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Costs Involved In Ghostwriting


(New York, NY)—Ghostwriters are employed in nearly every industry but are best known as the writers behind business books, memoirs and many novels by celebrities and politicians.

Ghostwriters are available to everyone. If you’re looking for a ghostwriter to tell your story, you’re probably wondering what it costs to ghostwrite a book.

The answer is not simple because the price for ghostwriting is based on a number of factors. But, the bottom line is that when it comes down to writing a book, it’s really all about time and reputation: Who is the ghostwriter and how much time will the effort take?

According to the publishing and ghostwriting experts at Arbor Books, there are six key areas that determine the price of a ghostwriter (or any writer):

1) The length of the job. As the saying goes, time is money. Obviously, the shorter the manuscript, the less time it will take to complete the ghostwriting. Book lengths today range from word counts as short as 15,000 words (64 pages) for some nonfiction to 150,000 words (upwards of 400 pages) for both fiction and nonfiction.

2) Interview time. Preparation before and during the actual ghostwriting is the heart of the project. The price for the writing job will hinge partly on the number of people to be interviewed, the availability of the client, and how prepared the client is for the process.

3) Research time. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, how much time the ghostwriter spends going through source material will be crucial to determining costs. Fiction books demand authenticity and world building. Nonfiction books demand well-above-average expertise. In both cases, making believers out of the reader is paramount to a book’s success.

4) The complexity and organization of the job. How the book is to be written is all-important to the ghostwriter when it comes to pricing a job. In nonfiction, it comes down to everything from footnotes to the technical level of the subject matter. In fiction, the issue may be how many points of view or plotlines will be used. The more complex the design of the manuscript, the more costly the ghostwriting job

5) The ghostwriter. All writers are not the same, just like doctors, lawyers and politicians. And that factor alone may determine the rate a ghostwriter charges. Ghostwriters come with different levels of personal and professional experience, project management skills, initiative, speed, communication skills, commitment, education and writing talent. Keep in mind, however, that having his or her own best-selling book is not necessarily a reflection of the ghostwriter’s skills, nor is it a guarantee that lightning will strike twice—few writers ever repeat best-sellers. It is safe to say that a journeyman ghostwriter may be a better bet than a big name.

6) The ghostwriting firm. The quality of the ghostwriting firm can make all the difference in the success of a project, from selecting the right ghostwriter to staying on top of the project. Stay away from ghostwriting firms that are only referral agencies! Experience says it’s important to choose a firm over an individual because if you run into a conflict with a lone ghostwriter, you stand a good chance of losing your entire investment. Be sure the firm has an on-staff editing and proofreading department and that it is able to handle book design and marketing.

But, the most important thing in pricing a ghostwriting job is an intangible.

“How you, as the client, get along with the writer is vital,” says Joel Hochman of Arbor Books (, “because no matter the price, if you are incompatible with your ghostwriter, your book will never see the light of day. Plus, you’ll be out a ton of money. It’s one more reason to choose a firm with a top reputation.”

Another issue is writing quality. According to Mr. Hochman, many clients can’t distinguish between professional-level work and that of a rank amateur, and “many people who pay a ghostwriter only find that out when a reviewer eviscerates them or they are brutally rejected by an agent.”

To find out more about Arbor Books, go to


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