Questions for a Ghostwriter
If you’re interested in hiring a ghostwriter to help you complete your book, you might have a few questions. After all, hiring a ghostwriter isn’t an everyday activity. After talking to a few hundred people, I realize most authors have some questions about our ghostly industry.
Do you have questions for a ghostwriter?
Throughout the last decade, I’ve discussed various topics in my Friendly Ghostwriter blog in an attempt to shed a little light on the area. There are certain questions for a ghostwriter that seem to come up consistently, so I decided to tackle those in this article. Whenever possible, I will provide links to other articles to give you more information.
How much does a ghostwriter cost?
This is by far the number one question on my readers’ minds. Most people honestly have no idea how much a professional writer charges. I understand. It’s a little like walking into a boutique clothing store or a contemporary art gallery. There are no price tags so you can only guess at that cost of the item you’d like to purchase. It might run twenty dollars or it could be twenty thousand or more, right?
I know the topic of money can be uncomfortable for some, so I’ve written a two articles about this subject:
The simple answer is that ghostwriters usually charge by the word. If you’re looking to hire a ghostwriter to pen a 100-page book, you can expect to pay anywhere from fifteen thousand to twenty-five thousand dollars.
Yes, it is expensive. However, please don’t jump at a low bid. You won’t be happy with the final manuscript and may have legal problems with plagiarism in the end.
How long does it take to write a book?
This answer will vary depending on the writer’s experience, skill, and time available. Some writers can finish a 200-page manuscript in less than six months.
Personally, I ask for eight months to a year to write a full-length book. Sometimes I can complete it faster, if there isn’t a lot of research required and the notes provided are complete. However, there are other occasions where the client and I need a little more time. Some projects require extra research and interviews.
If a writer offers to complete your manuscript a month or two, know that isn’t a good sign. For me the editing process takes at least two months because I always hire an outside editor to review the book.
Having said that, if a client needs it sooner, I do what I can to accommodate their schedule.
Can a ghostwriter publish my book?
No, the ghostwriter can write your book. Then it is up to you to get the book published.
Now there are companies out there who have arms to help get a book published. Although they don’t publish the book themselves, they can help you write a proposal and find a publisher. In addition, ghostwriters can take the time to do this as well, but it requires a different skill set.
Some people wonder if ghostwriters have an in with publishers and agents. Although it may seem like a location connection, the industry doesn’t work like that (normally). Some ghostwriters are authors in their own right. When we want to find a publisher, we need to apply just like everyone else.
Do ghostwriters edit books?
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. I always advise you to hire an outside editor (if your ghostwriter doesn’t) to review your manuscript. No matter how experienced and skilled your writer is, you need the eyes of a professional reviewing your material before publishing.
It’s good to be familiar with the different kinds of editors available, so you can hire the one you need. Ideally, you can afford to hire all of them. If you find a mainstream publisher, they will do this work for you.
To learn more about this field, check out my article:
Is ghostwriting ethical?
Over the years, questions for a ghostwriter seem to often revolve around this central issue. Personally, I have been asked this a lot. People wonder if I’m ever bothered by the fact that I work a year on a manuscript only to turn it over to the author completely. My client owns all the rights and my part in the project is often kept a secret.
Do I mind giving up the rights?
No. It really doesn’t bother me at all. That seems to surprise some people.
Do I feel this is unethical in any way?
Again, no. I wouldn’t be in this line of work if I felt that way.
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. He or she provided all the information. It really is my client’s book.
I have a passion for helping other people fulfill their lifelong dream of finishing their books.
For more about this subject, please check out this article:
What kind of books do ghostwriters write?
Personally, I love writing about a wide variety of subjects. Over the last twenty years, I’ve written over three dozen prescriptive nonfiction books (how-to books), novels, and memoirs. I prefer writing uplifting books that help, inspire, or teach others and am happiest when I have a few projects going at once. I’m not the type of person who enjoys a lot of down time.
Here are a few titles of books that I have written:
How do clients provide information to ghostwriters?
It’s been my experience that every client/ghostwriter relationship is different. For me, I love a lot of written notes. Then I can interview based on that preliminary information. However, some clients prefer that I interview them extensively.
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.
Once I have everything I need from the author, I need to double and triple check everything using the internet, the library, and book stores. It’s important to verify information. My clients often provide me with references.
What is the ghostwriting process like?
Again, this will vary from ghostwriter to ghostwriter, but there will be some commonalities. I like to break up any long project into three steps.
Before I begin writing 50,000 – 100,000 words, I need a roadmap. For a writer this takes the form of an outline. When working with clients, I need to make sure they and I are on the same page. I would never want to write a first draft without one. This phase requires a lot of research and interviews.
Once I have my outline, I’m usually chomping at the bit to write my client’s book. This is the stage where I write the rough draft following the outline precisely so there are no surprises. I’ll send pieces of the work to the client as a write to get feedback. That way I can learn and improve. Together we create the voice and style for my author.
With the first draft completed and approved, it is time to edit the manuscript. My first step in this phase will be to incorporate the author’s suggestions and comments. Then I’ll do my own internal edit before I turn it over to an outside editor for review. By the time the book is completed and turned over to the client, it will be in excellent shape.
Throughout the process there should be a lot of back and forth communication with your writer. If you have questions for your ghostwriter, be sure to ask.
To learn more about my ghostwriting process, please check out this article:
If you have more questions for a ghostwriter, please feel free to ask me! I’m here to help.