Budget for a Ghostwriter


Budget for a GhostwriterAre you interested in writing a book, but don’t know where to start? Feel free to contact me for some advice. You can also browse my blog for some of my thoughts on the subject. One of your first steps will be to determine your budget for a ghostwriter. As you probably know, ghostwriters aren’t cheap.

How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?

Honestly, you’ll find that fees vary quite a bit from writer to writer. People often write in or call, wondering how much they can expect to spend to hire someone to write their book for them. I like to be very direct about this.

An experienced ghostwriter will charge somewhere between $25,000 to $125,000 to ghostwrite a book. I run $50,000 for a 200-page book. That’s about a dollar per word.

If you get a bid that falls far below this estimate, ask a lot of questions and get a lot of references before you hire that person.

Can a ghostwriter write a book for free?

One of the top questions I get is, “Can you write for free?” or “What if I offer to split the profits with you?” The answer is simply, “No.” A professional writer will never accept these terms. It isn’t logical.

You might not realize it, but it takes 200 to 300 hours minimum to write a 200 to 300-page book (about 100 hours for 100 pages). Most likely your writer will need to interview you over the phone many times throughout the six to eight-month period it takes to complete your project. Unless he or she is independently wealthy, they cannot afford to support their family without income.

Would you ask a roofer to fix your roof for free in the hope that you might sell your home and be able to pay him?

Would you expect to hire a dentist on a deferred basis to fix your teeth, hoping you might land a major film deal with those pearly whites?

I know that these examples are silly. But honestly, it’s a similar situation for a writer. If your book doesn’t sell, the writer won’t get paid for the months of work they did.

Consider writing a book proposal

If you have a limited budget, but have a book idea you feel will sell well, you can always opt to write a book proposal and pitch it to agents and publishers. This is a much less expensive route to take. Then you can take the proceeds from the advance and hire a writer.

The cost of a book proposal should be about $10,000 and will include:

  • A table of contents
  • An outline
  • Your biography
  • Two sample chapters
  • A marketing analysis.

Choosing the right ghostwriter

When you budget for ghostwriter, you will want to treat the process like any other major purchase. Consider your bids and don’t always jump at the lowest one. Instead, interview each candidate and check their testimonials and experience. Ask for a few samples of their work and make sure their writing style matches your needs.

One good option I strongly suggest is that you hire a few writers to write a sample for you. Test them out and see which writer is best for you. Find out which one can really capture your voice.

Hire an editor

If after reading this article, you realize that you really don’t have the money to hire someone to write a book, my suggestion is that you do your best to write it yourself. When you have a completed manuscript, you can hire an editor to help you polish it. Editors run four to ten cents per word, which is much less than a ghostwriter. Keep in mind though, that if you want your book rewritten, you are no longer looking to hire an editor. You’ll need a ghostwriter.

You can write a book yourself and sell it as an eBook. It can be any length and you can sell it for any amount. There are many options available for you, many ways to get your story out there.

If you think a ghostwriter is the way to go, please email me and I can give you a quote, so you can budget for a ghostwriter. All I need to know is your deadline, your story concept, and a few other details.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Writing a Book Proposal

Do you need help writing a book?

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?


    • Laura Sherman

      Hi, Susan! Thank you so much!


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