For many people, hiring a ghostwriter is a terrible experience. They end up wasting their time and money on a lousy book.
Why does this happen so often?
Because hiring someone to write a book for you is more complex than it seems. Most people have no idea how to do it properly.
They start with a vague book idea, compound it with unrealistic expectations, and then hire the wrong ghostwriter.
In this article, I will teach you how to have a successful ghostwriting engagement, including:
- How to set realistic expectations for your book
- How to develop a sound nonfiction book idea
- How much good ghostwriters actually cost
- 2 critical articles to read before you hire a ghostwriter
Note: Scribe has worked with over 2,000 nonfiction Authors, including New York Times bestsellers like David Goggins and Tiffany Haddish. Our proven process takes you from book idea to published book in as quickly as 9 months. And we offer a money-back guarantee. If you’re serious about writing your first book, schedule a free consultation with one of our Author Strategists.
First, Setting Realistic Expectations
Many first time Authors expect to sell a million copies of their book, make a bunch of money off of book sales, and become a bestseller.
Let me dispel a couple of myths for you:
Myth #1: “Book Sales Is How I’ll Make Money From My Book”
The truth is, most nonfiction Authors sell relatively few books. Book sales aren’t how they make most of their money.
They make money by using their book as a marketing tool.
For example, they use their books to:
- Attract higher value clients
- Sell more consulting or coaching services
- Sell a product
- Start a business
- Get paid speaking engagements
These are just a few examples. You can learn more ways in my post on how to make money with your book. Or, check out our Author Success Stories to see how our clients have gotten massive ROI from their books.
Note: The obvious prerequisite is having a good book in the first place(more on this below).
Myth #2: “My Book Will Only Be Successful If It Hits a Bestseller List”
Many Authors dream about getting on the Wall Street Journal or New York Times bestseller list.
The problem with this is that it’s very hard to do. You typically need to have:
- A traditional publishing deal (which most Authors can’t get)
- 10k+ pre-orders
- Mainstream press to validate your book
Authors who can actually get these things are in the minority. We encourage our clients not to chase becoming a bestselling Author, but instead focus on their business and personal goals—because these things are achievable for the majority of Authors.
You just need a sound book idea and a high quality ghostwriter.
How to Develop Your Book Idea
When people say, “I have an idea for a book but I need someone else to write it,” they usually only have a vague idea of what the book is actually about..”
A well-developed book idea answers fundamental questions for the ghostwriter and the targeted reader:
- What is the book about?
- Who is the ideal reader for the book?
- What will the ideal reader get?
Beginning the writing process without answering these basic questions is like going into the forest without a compass. You won’t have direction and it’s very likely that you’ll get lost.
The result is wasted time, an unusable first draft, and having to rewrite the entire book.
It’s important you answer these questions on your own before hiring a ghostwriter.
My previous blog post on how to craft the perfect book idea outlines the step-by-step process we teach our clients at Scribe.
Good ghostwriters will help you refine your answers to these questions. In fact, this is one of the ways you can vet them. If they don’t ask you these, it’s a red flag and you should avoid working with them.
How Much Do Ghostwriters Actually Cost?
There are a lot of misconceptions about how much a ghostwriter costs. At current market rates, good quality ghostwriters range from $25,000 to $75,000.
But if you want to work with the highest quality ghostwriters, expect to pay $100,000 to $250,000+. This tier of writers has typically published bestselling books under their own names.
Paying less than $25,000 for a ghostwriter will consistently result in a bad book that puts you in a worse position than not having written a book at all. If you value your reputation and want to leverage your book, invest in a good quality ghostwriter.
Check out my article on how much it costs to hire a ghostwriter for a book to learn more about the different tiers of ghostwriters and how they charge.
Note: Hiring a professional writer does not include publishing. In addition to paying your ghostwriter, you’ll also have to pay for self-publishing(unless you hire a service like Scribe, where publishing is included). It’s also worth learning about the costs of self-publishing.
2 Key Articles to Read Before You Hire a Ghostwriter
These articles provide an understanding of the landscape of professional ghostwriting services and a detailed process to find, vet, and hire a ghostwriter.
When you begin your search for a ghostwriter, you’ll notice it’s a crowded marketplace. There are tons of service options that range in price and quality—but it’s not easy to tell the differences between them.
This article will help you understand the ghostwriting marketplace so you can avoid any traps and choose the best option for you. You’ll learn:
- The pros and cons of hiring a freelancer versus hiring a ghostwriting service
- The difference between ghostwriting agencies and professional publishing companies
- Who each option is best for
Most people don’t realize that finding a great writer for your book requires a lot of time and hard work. If you choose to hire an independent freelancer, expect to spend 25 to 50 hours reviewing online profiles, reading through portfolios, and interviewing potential candidates.
In this comprehensive article, I will teach you everything you need to know about hiring ghostwriters. I cover:
- Where to find them
- How to tell if they’re good
- How to find the right fit for you
- The steps of the hiring process
Note: This article is critical if you decide to hire a freelancer directly.
How Scribe Can Help Bring Your Book Idea to Life
If you read the articles above, it’s clear that hiring a ghostwriter is a complex process. It involves a lot of time and energy to find someone you can trust. And it’s hard to be certain that your investment will result in a great book.
When my co-founder Zach and I started Scribe, this was the exact problem we set out to solve.
How can we make it easy for people to get a professional-quality book ghostwritten and published for a good price (without the hassle of finding and vetting ghostwriters on their own)?
Scribe Professional—our interview-based book writing and publishing service—was the answer.
We built it for entrepreneurs, consultants, and executives who want to write and publish a professional book in their words and voice, but don’t have the time or desire to do the actual writing themselves.
We decided to package it with publishing because there’s no reason to invest tens of thousands of dollars in a book if you aren’t publishing it.
We’ve now helped thousands of Authors bring their story ideas to life in beautifully published books—and we can do the same for you.
Scribe Professional costs $40,000 ($5,000/month for 8 months), and we offer a money back guarantee. It includes everything you need to get your book out into the world:
- Validation, structuring, and positioning of your book idea
- Comprehensive interviews to get your ideas out of your head and into a book (in your words and your voice)
- A completed book manuscript reviewed by expert book editors
- A beautifully designed book cover and interior layout
- Full coordination of all book publishing details (ISBN, author bio, description, etc.)
- An eBook format of your book
- Full printing services, with the ability to order unlimited copies at production cost (with an initial 100-copy gift from us)
- Full distribution through major online retailers (Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, iBooks)
- 100% ownership of rights and royalties
- First week promotions to help you become an AmazonBestseller (including a scheduled podcast interview, social media templates, and more)
- Marketing strategy and consultation by our experienced team of book marketers
In addition to Scribe Professional, we offer Scribe Elite Ghostwriting, which starts at $120,000. You get everything in the Scribe Professional package plus:
- Guaranteed pairing with an award-winning ghostwriter who will fly to interview you in person
- A complete PR and media campaign, starting prior to launch and lasting a minimum of 3 months
- Audiobook creation using a professional voice actor and top of the line studio production