Hire a Ghostwriter to Write Your Book

Do you want a book with your name on it to help market your business, but you don’t have the time to write a book, don’t like to write, or are not particularly good at writing? Or, have you begun working on a book, but just can’t seem to finish it? Hire a ghostwriter.

An experienced ghostwriter can either write your book from start to finish or turn what you have already drafted into a polished manuscript. Also, a ghostwriter can help you clarify your book’s contents and features by working with you on the development of a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline for the book. Outlining a book is an essential first step.

Why Hire a Ghostwriter

There are three key reasons to hire a ghostwriter:

1. You will probably end with a better quality book than if you write it yourself.

2. You will actually complete your book. Business owners often try to sandwich writing into their already busy lives and become frustrated by how little progress they make.

3. You’ll be able to focus on what you do best – running your business.

Some ghostwriters also have relationships with book agents, which can be helpful if you want your book to be published the traditional way. Others have experience getting ebooks published, which is how a growing number of business owners turn their book ideas into realities.

Choosing a Ghostwriter

Don't rush into a decision about who to hire to ghostwrite your book. It's an important decision and you may have to pay the ghost a lot of money, so be slow and deliberate and follow these steps:

Establish goals for your book. For example, do you want your book to educate and inform readers and/or sell your ideas? Do you want it to motivate and excite? Do you want your book to have a sense of humor, to be conversational in tone, or more formal? Do you want it to include anecdotes, interviews, case studies, quizzes, and so on?

Talk to the writers you are considering. Find out how they work and notice whether or not you feel a rapport with any of them. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the writer you hire because although you won’t be writing your own book, you’ll still be involved in the writing process. For example, you will probably provide the writer with information and resources; you may have strong feelings about the features you do and don’t want in your book; you will provide feedback after reviewing the writer’s chapter drafts; and you will need to be available to answer the writer’s questions. In other words, to some degree, you and your ghostwriter will be collaborators and the success of your collaboration will depend in large part on how well the two of you work together.

Check out some of the books the writers have written. Do you like the writers' styles? Are any of those styles right for your book?

Are the writers knowledgeable about the subject matter of your book or about related topics. For example, if the book you want written relates to some aspect of personal finance, the law, or a small business issue, you would probably not want to work with someone who ghosts cookbooks or travelogues.

Get references from the writers you are considering and speak to those references. Ask about their experience working with the writer who ghosted their book; get their opinions about the writer’s strengths and weaknesses; find out if they would you hire that same person again.

Paying a Ghostwriter

The amount of money you pay a ghostwriter to write your book will depend on a variety of factors:

How many books the ghostwriter has already written. A ghostwriter with a long track record will cost more than a writer who has not written many books.

How quickly you want your book written. The less time a writer has to ghost your book, the more money the writer will expect.

Whether the ghostwriter will be polishing what you have already written or writing your book from scratch. Also, if the writer will be polishing what you’ve written, the price for doing that will depend on the quality of what you’ve written. Warning! Editing what you've already written can be expensive if your copy is poorly organized and worded.

How much research the writer will have to do. For example, if the writer is going to have to interview people, research topics, and so on, then he or she will charge more than if you have already done that work.

Whether or not the writer is going to take a share of any advance a publisher may pay you to write your book and/or a share of any royalties the book may earn after publication.

Formalizing Your Relationship

If you decide to hire a ghostwriter, protect yourself by formalizing the terms of your relationship in writing. Your agreement should spell out the writer’s responsibilities, how much you will pay him or her, and when you will make each payment. For example, you may agree to pay the writer a certain amount of money up-front and then the rest of the money in installments that are tied to the progress the writer makes in completing your the book. For example, you might pay one-half of the writer's total fee upfront with another ¼ due when the writer has completed half of the manuscript and the final ¼ due when the entire manuscript is done.

Your agreement should also be clear about what your responsibilities will be during the project and it should include language that spells out how the agreement will be terminated and both of your rights should that happen.

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