Hire a Ghostwriter to Write Your Book? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

You’ve dreamed about writing a book someday. You believe you have a story inside you that will amaze and inspire people. You’ve tried to write it down, and have sketched out some ideas here and there. Maybe you have notebooks or computer files that are filled with writing but you’re realizing that all these bits and pieces aren’t adding up to a book. Do you need to hire a ghostwriter?

Perhaps, but first there are four crucial questions to ask yourself:

1. Do I understand what a ghostwriter can do for me? A ghostwriter, or “work-for-hire” writer, writes for other people but does not receive public credit and her name won’t appear on the book jacket or the book’s copyright notice. She’s a “ghost” because she works invisibly, behind the scenes. A ghostwriter for a book structures and shapes the book, including its scenes or sections, and renders the expert’s ideas on the page in a way that is true to her client’s vision. Her client, not the ghostwriter, retains the claim to the book’s copyright and takes responsibility for the material in the pages. A professional ghostwriter can alert her client to potential legal issues, but ultimately, the book she will ghostwrite will be her client’s baby. In fact, you might think of a ghostwriter as a professional midwife for books.

2. Do I secretly want to be a writer, or do I simply want my story and ideas told in my voice? An excellent ghostwriter will listen to how you express yourself in person or over the phone. She will notice the complexity of your sentence structure, your pet phrases, and your tone. Then, as she begins to ghostwrite your book, she’ll create a voice that sounds as if it were yours. She knows that if you’re serious and dignified, your voice on the page should be different than if you’re playful and whimsical.

If your heart tells you that it’s you who must write every word of your book, you must be willing to master the craft of writing a book. Hire a writing coach, take writing classes, and read books on writing. Commit to the time it will take to master your craft and write your book. If you hire a ghostwriter when you truly want to be the writer, you’ll find it difficult to create a good partnership with her. You need to trust the ghostwriter to capture your voice and ideas or she won’t be able to do her job properly.

A ghostwriter or developmental editor may be key to getting your book written

3. Do I have the money to hire someone to interview me and write a book based on my life or ideas? It can take hundreds of hours of a ghostwriter’s time to interview you and ghostwrite a quality book for you. You’ll need tens of thousands of dollars to hire a professional ghostwriter to ghostwrite a memoir, self-help book, or novel based on your ideas and synopsis. If you procure a book contract and an advance against future earnings from a publisher, you can use that money to hire someone to ghostwrite or coauthor your book. If your budget is too tight to pay a five-figure fee to a book ghostwriter, remember that you get what you pay for. Will you be content with a book that isn’t well structured or well-written, a book that doesn’t have rich ideas and a narrative flow that’s engaging and entertaining? If you don’t have a publishing contract and paying a ghostwriter will be a problem for you, see question #1 and rethink whether you might be willing to learn to write the book yourself rather than hire someone to ghostwrite a book for you.

4. Do I know what I want to say? Everyone has ideas and stories to write about, but you may not have enough to say to fill a book unless you work with a professional ghostwriter who can draw stories out of you, find the narrative arc to your book, and help you develop your ideas. In fact, if you want to write your own book and you have good writing skills, but are stuck on what to say, you may not need a ghostwriter so much as a developmental editor. A developmental editor can help you flesh out your ideas and structure your book.

Whatever your goal, don’t let fear, insecurity, or embarrassment influence your decision about whether to write your book yourself or hire a ghostwriter to ghostwrite it for you. If you honor your strengths as well as your weaknesses, you’ll come to the right decision for you regarding who should write your book. Know what type of assistance you need and you won’t regret your decision, whatever it turns out to be.

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36 Comments

Filed under book publishing, chapters, developmental editing, developmental editor, finding an editor, ghostwriter, ghostwriting, ghostwriting techniques, hiring a developmental editor, hiring a professional ghostwriter, hiring an editor, how to write a book, liability issues in a book, structuring nonfiction, writing a book

36 responses to “Hire a Ghostwriter to Write Your Book? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Thank you for this post. I am engaging in my first ghostwriting job and this is helpful to know what the person with the idea should be thinking about. Thanks again.

    • kenny

      Thank you for your comments which are needed. These How To have got me wanting to share my story once again. I’m a quadriplgic who has gone through so much in life. I have a hard time writing and typing but I still feel the need to write my book. I’m praying for God to send me someone who can put my story to paper. If you can help, please do. I live in Tallahassee.

    • Caroline

      Im looking for a ghostwriter how do I find one?

  2. Patsy Hunter

    I have a story to tell ; my life; It’s been normal and its been great, fun and also insane and horrible, but most importantly an unbelievable true story of coming back to sanity and God and the long journey in between I’m not a writer as you can tell and don’t have alot of money so what can I do?
    Patsy H

  3. Pingback: Ghosts and Writing. « Begin an Adventure Blog

  4. Caroline

    I just received my full file from my chldhood which I have been fighting to get released to me for along time so that I could write a book about my life. I have over 800 pages to read and figure out how to write a book. I need help with this. I live in Tennessee. Thank you.

  5. Claire

    Hi, I am looking for a ghost-writer to help write my autobiography.
    I have already written some of the book but getting stuck now.
    I have never written a book before.
    My reason for writing is that in 2008 i was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I now set up my own company call ‘Aunty M Brain Tumours’. I wanted to write my story to help others who are affected by a brain tumour.
    http://www.braintumoursoldiers.com/an-olympic-torch-of-hope-a-tumor-s-travel-tale/

    I wondered if you can help?

  6. obiora obichukwu

    Thanks Nancy for your good works on providing such an invaluable platform.
    If kenny has yet write his book, I think I may be of help with tips on how to write a good story consistently.
    Thanks again Nancy.
    Obiora Obichukwu

  7. I am looking to hire a ghost writer and was wondering where to start to look. I have been in Christian Television for 30 years and everyone keeps telling me to write a book, but I am a TV producer sadly not a writer – any help would be helpful. Thank you..

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  9. Chuck Fleming

    Have a very interesting/complicated life story that involves infidelity, true love and misery. My question is, would a ghost writer write my story with the intentions/contract of them getting a % if the book sells? I would not have the $ to be able to pay up front. My story is very intriguing & I believe people would buy the book if published correctly

  10. Hlai M Ghazi

    Hi,
    My husband who’s grand father was the president of Afghanistan wants to find a ghost-writer to help him write a book about his life. He was there during the assassination in 1978 when most of his family got killed.
    Please let me know if you can help.
    Thanks

  11. I am wanting to write a biography about my life ,but I need someone to help me do so and I have very little money to spend. I have so many people tell me I need to get my story out there, because as unbelievable as it is , it is true. I was taken away from my birth parents when i was just a year old ,along with my brother who was 6 months old. I never really fit in anywhere growing up. I had always had this feeling that I just wasn’t wanted where I was. I was sexually assaulted repeatedly at the age of 7 and was told I could not tell a soul by my foster mother ,who was also my aunt. This woman was anything but a true mother to me. At the age of 13 I ran away and was placed in a children’s home and then placed in another foster home after that. I was passed from foster home to foster home because I was never happy where i was placed. There did come a point when I did ask if I could go back to the only real home I ever knew and my aunt refused.
    There is a lot more to the story, I seen more crazy, bad things by the age of 13 then most kids my age and some adults. How can I get help writing my story and possibly get it published on a very small budget?

  12. Rudy

    I am a Romani gypsy trying to write my life story but I’m finding it difficult and need help is there anyone who can help me

  13. Rudy

    I am a Romany gypsy looking for a ghost writer to write my story. All my life I have tried to be someone different prejudice being bullied being abuse having a different culture trying to go to school and the acceptors i’ve had a rough time but came through and need to get My story out there

  14. Suz

    My earliest memories.are of spooks, terror and horror. I was always afraid. I can go on for hours sharing my “real life” spooky stories with others. I spoke with my local catholic church and father said the picture I had brought him was that of a demon.
    This would make for an awesome sci- novel…..dont you think…..
    I have so much to share…….but no skills to convey them with…..I need a ghost writer…..

  15. Nolly

    I need help I want to write a book

  16. Debra glenn

    I never thought about having a book written. I got to see life on the flip side. I can’t believe what my xemployer did and the Eeco did to hide the truth. I had respect for these companies and others alike, I know now they will do some thug sh… To keep that reputation. There is a true story that needs to be told, these people shouldn’t have to continue to be scammed by these people. I have voicemails, false records, proof of people being blackmailed Please help me tell this story.

  17. joan

    does it cost to have a goast writer

  18. Catherine Isenberg

    i want to write a book about my last 29years with reflex symathic dystrophy. and how important it is to have a strong support group. i also want their input in the book. i feel it will help alot of people. should i try to make a rough draft and get either my pain management doctor of 22 years to read it and help me and then put both our names on it. there are so many of us suffering in silence.

  19. Joe Pacetti

    I need an interview of a life story and Fishcamp business. I’d like a book written and published.

    Thank You,

    Joe
    904-742-3416

  20. Lisa

    Everyone I know tells me i should write my life stories.I have no idea how to do that.I have had so many experiences in my life.I think my story would be recieved well just no money to do it.I would bet it would be a best seller.No doubt!!.If you can help me I would appreciate it.

  21. Hi. I am Jeanette. I don’t know how to being but I have. A story like we all do but I hoping with mine people. Would not read it an feel sorry for me but know there is a god and he lives because. What. I been thru in my life. I made with out drugs aduse drinking. My self to death. Or killing myself. which I tried on 4 different times.I have manic bipolar disorder and I see thing sand hear thing that not there.I just found out at 50 I am mentally retarded enough that people take what they can from me. I see Dr. I raised 4children out of 6 2 adopted out..this is just some of it. With the bad there been good. I live in foster care as a child. I can tell. More. I want my story out there I don’t credit how name on it I just want to leave. My. Children.some money when I died. They all I have. I would like to like with my bills paid. Every. Month and not worry. I own.a 600. Dollar trailer its nice I will stay here.I wouldn’t wasted it.would you think about writing it for me please. Thank you. My god bless you. Jeanette

  22. I’d like to write a book but have no idea how so I would realy much appreciate the help! Thank you! ~ steff

  23. Cynthia Semple

    I need help! I have ridiculously lived about 5 life times in one. And all I can truthfully say is all 5 are real. From 10 yrs old on till now at 62, Ive been through in 9 months losing all 3 men in my life, 1st my grandpa in Sept, then my Dad 2 days after Xmas from killing my Dad, then my brother in June from killing himself. Then getting molested by my stepdad at my brothers funeral. I have been thru heart valve replacement & pacemaker surgery, being raped at 13 by my stepdad, etcetera, etcetera, etc. I have survived so much, & I need to tell my story before I die. It is worth telling. I can help people with it & have been told that by people that have read my journals. I just need help! My life could become a movie that could help millions! I believe that with my whole heart.

    • nancypeske

      Hi Cynthia! Wow. That’s a lot of drama. I work with nonfiction mind/body/spirit books that have a larger message beyond just one book. They serve as a platform for speaking engagements, writing, teleseminars and webinars, and teaching. Committing to going so public with such a personal story is big. Lori Gertz’s Be the News is a great book for exploring whether you’re ready for all that. Also, the amount of work involved in writing an actual book, or working with a ghostwriter to create it, and creating a platform is extensive. You have to be very committed. And I work on books where the focus isn’t on suffering but survival–how can the reader learn practical ways to have greater spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical wellness? If all that sounds like a match for your vision, do check out my blog pieces at http://www.nancypeske.com and see whether you are ready for my introductory Vision Plan Call (check the Services page).–Nancy

  24. m ichael penney

    Im looking for someone to write a book called proof that god is true i have all the information needed my address is 155 dyson road christies beach southaustralia australia 5165.thankyou 0422380815 is my mobile number

    • nancypeske

      Hi Michael! I’m only working with clients who have an author platform and a commitment to getting their message out in a big way. You’ll find lots of advice on my blog on how to get started conceptualizing your book and building your platform and following. When you’re ready, let’s start with a Vision Plan Call (learn more on my Services page). Good luck!

  25. Vanessa Rocha

    I want to hire someone to write my life story. I have such an interesting story and I’m only 34 years old, divorced with no children.

    • nancypeske

      Hi Vanessa! I’m only working with clients who have an author platform and a commitment to getting their message out in a big way. You’ll find lots of advice on my blog on how to get started conceptualizing your book and building your platform and following. When you’re ready, let’s start with a Vision Plan Call (learn more on my Services page). Good luck!

  26. karen wenck

    I need someone to write a book about my life the little girl that was lost but now found

  27. Niko Olaaiga

    I’m looking for someone to write a book for this idea I’ve had for the last couple of years it keeps popping out of the head now and then.

    • nancypeske

      Hi Niko! Best to go to http://www.nancypeske.com and fill out my contact form. I created questions that will help me see where you are in your process and whether I’m the right professional for you to work with given my areas of interest and expertise. Looking forward to the details!–Nancy

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