how to avoid ghostwriting scams

How Much Does a Ghostwriter Cost?

By Laura S., member of the GWI writing and editing team:

One of the questions I hear the most is, “How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?” It is also one of the most searched for questions on the net.

The answer to this question really depends upon a few factors:

  • What do you want written?
  • What is your deadline?
  • How long is the piece?
  • How much do you value the quality of the writing?

The cost to hire a ghostwriter fluctuates greatly, but I can promise you, you get what you pay for!

It’s a good idea to propose a trial when working with a ghostwriter for the first time. You will need to pay for the service, of course, but in the end you’ll own the rights to the piece and can use it anytime.

I charge a dollar per word to ghostwrite. In the trial phase I allow the client to pick the word count and charge accordingly. If someone is writing  their memoirs, I might select a story from their lives and write it for them. Some clients ask me to write an essay or a blog article. Those few pages give a new client a good idea of what he or she can expect. And it allows me to gauge what pricing will make sense for the whole project.

WARNING: A lowball offer to write your book can sound attractive, but it is dangerous. I have met a number of prospective clients who made “excellent” deals hoping to save money, only to find they had to spend a lot more to have everything re-written. It’s frustrating for them and frustrating to the ghostwriter who has to take over the project. The client is usually not a happy camper. Every now and then you can luck out and find a writer who doesn’t know their true worth, but for the most part, you will get poor writing when you pay cheap rates.

Writers for hire fall into three main categories: cheap writers, mid-range professional writers, and high-end celebrity writers. The following is the best detailed answer I can give about the cost to hire a ghostwriter to write a full-length book:

  • Cheap writers can be found who will write a 100 to 200 page book for as little as $2,000. If this is your budget (and you’re a gambler by nature), your best bet is to find a student new to the industry. Please be careful that he or she is actually writing your book and not plagiarizing another writer’s work.
  • Professional writers will usually charge between $12,000 and $90,000 to write a 100 to 300 page book. This price varies depending on the writer’s level of expertise and the amount of work required for the project.
  • High-end celebrity writers are usually hired by actors, politicians, musicians and other famous personalities who will sell books just by virtue of their name. The writers for these celebrities are well-established authors with a lot of experience. They can charge $150,000 to $750,000 for a book. Sometimes more.

Most people recognize that they would like a mid-ranged professional writer. It’s a reasonable budget range for most people. A lot of time, energy and hard work goes into writing a book. An excellent professional writer will often spend up to a year researching, writing and editing a book for you. If you’re paying a fraction of the usual price, you often get a fraction of the quality.

If you have questions and need help, please don’t hesitate to contact me or another GWI writer or editor for a free consultation!

“When my partner and I decided to write a book, we interviewed many ghost writers. Some were very inexpensive, while others were too pricey for our budget. Laura wasn’t the least expensive writer, but we chose her because she was so passionate about writing. Laura went above and beyond our expectations. I am very pleased with all her work and will continue to use her for my future writing needs.” Edwin C., owner of a New York City jewelry company