How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?

As a seasoned ghostwriter, I’m happy to answer the question often posed in Google searches.

But before we delve into costs, let’s begin by defining ghostwriting:

  • What is it exactly?
  • How does it work?
  • What qualities should you look for in a ghostwriter?

Ghostwriting is a service where you entrust your concept for a fictional story or the facts of your own life and experiences (in the case of a nonfiction memoir, self-help book, etc.) to a professional ghostwriter. The ghostwriter then gathers information from you, outlines the book accordingly, and writes it in your voice.

That’s a basic starting point. Depending on the scope of the project, it can take anywhere from four months to several years to produce a high quality product. In my experience as a ghostwriter of fiction and nonfiction books, nonfiction is faster and easier to complete.

Why?

Once I have the information from my client, it’s a matter of deciding what’s important to include (based on the purpose of the book and other factors), arranging the content in a logical manner, then writing it on their behalf. Whenever I consult with a potential new client on their ghostwriting project, I describe in detail how the process works:

  1. Investigation – we set up a weekly recorded call where I act as an investigative reporter and ask questions. Why recorded? To make it easier to capture information I’ll need later on and the client’s manner of speaking; in essence, their voice. This ensures that when I sit down to write, I’ll be writing as the client — not as me. Depending upon the scope of the story, the investigative part of the process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
  2. Collaboration – from there, I collaborate with the client to offer suggestions in terms of content and ensure they’re comfortable including certain things. For example, one of my clients experienced a rape by a family member as a teenager. In the beginning, she was adamant about not identifying him, which I honored and understood. But as the process moved along, she decided to call him out. Either way, including the rape as a turning point in her life was necessary. Particularly when dealing with sensitive topics, the client is always in control. My job as the ghostwriter (and editor) is to make professional suggestions based on knowledge and experience.
  3. Organization – once I have all the information, I listen to playback of all recordings to determine a logical sequence to the book. Flow and pacing are just as important as content. Even if you have an incredible story to share, if not properly organized, you’ll quickly lose your readers. In the case of fiction, once I have the real-life events, I then figure out characters, plot, and sequencing. Fiction demands a different kind of creativity. Once I know the actual story, I then spend time creating characters and mapping out a plot. I explain to my clients that the fictional version of their story will not mirror real life because it’s not a memoir. Aside from changing locations (dictated by the client), creative license may involve consolidating multiple real-life people into one character, amending the timeline of events for pacing purposes, and creating purely fictional situations to enhance the intrigue.
  4. Writing – as I said, ghostwriting demands the ability to write in someone else’s voice, which means getting into someone else’s head. The only way to accomplish this feat is by conducting the regular recorded interviews I described in the first bullet. Most importantly though, a ghostwriter must have a genuine interest in other people. Without it, it’s impossible to do the job well. Paradoxically, good writing is a product of pouring your heart and soul into your creation, yet in the case of a ghostwriter, it’s not really your work, so you must maintain a certain detachment while you treat the process as if the end result is your accomplishment. This is especially true if your name will not appear anywhere on the cover.
  5. Editing – after I’ve completed the manuscript, I review it with my client for content before I send it to a professional editor (I work with several talented people). As with the writing portion of the project, my client has the right to accept or decline any changes for as long as the book is in the editing phase. However, once my client approves the edits and their manuscript moves into the formatting phase, there are no further editorial changes. (More on formatting vs. editing in another post).

Now that you know how ghostwriting works, hopefully you understand its value. Your ghostwriter will spend countless hours fulfilling your dream of becoming a published author and/or of adding more published books to your list of accomplishments. It demands time, talent, skill, discernment…and even a bit of amateur psychology for a good ghostwriter to produce a product their client can be proud of.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?

Let’s get down to dollars and cents and answer the question of how much it costs to hire a ghostwriter. If we’re talking about a full-length book, which is what I’ve outlined in this post, I defer to Laura Sherman, Ghostwriter and Author:

  • Cheap writers can be found who will write a 100 to 200 page book for as little as $2,000. If this is your budget (and you’re a gambler by nature), your best bet is to find a student new to the industry. Please be careful that he or she is actually writing your book and not plagiarizing another writer’s work.
  • Professional writers will usually charge between $12,000 and $90,000 to write a 100 to 300 page book. This price varies depending on the writer’s level of expertise and the amount of work required for the project.
  • High-end celebrity writers are usually hired by actors, politicians, musicians and other famous personalities who will sell books just by virtue of their name. The writers for these celebrities are well-established authors with a lot of experience. They can charge $150,000 to $750,000 for a book. Sometimes more.

The old adage, You Get What You Pay For, applies here. As a professional writer who has ghostwritten several books including Steps to SalvationReflections on the Ring: An Ordinary Woman’s Extraordinary Tale of How She Saved Her Marriage and Family, and To Guard My Every Neighbor: Inside the Fire, I fall into the second category.

Please note that the minimum cost for a professional writer’s services is $12,000 — and that is for a book between 100-300 pages.  Depending on the length and type of book, my ghostwriting services begin at $3,000 for a 100 page book. I’m happy to discuss your project over the phone to gather the information I need to prepare a written proposal.

If you would like to set up your no-obligation consultation to discuss your project, contact me here.

 

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Excerpt from The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Excerpt from The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery

I’m working on multiple projects right now, one of which is a fictionalized version of a client’s real life. Titled The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self Discovery, it follows the main character Theresa’s awakening after she receives earth-shattering news about her origins.

From the book description:

Does the truth really set you free? What if you discovered one day that everything you believed about your life was a lie?

For Theresa Chianti, the revelation of a 30-year secret rocks her to her core and initiates a journey of self-discovery where the pursuit of truth threatens her relationships and forces her to draw upon courage she never knew she had. Will her quest for answers lead to peace of mind or usher in more heartache?

Armed with a mother’s example of enduring faith, she’ll come to appreciate the transcendent power of maternal love on her quest to achieve a level of self-awareness never before experienced.

Here’s an excerpt:

The thick, distinctive aroma of incense hung in the air as Theresa made her way into Our Lady of Lourdes, the large wooden door creaking shut behind her. In the late afternoon of a weekday, the pews stood empty, save for a few devoted souls – most of them on bended knee – scattered throughout. She scanned the massive room with her eyes, taking comfort in the biblical scenes depicted by stained-glass windows and the presence of an enormous, intricately carved crucifix hanging above the altar.

She couldn’t remember the last time she walked into church simply for prayerful reflection. Since Toni Ann’s birth, she’d made a conscientious effort to attend weekly Mass, but it often felt rote and forced. Being here in the quiet, observing the pure devotion of the elderly folks who made it a daily practice to connect with the Lord on their own filled her with a sense of wonder.

She smiled as she thought of her own mother, whose faith in God never wavered. Would this time here alone help her to summon the courage she needed?

Satisfied that the few people present either didn’t know her or were too wrapped up in their own meditations to notice her arrival, she made her way to the altar. After genuflecting and making the sign of the cross, she proceeded to the assembled collection of candles to the right, a few feet in front of the statue of Mary. She pulled a dollar out of her pocket and slid it into the donation box. Taking a long match out of a container of ashes, she dipped it into the flame of a burning candle and murmured a prayer as she lit a new one for her special intention. Then she settled her knees onto the cushioned kneeler and closed her eyes.

God, please give me the strength to do what I gotta do, she pleaded. Help me to be calm and get what I need from Sara, for the sake of my little girl. And God, thank you for Ma. Thank you for letting me end up in a home with love. Thank you for giving me such a strong woman for a mother. Please keep her healthy. Please keep her from ever finding out about this meeting. I know, I need to see Sara in person; I just don’t want Ma to ever find out because it would hurt her too much. Help me keep this secret, God. I know it’s wrong to lie, but I love her so much, I can’t tell her the truth.

Uncontrollable tears poured from her eyes, smearing black mascara on her pale skin, but she didn’t care as she prayed with an energized passion and purpose, her hands covering her face. When finished, she took a few gulps of air and held onto the bannister for a few minutes to steady her shaking shoulders. Once composed enough to walk, she took a seat at an empty, nearby pew, where she remained in peaceful silence until an involuntary flash of memory startled her.

A knock on the door.  A man and a woman smiling at her. Her father, Joseph Chianti, enraged.

“She’s either ours or yours; get the hell out!” she heard him bellow in the theater of her mind. The scene then faded into a marina, where she saw herself as a child sitting on a raft with her brother Joseph. Her body felt the steady rise and fall of the water as she watched this younger version of herself squeal with delight under the warm summer sun. Drifting, drifting, drifting away, until…panic. In her head, she heard the children screaming in terror, two young captives on their way out to sea when a rope securing them to the dock somehow unraveled.

“Grab the pole, Joseph; grab the pole!” the seven-year-old girl yelled out to her brother. Theresa felt her entire body convulse with fear as she watched them cling helplessly to the only thing preventing them from becoming shark food.

A moment later, she almost screamed out loud when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

Ghostwriting fiction tends to be a much longer process than nonfiction, but I’m working hard to complete this incredible story by the end of the year. I’ll post an update soon.

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Steps To Salvation with Shlomo Radio

Steps To Salvation with Shlomo Radio

I’m excited to announce the debut of Steps To Salvation with Shlomo on Blog Talk Radio. Tune in for his debut on Monday, July 17 at 10 AM Eastern when Shlomo discusses What Is America?

Please join me for my debut episode of Steps To Salvation Radio with Shlomo on Monday, July 17 at 10 AM Eastern Time U.S. when I discuss the United States of America. What is it? Where did it come from? Where is it going? I’ll answer these questions and more.

To stream the show through your computer, click on Steps To Salvation with Shlomo: What Is America? on Monday, July 17 at 10 AM Eastern. You can listen by phone at (347) 996-5894. Press “1” if you would like to ask a question on the air.

I am looking forward to starting my podcast and hope you will join me. Thank you.

After years of encouraging him to do this, I’m thrilled that he’s finally ready. Steps To Salvation, a book one reviewer referred to as “a genre unto itself” contains multiple themes and concepts best explained by the author in his own words. Interviews with other hosts are an excellent method of reaching an audience, but nothing compares to hosting your own show. I can’t wait to listen!

Due to Shlomo’s busy schedule as an entrepreneur who builds, repairs, and maintains commercial equipment for South Florida restaurants, he won’t have a regular broadcast schedule. Thank goodness for archives!

Check out his new website: www.ShlomoAttia.com.

 

 

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What Would You Do ‘In Sam’s Shoes?’

What Would You Do ‘In Sam’s Shoes?’

I’m winding down a ghostwriting project, a fictional book a client hired me to write that is based on real-life events. We’re looking forward to releasing it soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some excerpts.

Prologue

The grand, mahogany casket loomed large ahead of her, topped by a massive cascading bouquet of pink roses. Around the perimeter of the room, display tables dressed in white linens bore artifacts of a life well lived, from golf memorabilia to seemingly trivial trinkets. The focal point of the entire collection was an exquisite eight-by-ten crystal frame bearing a formal wedding photo of a bride and groom in happier days. To the casual observer, the smiling couple represented an ideal – the beautiful, wholesome wife and the handsome all-American groom dressed in the finest attire befitting the occasion, their pedigree, and their lifestyle. On either side of this centerpiece, smaller and much plainer frames told the story of a father’s love for his sons, with images of the recently departed engaged in various activities with them like playing basketball and camping out in the woods.

As the funeral home worker entered the room, Sam stood at a distance with her back turned to the unfolding scene a few feet away. She could hear the rustling of the flowers and the barely audible sound of the casket lid moving against its hinges to reveal the body at rest inside. She trembled at the thought of laying eyes upon his still, lifeless form and doubted she had the strength to confront the reality of this devastating, unexpected loss.

Consumed by torturous thoughts, she continued to stare out at the hallway minutes after the woman had left her in privacy again. How was she going to handle the sight of his hideously disfigured face? The thought of staring at a nasty patchwork of scars stubbornly protruding through a heavy layer of funeral parlor make-up was just too much to bear. Her entire body convulsed as she broke down in uncontrollable weeping.

Why? Why did this have to happen? Why now? Why at all?

“Sam?” She heard Shannon’s soft voice behind her. “I have to tell you he looks normal. I think you’re going to be okay looking at him.”

She slowly turned to face her sister. “You really think so?”

Shannon placed her hands on Sam’s shoulders in a gesture of comfort and confidence.

“Yes, yes I really do. I’d never tell you that if I didn’t believe it. But I can stay here in the room with you if you want; I’ll just hang out in the back.”

“No, no – I have to do this alone. Please.”

Sam drew her into a hug, appreciative of her unwavering support. She then watched until the door closed behind Shannon, leaving her alone with her soulmate for the last time.

She clutched her tissues in one hand as she strode past the oddly arranged folding chairs that appeared as if they’d been set up for a round of the classic children’s musical game. Instead of facing the front of the room, they faced the side walls, as if unwilling to confront the reality of death.

Filled with determination and resolve, Sam took a gulp of air and reached out to touch the side of the casket to steady herself. Then she opened her eyes wide.

Oh, my God, not a scratch. A dried-up creek, two inches of water. How can this be? How can he possibly look like the sweet manly man I loved?

She was dumbfounded as she gazed at his perfect face. For a few moments, all she could do was stare at him in silence and wish that the entire scene was nothing more than a nightmare from which she’d awaken at any second. She placed her hand on his cheek and reacted to its icy coldness as a fresh wave of sorrow engulfed her.

“Baby, I love you! I love you so much. What the hell happened? Why? Why did you get on that bike? Why? How could you just leave me like this!”

She dropped to her knees and prayed out loud through staccato breaths. “God, I need you. I have nowhere else to turn. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. Please, give me the strength to focus on my kids. I promise, I’ll spend more time praying and appreciating the good things in my life. Just please, help me.”

Sam pleaded and cried until she was utterly spent. Then she wiped her face and got back on her feet just as Shannon re-entered the room to check on her.

“Let’s go,” Sam ordered.

“But the lady said we could stay as long as you need. You don’t have to rush; there’s plenty of time before the funeral – “

“I’m done. It’s time to move on and heal.”

“Ok, whatever you want.”

Shannon followed her big sister out to the hallway, hoping this little episode signified the beginning of her new life. God knew, she’d been through enough heartache for one human being.

 

Chapter Excerpt

As she pondered the significance of his words, Sam felt as if she’d been the target of a prank played on her by a sadistic Universe that took pleasure in her pain. Why else had their relationship unfolded with such ease and serendipity, only to crash and burn in the worst way imaginable? There was no other woman, at least none that she was aware of. It was much worse than that. Her husband, who had vowed to love her forever, simply didn’t want her to be his partner anymore as he pursued a dream she fully supported. It didn’t make any sense.

Her knees buckled as she dissolved into anguished tears on the sofa. While the sight of her crying tugged at his heart, Alec made no move to comfort her. After a few minutes of listening to her sobs, he announced, “I want a divorce.”

Chapter Excerpt

When she exited the revolving glass doors, the early summer sun bathed her in its intense heat in stark contrast to the conference room’s frigid air-conditioning. She squinted and sighed in frustration as she fumbled through her purse in search of her sunglasses and keys while walking as fast as she could from the scene.

Then she saw it.

Alec’s six-month-old Pathfinder parked in a shaded area in a remote corner of the lot. She glanced behind her at the building entrance, but there was no sign of him or anyone else. Emboldened, she picked up her pace, incited by a fresh wave of undiluted rage. Although a desire for revenge had never been part of her intrinsic make-up, the finality of the morning’s events had triggered new and overpowering emotions that won out over lingering heartache and depression. She’d just allowed this man to walk away unscathed after he rewarded her devotion by making her a divorcee at an age when most of her friends hadn’t yet married for the first time. He deserved some sort of punishment.

She approached the passenger side at the back bumper and, before she could change her mind, dragged her key across the length of the car. Shaking, she stood at the front bumper for a moment to inspect her   handiwork before the slam of a door a few feet behind her brought her back to reality. Heart pounding, she spun around and was relieved to discover it was nothing more than two business people engrossed in their own conversation as they headed toward the office building. She exhaled deeply, then proceeded in the direction of her Accord before her new ex-husband could discover what she’d done.

Chapter Excerpt

By early December, Sam and David had gone out a few times. But the more hours she spent in his company, the more dramatic the differences between him and Alec became. Stability and maturity aside, she missed that passion and questioned whether it had to be an either/or proposition. Wasn’t it possible to find a combination of Alec and David in someone else? Could Alec just need another year or two of sowing his oats before coming back to her? With every ounce of her being, she wanted to believe it could happen. One night, as if reading her mind, David asked some pointed questions as they sat in a small bistro sipping cappuccino after seeing The Santa Clause 2 with Tim Allen.

“Sam, I hope you don’t mind my asking, but what is the nature of your relationship with Alec? I know you see him from time to time and I was just wondering if you were hoping to work things out with him. I’m just a regular guy, not an up-and-coming country music singer, and I don’t want to hang out with you if you’re still in love with your ex-husband.”

She experienced a powerful twinge of guilt. In fact, not only had she been fantasizing about Alec, she’d seen him several times since she and David had begun dating. Torn over how to explain their relationship to him, she’d chosen to avoid the topic altogether. But now that he’d confronted her directly, it was time to address the situation. She took a deep breath.

“Look, David, there’s nothing going on between Alec and me. We’re truly just friends. We were married for five years and we’ve kinda been through a lot of life together, but we’re not reconciling. I’m on my own path; he’s on his own path. For all I know, he’ll be heading to Nashville tomorrow for his big break. And I do know he’s been enjoying the companionship of groupies, if you know what I mean. There’s nothing you need to worry about.” As she spoke the words, she wondered who she was trying to convince more.

Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the publication of In Sam’s Shoes! Interested in learning more about my ghostwriting services? Contact me.

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