A Ghostwriter – Every Budding Author’s Must Have Accessory

Ever read a book by James Patterson?  He’s good – he must be, since he’s worth close to a billion dollars.  What about Tom Clancy?  Or Wilbur Smith?

How about celebrity autobiographies?  Enjoyed the life story of some superstar football manager?  Or soap star, whose own life has been an opera in itself?

It’s probably no surprise that the actual words you read were not written by the big names, but by the ghostwriter they employed. 

The point is, we all have a story within us.  It might be an original idea for a piece of fiction, a personal experience we desperately want to share, a non-fiction subject about which we are passionate.  Or, an entrepreneurial idea which could change the way we think about that particular subject.

With self-publishing now being as cheap as we want it to be, we can all get our idea on the biggest selling platform in the world, Amazon.  It has never been a better time to be an author.

Who Needs a Ghostwriter?

To answer that tricky question, we need to pose a number of our own:

  • Do you have a story (fiction, or non-fiction, perhaps even script or screenplay) you want to tell?  A book you want to write?
  • Are you too busy to research, write and redraft your story alongside your normal everyday commitments?
  • Are you worried that you might not have the grammar, spelling and sentence structure skills to share your story as effectively as you wish?
  • Are you confident you can make a start when you want to, and not equivocate about this exciting, but time consuming, undertaking?

We are guessing that the answer to the first question is ‘yes’, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog.  If the answer to the others is also positive, then you probably don’t need the services of a ghostwriter.  But if the answer to any or all is ‘no’ then maybe it is worth exploring what a ghostwriter can offer in a bit more detail.

AB Peters ghostwriter

What does a Ghostwriter Do?

Simply, he or she writes your book.  This will usually involve some or all of the following:

  • Discussing your story with you.  This could be in person, in writing (by email and document, for example) or by phone or Skype (etc).
  • Finding out HOW you want to share your story, and WHO you want your audience to be.
  • Researching the story.  This is often the longest part of the process.  Depending on the story, this might involve desk research using the internet, visits to national libraries and museums or sometimes speaking with experts.  Please note, even fiction stories will usually involve some degree of research.
  • Writing the story.  This involves as much as collaboration with you, the client and author, as you wish.
  • Reviewing, editing and revising the story to get it how you want it to be.

Once the book is written, and the contract completed, all rights and royalties shift to the client – the real author.  The ghostwriter signs off all entitlement to being named as a writer, to royalties and to any use or control of the book. 

How Long Might a Ghostwriter Take to Write Our Book?

It is hard to define the typical length of a book, or the time it takes to write it.  We have ghost-written eBooks of just 8000 words (on using shipping containers for homes!) to 120000+ (on abuses of the British Empire in India).  Typically, though, the following might be seen as a guide:

  • Small eBook for self-publishing (with perhaps paperback copies as well) – 12-20000 words – 1 to 2 months to write
  • Average size fiction or non-fiction book – 50-80000 words – 4 – 8 months to write
  • Niche factual book requiring significant research – 50000 words plus – 6 to 12 months to write.

Which Parts of the Publishing Process Do Ghostwriters NOT Provide?

Every story is different, and so is every ghostwriter.  However, it is unlikely that your ghostwriter will commit to providing the following list.  This is not because they do not want to do it, but writing is a specific skill, and so are the elements of publishing on the list below.  The ghostwriter is unlikely to have the necessary expertise to provide these services to the standard you want.

  • Graphics
  • Formatting beyond basic self-publication
  • Cover design
  • Finding a print publisher or agent
  • Advertising, promotion and marketing.

What Do Ghostwriters Cost?

Some sites offer writers who will work for less than £10 per 1000 words.  Such a writer is unlikely to make a living wage from that figure, with all this implies for the quality of what you will receive.  At the other end, a ghostwriter with a track record of writing best sellers, or one working with a household name, might sign away their rights to all royalties for not less than a six-figure sum. 

Most work, though, falls somewhere in the middle.  We set fees on a bespoke basis, using wordcount for smaller pieces, such as eBooks, articles and blogs and a daily rate for larger contracts. (See the relevant page on the website for details).

Typically, a 50-80000 word book, requiring moderate research, will come in at £10-15000, although most ghostwriters’ fees are negotiable, and the range of fees is wide. 

It is a lot of money.  To be fair, it is unlikely (but not impossible) that authors will make that money back from royalties.  Then again, even if a print publisher can be found, advances are not what they used to be.

But a successful book enhances our reputation; it might help us in our employment; it might open the door to wider opportunities.  Plus, most importantly of all, our idea is out there, in the public domain.  There are few finer feelings than seeing our work in print – digital or physical. 

A ghostwriter can help us to achieve this.  And just maybe our story will make our fortune.

Please click the ‘Let’s talk’ button below and get in touch to discuss your ideas.

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