It’s always the first question I’m asked: “What do you charge?”
And it’s always the hardest to answer. That’s because ghostwriting fees can have an extensive range, depending on a host of factors. Costs are unique to each project. Some of the factors which may determine the price are:
- the probable length of the manuscript
- how much, if any, research needs to be done, and what kind of research it is
- how much, if any, written materials already exist (such as articles, speeches or speaker notes, class notes or teleclass scripts, audios or videos, outlines, even jottings on napkins)
- how many interviews with how many people may be needed
- if there is travel involved
- whether “extras” such as copyediting or indexing is requested
- And more!
It’s important to remember in choosing a ghostwriter that the most important factor is NOT cost. Does the ghostwriter share your vision? Are they excited about the project? Are they knowledgeable about your topic, or if not, are they willing to learn? How good are they at listening to you? Can they ask penetrating questions that draw out your stories? Can they write clear and compelling prose in your voice? Can they be fiercely dedicated to producing an excellent work of art, and yet still be able to recognize that the work is yours and not theirs?
But to give you a general idea of what you might pay for ghostwriting, here are some price ranges you might expect. None of the costs mentioned here are binding. Since each project is unique, all clients are given an individual, customized quotation for the entire project, after we have had time to discuss your proposed project together.
- Full-length Books (Usually between 40,000 and 100,000 words, or 150 – 200 pages and up): My fee may be anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. (Many ghostwriters charge much more.) Your quotation will depend on the various factors which are pertinent to your project. Ghostwriting a book is expensive, because it takes skill, art, and a lot of time to write a book – often as long as six to nine months. This is exactly why authors are admired!
- EBooks, Pamphlets, Workbooks (usually 10,000 to 25,000 words and under 100 pages): My fee may range from $5,000 to $15,000, more or less, depending on the same factors.
- Rewriting: Rewriting what you have already written is less expensive than complete ghostwriting, and fees depend entirely on the quality and clarity of your manuscript. If totally new content is needed, it is ghostwriting, not rewriting. A combination of ghostwriting and rewriting may be recommended.
My standard payment structure is: For ghostwriting full-length books, I ask for 40% down, 30% when the first rough draft of half the project is done, and the final 30% when the manuscript is complete. For ghostwriting or rewriting shorter books or e-books, I ask for 50% down and the balance when the project is complete.
My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water.”
– Mark Twain