Somebody wrote in anonymously the other day and asked how much it costs to hire a ghostwriter for a book. He also wanted a little information on where to find one and how the ghostwriting process works. A lot of ground to cover. Fortunately, I had my jogging shoes on.
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I don't know many ghosts personally, but I know their price range is all over the chart. For wannabes and newbies, you can get one fairly inexpensively. Expect the finished product—as well as the experience of working with the ghost—to reflect that. In short, the saying "You get what you pay for" is no truer than when hiring a good ghostwriter.
I've been a published writer and editor for half a century and a book doctor and ghost for two or three decades. I charge only a flat rate (no estimates or hourly rates) and provide a contract guaranteeing a final price, date of delivery, and all the other usual suspects. My charges vary greatly, depending upon the complexity of the project, the difficulty I foresee in working with the client (some are much easier to work with than others), and my availability.
As far as the process goes, you as the story originator would turn over to me as the ghost an outline, rough draft, sketch, audiotape, transcript, or anything else that sufficiently conveys the concept of the book you want to end up with so that I am able to deliver it to you. Unlike many ghosts I've heard people talk about, I'm nonjudgmental, and I don't have a a fragile ego. My goal is to work quickly and efficiently to deliver the product my client wants and deserves.
I'm also a perfectionist. If I don't love it, I don't release it for my client's review until I do. I self-edit as I work and final edit in conjunction with my client when the first draft is complete. I listen to any and all feedback and incorporate that into the work. Above all else, I recognize that my client is going to put his or her name on the finished product, so that client needs to be completely satisfied with--and proud of--the results.
Having worked as a newspaper, magazine, and book editor/publisher and having taught editing and analytic English at the college level for many years, I know how perfect an end product must be, and I deliver it.
And I work cheap. Not! But, considering what I deliver, I feel comfortable in charging from $30,000 to double that amount for a completed book of average length, depending again upon the book's anticipated complexity. And I've never had a client walk away dissatisfied with paying it.
I also provide samples of my work both as a writer and a ghostwriter, and I provide potential clients with a boilerplate contract for review and a list of satisfied clients. And I'm always happy to offer publishing advice, book-cover advice (I'm a pro photographer and graphic artist, so I know about such things), or anything else you might want or need to know. More than half a century in the business has provided me with plenty of answers!
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me via my Website's contact page, and I'll get in touch with you. In the meantime ...
Smoke if you've got 'em.
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D. J. Herda is author of the new e-Book series of writing advice, About Writing Right, available at Amazon and at fine booksellers everywhere. His blogs appear on his Website at www.djherda.org. You can also check out his columns, "The Author-Ethicist" and "Fury and the Beast," at Substack. They're free; they're entertaining; they're informative, and they run weekly. Well, almost weekly. Occasionally weekly. Sometimes weekly. (Hey, he does his best!)