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Hire a Ghostwriter to Write Your Bestselling Book - Comprehensive Guide
Writing a book is a hard task. It’s also one of the purest and oldest forms of art. People usually write a book when they have a burning desire to share a story. Nowadays it is also used to increase one's authority and business profits.
It can be compared to climbing Everest. While it seems difficult or impossible to do, it’s worth all the effort, perseverance, and patience.
However, not everyone has the time or capacity to write a book on their own. Just in the same way not everyone can build their own house or do their own plumbing. Sometimes, you have to hire a professional if you want to have the job done well. And that’s normal, we are all good at something, but we’re not good at everything.
So this is the question every aspiring author has:
Can I Hire a Writer to Write My Book?
And the answer is of course! Lack of time or skill should never stop you from reaching your goals, especially when you can afford it. We regularly hire specialized professionals in our daily lives to handle many tasks for us that we don’t have the time or skill to deal with. Why should writing a book for yourself be any different?
If you have a great idea for a book that you know will become a great success, but you don’t think you’re up to the task by yourself, ask a writer to do it for you. More exactly, a professional ghostwriter specialized in writing bestselling books that are in perfect tune with your own voice and vision. Ghostwriters exchange their skills, time, and knowledge in exchange for money, just like any other service in the world.
More authors than you can believe have used the services of a ghostwriter. The majority of celebrities or otherwise busy people have used ghostwriters to get their books published. Even authors that frequently publish books have at some point used ghostwriters to get books done faster and better.
Talking about money, hiring a writer to write a book for you is a service - a service for which you, as a client, pay the writer. But the question is how much do you need to pay a ghostwriter to write a book for you?
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?
The cost of a ghostwriter varies from case to case. They take into consideration their experience and industry to come up with prices that reflect the work they do. These things are usually discussed at the beginning of the contract, so you have to know what to expect and what to ask from a writer.
Let’s take a look at the most common pricing methods in the ghostwriting industry.
The most basic determinant of a writer’s quality or level is what they charge per word, or the cost per word. The minimum starting point is considered $0.05 per word, but in this category are usually novice writers with minimum to no experience at all. If you are talking about premium ghostwriters with many years of experience and plenty of bestsellers written for their clients, you are looking at $0.30 per word or more. Celebrity ghost writers that have the network of people that enables them to write for famous people charge more than $5 per word.
I understand you might not have the funds or fame to go for a celebrity ghostwriter, and that’s ok. Premium ghostwriters are equipped with as much skill and industry knowledge as you might need to publish a bestseller.
But here’s the catch. If you go for really cheap ghostwriters you’re going to regret using them at all. Because most of the time they either use software to generate the content they sell or they have very little experience in what they do. You are better off recording your voice speaking the book, transcribing those audio files into a text document and sending it to an editor than hiring a cheap writer.
Premium ghostwriters can also include extra services (paid or free) that can help you with your book publishing, such as book cover design, book editing, and even book publishing. The idea that you can find a ghostwriter who can offer you all the services needed to get your book from idea to publication is really exciting!
Generally speaking, the ghostwriting process will go smoothly if you take some time, in the beginning, to ensure you select the right ghostwriter for you. Let’s discuss some details that you need to know before hiring a ghostwriter.
Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Ghostwriter
Know what type of service you need.
The first step is to decide what type of service you need. Do you want the writer to revise the content as many times as you want if needed or do you just want to prepare the first draft of your manuscript? Do you want the ghostwriter to help you format the book according to publishing standards and help you publish it as well?
Generally, if you have no experience with publishing a book, you’d want to get your book written, edited, formatted, and the book cover designed and also get help with publishing. Maybe you even want a book trailer that you can use for marketing, or specific book cover 3D mockups that you can share on social media.
Knowing EXACTLY what you want or finding a ghostwriter who offers full writing and publishing service are the best things. If you know what you want you’ll find the most suitable writer to do it for you.
Let’s discuss a situation where there might be two potential candidates to hire.
Ghostwriter A is charging $5,000 for your project with 2 free revisions included. They will also proofread the book at the end, format the manuscript for publishing, and also design the book cover, delivering you a book ready to publish.
On the other hand, ghostwriter B charges you $3,000 for the same project, but they will only send you a manuscript. That means you have to find your own proofread, editor, book cover designer, and book publisher to format the book.
Which one of the ghostwriters will be more cost-effective in the long run? Writer A is the clear answer. By paying all those services separately, you actually pay more for ghostwriter B in total. If you’re not aware of your needs, you might go with ghostwriter B and end up paying more in the end.
Beware of communication.
Oftentimes, communication becomes the biggest hindrance in achieving your book’s maximum potential. You must observe the way the prospect ghostwriter is doing the communication and their willingness to keep the communication open during the project.
The writer may be excellent at what they do and may be the most cooperative in the world. But if you two can’t find a way to exchange thoughts and intentions with each other effectively, the project will suffer.
Some writers lack the ability of cooperation, preferring to take an advance, collect all required details from you, and disappear for a couple of months. They’ll return with a finished manuscript at the end, but they don’t want to be disturbed in the process. This type of writer doesn’t work well on all types of projects, since some books are more personal or require the knowledge of the client to become better.
Other writers prefer to have the author constantly involved in the writing process. They will send you chapters as soon as they finish them, giving you the opportunity to review them and make changes within the project as it unfolds. Many other complications can be avoided by having open, clear, and consistent communication.
Of course, any ghostwriter is able to take your idea and run with it and come back with a brilliant book. But if you want to get involved in the messy process of writing a book, make sure you find a ghostwriter that is cooperative.
Will you have trust issues if you don’t hear from your ghostwriter for months? Or you don’t want to waste your time with little details and simply enjoy the benefits of a well-written book? Decide on what type of experience you want to have before searching for a ghostwriter.
What if you decide to write the book yourself and skip hiring a ghostwriter?
What Does It Feel Like to Write a Book by Yourself
You sit down every day, trying to juggle all the thoughts and words you have in your head. Sometimes, the writer inside your head will have a creative flow that compels you to follow it, but then the thinker inside your head overthinks everything and wants to take the book in a different direction.
You have to make sure to create a zero-distraction environment for your work, because any slight distraction can cascade into wasting all the day without writing a single word.
And then there’s the constant struggle of trying to articulate the images and thoughts you have. Some sentences need to be rewritten a couple of times just to sound good.
The reality is this…
A professional ghostwriter will write a thousand words by the time a one-time author manages to write a paragraph.
Simply because the ghostwriter is always involved in writing, and therefore has specific routines and techniques they follow to get many words on the paper at an amazing speed and quality.
Of course you could develop the same technique and skills, but you’d have to write a lot of books for it.
It is said in the world of writers that the first million words don’t matter. In other words, you only start to write quality content after writing at least one million words. If you’d write 30k word books, that means only after writing 33+ you can call yourself an expert.
While this is not true for everyone, the reality is that becoming good at writing takes a lot of time and practice. And most people don’t have the time to do it.
If writing a book by yourself is this hard, is it worth it trying to find a ghostwriter instead?
What Is Like Working With a Ghostwriter?
You no longer need the writer inside your head, the thinker can take it over. When you have a ghostwriter working for your book, you don’t need to sweat about the specifics of writing. You only need to focus on expressing the direction you want your book to follow. The ghostwriter will use their years of experience to turn your idea into a bestseller, exactly how you dream of.
Some clients prefer to review and make changes after the ghost is done with the first draft. Some clients want to take a look at each chapter as it's written and make recommendations along the way. While others prefer to sit back and relax, waiting for their order to be fulfilled.
If you want to participate in the writing process, you will need to have many communication sessions with the ghostwriter, via email, chat, or phone. Thanks to technology, communication is much easier to do now. You can easily communicate via WhatsApp voice notes and respond to one another when possible.
If revisions are part of the contract you signed with the ghostwriter (never work with a ghostwriter without a contract), then you’d be using a tool called “Track Changes”. This tool allows you to leave comments on the Word document where you want to instruct the writer to make changes. The writer then incorporates the required changes on the next editing session.
Make sure to discuss all your demands with your ghostwriter before starting the work and incorporate those demands on the ghostwriting contract. Most ghostwriters worth their salt will send you a contract to sign without even asking them.
Now there’s another question that aspiring authors might have.
Where to Find a Ghostwriter for My Book?
If you have decided to hire a ghostwriter, now you need to know where to find them.
If you have worked with a ghostwriter before and you’re satisfied, it’s best to use their services again. They’ll already know your personality and have the ability to capture your voice. New ghostwriters will have to learn these things anew.
However if you’re searching for a ghostwriter for the first time, here are your options.
- Freelance Websites
There are tens of freelancing websites that advertise on Google how they have the best collection of freelancers. Some of the most popular are Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.
However they are not the best way of finding a professional ghostwriter. Most people using these platforms are beginners. And don’t get fooled about the safety these platforms promise. There are plenty of scams on freelancing platforms as well.
Many beginners tend to flood to these platforms and that means the pool of quality writers is quite low. Why wouldn’t experienced ghostwriters stay on those platforms? The answer is simple: those platforms charge 20% from the profits the writers generate without offering that much in return.
These platforms rarely market the services of their freelancers, always pushing in front of clients freelancers that are already popular. That means ghostwriters have to advertise their services on those platforms themselves.
Then there are many rules that force the writer to behave in a certain way, either not having the liberty to express their discontent with a client’s behavior or not having the ability to refuse projects altogether. If they don’t follow those rules, they are punished. Being forced to work with anyone who throws money at you only opens the door to abuse and really bad experiences.
Another reason for wishing to stay away from freelancing platforms is the realization that your business is nonexistent outside of them. When you advertise your Fiverr profile as a writer, your existence on the internet depends on that company, you don’t exist elsewhere. And since these platforms are notorious for banning anyone and anything they dislike, you risk being left without a single client.
Not to mention that most freelancing platforms don't allow you to communicate with your clients outside those platforms.
That’s why seasoned ghostwriters have their websites and promote their services independently. They act as a service-providing business, which they are, and they cut the middleman from interfering between them and their clients.
If you want to find novices willing to work for cheap and risk getting a book that will need a lot of rework done, then you can pick any of the freelancing platforms you find. Otherwise it’s just better to stay clear of them.
- Ghostwriters Websites
Now, the second place to find ghostwriters and the best way is to find them on their websites. Any ghostwriter worth their salt has invested time and money to create an online presence, along with a beautifully crafted website, a complex portfolio, and a place to collect reviews.
Someone that creates an online business and takes the time to nurture their online presence are serious people ready to do business. If you find a random individual on Reddit sending you a Drive Link with a portfolio and that’s it, you’re most likely dealing with a scammer.
Never work with a ghostwriter without an online presence and a place where they collect reviews. For example, I collect reviews on TrustPilot from all my clients, and who wants can leave one. It’s a clear mark of professionalism and transparency.
Ghostwriting agencies with many writers under their team are more suitable for companies that need a lot of content written fast. There’s no way a single person can write tons and tons of content fast. Ghostwriting agencies are for bulk work.
But for single projects that need a passionate writer that will invest their time and experience into it, you will find better success working with an individual ghostwriter. You want a ghostwriter that will communicate directly with you and invest everything they have in your project.
Where Can I Get a Cheap/Free Ghostwriter?
Let’s make it clear from the start. You shouldn’t expect to get something as valuable as a book without paying for it.
You pay the ghost writer once, but you reap the results of your published book your entire life. And then your children will inherit the rights for the book.
Ghostwriters are just like any other professionals. They work their magic for a living, because they have bills to pay and families to feed like anyone else.
A book is a product with a high-value attached to it, requiring a great amount of time, skill, and perseverance. Some books take months to be written. You can’t expect something so valuable and time-consuming to be cheap.
That’s why the majority of ghostwriters take an upfront fee, and they rarely work for a commission on sales generated. Why? Because no one can guarantee them that you (the author) will keep your end of the deal and give them a percentage of the sales you make your entire life. The legal work to pull something like this is too troublesome to even be considered.
But there are some cheap ghostwriters out there.
Yes, there are cheap ghostwriters on the internet. But like with any other service, something cheap comes with its own price… it’s usually something of low-quality. A low-quality book will turn off your readers and create a very bad reputation for you, a reputation that can be stained forever.
Let me put it another way. If building a 4-room house usually costs $100,000, would you hire and trust a building saying he does it for $10,000? No. You immediately start to think about why it’s so cheap? Probably not the best builder. He probably doesn’t use the best materials. They probably scam people.
So why would you think hiring a ghostwriter for $1,000 or less is a good idea when experienced ghostwriters charge more than $5,000 for the same project? It wouldn’t make sense to sell it that cheap, isn’t it? Because cheap is always cheap for a reason. Either the writer is a beginner who never wrote a book in their life or they use automated software to generate content. Either way, you’re going to get a book that will be good for nothing.
If you don’t have a big budget, I recommend recording your book, transcribing it, then hiring a book editor to polish it for you. In this way, you have better chances at getting a good book for less than it would cost to hire a ghostwriter.
I’ve worked as a ghostwriter for more than a decade, and the amount of clients coming to me with a badly-written book is scary. They always said they regretted hiring the cheap ghostwriter in the first place.
And trust me when I say, it’s much easier to write a book from scratch than to fix a badly-written one.
Let’s say that you have the funds to hire a ghostwriter.
How Do I Find a Good Ghostwriter?
There are a couple of things you need to watch you when trying to identify a good ghostwriter.
An experienced ghostwriter must have:
- An online presence that you can trace back to at least 2 years.
- A website registered in their name or their company name. (Use Who.is to identify domain registry name).
- A place where they collect reviews publicly and transparently. (Not only their website).
- A safe method of payment. (Don’t pay with crypto or Western Union).
- A contract signed with all the details regarding the work.
- A big and specific portfolio. You don’t want to deal with writers that only have a couple of pieces of content. Experienced writers have blog posts, books published in their name, and many portfolio samples.
Here are the most important things you need to do to protect yourself.
- Always sign a contract before making a payment. Ensure the payment is received to the same email you communicate with. Make sure all the terms you discussed are written in the contract and you both sign it.
- Ask for as many samples you want. You can always buy a paid sample if you want to see the skills of that writer in your specific subject.
- Always pay with PayPal or another secure way.
Do I Need to Credit My Ghostwriter?
No. Ghostwriters are ghosts who prefer to stay in the shadows.
You get all the credit for the book.
Ghostwriters prefer it this way, as they write on multiple topics and niches. Many ghostwriters are already authors with their own books, they don’t need credit for their ghostwritten work.
If you want to credit your writer you can ask them if they want to. However this will not be considered something that will entice a discount.
Is Ghostwriting Even Legal?
Yes, you are paying a professional writer to help you with your screenplay, script, book, memoir and other written work. This type of work for hire is legal in all countries.
I Have a Hard Time Trusting a Ghostwriter. What Can I Do?
I understand the skepticism that might come into place if it’s your first time dealing with a ghostwriter.
If you do the things mentioned above to protect yourself, you’re in very good hands.
Many horror stories come from aspiring authors that didn’t know they needed to sign a contract with their ghostwriter or didn’t use a safe payment method.
If you sign a contract with the person you work with, and that person is online and traceable, and then pay with a method that allows you to chargeback, there’s almost no risk for you.
The majority of ghostwriters charge an upfront fee because even writing the first chapter takes a lot of time and research. But the upfront payment can be for only one chapter, and then you agree to continue paying chapter by chapter until the work is done.
However, always keep in mind that if you delay the payments, that time will be wasted on the project.
Everything in life comes with a risk, but working with a ghostwriter is safe if you know how to identify a good writer. And now, by reading this article, you certainly know how.
Also consider the following. Ghostwriters build a reputation online, a reputation that they need to attract more clients. If they’d be scamming people, they wouldn’t get to have 5 or more years of experience in the business. That’s why I mentioned you need to find a writer who has a platform where they collect reviews.
Because no one can run from a bad reputation.
How Long Does a Project Take?
It really depends from writer to writer, case by case. For example, I can turn in a 30k book in 40 days, only including the writing aspect and considering it is a topic I know well. However other writers might take much longer to write the same amount.
A professional ghostwriter must be able to tell you precisely how long your project will take, and ensure to deliver it without delay.
What Happens After the Manuscript is Written?
After the first draft is written, it needs to go through a rigorous editing process that involves proofreading it and developmental editing. If your ghostwriter included this service, they will do it themselves. If not, you’d need to hire book editors.
Not even the best writer in the world cannot make a first draft ready to publish. Polishing is always required to weed up little mistakes and to ensure that the overall book trajectory is clear.
Then the manuscript has to be formatted for publishing, either in print, digital or both, and that means you need a book cover designed, a book description written, and other small details. Your ghostwriter might be able to either do these for you or at least guide you in the right direction.
Many people make mistakes when hiring a ghostwriter because they don’t know the details of it. Now you know everything there is to know about it, and you can begin the process confidently.
Knowing where to find writers, how to identify good writers from bad ones, what the entire process looks like, and how to protect yourself gives you the knowledge of getting your first ghostwritten book without any troubles.
I’m a ghostwriter with over a decade of experience and many bestsellers under my belt. I always strive to write the best books for my clients and I have a passion for well-written books. Check out my ghostwriting service if you want to find out more.