the best ghostwriter for your project, discuss your budget early on in the conversation. I’ve noticed that some clients hesitate to tell me what they want to spend. Even if I love a project concept, I will not bid too low to get it. If you tell me upfront what you can spend, I can give you options and perhaps even find a writer for you within your range.

 3.       Check work samples. When reviewing a potential candidate, be sure to do your research and check their work samples and any books they may have published. There is no better indicator of the type of work someone can produce for you than the work they have already published. Professional writers have varying styles. Find a writer who writes in a style you and your readers would enjoy reading. If you don’t like the writer’s samples, chances are you won’t like how they tackle your book.

4.       Establish a rapport. Once you get through the initial stages of research and are drawn to a particular ghostwriter, take the time to talk to her. The writing process is a very bonding experience. Most likely, you’ll be immediately drawn to the right writer. If not, keep looking. It’s vital that you and she can communicate easily and well over the months to come.

5.       Start as soon as possible. Whenever a client puts off a project, it usually means it will never get done. It is rare that someone postpones for more than a month and then comes back to actually complete their book. If you want to write your book, understand it will take at least half a year, adding on a few months for the publishing process. When you consider that, now is a good time to start!

Finding a quality ghostwriter to deliver your book doesn’t have to be a haunting, I mean daunting task. I am always happy to give a free twenty minute consultation and answer all of your questions, giving you advice on the process.  I do also know many writers, so if you’re looking for something in particular, just let me know!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Writing A Book Proposal

How To Write A Nonfiction Book

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Working With A Ghostwriter – What Steps Should You Take?

Finding a Quality Ghostwriter

If finding a quality ghostwriter is your primary goal, you need to consider a few things.

As an experienced ghostwriter, I can tell you that the best writer for one client might not be the best for another. Most ghostwriters are extremely flexible and able to write about many subjects, but not everyone is a good match. That is why I personally network with many writers so that I can play matchmaker from time to time.

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 within that first conversation, on some level, it probably will not work. However, if I am not right for them, I can often find someone who is. It’s a very satisfying experience for me to pair a writer with a client.

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