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What is Ghostwriting?

Ghostwriting is writing done for another. Simply put, a ghostwriting partnership involves two human beings: one who has something important to say, and another who knows how to say it. The ghostwriting partnership is a cooperative allegiance—born of complementary experience, talents, and skills.

A Permanence in the Written Word

Your ghostwriting project is a serious endeavor. It will stimulate and challenge both of us, and be one of the most rewarding investments you can make. Your finished book will be a prized treasure you will be proud to show your family and friends. With a proper marketing strategy, your book can become an accomplishment that has the potential of earning extra income for you for years to come.

Good books are bought, sold, traded, collected, and treasured for generations, long after authors have become but a fond memory. Wouldn’t you like to see your book among them?

Who Needs or Uses a Ghostwriter?

Professionals and career people who excel in their chosen field of expertise—scores of doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, computer software designers, teachers, chefs, painters, entertainers—use ghostwriters to put their special wisdom and experience into a form available to all.

Books have a unique power—they not only increase knowledge and understanding, they enrich personal and professional lives by bringing together those who share similar interests and views.

Why might you want a ghostwriter? Perhaps you are an expert, a professional who has little time other than for the profession itself. Maybe you haven’t the six to twelve hours required daily to devote to your book over a three- to twelve-month span. Perhaps you are less skilled with English than you would like and would feel more comfortable with a professional writer by your side.

More importantly, you are probably motivated to help others by bringing your distinguished skills and observations to them in book form. You know that through your own book, you can reach more people more effectively. You desire permanence for your ideas and recognize the written word as the timeless medium that it is.

How Long Ghostwriting Projects Take

The time required to complete a project varies depending on the kind of literature the project encompasses and the level of involvement required of the writer. Writing “from scratch,” including research and editing, takes twice as long as rewriting from a rough manuscript.

General-audience how-to booklets from 8–64 pages take about four to six weeks; longer booklets to 112 pages may take six to ten weeks.

Technical instruction manuals will take twice as long as general-audience booklets; however, short technical and medical articles of 2,000 to 5,000 words will take two to four weeks.

Book-length nonfiction of 200–250 5½” by 8½” finished pages takes from three to twelve months to complete, depending on the amount of research to be done. If research is provided by the contracting author and is therefore not the responsibility of the ghostwriter, expect the time to be at least three months, but not more than six months.

Obviously, not all writing projects fall within these limits. Time estimates vary from project to project and must be based on a complete and accurate description of your proposed project. Knowing what you want to say and generally how you wish to present it will be

invaluable for the ghostwriter. Outlines and project summaries are an excellent way to begin planning the content of your book. It is possible to estimate time and cost requirements from these initial documents alone. The ghostwriter or book production specialist can assist you with the outline and summary.

By far the most important reality concerning writing is this: Books do not just “happen.” Books evolve. Books and article manuscripts typically go through ten to twenty revisions. (Many authors toil through dozens of revisions before submitting a manuscript.) While getting the facts or the story straight are very important, a book is not a book until it can be viewed as an entity in itself. It is something more as a whole than it is when considered chapter by chapter. All of the parts must fit together in a logical and satisfying sequence. It is this aspect of creating a book that takes the longest time and requires utmost care in planning.

Kinds of Ghostwriting Contracts

All ghostwriting is a writing service offered for a fee—but not all ghostwriting is the same. The simplest form of ghostwriting is a “work for hire,” meaning that after the balance is paid upon completion of the work, the ghostwriter has no further legal or financial interest in the work. The work and copyright are owned by the person who contracts the work—usually the same person cited as the author on the book cover or credits.

“As-told-to” ghostwriting allows for a byline, an advance, and a percentage of the author’s royalty—usually 50%—for as long as the book is in print. This bonds the author/book owner and ghostwriter for a very long time, leading to potential legal problems. This arrangement is costly and frequently involves the services of an attorney.

I do not enter into “as-told-to” agreements.

Industry Standard Fees

“Work-for-hire” projects—with no byline—range from $5,000 to $35,000 for book-length works (200–300 book pages, or 300–450 manuscript pages); $200.00 per day plus expenses for articles. Corporate books range from $13,000 to $25,000.

Work-for-hire projects include how-to booklets, scripts, instruction manuals, textbooks, business plans, annual reports, and nonfiction books.

“As-told-to” projects average $25.00–$50.00 per hour, which can translate into $100.00 to $200.00 daily for three to twelve months. The final tally could amount to over $52,000—before royalties! As-told-to projects include autobiographies, real-life adventures, and certain kinds of fiction.

How My Policies Differ

When I finish your book, I want the book to be yours. I do not ask for or need a byline. I may request that an acknowledgment of my services as a “Book Production Specialist” be included on the copyright page so that your book may serve as evidence of my skills when others consider me for their projects.

I get paid a flat fee for my services and do not expect royalties on future sales or interest in any future contract you may make with others.

Do you already have a written manuscript that just needs some fine tuning? Avail yourself of my editing, rewriting or “book doctoring” services.

Want to Self-Publish your book, keeping all the profits and maintaining complete control of your vision? Hire a book shepherd!


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