I Want To Hire A Ghostwriter, But Don’t Have Any Money…
Usually, I really enjoy talking to people about their book concepts. Some have very good ideas and just need help. However, occasionally there are those calls which frustrate me beyond belief. One occurred today…
I was right in the middle of the second to last chapter of a book I’m ghostwriting for a client when the phone rang. I don’t like to be interrupted while writing as it breaks my creative flow, but I worried that it might be a writer with a question, so I picked up.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Is this Laura Sherman?” the young woman demanded.
First of all, I dislike it when people don’t bother to identify themselves before asking me for my name when they call. Grrr.
“Yes, it is,” I said, letting it slide. She didn’t seem like a telephone solicitor.
“I found your website. I want to hire a ghostwriter to write my book, because I just don’t have the time to write it myself.”
“Great,” I said. That was a common plea. “And to whom am I speaking?”
She paused for a moment, probably weighing the pros and cons of telling me her name. “Joyce.” (Okay, that wasn’t really her name, but I’m a ghostwriter, so I can embellish.)
“Hello, Joyce,” I said. “What’s your book about?”
“My life story,” was all she offered. “I just want to know the steps involved with hiring someone to write my book.”
I gave her a brief overview of how the process works, letting her know it would probably require thirty to forty interviews, spread out over an eight month period. I explained how it takes a ghostwriter hundreds of hours to write a book. She asked a few more questions then got to the big one.
“So, how much will it cost?”
“I charge a dollar per word,” I said. “What’s your budget?”
“I don’t have a lot of money to spend.”
Just what every ghostwriter wants to hear. “Well, how much did you want to spend?”
“I don’t know, maybe a thousand dollars? I know that probably isn’t enough, right?”
“No, it isn’t,” I said. No one can charge a thousand dollars for six months work, not even starving ghostwriters. “Look, I know a few editors who are looking to branch out into writing. If you’re interested in writing a short, one-hundred page book, I could talk to one of them about maybe coming down to five thousand dollars. That’s low, but possible.”
“I don’t have that kind of money.”
“Then you’ll probably need to write the book yourself,” I said. “If you did manage to find someone willing to write your book for a thousand dollars, it probably wouldn’t come out well. Then you’d be stuck hiring someone else to rewrite it.”
She then asked me what would happen after the book was written and I gave her a rundown on what an author needs to do to sell a book, such as creating and maintaining marketing websites.
“I’m not good with computers, so I can’t do any of that,” she said.
“You’ll want to learn then,” I said. “Even if you get a publisher, you’ll need to do your own marketing. It isn’t hard, though. And I can help you when the time comes.”
Apparently, she didn’t like my answer, as she said, “So, how can I find a ghostwriter?”
“As I said, if you’re able to scrape together five thousand dollars, I can ask around for you.”
“But that would be for a good writer,” she replied. “What if I just wanted to find a writer who will do it for a thousand dollars?”
I have to admit I was speechless for a moment. Finally, I tried to repeat that anyone willing to write a book for a thousand dollars wasn’t someone she’d want to hire, but she cut me off and said, “Okay, thank you!” and hung up.
Moral of the story, if you’re serious about writing a book, you will find a way, either by hiring a good and qualified ghostwriter or by making the time to write it yourself.
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