A Ghostwriter’s Fee and How They Charge

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searching for a ghostwriter's feeIf you are searching the internet, looking for a ghostwriter to help you write your book, you might be curious about the cost. Many people wonder about a ghostwriter’s fee.

What do they charge?

How do they charge?

Honestly, there seems to be a bit of mystery and confusion surrounding a ghostwriter’s fee. I get it. However, there shouldn’t be. I’d like to tackle this subject for you, upfront and head-on. That way you can be armed with knowledge before reaching out to interview a ghostwriter.

How to calculate a ghostwriter’s fee

As you will quickly discover, each ghostwriter charges differently. Not only do fees vary from writer to writer, but the way they calculate their fees will differ as well.

Here are the four main ways a ghostwriter’s fees are calculated:

Per project

When you interview a high-end ghostwriter, she will almost always bid on a per-project basis. Check out my article How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter to learn more about the bids you might expect to receive from the different classes of writers. To summarize, there are:

  • Cheap ghostwriters who charge anywhere from $2,000 – $15,000 to write a book. They are very easy to find, but, as you can imagine, will be less reliable. Watch out for scam artists if the price tag seems too good to be true. Also, you’ll need to invest in good plagiarism software to make sure the manuscript you purchase doesn’t, in fact, belong to someone else.
  • Mid-range professional ghostwriters will cost more. Their fees will range from $15,000 to $100,000 depending upon the size of the project. These writers are very experienced and reliable but are harder to find. With this class of writer, you’ll learn a lot about the writing process and get a high-quality product.
  • Celebrity ghostwriters are reserved for those who have a household name and can afford the Learjet prices (six to seven figures) of this class of writer.

Per Word

A ghostwriter's fee is usually by the wordHonestly, when I first started twenty years ago, I tried a variety of methods and quickly settled on this one. It’s very precise and, as the client, you will know exactly what to expect. This makes it by far the most popular method to calculate the overall cost of a book project for mid- to high-end professional ghostwriters.

My research shows that these mid- to high-end professional writers charge $0.50 to $2 per word (sometimes more). Personally, I charge one dollar per word.

Hourly

When I began seriously pursuing a professional writing career about twenty years ago, I tried charging by the hour. Through experience, I discovered that most clients are hesitant to enter into a contract with a writer on an hourly agreement. After all, who knows how long it will really take to complete a book!

I’d say that the average full-length book takes me two hundred hours to write. However, if there is extensive research or interviewing required, that estimate might be doubled.

Nowadays, the only time I bill by the hour is when I consult. My rate is $145 per hour.

Per Page

Over the years I’ve noticed that clients usually think in terms of page count for the length of a book, whereas writers think in terms of word count. I always specify both in a contract to make sure the author has a clear idea of my intention.

I’ve never charged on a per-page basis but know that some writers bill this way. I feel this fee is difficult to calculate because the word count per page depends on several factors:

  • Font size and style
  • The spacing of the text
  • Margins, line spacing, and other similar factors

For instance, a single page of text that is dialogue driven and double-spaced in 12-point Courier New font might be 150 words, while a nonfiction piece with long paragraphs in a different font might exceed 350 words. That’s a significant difference.

I consider that there is an average of 250 words per page, but that’s just an estimate. If I were asked to give a per-page bid for a project, I’d charge $250 per page. A realistic range for professional writers charging this way would be $125 – $500 per page.

Cost for a book proposal

If you plan to engage an agent and submit your story to a book publisher, you will need to prepare a standard book proposal. This is a specialized document containing a lot of information about your book. Book proposals vary in length and need to be tailor-made for each submission. In most cases, proposals run 50 – 80 pages, though some can be longer.

A typical book proposal contains the following components:

  • An overview of the book that should be one or two pages in length
  • A description of your target audience
  • A short author biography
  • A list of book titles of published works comparable to your proposed project
  • A strong marketing plan
  • The book’s table of contents
  • Two sample chapters

If you are going this route and plan to hire a ghostwriter to write your book, you’ll want to first engage her to write the proposal. After all, she will outline your book and write two chapters as part of this process. So she will already be well on the way to getting your book done.

For in-depth tips and tricks on how to write a book proposal, you can read my blog article on the subject.

A ghostwriter’s fee for a quality book proposal will run somewhere between $10,000 – $15,000. However, this price should be factored into the overall price, if you hire that ghostwriter to write your book.

Incentives to offer a ghostwriter

a ghostwriter's fee isn't the only incentiveIf you’re looking for a cheap ghostwriter on Guru or Fiverr, you’ll discover that many will vie for your attention like fish seeking breadcrumbs. However, the tide shifts a bit when you seek a high-end professional ghostwriter. You may find that she isn’t as desperate for work.

A writer in this category is often quite picky about the projects she takes on and will be interviewing you even as you interview her.

If you are eager to engage a popular ghostwriter and sense that she might be able to sign with only one or two new clients when you contact her, it might be wise to consider offering a few incentives to entice her to sign a contract with you.

Here are a few inducements you might consider:

A percentage of the back end

While it would never be proper to ask a professional ghostwriter to work solely for a percentage of the back end (royalties), it can be a nice bonus to a ghostwriter’s fee. This incentive has the added benefit of including the writer in the marketing of the project. She will be invested in ensuring that the book sells well.

Some ghostwriters won’t be able to do much to help you with sales, while others are well-versed in that area. If your prospective writer is great at marketing, it doesn’t hurt to bring her in as a marketing partner from the start.

A cover credit

For a ghostwriter who is just starting their career, a cover credit is worth a lot, because he can add it to his portfolio and resume. An open credit will help him gain future clients. Most authors don’t want to share with their readers that they had help in writing the book. That is always fine with me. It’s part of the job. You’re the author; I’m the ghost. However, if you’re willing to share credit, it can be a lovely enticement.

This is the way it would work: The front cover would read by Your Name, then underneath it would read “with” or “as told to” Ghostwriter’s Name. The author still gets the recognition as the creator of the book, but the ghostwriter gets her name associated with the project.

An Acknowledgment

As I mentioned, most authors don’t like to spill the beans that they actually didn’t write their book themselves. However, many will find a way to pay homage to and thank their ghost in the acknowledgment section of their books. Over the last twenty years, I’d say half my clients gave me such a gift. I always really appreciated this kindness.

Write a testimonial

When you are finished with your book, it would be nice to offer to write a testimonial for your ghostwriter. This allows him to share your success story with other potential clients in the future.

I have been very fortunate to have gathered quite a collection of testimonials. Some authors sign with just their initials, as they wish to keep their anonymity, while others proudly share their full name.

Make sure to sign a legal contract

A ghostwriter's fee will be in the contract As I stated in my article What You Need in a Ghostwriting Contract, “An oral agreement should never replace a written one.” It’s too easy to have misunderstandings between an author and a ghostwriter if there is not a firm contract in place.

Please don’t sign an agreement on the back of a cocktail napkin (yes, it’s happened). To fully protect yourself, you want to sign a formal contract. A professional ghostwriter will have hired a lawyer to help her draft the document because she knows a good contract is well worth the cost.

Key points for a contract

When you review a ghostwriter’s contract, be on the lookout for these elements:

  • The deadlines for each milestone of the project. Smaller projects might only have one date of completion, but most full-length books have more. I have four milestones in my contract.
  • The overall price is clearly stated. The contract should specify the ghostwriter’s fee, as well as the payment plan for the project. In my contract I break up the total cost into four payments, to be paid at the beginning of each segment.
  • The expected length of the book. As stated above, a professional writer will specify a word count, not a page count. However, in my contract, I provide both. For instance, I might state, “50,000 words (or 200 pages).” I do this because my clients usually think in terms of pages.
  • The services expected of the ghostwriter. It’s a good idea to spell out what the ghostwriter will or will not do for you. For instance, will the writer help you with the publishing process? If so, carefully define those services so that there are no surprises later.
  • The number of revisions allowed. Make sure you know how many revisions your ghostwriter will allow. For example, I specify one set per milestone but always plan to make minor adjustments along the way.
  • Confidentiality and copyrights. It’s important that you retain the rights to the book. In addition, be sure there is a good non-disclosure agreement (NDA) within the contract.

With a good understanding of the elements of a contract and the ghostwriter’s fee associated with the project, you can make an informed and educated decision and find the best ghostwriter for you.

Additional articles that you might find helpful are:

Learn to Become a Ghostwriter

So, how does a ghostwriter work anyway?

Improve your writing: Feedback versus Criticism

What to Expect In an Interview with a Ghostwriter

How to Write a Business Book


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    87 Comments

    1. Mary

      I have a story and fairly detailed notes for a scifi book series that I’ve been trying to write for quite a while now. My problem is going from the notes stage to the details. It’s just taking me forever because I write so slow, and most days I just don’t have any motivation to write at all. I have a lot of other project lined up in addition to the one I already mentioned, and, at the rate I’m going, I have no idea how I’m going to be able to complete them all. So, I was thinking that maybe I need some help. And I was wondering if ghostwriters ever do a first draft only (because I want to be able to make revisions myself), and what they might charge for a project like that. I’m not sure yet if I’ll actually want to hire a ghostwriter or not (or if I could even afford it). I was just feeling a bit discouraged with my progress and decided to look into alternative options.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi, Mary! I’d love to help you. Let’s connect and discuss!

        Reply
    2. Erryanna

      A lot of good info here for BOOK writing, but what about BLOG POSTS? Do the per-word recommendations still apply? The average website owner who needs a ghost writer for blog posts cannot afford your recommended rates. I was thinking of 0.20/word, which means the client would have to pay $400/month for just two posts a month of 1,000 words. That’s only two posts and the low end of fees. How the heck could he afford 0.5 or a dollar a word? Not all website owners are rich.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi! Good question!

        You should charge what you’re comfortable charging. When I ghostwrite an article I received one dollar per word, but that doesn’t mean you need to do so. You could run an introductory special and increase the fee after that period. Also, you can always make exceptions for clients you feel need the help, if you are able to lower your price. I have done that from time to time.

        Reply
    3. Karen Doll

      Hi Laura,

      I’ve been asked by one of my long-term freelance clients to ghostwrite a non-fiction children’s book. I’ve been writing for Backyard Chicken Coops in Australia for 5 years now and the owner recently asked if I’d be interested in ghostwriting a book on keeping chickens for children aged 6 -10. I posted this in one of my writer groups and it was suggested that I base my fee on the time it takes to complete the book. I have always received a flat fee for all writing projects and thus, have not had to keep track of hours worked. That being said, I have no idea how to predict how long it will take me to complete this project. I have not agreed to take on this project yet, as I’m still considering if I really want to and how to work it in with my other client’s projects. Can you offer me any advice on how to come up with a fair, yet competitive price should I choose to go forward with this? Thanks so much for your help 🙂

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Karen,

        Hello! Thanks for writing! Ghostwriters typically charge by the word, but bid as a flat fee. You’ll need to determine the overall word count then bid accordingly. You’ll need to determine your base per word fee, which should be somewhere between 25 cents to two dollars per word (USD). Hope that helps!

        Reply
    4. Michael

      Thank you, I found this to be a very informative, based on knowledge of experience. I have ideals of many people , including myself. I been told by told by many professors of the arts, that if I had a ghostwriter, and the time, stories of humble embarked truth, honest base , coming from with in the lives of these, would enhance forth with projected postive forth comings in so many lives would change with light to the darkest. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Thanks for your email today! I just send you a private reply and look forward to hearing back!

        Reply
    5. Daniel

      Hi. I got a few questions to ask you so can you please contact me. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi! I tried to write you back the day you posted this, but never heard back. Let me know how I can help!

        Reply
    6. Allen

      i would like to put a book together on Color if you look at web site real color wheel you will see a lot of information my web sites consist of over 1600 pages of information and had over eighty million hits over the years. there is so much information i dont know were to begin. I am not a writer and what ever cost involved i will have to beg and steal to get it but can be done. can you take a look and let me know what you think ?

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Thanks for sharing your book idea! I wrote you privately and look forward to hearing back. Thanks!

        Reply
    7. Bob

      Hi Laura,
      I found you on Google. I have written two books and am working on a third. I am looking at maybe copywriting or ghostwriting.
      I really like to write and I feel, after submitting my work to many literary agents and getting many rejections that maybe writing
      for others might be a way to further my career. I have been looking at Craig’s List and finding a lot of low offers such as a penny
      a word. I just thought I would get your opinion as to what you feel the best way to go would be. Thanks in Advance, Bob

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Thanks for writing! I’d avoid Craigslist as there are some unethical ghostwriters there. May I suggest you self-publish a few books on amazon.com? It an help you build your resume and give you a bit more experience. Good luck!

        Reply
    8. Suga Shak

      Hello Laura,

      I am just starting out as a ghost writer, but I am no stranger to writing. I have been approached about ghost writing a friends life story, which is a really good one! I don’t know what to charge though, per page? Per word? Any advice you can offer will be very helpful. Feel free to respond to my email personally. Thank you!

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Thank you for writing! It’s not easy to figure this out. I’d suggest charging on a per word basis, but bidding on the project as a whole. For instance, if you decide to charge twenty-five cents per word, and find out that the book will be 50,000 words, you’d charge $12,500. Hope that helps!

        Reply
    9. John Hart

      Laura, my sixteen-year-old son is an aspiring writer. In fact, he’s written 50,000 words of his first novel (he says this book will be about 100,000 words). The novel is sci-fi. He’s a good writer, but he’s still young and learning. We’re wondering about getting a ghost writer to polish his work. What do you think would be a fair price? What suggestions do you have about the best way to go about doing this?

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear John, It was good to chat with you via email! I hope your son is making excellent progress. Thanks for reaching out!

        Reply
    10. Luvenia Hankins

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you for this page and all the info you provide, I’m hoping to get some advice. My friend (who is an aspiring writer) and I are coming together to write a book about a personal event that I went through as a child and the progressions I’ve come to have since that time. The reason I’m not writing it myself is because I get too emotional and it doesn’t help with my frequent writers block. He’s decided he wants to be co-author and not my ghostwriter which is what I had intended. Right now we are in the process of getting a contract formulated, however neither of us know how to go about compensation. He originally asked for 35% of all sales which, in my opinion, is a very high number given the fact that he won’t have to do any research for this book and I have ALL the notes for him to organize. It’s a pretty clean process, so I was thinking 15-20% up to a cap of $15,000. Since we’re friends, he’s agreeing to get paid on the backend. I’m just not sure where to begin for the compensation piece. Helppp!

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi! Any time you can hire a ghostwriter for any percentage of the profits, it’s an amazing deal. Normally it won’t work out, though, as the ghostwriter will run out of time and need to be paid. Books require hundreds of hours to write and people usually don’t have that kind of spare time.

        Reply
    11. Ellen Kriz

      Hello Laura! It’s so nice to have found your site on ghost writing. I LOVE the cats on your site!! I am about to start my own ghostwriting business aimed at college students and writing their papers. I am no stranger to writing, however, this is a new area for me. How would you charge, lets say for an essay of 500 words? I live in Georgia if that’s important. If you need more details, please let me know. This is very important for me.
      Thank you!
      Ellen

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi, Ellen! I just wrote to you privately to discuss this point. Personally, I’d never ghostwrite a student’s paper, as I feel that wouldn’t be ethical. However, maybe I can help you launch a ghostwriting career writing books. Let me know if you’re interested!

        Reply
    12. Brenda

      Hello Laura,

      I am getting ready to begin my first ghost writing project. I already have in mind what I am going to charge for my service. However, can you give me some pointers or ideas on what to look for and what to expect as a first timer? I am looking forward to doing this full time as a career. Thank you in advance.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Brenda,

        Thanks for writing! I do sometimes take on coaching clients, helping them break into the world of ghostwriting. Check out my testimonial page to see a few reviews from fellow ghostwriters! I’ll also email you directly to chat a bit.

        Reply
    13. Stephanie

      Hi Laura,
      I was searching the Internet on ways to become a ghost writer and found you. I was wondering if you could offer some advice for the newbies to ghostwriting such as how to get started, getting clients, and anything else would be wonderful. Thank you very much.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Stephanie, Thank you so much for writing! I do actually blog a lot about how to get started as a ghostwriter. I also coach people on the business side of things. I can help you gain prospects, bid on projects and get started. It takes time, but I like to help new ghostwriters. I charge $145 per hour. If you’re interested, please email me privately and we can set up a time! Thanks! Laura

        Reply
    14. Richard R

      Do you ever offer an editing service, where someone will write a manuscript, and simply wants you to search it for grammatical errors? I’ve long since been interested in something along those lines, and would be curious as to what a typical fee for such a service would be?

      I thank you for your time

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Richard,

        I am not an editor, but I do know quite a few. They usually charge somewhere between a penny to ten cents per word. It really depends on how much work is needed. Some also charge per hour (averaging about $50 per hour). Let me know if you need help finding someone and I can look for a good match for you!

        Reply
    15. Ksenija

      Dear Mrs Sherman

      my friend has published a book about numerology in her first language, Slovene. It is a unique, short compilation of advice based on numbers (about 45 standard pages)- She would like to have it translated and published in English (the USA). She has asked me to do the translation but I feel completely lost because I do not know how to find the right style to make it appealing and interesting for American readers. Any ideas on how to deal with this problem? Do you know any reference books to find some guidelines?

      I would really appreciate any advice you might give. Thank you very much.

      Best regards from Slovenia
      Ksenija

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Ksenija, I think you’ll need to find a ghostwriter to help you create the voice you’ll need. Most likely the book will need more than a straight translation, as you’ve noted. I don’t have a good reference book to help you, because it really requires experience. Thanks for writing!

        Reply
    16. Damian

      I’m writing my autobiography over the winter and a ghost writer offered to help. I’m just wondering how they can help with a personal story like this, or if it may be better to write it on my own. I appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks. 🙂

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Damian, As a ghostwriter I often help people write their memoirs, which are always very personal and intimate. It’s my job to achieve your voice and help you tell your story! Your ghostwriter would need to interview you extensively, and the process usually takes 6-8 months. I’ll also write to you privately and help answer all your questions. Thanks for writing!

        Reply
        • Emily

          Hi Laura, I have spent the past hour looking through your site and have stumbled across this question and answer. I’m a professional writer of 10 years, and previously worked for newspapers and magazines. However, I’ve never written a book. I have an amazing story of someone else’s life that I want to tell. So essentially it’s their story, as told to me, as co-author. We are 10 hours into interviews and while we have discussed the “business side” of things (how I’ll interview them, present them with chapters to read over/edit etc, then I’ll take it to an agent), we don’t have a contract. I’ve also not started on a business proposal and I don’t plan on approaching an agent or publisher until we are a few chapters in. I have not asked for any payment up front as they don’t have the money. I’m willing to do this for my career, and for the sake of their story, but I don’t want to make a stupid error and end up entirely unpaid when it gets to the sale stage. I also believe this could be an interesting story in print, as well as for potential film rights. Do you have any suggestions? I would really appreciate your opinion/wisdom 🙂

          Reply
          • Laura Sherman

            Dear Emily,

            I do coach on how one can become a professional ghostwriter. So many writers have no idea what to charge or how to even bring up the subject of money!

            Honestly, I’d suggest that you insist on getting paid something upfront. Writing a book is a lot of work and it will be hard for you to complete the book without any sort of compensation upfront. And yes, you do need a contract. I can’t give you specific advice on one, except to save up for a lawyer. If you really can’t afford one, at least put something in writing that you both can agree on. Research contracts and do your best to create one you can live with.

            In this case, you should get at least half of any profits and a cover credit, but again, I think you should also get something upfront to keep the bills paid. If you ever want to explore earning a living through ghostwriting, I’d be happy to help. Ghostwriters are paid well!

            Thanks for writing!

            Reply
      • mukacasino

        This site certainly has all of the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

        Reply
        • Laura Sherman

          Thank you! I’m so glad I could be of help to you!

          Reply
    17. Christine

      Hi Laura!
      I’m so glad to have stumbled across your site and this blog post in particular. I’m a professional writer, but have only recently started a ghostwriting business (it’s headed towards more coaching). Anyway, I’m kicking myself for charging for such incredibly low rates as I began (since I didn’t really know what I could charge as a new ghostwriter who hasn’t written a book). I was posed a question about royalties recently and I don’t want to undercut myself ever again. What could I quote to someone about royalties I would charge for a book (reasonably)? And second question: did you write up your own contract that you present to clients? (I’m starting to see how important a contract is in order to protect myself).

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi, Christine! Thank you so much for writing! I wrote you back privately and would love to coach you through some of these issues. To answer one of your questions, I do have a contract that was drafted by a lawyer. Having been a ghostwriter for over a decade I realized the importance of having a good contract that protects everyone. 🙂

        Reply
    18. Mimi

      I like to charge by the hour and not by the word since my first draft is very wordy and then I spend time revising it and cutting it down. I use a site like timecardcalculatorgeek.com that helps me keep track of my hours worked and the amount due. I find this way keeps everyone happy as well.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi, Mimi! Sure, you can charge by the word, but remember, you’re only interested in the word count of the final draft. Most clients prefer a fixed bid, which is hard to do when you charge by the hour. Thanks for writing and sharing your personal experiences with ghostwriting!

        Reply
    19. Sandra

      Hello, Laura. I hope you are still entertaining questions from this blog. Recently, I was asked by a fellow colleague to develop a training curriculum that he can sell as part of his speaking services. He asked me to do this because I was the first one who saw that potential in his material. I am a writer but most of my experience has been on the job as a salaried communications specialist. This is my first big freelance opportunity. And although I know I can develop and write the materials, I have no idea how to price the project or how to structure a contract. I know that the first mistake most beginners make is either undervaluing or overvaluing their services. I want to be fair to both him and myself. Can you suggest anything to help me get started in the right direction?

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Sandra, Honestly, this is the biggest issue new ghostwriters hit. What do I charge? It’s hard to answer that for you without knowing more. I do coach on this point as well as how to get clients.

        You’ll need to evaluate your personal experience and bid accordingly. Here is an article that I wrote about the subject, which will give you parameters: https://laurasherman.com//tips-from-a-ghost-writer/how-much-does-it-cost-to-hire-a-ghostwriter

        Since you’re new to this field and have experience in a different writing arena, I’d say to bid on the lower end of the scale.

        One way to do this calculation is to figure out what you want to make per hour, multiply it by the number of hours you think it will take you to write and edit, and then add in a small cushion. It’s realistic to expect that you’ll spend 100-200 hours writing a 200 page book.

        I hope that helps!
        Laura

        Reply
    20. Richard Lee Van Der Voort

      You have answered my questions about ghostwriting very well in your discussions. Thank you. During the 1980s in Austin, Texas, I wrote a book for an Egyptian businessman. EGYPIAN COWBOY was the title. He agree to pay me $5,000 in 4 parts, but his wife hated the manuscript, so when I refused to do a total rewrite for the same money, I was not paid the last payment. He wanted to be shown as “sexy” and his wife objected to my descriptions in accord with his directions. I worked from notes and tapes unsuccessful writer before me made based on interviews. Writing around the clock, up and down from bed, I finished the manuscript in two months. Probably nothing ever came of the manuscript, but, I had and have no way of knowing. I guess by now he is no longer very sexy, IF he ever was. During the writing he took me to expensive girlie clubs for good lunches. He loved “big teezas (sp?)” or female bottoms. His own secretary had warned me about (not) getting paid by him. “He would screw his own grandmother for a dollar,” she had told me. He owned a $uccessful electrical engineering company. And was married to a white American woman who, no doubt, had a “big bottom”.
      Anyway thanks for all your helpful advice. I am a 78 year old American ex-pat living in the Philippines, and wrote 10 full-length book manuscripts since 2005, the year I learned to use a computer. I am a former Writer-Poet-in-Residence, temporary, at two different universities back in olden days. Good Luck to YOU in your life and career! Richard

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Richard, Thank you for your colorful story, extolling the dangers of entering into a long term relationship with a man of questionable morals. 🙂 One thing I’ve learned is not to take on a client who has had a failed relationship with a prior ghostwriter. It just doesn’t bode well. I also don’t work with clients who are super critical of others and want to write revenge books about their experiences. Thank you for sharing your experiences as well as your successes!

        Reply
    21. Jason W

      Hello Laura I love what you’re doing and have a question. For years I’ve had 2 books that are 90% finished (and I do know the ending I want). They need major reworking but I’d feel more comfortable having someone else polish it up and edit before publishing. Since this is not quite an entire novel needing written (around 500 pages each) but a lot of editing etc, does this fall into the same category? Thanks for a reply!

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Dear Jason, Thank you so much for writing! I receive quite a few requests that appear to be in between editing and pure ghostwriting. I always say that no two clients have the same needs! Yours is a prime example of something that falls between editing and ghostwriting. If you’re interested, you can write to me privately and I can recommend someone who could help you polish your two books. Thanks for reaching out!

        Reply
    22. Cindy

      Hi Laura

      If aperson with a memoir hires a ghostwriter and both select an agent to improve odds for a higher advance, do both pay the agent’s 15% standard, or doees the originator pay the agent ? If the agreement states that the ghostwriters fee is increased if the advance is larger, doesnt the ghostwriter profit from the hiring of an agent and therefore should help with the expense? Or is the cost of the agent the sole reaponsibility of the originator?

      Thanks!

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi, Cindy! Ghostwriters are always paid ahead of the writing. Once in a while they are also given a percentage of the profits, but a ghostwriter wouldn’t be responsible for any of the expenses. However, an agent is only paid when the book makes money. Authors don’t pay an agent in advance.

        Reply
    23. Sam Cordero

      Hi Laura,

      I may be off to a bit of a late start for a career as a writer, as I recently turned 62, however, after attending college for the past year and a half, through a program offered for disabled veterans, I have discovered that I have a flair for writing. Many of the courses I was required to enroll in, as you may be well aware of, require intensive writing, and I enjoyed them very much.

      I have been searching for ways through which I can apply what writing skills I may have acquired and came across your site. I have read your responses to the questions/concerns raised by some of your readers and although I, too, have many questions, I am mostly interested at this point in learning how one goes about obtaining work as a beginner ghost writer, all else I believe is, as Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) would say, “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.”

      I would like to learn more about getting started as a ghost writer and will appreciate any advice you can provide.

      Thank you,

      Sam Cordero

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Thank you for writing, Sam! It was good to chat with you briefly over email. I wish you luck and hope you find your first client soon!

        Reply
      • Howard Stolle

        Hi Sam,
        Just about in the same boat but I’m going to try the college crowd. I studied and spent 25 years in the allied Health Field and have a solid science foundation. I minored in the Humanities so my education is pretty well rounded. Would love to know how your advertising?

        Howie

        Reply
    24. Diane

      How do you handle a client who wants more than one major revision per section? Do you charge them an additional fee?

      Also, can I see a copy or purchase a copy of your ghostwriting contract that you use with your clients?

      Thanks!

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi, Diane! Feel free to contact me privately. I do offer consultations to ghostwriters on a lot of these points. Most people getting into this industry have a lot of questions. How do you price a project? How do you set up a contract? There are so many issues when you’re just starting out!

        Reply
    25. Laura Sherman

      I have talked to a few ghostwriters who have been asked to get involved with a book again after the edits come back, but personally, I’ve never seen that happen. Usually the editors handle the rewrites.

      Reply
    26. Diane

      In the ghostwriting process, who is responsible for finding publishers for the book and sending it to them? Does the ghostwriter also write the queries as part of the cost agreed upon for the book or do you charge extra? Also, how does an agent fit into this process, if at all?

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Thank you for your questions! Most ghostwriters are only responsible for writing a book and rarely have anything to do with the publishing process. Having said that, some publishing companies have relationships with writers and hire them to help clients. Also some ghostwriters have developed a niche to help clients write proposals or query letters, but they charge extra for that service. Proposals are usually sent to agents, who then find a publisher, but you can sometimes pursue publishers on your own. I hope that helps!

        Reply
        • Diane

          Thank you! If their book is accepted for publication, who typically does the re-writes that are nearly always required? Does the ghostwriter get involved again at that point?

          Reply
    27. Jessica

      Hi,

      I’m new to book writing, but not to writing. I have an idea for a book and I’m interested in teaming with someone who has experience with non-fiction (preferably someone whose already been published) and who would be willing to collaborate and share full credit. Not sure if I need to be talking to a ghost writer. Any direction you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi! Most writers would prefer to write their own books. However, you never know. Look around and ask writers who have an interest in your niche. Maybe they’d like to take on a partner!

        Reply
    28. guillermo

      Laura this is a true story and I am really nervous about it because it does involve The Navy, The Catholic Church, Prostitution and my self.. but the other thing its that I don’t have any budget sources at all.

      But would like to let people know about my Secret (Story) I was wondering if there is some Ghost writer or Agent that will be Interested and work a deal with me, and bring this astory to life, the press would be interested on this too. but I want to do it my self and see what would be the Benefit.

      Thank you: Laura

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi! Thanks for writing! Since you don’t have a budget, you’ll need to write the book yourself. You might consider writing a proposal and submitting that to an agent. You can google “book proposal” and work out how to put one together. I wish you luck!

        Reply
    29. Tiffany

      Hello,

      I need some advice on how much to charge a client for writing a book. I was asked to write a book and was told by them that they have a lot to share so the book wouldn’t be ready for publishing until 2015. This will be my first big writing assignment and I want to make sure I’m not charging too much or less than I deserve.

      Please advise!!

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi! It’s hard for me to advise you without knowing a lot more. This article gives a lot of basic advice that should guide you a bit. I do coach writers on how to get prospective clients, bid and get started with a project. Bidding is a tricky area for most! Good luck!

        Reply
    30. Mary Pallais

      I am a writer in my own rite. I recently obtained a Literary agent. prior to obtaining an agent, a gentleman approached me to rewrite his book which is classified as American History. He accomplished over 400 pages of research over decades of time. I quoted him 30% because I am new to the ghost writing concept.He let it slide for 6 months, but has again approached me for the rewriting and I told him I now had an agent and needed to consult with that agent. How does this project effect the literary agent that is now representing my work. I would like to know before I contact my agent about this new work: how much will my agent expect and what do I do about the 30% I originally quoted? please email a response. Thanks for being there. Mary

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Thank you for writing, Mary! You’ll need to talk to you literary agent about your agreement as it applies to ghostwriting. I can’t imagine that it would be an issue, but I don’t know the specifics of your contract.

        A ghostwriter should never accept a percentage of the profits deal as a sole means to be paid. It is far too risky. Basically the client is asking you to invest in their project. Do you have the extra hours and money to do so? My guess is no. It will take you 6-8 months to write this book. Get paid upfront!

        Reply
        • Janet

          I would love to write a book about my life ….. Be I cannot write only read . And wish I could afford a goast writer … Sorry for my English writing … I live with a illness through my childhood …. Janet my name 🙂 x

          Reply
          • Laura Sherman

            Hi! I’m sorry that I can’t offer any concrete advice for you. Maybe you can find a student writer who wants to gain experience. Good luck to you!

            Reply
          • Joseph Davis

            For anyone who would love to write his or her life’s story, I have a question that may help. If your life were a book, what would the chapter titles be? If you want to tell your story, you can do it. Don’t insist that it be perfect when you start.

            I have more on this idea. I am working on creating a workshop based on organizing your life story by chapter titles. I appreciate this blog and the comments on it. I am about to complete the first memoir that I have assisted a person to write, and I can’t wait to see what happens once this book is published.

            Joseph Davis
            Talking Tree Tales
            Pasquo, TN. 37221
            jonormand@aol.com

            Reply
            • Laura Sherman

              Thank you, Joseph! I think your idea is very good. I get many emails from people needing help to write their life stories. Good luck to you!

    31. Ramona Frances

      I am a former reporter and photojournalist. While doing photographic studio work (my latest job) I met an 80 + woman, a retired photojournalist who worked for major television stations. While doing that, she put her life at risk numerous times in almost indescribably ways. She still travels into Third World Countries and she is old and whose husband left her after 27 years of marriage because she was never home. She said she needed a ghost writer if her story is to be told. I am interested in doing it but do not know where to begin. I have never published a book but hundreds of my articles have been published including a few picked up by Associated Press.
      The woman’s story excites me to the core and that, I believe, is a good beginning.

      But how do I get paid? A fellow writer, Mark Arax, with 3-4 books to his name, charges $150. a page. Not sure I want to charge by the word, because I write wordy and then skim down in the rewrite. All of that requires time and work too.

      Your thoughts would be appreciated.

      Reply
      • Laura Sherman

        Hi, Ramona! I’m working on a book right now to help writers with this puzzle. It’s a complicated question when you’re starting out. Since you haven’t written a book, you can’t charge too much. However, if you’re interested in ghostwriting again, this experience could launch your career. I would base the bid on the approximate word count of your finished book. If it will be about 200 pages, consider it to be 50,000 words. Let me know if you need more guidance and we can set up a free consultation! Thanks for writing!

        Reply
    32. Laura Sherman

      Doreen, I don’t think ghostwriting is for everyone. I love it and really enjoy helping others accomplish their dream of seeing their books in print. If you ever run into anyone who needs help in this area, I’m always willing to give a free consultation to get them started!

      Reply
      • Cynthia Davis

        It struck me of when a woman doesn’t want children herself becoming a surrogate. Penning a book for another is on that same order it is not your baby in the end even though you carried to birth.

        Reply
        • Laura Sherman

          Dear Cynthia, I love your analogy! In fact, I just wrote a blog article this month making that very connection.

          I love ghostwriting, as I know I’m helping authors find the words to communicate their ideas. Thanks for writing!

          Reply
      • Angela

        I would love to speak more in depth about the whole process.

        Reply
        • Laura Sherman

          I’d love to answer all your questions. I tried to email you back, but didn’t get a response. Feel free to email me via laura@laurasherman.com any time! Thanks!

          Reply
      • Ruth Warren

        I have a story about a women’s journey through corporate America before women didn’t have the chance; almost 49 years in the candy business how I started an and how it ended; the twist to single parent and all the challenges. Started off Luke a dream wedding at Taverm o The Green which was televised and the downturn and how I survived.
        A little Chocolate a little dancing.

        Reply
        • Laura Sherman

          Dear Ruth, Your story sounds fascinating and right in my wheelhouse. I look forward to working with you this fall! Thanks for reaching out.

          Reply
      • Gina

        I am considering taking on a project with a woman in Australia. I’ve written two poems for her in the past, and I think it was $50 per poem but this project is going to turn into a series of children’s books. She is going to self publish them but wants to do a contract with me. Do you have any suggestions?

        It’s pretty personalized as humorous rhyming books for her children. I want to be fair, but it is also hard t charge money for something you’d be doing for entertainment if you weren’t doing it for them.

        Reply
        • Laura Sherman

          I emailed you privately, but never heard back. I hope your project is going well!

          Reply
          • Courtney

            Hey Laura!

            I’m a freelance blogger and small-time editor. Recently I’ve had someone reach out to me to help them edit the story they have so far, and then to help them pull together each chapter and add a beginning/end with my own writing abilities. I’m having a very hard time deciding on how to price this….any suggestions?

            Reply
            • Laura Sherman

              That’s a good question! Editors really vary in their fees. It also depends upon the shape of the manuscript! Watch for the project that really requires a ghostwriter, rather than an editor. To answer your question, editors charge anywhere from a half a cent per word to ten cents per word (when rewrites are required). Or they charge per hour ($25/hr to $75/hr).

      • Otis wilson

        Hello.my name is Otis and I was wondering are you still helping people with their books

        Reply
        • Laura Sherman

          Hi, Otis! Yes, most definitely! I sent you an email and look forward to hearing back soon.

          Reply
      • Charles Kline

        Hello; I have been wanting to write a novel for quite sometime. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s about friends in a beach town and all the drama they go through in a 30 year span

        Reply
        • Laura Sherman

          Dear Charles,

          Thank you for writing! I’d love to help you. I’ll email you privately to discuss the details.

          Reply
    33. Doreen Pendgracs

      Yes, it I were to take on a project as a ghost writer, I’d definitely quote on it as a project basis out of the options you have described. Though I have so many stories of my own, I don’t think I’d ever want to take on the writing of someone else’s. Cheers!

      Reply

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