Interviewing a Ghostwriter

Interviewing a ghostwriterBefore you hire a ghostwriter, it is a good idea to conduct an in-depth interview with several candidates. This will be a very personal journey, so you want to make sure the writer you pick is the best ghost for you. However, please don’t stress. Interviewing a ghostwriter doesn’t have to be difficult.

Ask about her experience

While interviewing a ghostwriter, watch out for writers who are interested in cutting their teeth on your book. Unless you’re a gambler by nature, it is better to stick with a writer who has written at least a few books. Completing a full-length book takes a certain dedication, knowledge, and follow-through. Some writers aren’t cut out for it.

Ask your candidate ghostwriters to share titles of books that they’ve ghostwritten or authored. While this can be difficult for some, the writers who’ve been around the block will have a few titles that bear their name (as well as dozens they can’t share because of confidentiality agreements).

Request client testimonials

If a freelance writer has been in the business for any reasonable amount of time, he or she has probably collected a few testimonials. Reading these over will give you a feel for what others have to say about the ghostwriter’s work. Most will be signed only with initials or a first name. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have generous clients who happily gave me a testimonial including their full name.

In addition, if the ghostwriter has authored a book or two, it is probably selling on Amazon. Check out the reviews there to see how readers feel about her writing. Read the content to learn more about the ghostwriter’s abilities.

Find out what the ghostwriter enjoys writing

Not every ghostwriter excels in all genres. For instance, I have written nearly two dozen memoirs, but have never touched a historic romance novel or a true crime book. Some writers specialize in fiction, while others are business book experts.

Ideally you want to find a writer who is passionate and knowledgeable about your subject. However, this is not always necessary. When writing nonfiction, I feel I have an edge when I don’t know anything about the topic as I can easily put myself in my readers’ shoes and write to them with reality.

Talk about pricing and schedule

Discover your budget to hire a ghostwriterIt’s a good plan to talk about a ghostwriter’s fee upfront. If she is out of your price range, there is really no point in continuing the conversation. The interview should be over. Having said that, it doesn’t hurt to ask the ghostwriter if she has anyone she can refer to you.

The same applies to the ghostwriter’s schedule. If you need the book done by a certain deadline, ask the ghostwriter early in the conversation if she can help you. Keep in mind that the average book takes eight to twelve months to write, depending on the content, research required, and the length of the book. If you need the book expedited, offer to pay a little more. That may encourage the ghostwriter to clear her calendar to take on your project.


Interviewing a ghostwriter will help you find a good match for your project. Find one with whom you can communicate well from the start. This road is best traveled with an experienced friend.

Check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter to learn more about the process.


What Professional Ghostwriters Charge to Write a Book

how much does it cost to hire professional ghostwriters?If you’re interested in getting a little help to finish that book you’ve been working on for years, you might be a tad curious about what professional ghostwriters charge. This information is sometimes hard to discover because so many ghostwriters seem hesitant to post their fees. I’m guessing they’re worried that you might bolt when you find out the cost.

My philosophy as a ghostwriter of twenty years is to be as transparent as possible about my fees and process because that’s really the only way someone will confidently reach out to me.

If you do a little research, you’ll discover there are three main categories of ghostwriters:

  • Cheap (a few thousand dollars)
  • Celebrity (a six or seven figure price point)
  • Mid-range (tens of thousands of dollars)

Cheap ghostwriters

Cheap ghostwriters can be easily found through various websites: Craigslist, Fiverr, Upwork, etc. They may charge as little as ten dollars for an article or a couple thousand to write a book. I’ve even talked to a few writers who attempted to write a full-length book for under a thousand dollars. Sounds great, right? After all, who doesn’t love a good deal.


You have to ask yourself, how is it that these writers charge so little when you know that it takes hundreds of hours to write a book? They can’t possibly feed their family on two dollars per hour. The answer is, they have a different full-time job. That means they are fitting your project in on the weekends or after work, when they are probably exhausted.

Another way around the pesky factor of time is plagiarism. It doesn’t take long to cut and paste someone else’s words into a document. Sure it’s illegal, and, yes, there is software that detects this crime, but cheap ghostwriters sometimes do it and get away with it.

Celebrity ghostwriters

On the other end of the price spectrum are the celebrity ghostwriters. These writers are reserved for those people with major household names. People in this class include former presidents, top-tier actors, major league sports stars, etc. These are folks who have a huge budget because they know they can jump to the head of the line and easily get a publisher to pay a six- or seven-figure advance based on their name alone.

Mid-range ghostwriters

what midrange professional ghostwriters chargeMid-range professional ghostwriters charge from fifty cents per word on up to two dollars per word. I fall into this category. I charge one dollar per word, so a full-length book usually runs $50,000–$75,000.

When you hire a mid-range ghostwriter, you can expect to harness her extensive writing experience. She has been writing books for decades and know her stuff. In addition, most likely this writer will also be an author and can share a few titles that bear her name.

This level of ghostwriter will have a well-defined process but should be flexible for your needs. You will get personalized attention and should find the experience enjoyable.


Professional ghostwriters charge according to their experience, ability, and reputation. Before you comb through your options, settle on a budget. This will help narrow down your options. Then take the steps needed to find the right and best ghostwriter for you. Check out my book Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter for a few tips in that area.

If you’d like to explore working with me, please contact me directly.