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Find a suitable companion for your book

by Nathan Zachary

You wish to publish a book but do not wish to write it yourself… Then it is time to begin your search for a ghost writer.

What exactly is a ghost writer? A ghost writer is a professional author who will write your book on your behalf while allowing you to retain authorship credit. (Therefore, your name appears on the cover.)

Your book will be finished, well-written, and finished much faster than if you wrote it yourself.

But how can you locate the proper ghost writer – someone who will create a professional, high-quality book that accurately reflects your voice, knowledge, and message while opening up new business or career opportunities?

The secret to hiring a ghost writer is to ask the proper questions up front. These include:

  • Do they have a particular focus or niche?
  • Do they utilize a tried-and-true system?
  • How long does the process of ghost writing take?
  • What is the cost of ghostwriting?
  • Is a sample of their work available?

Do they have a particular focus or niche?

Different types of books are…different. I am aware; you’re stating the obvious. But it’s true. Horror novels are distinct from young adult vampire romances, poetry is distinct from sensual romance, and memoirs and interview books are distinct from how-to books even among nonfiction genres.

Each of these types of books is written in a different way, has different content, and often uses a different tone of voice. Consequently, each of these book formats necessitates a highly specific skill set. Find a ghost writer that specializes in the type of book you wish to create for the greatest results.

If you want to produce a how-to book, your first step should be to find a ghost writer with demonstrated experience creating how-to books. If you wish to write a memoir, you should seek out a ghostwriter with experience in the genre.

By repeatedly writing on the same type of book, a ghost writer becomes familiar with the typical conventions I outlined earlier, including structure, content, and language. They also learn how to build processes that streamline the writing and research process and guarantee the publication of a high-quality book at the conclusion of the journey.

They may be a wonderful writer, but they are unlikely to have built the above-mentioned methods and frameworks, which can result in a longer, more expensive ghost-writing process, more back-and-forth between you and your writer, and a subpar book.

For this reason, our staff consists of ghost writers who specialize in how-to books, thought leadership books, and professional/business stories (read more about these book categories), but we refer requests for fiction and other sorts of books to other sources. Ultimately, when we receive a request for

ghostwriting, I am able to pair a client with the ideal ghostwriter for their book, knowing that the ghostwriter can produce exactly what the client desires.

Do they utilize a tried-and-true system?

In almost every aspect of my life and work, I like to know precisely what is occurring and when, and I often cannot relax until I know the exact measures someone will take to fulfil my request. This is not necessarily the healthiest way to live, but such is life.

However, once I observe someone’s well-thought-out method, I can relax. I am confident that if they simply follow the instructions, I will obtain the desired outcome within the anticipated timeframe. I have faith in the system.

Similar to most creative processes, ghost writing is somewhat mysterious to those on the outside. Many ghost writers even pitch it as such, claiming they will have a few phone calls or meetings with you before producing a draught for you to evaluate.

A defined system, on the other hand, produces consistent, high-quality outcomes for the entire team.

When we ghostwrite how-to books at Grammar Factory, we employ the following system:

During a Book Blueprint workshop, the ghostwriter and I will spend a day with the client outlining the structure of their book (this includes chapter topics, the subtopics to be covered in each chapter and the key points within each of those subtopics). This course can be done in person or over a few Skype calls, and it follows the same method as my Book Blueprint.

Drawing up the plan:

Using the client’s existing content (blog posts, white papers, marketing materials, podcasts, etc.), independent research from reputable sources, and more interviews with the author, the ghost writer will then flesh out the outline over the next two weeks.

The ghost writer then creates the first draught (typically between 30,000 and 40,000 words) of the client’s book. This draught is based on the approved blueprint and requires four weeks to complete.

The client has two weeks to evaluate the draught and provide input on proposed revisions. This is one of my favorite aspects of our approach.

The ghost writer spends an additional two weeks to incorporate the client’s suggestions into the manuscript.

Client review:

We offer time for a second customer review at this stage, although the client is often content for us to send the manuscript directly to the proofreader.

Final proofread:

The book is then ready for the designer.

What is the moral of the story? Look for a ghostwriter with a dependable approach, which they can describe when discussing their services, as well as predictable rates and timeframes.

How long will the process of ghostwriting take?

As a corporate leader, you desire a swift completion of your book. That’s why you’re employing a professional writer, right?

There are services that claim they can ghostwrite your book in a weekend, but I would be weary of them; from what I’ve observed, the majority of these services are glorified transcription services. They will record an interview (or multiple interviews) with you to extract your expertise and then transcribe it.

Yes, they may clean up the grammar and may eliminate circular phrases and repetition (common problems with direct transcriptions), but they won’t likely provide any structure for your book or conduct further research to offer depth and authenticity.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are ghost writers who collaborate with clients for at least a year. In these instances, the ghost writer is typically working on multiple projects concurrently to keep them occupied (and sustain income flow) during potentially lengthy intervals between interviews and edits.

In addition to turnaround times, waiting durations must also be considered. If you’re seeking for a talented ghost writer, you’ll likely encounter individuals who are also in high demand, which can add months to your entire publishing timetable. (As of this writing, we are fully booked three months in ahead.)

Understanding the turnaround and lead times of the ghost writers you are considering (and whether there is any wiggle room) is essential. If you locate a ghost writer with whom you‘d like to collaborate, you may decide to adjust your print deadline. If your deadline is non-negotiable, you can continue to hunt for someone who can work within your parameters.

What is the cost of ghostwriting?

Depending on the quality of the book you want to produce and the suppliers you work with, the cost of self-publishing a book might vary significantly. Ghostwriting is comparable.

The Writers’ Union of Canada has set a minimum cost of $40,000 for a book between 60,000 and 90,000 words, whereas the Australia Society of Writers claims an average rate of $0.71 per word, which falls roughly within the same range. Nevertheless, there is a wide range of pricing for both published and unpublished writers, ranging from much lower on freelancing marketplaces to much higher for high-profile celebrity writers costing well into the six figures.

The cost of a ghostwriter will vary according on a number of criteria, including:

The length of your finished book. Longer works require more time to compose. This means that they are more expensive, as the time spent on your book prevents the ghost writer from working on other possible assignments.

How much existing material you own. If you already have a large collection of blog posts, articles, podcasts, and other content, you may be able to negotiate a reduced charge, as your ghost writer will have to perform less writing. However, I recommend giving them some time to analyses everything before submitting a final quote, as it makes no difference how much content you have if the majority of it is unusable.

If you desire a quicker response time. If a ghost writer’s standard turnaround time is 12 weeks and you want them to do the research and writing in four weeks, you should expect to pay a premium. Requesting faster turnaround times not only puts a great deal of strain on the writer, but it may also require them to delay or cancel other work, thus it must be worthwhile for them to do so.

Whether you will bring in additional work. As with many items, buying in bulk is advantageous! If you would also like your writer to create a year’s worth of blog entries or some smaller booklets in addition to the main book, try asking them to quote the entire project at once; they may provide a discount if you purchase everything at once.

Therefore, what should you pay?

Tucker Max, the creator of Scribe, suggests that you should not engage a ghost writer if you cannot pay at least $15,000.

He concludes that anyone who charges less than $15,000 is probably not very skilled. The best-case situation is that they are new to the sector and attempting to create a portfolio, whereas the worst-case scenario is that they are plagiarizing or outsourcing their writing to writers in other countries.

Simply put, ghost writing is a service that requires a high degree of talent and experience, and it must be compensated accordingly.

Fortunately, all is not lost; if you cannot afford to hire a ghostwriter, consider employing a competent structural editor instead. Even if you’re not a writer, a smart structural editor can disassemble and reassemble your book wonderfully; all you have to do is offer the basic text.

Can you view their previous work?

A competent ghost writer will be able to give you with samples of their previous works. And if they have specialized in writing the type of book you like to create, you will have a very good sense of what they are capable of producing for you.

If you are speaking with a rookie ghost writer who does not yet have any samples or an experienced ghost writer who cannot reveal the identities of their clients (sometimes a non-disclosure agreement can be used to circumvent this), ask to see additional samples of their work. Have they created a blog? Have they published a novel under their own name? This will help you determine if they are a good fit for you and your book.

Ask for the contact information of some of the other writers they’ve worked with so you may learn about their experiences, such as the quality of the work, the efficiency of the procedure, the value for money, and more.

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