My post on August 25th asked what if anything you knew about ghosts – what they do and how they do it. Here are MY answers – “my” is capitalized because these reflect my opinions only, based on my 15 years of ghostwriting. Other ghosts may have other answers.
1. How much do ghostwriters charge, on average, to ghostwrite a full-length non-fiction book?
My answer: It depends on a host of factors, some of which I detail on my website http://kimpearson.me/ghostwriting-services/rates/, along with my general rates. There is an article on Writers Market called “How Much Should I Charge” (you must subscribe to see the full article) that says the range for ghostwriting a book is a low of $5000 to a high of $100,000. Kind of a big range! That’s why my answer is “it depends.”
2. How long does it take a ghostwriter, on average, to ghostwrite a full-length book?
My answer: My standard answer is that it takes about the same amount of time to make a book as it does to make a baby. In other words, approximately 9 months. (Depending on various factors, of course.)
3. How many books can or should a ghostwriter write in a year?
My answer: Guess what – it depends! Some ghosts can write 2 or more books at the same time, others can write only one. It might depend on what the books are about and if they require research, or how available the client is or isn’t, or how long the books are and how long it will take the ghost to write them. It can also depend on how much the ghostwriter charges – for instance, if the ghost charges $10,000 to write a book and only writes one book per year, he or she had better have a “day job” as well, because it’s hard to live on $10,000 a year.
4. Do all ghostwriters keep what they do secret?
My answers: Yes, if there’s a confidentiality clause in their contract with the client. Sometimes there are reasons why the client might not care, or even want, the ghostwriter’s contribution to be secret. Again, it depends.
5. Do most ghostwriters help their clients publish, market, or design their books?
My answer: Not usually, although many ghostwriters belong to organizations or groups, and know people in the “book biz” that can help their clients with these facets of book publishing.
6. If you wanted to hire a ghostwriter, where would you look for one?
My answer: Most “book biz” people (publishers, writing coaches, book marketers, agents, etc) might have a name or two, and it’s always a good idea to get referrals from book pros you trust. You can also check out the ghostwriter bios at The Association of Ghostwriters (www.associationofghostwriters.org ). But don’t take anyone’s word blindly – don’t hire a ghostwriter without talking to them first (not just etalking, but real talking). The ghostwriter-author relationship is a very close one.
7. T/F: If you use a ghostwriter, your book will be published and successful.
My answer: Ha ha ha ha (False. Guarantees do not exist, especially in publishing.)
8. T/F: Any good writer will be a good ghostwriter.
My answer: False. Being able to write well is only the entry into the game. To be a good ghost you have to have other skills as well.