Posted by: Ghost Category: Authors, Ghostwriter

When searching for a ghostwriter for your new book, there area number of points to consider. Let me walk you through the process, what questions to ask, and what to avoid.

Why hire a ghostwriter?

The biggest reason authors hire ghostwriters like me is they have limited time to complete the project. You want to get your novel out quickly and with your busy schedule, you just don’t have the bandwidth to sit down and write the story or book yourself.

All I need to get your project going is an outline of what your vision for the story will be. From there, that’s where the magic takes root and begins to happen.

What does a “real” ghostwriter cost?

Out of the gate, the first question most people have is, “How much does a ghostwriter cost?” At the Ghostwriter Café, we post our fees up-front so that there is never any question as to what your new book will cost.

What do I mean by “real” ghostwriters?

REAL ghostwriters, the people who have deep experience writing and have published works already selling on Amazon. If you see someone advertising their ghostwriting services for a low flat fee or some ridiculous discount, beware, you’re not hiring a “real” ghostwriter.

Most ghostwriters charge by the project, by the hour, or by the word. Typical rates are:

  • Project: $30,000 to $300,000 per project
  • Hourly: $40 to $120 per hour
  • Word: $0.25 to $0.75+ per word

These rates can fluctuate widely depending on the size and scope and how long the project will take to complete.

Fiction works will typically fall at the lower end of these ranges as the ghostwriter often needs little to no interaction with you during the writing process. The more you insert yourself into the writing, adding your own creativity—and more to the point changes requiring time—the more the cost will increase.

At the end of the day, that is what you are buying—the ghostwriter’s time.

Beware of Ghostwriter Scams

You can find people all over the internet offering to write your novel or non-fiction book for $300 or even offering deals, like “85% off”, like this service is something you’re buying at Walmart. What does “50% off” or “85% off”  even mean?

Beware—these kinds of sales tactics are generally the mark of scammers trying take your money and return very little. What you are typically buying from the hucksters is:

  • A non-unique work. They sell the same novel over and over, changing the title, author name, and maybe character names, but little else. 
  • Bait-and-switch. They advertise a low base rate that is “85% off”, but then  they start adding on fees and costs to the base price.
  • AI written. The work was written by an AI platform, generally plagiarizing from other established copyrighted works. The scammer spent little to no real time actually writing the work.
  • Non-native English. The seller is an off-shore native and has a non-native command of English. While their work will technically be in English, anyone will be able to tell that the work is unprofessional at best.

Don’t trust anyone offering these kinds of “deals”. You will get scammed.

These scam artists are simply looking for people who think they can get a truly professionally written novel or business book on the cheap so they can then “make millions selling on Amazon”.

Authors do make money on Amazon, but they do so with professionally written work and they typically have some kind of installed audience they can market their work to.

The Real Way To Lower Ghostwriter Fees—Revenue Sharing

The truth is, the vast majority of ghostwriters, I mean the really good ones, will not do any kind of revenue sharing agreement unless they know that you as an author already have an established audience ready, willing, and chomping at the bit to buy your books.

The Ghostwriter Café is one of those few companies who will write your book under a revenue sharing agreement with us as your publisher. You’ll pay only about the 1/3 the cost of having your book written by us.

See Our Menu for costs and other options we offer. You should also keep in mind that as your publisher, not only can you make MORE money with the Ghostwriter Café than if you were to use a traditional publisher, we’ll have your book ready for publication within weeks instead of months or years, as is often the case with traditional publishing timeframes.

Even then, we carefully evaluate your audience metrics for potential sell-though. Everyone wants their book to succeed and to become a best-selling author on Amazon. The Ghostwriter Café knows how to turn your audience into a new revenue stream.


Review The Ghostwriter’s Work

Don’t hire any ghostwriter until you know how they write. Ask for excerpts and examples of their writing. Don’t just look at grammar, anyone can use tools to proofread. The things you need to look at are:

  • The story—is this something you would want to read yourself? That you would want your audience reading with your name attached to it?
  • Cadence—is the pace of the story easy to follow, not too fast and not too slow?
  • Plot—is the plot interesting, with twists and turns?
  • Characters—are the people in the story interesting and is the hero or heroine someone you’re interested in?

These are some of the things to look at when determining the style of the ghostwriter you’d love to have writing your novel or business book.

Negotiating Fees

Most people hiring a ghostwriter do not know that most of us are open to negotiating on fees. If you’ve found a ghostwriter who is between projects, this is the perfect time to negotiate. If I have no other projects on my schedule, I can work with a client at a reduced rate just to stay busy, and it can save you some money in the process.

Pre-made Novels

Something of a new concept in ghostwriting are pre-made novels. Ghostwriters like me spin up stories that are typically unfinished works, but that lay the foundations of very intriguing stories. Authors like yourself simply choose the story that best fits your genre and personality; then we work in tandem to groom the story to your liking with your ideas. You can offer as little or as much input as you like to make the story your own.

The benefit of a pre-made novel is that the cost is typically a lot less and it takes a lot less time to bring this book to market. Most pre-made stories can be completed within 60 days.

Payments & Timeframes

You can expect to pay between 1/3 to 1/2 up-front when hiring your ghostwriter. I usually charge 1/3 to get the project going. Then another 1/3 when the story reaches the ending. The final 1/3 of the fee is paid once the client signs off on the manuscript and everything is complete, including copyediting and proofreading, which usually takes another 30 days or so.

The time it takes to complete a project depends on if you are selecting one of our pre-made novels or we’re building your story from the ground up with your ideas and creativity.

A pre-made story can save you a lot of time and money during this process because the tropes, characters, plot, themes, etc., have already been laid as the foundation and all we need to do is work together with your ideas to finish the story. Turnaround times are generally 2 to 3 months.

If we’re beginning your book from scratch, I’ll collect your ideas and together we will build a loose outline of the people and plot of your story. Here is where you need to decide how much involvement you want to have in this process.

If you are a “plotter” type of writer, someone who needs to plan out every aspect of the story, hiring a ghostwriter will be expensive as we plot out every single aspect of the story to your specifications and liking. I don’t mind working with clients this way, but you are paying for my time and I am only too happy to sell it to you, as much as you like. This is my business model after all. I’m just being up-front. A $30,000 novel can balloon to a $120,000 novel if the process takes us 6 or 9 months to finish the work. If you’re good with that, so am I.

On the flip side, if we’re simply working from your outline and I become your creative producer, so to speak, then the project will be completed much more quickly and we can make whatever changes necessary to your liking in post-production.


Contracts & Licensing

There is a contract between us for the work. This is not totally a “work for hire” arrangement, and I explain why in a moment.

Once your book and story are complete, you have full control over how you publish and market your work. You publish the work as your own work. I’m just the ghostwriter. I don’t need credit and I don’t want your limelight if your novel becomes wildly popular. You can take all the credit for yourself. No one will ever know that I wrote your book. It’s in my own contract. I’m your silent partner, as it were. And I am more than happy to remain silent while you become the shining star. It just means we can collaborate together to write more!

However, with the entertainment industry being what it is today with some fiction books and stories becoming massively popular and people creating movies and theme parks around them, my license requires that you kick-back a small percentage of these earnings to the creator who originally wrote the story—which is me.

If you license your book to make a movie from the story, you’ll have to pay me a small percentage, perhaps 10% to 15% of whatever is earned from the work by you.

Arguably, the chances of this happening are small when compared to the millions of books out there, but with the quality of work you will get with the Ghostwriter Café, the chances are much better than average.

Having Fun!

Writing a book using your own ghostwriter is and should be a really fun and rewarding experience as you use me to make your ideas come to life on the page.

I love ghostwriting stories and I would love to work with you and your imagination to bring your vision of your story to life.

Contact me using the button below and let’s talk about your project, whether that’s a fiction novel or lifestyle guide or memoir or how you made millions as an entrepreneur. I have decades of experience to bring your story to life!

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