Although it is an odd profession, ghostwriting has a storied history. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ghost-composed pieces for wealthy patrons who wanted composing credits of their own. Ghostwriters have had a hand in writing famous memoirs, novels, and cookbooks. Even the Nancy Drew mystery series is really a collection of ghostwriters hired to write under the pseudonym Carolyne Keene.

What makes them ghostwriters?

The operative term is “ghost.” Ghostwriters are hired to write a piece that is officially credited to someone else. If you hire a ghostwriter for a book, it is with the understanding that, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, you wrote it.

Who uses ghostwriters?

Ghostwriters have famously been used to write memoirs for celebrities, politicians, and other high profile individuals. However, they can tackle just about any genre. Anyone with a vision or story but without the time, interest, or ability to bring it to life can hire a ghostwriter to do it for them.

Where can I find ghostwriters?

Look for freelancers where they live. Sites like Upwork and Freelancer allow people to post ghostwriting jobs and search for applicants. However, many of these sites come with fees that could drive up the price of the project. You can also try finding writers through LinkedIn or other forms of social media. Finally, check out writing blogs and reach out to writers whose work you admire.

How do I find the right ghostwriter?

Before you search for a ghostwriter, ask yourself the following questions to help you narrow down the right fit.

  • What kind/style of writer am I looking for?
  • How long do I want the piece to be?
  • When do I want it completed by?
  • How important is quality to me?
  • How much can I afford?

How much do I pay my ghostwriter?

This is a tricky question. Ghostwriters can get paid in numerous ways.

  • By the hour
  • Flat fee
  • Percentage of royalties
  • Some combination of the above

However, ghostwriter fees are highly variable. Small time eBook publishers sometimes offer $10 per 1k words. While affordable, this is not likely to inspire quality work. On the other end of the spectrum, celebrity memoirs often rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you’re needs are somewhere in the middle, you may be looking at $5k – $20k for an 80k word book (roughly 200-250 print pages). However, even these ranges fluctuate dramatically and depend on a variety of factors, including the amount of research and editing involved or the author’s personal interest in the project.

If you’re concerned about cost, consider a co-authorship. This is when the ghostwriter still writes the book, but both of your names appear on the cover, implying that you wrote it as a team. Offering a co-authorship can sometimes bring down the cost of the writer.

Can the ghostwriter claim authorship of my book?

All ghostwriting projects should include a contract with a confidentiality clause. This removes any right on the part of the ghostwriter to lay claim to the work. Of course, it can’t physically stop them from claiming credit anyway, but it does give you legal grounds to sue if they do, which acts as a pretty effective deterrent.