Many Authors think writing a memoir is just a process of sharing their life story, but it’s much more than that.
Writing a memoir is a therapeutic process. It requires you to ask hard questions and dig into hard and uncomfortable places in your life.
Working with a ghostwriter on a memoir is like working with a therapist. You need a writer with specialized skills who understands you and how to get your story out of you.
They can’t just be an excellent writer or interviewer. They need the ability to help you explore ideas, thoughts, feelings, and moments in your life that you may have never explored before.
In this article, I’ll show you the qualities to look for in a memoir ghostwriter. I’ll help you avoid hiring the wrong person—so you don’t waste time, money, and emotional energy in the process.
Below, I cover:
- The must-have qualities in a memoir ghostwriter
- The 2 main types of memoir ghostwriting services (and the pros and cons of each)
- How Scribe’s memoir ghostwriting service works
We’ve helped ghostwrite the memoirs of New York Times bestselling Authors such as comedian Tiffany Haddish and retired Navy SEAL David Goggins. Their books, The Last Unicorn and Can’t Hurt Me, have gone on to sell millions of copies and impact millions of people. Learn how Scribe can help you bring your memoir to life by scheduling a free consultation with one of our Authors Strategists.
The Must-Have Qualities in a Memoir Ghostwriter
There are 2 qualities that your memoir ghostwriter must have: experience and empathy.
Whether you search for a ghostwriter yourself or use a ghostwriting services company (more on this below), it’s absolutely essential that the ghostwriter you choose has these qualities.
1. Experience Writing Memoirs
The process of ghostwriting a memoir is different from regular nonfictionbook writing. Hiring a ghostwriter who’s never written one is a recipe for a poor memoir.
Someone who’s only written self-help or business books, for example, probably doesn’t have the experience to be able to guide you through the difficult, vulnerable conversations that writing a good memoir takes.
Scribe has excellent ghostwriters who write great books but wouldn’t do good memoirs. That’s why we only pair memoir clients with ghostwriters who have years of experience writing memoirs.
They’ve developed a therapist-like skill set to get Authors to open up, be vulnerable, and share deeply personal stories about their lives.
Most of the best memoir writers have written their own memoir. If you can find someone who’s walked the path for themselves, they’ll understand what it takes and be able to guide you.
2. Empathy for the Author
The second most crucial thing a memoir ghostwriter must possess is a high level of empathy. If they’re not empathetic or they don’t have empathy for you, they’re not going to be a good fit.
But just empathy is not enough. You also need someone who isn’t afraid to ask you difficult questions and go into hard places because that’s where the best memoirs come from.
They need to have empathy and compassion for you—while holding firm boundaries that push you to go deeper.
This is a very rare skill set. It’s not a common quality for people to have, but great memoir ghostwriters have this 100% of the time.
The 2 Main Types of Memoir Ghostwriting Services
There are 2 main categories of memoir writing services:
- Individual Freelancers: Independent ghostwriters who offer personal memoir services.
- Ghostwriting Service Companies: Businesses that have a network of ghostwriters you can choose from.
To decide which one’s best for you, you need to understand the differences between them.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring an Individual Ghostwriter
The advantage of working with an individual ghostwriter is that it’s often much easier to negotiate price. There’s no company overhead to account for, so you can usually get a cheaper rate than when you hire a ghostwriting services company.
If you know how to find, vet, and negotiate with ghostwriters, this is a great option. But most people have zero experience vetting and negotiating with ghostwriters.
For most first-time Authors, finding the right ghostwriter is a pain in the ass.
First, there are thousands of people who call themselves ghostwriters. You’ll need to spend a lot of time and effort sifting through profiles and websites to find potential candidates.
Second, if you’ve never hired a ghostwriter before, you don’t know what to look for or how to vet them properly. As you search through profiles, it’s not clear who is actually legitimate.
Lastly, you need to interview writers, choose one, and negotiate terms.
All told, you’re likely to spend 50+ hours on this process. And I can’t tell you how many people have bad experiences despite all this effort.
So, while there’s an opportunity to get a lower price, the costs of your time and effort during the hiring process are significant—and the risks of getting a bad match are too. That’s why I recommend service companies for anyone inexperienced in finding and vetting ghostwriters.
If you decide to hire an individual ghostwriter on your own, check out my article on how to find a ghostwriter for a book. I cover everything you need to know about:
- Where to find them
- How to tell if they’re good
- How to tell if they’d be a good fit for you
- How to negotiate terms and hire them
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working with Ghostwriting Service Companies
The advantage of working with companies versus individuals is that it’s their job to vet and find talented writers. That’s what you pay them for.
By working with a company, it might cost you a little more, but you’re paying for the certainty and safety that you’ll get a professional writer you can trust.
When you hire Scribe, you’re not just hiring a ghostwriter—you’re hiring a full-service writing and publishing company. Because our brand’s reputation is on the line, we’re incentivized to ensure you get the perfect writer for your memoir.
In cases where a ghostwriter isn’t the right fit, we pair you with another one. Whereas if you hire the wrong individual ghostwriter and it doesn’t work out, there aren’t refunds or replacement writers to fall back on. You’ll need to go through the hiring process again and pay another writer.
Another huge benefit of using Scribe is that we include publishing as a part of our service.
Publishing isn’t included when you hire an individual ghostwriter—it’s a completely separate process and fee.
How Scribe’s Memoir Ghostwriting Service Is Different (and What It Includes)
There are 5 core things that separate Scribe’s memoir ghostwriting service—Scribe Professional:
- We’re the only company that operates from the premise that a memoir is a therapeutic process—it’s not just telling the story of your life. This is built into the process our ghostwriters use to interview and work with clients.
- We only pair Authors with ghostwriters who have experience writing memoirs.
- We are extremely selective in choosing the ghostwriters we hire. Most have over a decade of experience and are published Authors themselves.
- We facilitate the entire self-publishing process as a part of our service.
- We offer a money back guarantee.
The pricing of Scribe Professional is $5,000/month for 8 months—or $40,000 total.
If you’ve never published a book before, that might seem like a lot. But if you truly understand the cost of hiring a professional ghostwriter and the cost of self-publishing a book, you’ll see that our service offers incredible value for the price.
Here’s a breakdown of everything it includes:
- Comprehensive interviews to surface the most powerful stories of your life experience and translate them into a professional memoir that’s written in your voice.
- Complete proofreading and editing services by world-class book editors.
- A beautifully designed book cover and interior layout.
- Coordination of all key book publishing details.
- Hardcover and paperback versions of your memoir with the ability to order unlimited copies at production cost (including a 100-copy gift from us).
- eBook format of your memoir distributed through all major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.
- You keep 100% of the rights and royalties to your memoir.
- First week promotions of your book, including strategy and templates to become an Amazonbestseller.
- Marketing consultation with our experienced team of book marketers.
If you think you’re ready to write your memoir, then schedule a consult with one of our Author Strategists to learn more.