How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Jul 9, 2020 | Ghostwriting

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How to Hire a Ghostwriter

Like many other services you encounter in your daily routine, you must wonder, how much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter? Similar to services such as home repairs or updates, the total cost can be intimidating without all the information.

Ever pull your car, clanking, and smoking into the mechanic? That look on their face says, uh-oh, this is going to cost you something. Of course, it is. How much is that going to cost though? When you hear the price, how can you tell whether you’re getting a good deal? 

Maybe, you have a baseline idea. Maybe you’ve brought this car in for this very problem and you’re prepared to hear the news. Beyond that, however, sometimes it seems the sky is the limit.

I know that feeling. I’ve been the driver behind the wheel of that clanking, smoking car, more times than I care to admit. I’m here to tell you when it comes to ghostwriting, you don’t need to hide your eyes. You don’t need to be afraid.

Answering the question, how much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter can be deceptively simple and painless.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

To me, pricing should be painless. The simpler to understand the better. When I’m hiring for a service, I want the cost to be as cut and dried as possible. Don’t give me a bunch of add-ons, service fees, and hidden costs.

I don’t like to be nickeled and dimed. 

My baseline cost is $.75 per finished word.

Especially on books, I find that it far easier to charge on a per word basis than to get caught up in messy hourly consulting fees, or adding additional costs for additional drafts. These become tedious to track. Also, I feel it is far more comfortable to build the kind of client/writer rapport necessary to write a quality book when the costs are attached to the end product.

A lot of ghostwriters shy away from talking about money. I understand money is an uncomfortable topic to cover (we’re raised this way, unfortunately) but it’s too important to bury.

A book will cost $7,500 per 10,000 words, with an average length reaching anywhere from 40-70,000 words.

Do Ghostwriter Costs Ever Vary?

I’ve worked as a professional ghostwriter for nearly twenty years. Deep down, I believe that I am worth what I charge. There are, sometimes, instances where I am able to be flexible with a client.

What does that look like?

Do you have a book that needs a blend of editorial/ghostwriting work?

Sometimes I meet clients who have a book that is partially written. Or else, they have a book that needs considerable re-writing but just cannot seem to get over the hump. This is what I like to call, manuscript doctoring.

These services can cost drastically less than a brand new, fully written book.

Maybe you can be flexible on your deadline?

This is a big one. When I begin work with someone, I commit my time to them. That means, I’m their ghostwriter for as long as it takes to get the project done. Often, if a writer can switch their deadline around a little bit, I can work at a slightly reduced rate.

Are you looking for a long term, multiple-book arrangement?

Long term arrangements work for everyone. If you have multiple books, say a fiction series or a number of business books on your schedule, contracting for more work, over a longer period of time helps bring costs down. 

And it gives both you and I the luxury of that coveted, trusting relationship.

How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?

Cheaper Is… Not Always Better (Sorry)

How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter? The answer shouldn’t necessarily be, cheap.

That’s right, cheaper isn’t always better.

There are a lot of writers out there. At least, there are a lot of people working to become writers. Those that can honestly come out and say they know story fundamentals, they grasp how to write a memorable character, and understand how to bring that out on the page are rare.

A rare set of skills leads to a higher price.

Cheap ghostwriters are everywhere

You can usually find one in the range of $.05 – $.15 per word. What you get for that range is a lack of professional writing experience, little training in fundamentals, and a lot of risks. 

What kinds of risks? Plagiarism. English as a second language. These types of issues have become rampant at this level. Yes, there are good writers at this price point, but the investment in time in finding them is immense and difficult.

Mid-career ghostwriters are less common

These writers fall into a slightly more expensive per word rate, say $.25-.40. They have a great deal more experience than their newer counterparts, but they still lack a lot of solid, professional experience.

These are good writers as well and you’re likely to get a competent project from hiring one.

Experienced ghostwriters should be your goal

An experienced ghostwriter’s range starts at $.50 per word and ranges up to more than a dollar. At this price range, ghostwriters have bountiful professional experience, well-honed interview skills, top-notch customer service skills, and the ability to deliver a superior product.

With an experienced ghostwriter, you get what you pay for.

Read more about ghostwriting rates and the cost of hiring a ghostwriter here.

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You’re ready to write a book. The story is in your head, you’ve got the time and the inclination.

Which ghostwriter is the right one for you? 

How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter should not be an intimidating question. Now, with the right information in hand, you can make the right decision that fits your book, your budget, and your publishing goals.