Hire a Ghostwriter to Record Your Family History for Future Generations

I’ve been a ghostwriter for thirteen years and love what I do. I get to take on many different characters, such as a slothful worker in a futuristic world or a teenage rebel in Communist Hungary. I also get to share important knowledge that was once only known to an elite few.

So, it goes without saying that I’m grateful for the opportunity to help my clients write their books.

By far, the most common request I receive is to help people write their memoirs, their life stories and adventures. Each one is so different, each client with their own voice, message, and purpose for writing their book.

When I interview a potential client, one of my first tasks is to get their true motivation behind the book project. That’s important for a number of reasons.

For one thing, I want to help them achieve their goals. Honestly, their goals become mine as we form a writing team.

One of my favorite things about being a ghostwriter is that I get to become a family’s historian. It’s an honor to be allowed into each client’s inner circle, so that I can record their stories for future generations—children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Many of my clients have no intention of ever publishing their memoirs. They have me write their stories simply out of fear their memories and lessons-learned will get lost over time, especially when they pass on. It’s a valid concern. Taking the time to write down their words, thoughts, and ideas has been not only important to them but to their families as well.

The advantage of hiring a ghostwriter to record your family history is that should you decide to have it published, you will already have a marketable book, one you can easily self-publish on Amazon.com. There’s no obligation to have the final book published, of course, but why not give yourself the option of sharing your story with others when the time is right?

While hiring a ghostwriter has many advantages, I understand that not everyone can afford the fee. In that case, I recommend appointing someone in your family to be the historian. Once selected, encourage and help that person interview every family member as in-depth as possible.

One tip I can offer the family historian is to capture each person’s exact words. After all, everyone has a different way of expressing themselves. There’s no right or wrong here, just jot down any idioms they might use and make a note of their mannerisms.

But whatever you do, don’t correct their grammar. You’re not their seventh grade English teacher. If Grandpa says, “ain’t,” keep it that way. It’s real and it’s him, and will allow future generations a better sense of who he was. Record exactly what each person says as they say it.

Through this journey, you will likely discover that your elders have lived through some amazing times. Perhaps your great uncle fought in a war. Or your grandmother escaped a brutal dictator. Maybe various family members traveled to a variety of exotic locations you never knew about. Whatever the case, you’re bound to learn a lot about your family.

So, when should you start?

Now!

I mean it!

Time isn’t always on your side, especially if members of your family are getting on in years. So now is the perfect opportunity to talk with them. Go for it! And have fun!

If you need help, feel free to contact me. I love helping families record their history!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Seven Tips For Writing A Great Memoir

Questions for a Ghostwriter

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

Working With A Ghostwriter – What Steps Should You Take?

 

 

Questions for a Ghostwriter

how much is a ghostwriterAre you interested in hiring a ghostwriter?

If so, you probably have a few questions. After all, hiring a ghostwriter isn’t an everyday activity!

Throughout the years, I’ve discussed various topics in this blog, so when appropriate I’ll refer you to those articles to help clarify some of the answers.

How much does a ghostwriter cost?

This is by far the number one question I receive. Most people honestly have no idea how much a professional writer charges. It’s a little like going to an art gallery and asking the owner for a price on a painting you like. It might only be twenty dollars or it could be up to twenty thousand.

I know the topic of money can be uncomfortable for some, so I’ve written a two articles about this subject:

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

The simple answer is that you can expect to pay anywhere from ten thousand to seventy-five thousand dollars for a hundred to three hundred page book. Anything less and you’re hiring someone with little or no experience.

How long does it take to write a book?

Ghostwriters usually budget between four months and two years to write a book. Personally, I ask for six to eight months to write a full-length book, although I might be able to complete it faster. Some projects require extra research and interviews, so I like to leave some buffer room. Having said that, if a client needs it sooner, I do what I can to accommodate their schedule.

Does a ghostwriter publish books? Do they edit?

The main job of a ghostwriter is to write your book, in your voice and style, with your information and ideas. While some ghostwriters do edit, not all are trained editors. For instance, I’m not. And most ghostwriters and editors are not publishers.

Here is an article I wrote that breaks down the jobs of writing professionals in detail:

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

Do ghostwriters ever work for a percentage of the sales of the book (royalties)?

No. Professional writers are always paid upfront.

Does it upset you that, even though you wrote the book, someone else gets all the credit?

I’m asked this a lot. My answer is no, it really doesn’t bother me at all. That seems to surprise some people.

In reality, I see the book as my client’s baby. That would make me the midwife. Yes, I work hard to deliver the book, but the author is the one who came up with the idea, who provided all the information. It really is their book.

I love writing books for other people, helping them fulfill their lifelong dream!

Sometimes people ask me if the whole concept of ghostwriting is ethical. I wouldn’t be in this business if I felt it was wrong. Here’s an article I wrote about that subject:

Is Ghostwriting Ethical?

What kind of books do you write?

I love writing most genres. I have written quite a few prescriptive nonfiction books (how-to books), novels, and memoirs. I specialize in uplifting books that help, inspire, or teach others.

For an example of prescriptive nonfiction, check out my book, Chess Is Child’s Play: Teaching Techniques That Work.

For an example of a memoir I ghostwrote, please review, Joshua’s Missing Peace.

How do you get the information needed to write a book for a client?

Every client is different. That’s part of the fun! I often get hundreds of pages of notes, which can be in the form of a very rough draft. Although the book needs to be completely rewritten, the notes are very helpful.

Sometimes a client doesn’t like to write or research, so I need to interview the person extensively. This usually requires about thirty to fifty hours.

In addition, I always double and triple check everything using the internet, the library, and book stores. It’s important to verify information.

I hope this article has helped answer some of the questions you may have had about ghostwriters. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know. I’ll do my best to answer them!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Writing Nonfiction – A Niche Area of Expertise

Seven Tips For Writing A Great Memoir

Why Should I Hire a Ghostwriter?

When You Shouldn’t Write Your Memoir

Working With A Ghostwriter – What Steps Should You Take?

 

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

Having talked to nearly a thousand prospective clients each year, I’ve noticed consistent confusions about who does what in the writing industry. People sometimes ask me if ghostwriters publish books. Others inquire if an editor can write the last few chapters of a book.

I can see how this area can be confusing, so I’d like to clarify a bit.

Here are various professions in the writing industry you might encounter:

  • A proofreader
  • An editor
  • A ghostwriter
  • A publisher

A proofreader

A proofreader reads over a completed manuscript to make sure there are no errors. They are looking for typos, grammatical issues, etc. and are far less detailed than an editor. Hiring a proofreader is often the final step in the book writing process, right before the book goes to publication. Typically, you’d hire both an editor and a proofreader.

Cost: Their fee can typically range from less than a penny per word to two cents per word.

An editor

An editor looks at a book with a more critical eye. They will fix errors in grammar and spelling, but will also look for structural problems. You’ll find that editors will comment on more complex issues, suggesting that you delete or add sections, combine thoughts or expand on a point made.

Publishers will sometimes hire more than one editor to review a manuscript. If you are self-publishing, you will definitely need to budget to hire at least one editor.

Some editors will also do minor rewrites, if needed, but that usually brings a higher price tag.

Cost: An editor usually charges somewhere between two and ten cents per word, depending on how much work is needed.

A ghostwriter

A ghostwriter writes the entire book for you. Although your book will be in their words, it’s written in your voice. When the work is done, you’ll have all the rights to the book.

As a ghostwriter, I often get many pages of notes from my clients. Sometimes it comes in as a rough draft, which needs a complete rewrite. Some clients send me transcripts from prior interviews. It varies. Either way, know that a ghostwriter needs all the information from you in order to craft your book.

Ghostwriters will also need to interview you to fill in any gaps. In addition, they must research any subject needed, which relates to your book.

Cost: Ghostwriters vary widely in price. Usually, you can expect to spend somewhere between a quarter to two dollars per word for a book. 

A publisher

A publisher takes a finished manuscript, cleans it up, creates the cover, and handles all the tasks involved with printing. They usually have a staff of editors to make sure your book is as error free as possible before printing. Sometimes they have in-house writers as well.

Ghostwriters are not publishers themselves, but might have connections to publishers.

Cost: Publishers shouldn’t cost you a dime, unless you’re self-publishing.

As a self-published author, you’ll need to hire a number of professionals to get your book ready for sale. If you find a traditional publisher, they will take most of these tasks off your plate. Either way, it’s good to know who’s responsible for which tasks so you can plan accordingly to create the best book possible.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

It’s Good Business to Write a Book

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

What Do I Need to Start with a Ghostwriter?

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

Eight Reasons Why You Should Write a Book

 

What Is a Ghostwriter?

what is a ghostwriter

What is a ghostwriter?

I’ve learned it is a rather unusual concept for many people, so I wanted to clarify a few points.

Let’s start with a basic definition: Ghostwriters are professional writers who write for other people.

Who hires a ghostwriter?

Most of my clients are business men and women who don’t have the time to write a book themselves, but have something important to share. Many want to share their personal life story, while others want a business book to teach others what they know. Sometimes people want to write a best-selling novel and need a little help.

Who owns the book in the end?

Ghostwriters hand over the rights to the book when the project is completed and become a “ghost.” Sometimes, we get a “with” credit on the cover or an acknowledgement inside, but other times we are sworn to secrecy.

What do ghostwriters write?

I have been hired to write many books and articles. Sometimes, people need help with blog articles, too. I enjoy helping my clients find their writer’s voice!

It might surprise you the varied requests I receive. One client hired me to write a letter to an older gentleman who was on his death bed, while another asked me to pen a letter to the editor regarding a highly controversial subject.

Ghostwriters are most often asked to write books. Some specialize in a particular genre, while others write books in many different genres. I have written fiction, memoirs and prescriptive nonfiction (which are typically how-to books).

Isn’t it unethical to take credit for a book written by a ghostwriter?

No, not at all! It would be if you stole my work (that is, if you took my words without my permission). That’s plagiarism. This is different, because they are your ideas and you’re hiring a ghostwriter to present them.

My clients and I usually have a contract, where we spell out the details of the relationship. It’s always very clear that the book goes to the author, the person hiring the ghostwriter. Yes, you ARE the author. Without you, there would be no book.

Are some of the bestselling books really ghostwritten?

Yes! I just read a figure that states an estimated forty percent of published books are ghostwritten. It makes sense. Most people either don’t have the time to write a book, since they take hundreds of hours a piece to write!

Okay, now for a pop quiz…

What is a ghostwriter?

A. A writer who writes scary stories.

B. A recently deceased writer who completes a book postmortem.

C. A person who writes for someone else.

D. Casper!

If you have an answer E, please email me and let me know!

Find out more about ghostwriting services here.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

How to Find a Ghostwriter

Pricing  a Ghostwriter

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?