Is there a book inside of you screaming to get out? I believe every person has an interesting tale to tell, but since we’re all blessed with different gifts and abilities, not everyone can effectively write their story in a way that will sell books and entertain readers. That’s what I love the most about my work: the ability to help others bring their concept to life through the written word, whether a memoir, guide book, or historical fiction novel.
So what is ghostwriting?
Like editing (a service I also provide), ghostwriting requires an eye for detail and consistency, a grasp of the English language, and a commitment to maintaining the author’s (my client’s) voice. However, ghostwriting demands much more. In many cases I’m starting with nothing more than another person’s concept, which requires hours of brainstorming and collaboration to distill it into a workable plot with compelling characters. Although I’ve also dealt with clients who have taken the time to create an outline (thus providing at least a good starting point), I’ve learned that in order for any project to succeed, the following factors are necessary:
- At least 80% buy-in on my part as to the client’s message, goals, and motivation for writing the book.
- Willingness to spend time with the client via phone or in person whenever possible, to facilitate my ability to write in their voice.
- Mutual respect between the client and me for the project (honoring deadlines, agreed-upon phone calls or meetings, etc).
- An understanding on my part that it’s my responsibility to make suggestions for improvement based on professional experience but that the client still has the final say.
- An acceptance of constructive criticism and disagreement (never taking anything personally).
- The necessity of having a basic respect for the client and what he/she is trying to accomplish through the project (see 80% buy-in above). I don’t have to become good friends with them, but I do need a certain amount of passion for the project because with writing, if your heart isn’t in it, it will definitely affect the quality of work.
- The seemingly paradoxical ability to remain detached from the project, while simultaneously pouring my heart and soul into it.
- Flexibility throughout the entire project because the creative process is fluid, particularly when dealing with another person’s concept.
- Willingness to conduct hours of research (depending upon the scope of the project).
- A shared sense of urgency (when I write my proposals, I always cite a completion date of 3-4 months after the start date, depending on the scope of the project).
When I agree to provide ghostwriting services, I know I am dedicating a minimum of 100 hours of my time for a 200-300 page book, whether fiction or nonfiction. And my time is valuable. I’ve spent countless years developing my writing and communications skills (including Writestream and social media marketing), which means every client that hires me gets my very best. My proposals not only include ghostwriting (or editing, in the case of a book that a client has already written) but also:
- Formatting for paperback and Kindle versions (different formatting is required for each);
- Management of the self-publishing process (from formatting to uploading);
- Assistance with obtaining ISBN numbers (a different one is required for paperback and Kindle, even though it’s the same book);
- Consultation with my trusted graphic designer Kia Heavey;
- Set-up of a Word Press site and desired social media platforms;
- Social media training;
- Social media management (e.g. if the client doesn’t have the time to do their own marketing on a daily basis);
- An interview on all appropriate Writestream programs (depending on the book’s content).
While most experienced ghostwriters charge a minimum of $8,000 just to write a 100-300 page book, this price does not include the services listed above. In my effort to provide comprehensive services at a reasonable cost to as many people as possible, my rates typically begin at $5,000, depending on the project. Although many ghostwriters charge an hourly rate that usually starts at $50.00, I prefer to set an agreed-upon project price at the outset, which is why I offer a 30-minute free consultation with the prospect, then carefully arrive at a project price based on estimated hours required for completion. Setting a project price avoids any perception on the client’s part of being “nickled and dimed to death” and simplifies the payment process. I offer a 10% discount on the overall project price should the client choose to pay for everything in advance.
Regardless of the fee for any given project (unless the client chooses advance payment with a 10% discount), I require a 50% advance to start working, with the balance due when all work outlined in the proposal is completed and approved.
In terms of book credit, I never demand that my name appear on the book cover, but I do ask every client for a reference. While I’m honored to have my name appear on the book in an “as told to” or “with” capacity, it’s not required. Still, as is the case with a prospect I am currently negotiating with, I’m definitely open to the opportunity.
Whether you hire me to ghostwrite or edit your book, I include the social media services bulleted above because as an independent author, leveraging the power of social media is a necessity if your goal is to connect with your readers and sell copies. However, if your goal is simply to write and publish a book to share with family and friends, I can also quote a project price limited to those services, with the option of hiring me at a future date to set-up and/or manage social media accounts.
So, is there a book inside of you screaming to get out? Contact me here and let’s get started!
UPDATE: In my original post, I’d included the photo image of the front cover of A Snobby Girl’s Guide to Dealing with Cancer, in an effort to highlight the design skills of Kia Heavey and my involvement in the project as an editor, and independent publishing/social media consultant. It has come to my attention that the inclusion of this cover in a post dedicated to ghostwriting suggests that I ghostwrote the book, which is not true. This highly recommended memoir/journal/guide was written by cancer survivor Maureen Miles Bucci. My apologies for any confusion.