How do I Find a Writer to Write My Story?
Have you ever sat and looked at your life like it was the plot of a killer novel or story? Have your life experiences been so exciting that people love to listen to them at parties? Has your career journey been a thrilling rollercoaster ride with a satisfying ending? Have you learned a unique lesson from your dating mishaps? Do you think your experience of 20+ years as a woman in a male-dominated profession could be an inspiration for another woman without being a sob sister?
If your answer to any of the questions asked above is yes, you should write a book and share your life story with the world. Believe it or not, there's always someone out there who is hungry for precisely the same kind of message that you have to tell.
You never know, but someone out there wishes to live the life that you've lived, acquire the experiences that you have, and needs to learn the lessons that have helped you achieve what you've accomplished in your life.
But you would think "Why do I need someone else to write my story?"
What it Takes to Write a Book
Writing a book is a lengthy process and a demanding endeavour. It's not a one-night stand. It is a long-term relationship that you have to invest in and settle with. It takes a professional writer several months to finish writing a book of average length if they consistently spend hours every day in front of the screen doing nothing but writing.
Not everyone has the luxury of time to spend on writing a book when they're already struggling to take out a few minutes in the day for something as basic as self-care. For example, a businessman whose reason for writing a book is to share the precious knowledge about his niche that no one talks about; or a single mother juggling between work, home, and her children.
Let's suppose you have all the time in the world. But if you don't have the necessary writing skills and creativity to write a book, it's hardly likely that you'll be able to produce a book that people would want to read.
Other than time and skills, it requires sheer perseverance and patience. If you're the kind of person to give up every other week because you haven't made much progress so you think you'll never be able to do it, then maybe you shouldn't handle it all by yourself.
Whether you can or can't, either way, minor hindrances like that should never stop anyone from following their desires. Do you know how to fix your car? Do you give up on driving because you can't fix the vehicle or do you hire a mechanic to help you out?
In the same way, your ability to unleash your life story out into the world should not be restricted when you can find a ghost writer to help you write your book.
The Meaning of Ghostwriter
A ghostwriter is a writer who you can hire to write the book for you - as simple as that. Ghostwriters write books to make a living, so they always have the time it takes to write your story. Like all services in the world, the ghostwriter is getting paid for their time. Secondly, since they're professional writers, they have the expertise and creativity required to fulfill the high standards of the literary industry. What a ghostwriter will write is not going to look like an essay written by a middle-schooler. They are proficient in writing books and have the expertise to handle the complexities of writing.
A ghostwriter writes various kinds of stories in their careers. They work hours a day writing and are always in shape. They are writers in every sense other than the fact that they don't write for themselves, instead they write for others. They just choose to utilize their expertise in writing differently. But what does it have to do with being a ghost writer?
Why is a ghostwriter called a ghost-writer?
Sometimes there are multiple writers who are collaborating on a single book together. If they get the credit for writing, then that writer is titled as a co-author for that book. When a writer does not get credit for writing, they're called a ghost writer.
A ghost writer is hidden and stays behind the scenes. Their name doesn't show up on the title or anywhere in the book. They don't get credit for their work and don't hold ownership of the book at any level whatsoever. But since they choose to give up their bragging rights, they get paid for their time and skills, and that's pretty much about it. The book remains belonging to the author and co-author(s) if any.
They do not get involved in the printing and publishing operations of the book. The book belongs to the author, and the author is the person who hires the ghostwriter. The author may sometimes choose to hire a ghostwriting agency that also handles other services than just ghost writing, but they have different departments to handle those tasks. The ghost writer is normally only dedicated to the writing process.
It is important to understand what a ghost writer means before you hire one to write your book, which takes us back to the original problem.
How do I Hire Someone to Write My Story?
The first thing to understand before you get started with the hiring is what it is exactly that you require from a ghostwriter. Before beginning any project, its scope must be defined. Similarly, the details of your requirements for the book must be clarified before the project begins.
Getting clear on what you want will also help you find the right person for the job. It's going to save you from a lot of frustration in the future, and possibly extra money that you might have to spend to fix the book because you weren't fully aware of what you actually wanted when you hired the ghostwriter.
If the story is yours and you're the author who wants to get the book written, then it's going to be called an autobiography, unless you're giving the author the credit. When someone else's life story is being written by you, it's called a biography.
Both of those categories tell the story of the subject's whole life. A memoir on the other hand is a written account of a specific aspect or time period of someone's life, and their whole life story.
So if you want to share your success in business and share the lessons you've learned with the world, you wouldn't want to include your personal life in it unless it's not directly linked with the point of focus of the book, that is your success story in business.
Autobiographies and biographies are life stories of celebrities and famous people who are so admired by people that they would like to read their whole life stories. If you're not a celebrity, then you should consider writing a memoir on one aspect of your life that you want to share, and omit other aspects that other people might not find much interesting.
Now that you know what it is that you exactly want to accomplish, that is writing a memoir of your story, let's figure out the scope and details of your project. Try to define the following parameters as best as you can:
The Primary Focus
The fact that you're here reading this article means you probably already have an idea of what you want to write about. But when you're trying to communicate it to the ghost writers, you need to be more specific than just I want to tell my story to the world.
• The exact focus of the memoir, for example, personal relationships, military service accounts, useful knowledge about a specific business, etc
• The timeframe and location of events you want to document
• The subject's personal background, if it's about personal relations or requires a certain level of knowledge about something like finance or a disability or something else that's not necessarily common for everyone
• The amount and medium of assisting material that is available to help the writer learn about the story they're going to be writing; may include notes, personal diary, photo albums, video recordings, newspaper cutouts, chat histories, etc
Purpose of Writing
In order to clearly draw up an idea of what your book is going to be about, you need to know what your real purpose behind writing the book is. Being aware of the goal is going to help the author target their words accordingly and use a tone that's appropriate in that particular arena. The same story can sound totally different if its purpose is changed.
Moreover, it's going to help you in the process of hiring a ghostwriter. If you would like your book to motivate other people to not give up on life, then a ghostwriter who has prior writing experience in the self-help genre will be more useful than a non-fiction writer. For the writing to be as you desire it to be and for the hiring process to be smooth and efficient, one must be aware of their purpose for writing the book first.
Take the time to dive deep into your heart and explore the motivation behind your desire to share the story. The time you spend on planning the book will not go to waste. The ghost writer will know what writing style and tone to use when writing your book according to that purpose.
Length of the Book
Most ghostwriters usually charge according to the number of words they're going to count. Since you're writing a memoir, all of the research will be provided by you, and the content that is to be written can't be changed either because it's the history of your life, something that you can't change unless you have a time machine. So the only other major factor, that's going to affect what the ghostwriter charges, is the number of words that the writer is going to write.
Hypothetically, you can write a memoir as long as you want. After all, you're the author. If you can pay for a million words, you can get a memoir written for a million words. But if we look at it from the market's perspective, a memoir is ideally in the range of sixty thousand words to eighty thousand words.
Anything more than that is going to lose the reader's interest. You want your memoir to be engaging and something that keeps the reader hooked and interested in your story. When you start exceeding those limits, it means that you're giving too much information to the readers.
Look at your memoir as fiction. Any detail that is not helping the story progress forwards is considered extra. Otherwise, the readers will lose interest and stop reading midway, or worse, won't recommend it to anyone because the book was boring. That's something you wouldn't desire.
On the other hand, the shorter your memoir gets, the less engaging it will be. Sixty thousand to eighty thousand words should be the ideal range. With that being said, even if you want your book to be longer or shorter than that, it'll work in your favour while hiring if you decide on the length beforehand.
Expected Time of Delivery
The amount of room you leave for your writer to spend on writing the book is another factor that is going to affect the hiring process. A professional ghostwriter will never take longer than necessary to deliver the project because they want to take on more projects and earn more. But that doesn't mean the writer will finish writing the manuscript in a week and move on.
Writing a book requires time and patience. Other than that, the ghost writer may be a ghost by name but they have a personal life and relationships other than you that require their time and energy. However, if you have a limited timeframe in which you need the first draft ready, then you have to communicate that to the writer upfront. This will save you from trouble later down the road if the writer is unable to deliver the project on time.
Be ready to pay extra if you want the writer to write your book quicker than they usually would. Make sure when you're drawing up the contract for hiring, you mention the deadline in clear words to evade any misunderstanding. That way, if the writer can not deliver in the given time period, it'll save both parties from a lot of trouble.
Type of Publishing
The publishing industry is divided into two major sections: traditional publishing, and self-publishing. It is advisable to learn about the different types of publishing, and the pros and cons of each method. If you decide to take the traditional publishing method, learn about their publishing process, especially if it's your first time publishing a book.
This also aligns with the point of knowing the purpose of your book. If your goal is to make money, then taking your book to the traditional publishing industry would mean sharing your royalties with the publisher as well as a literary agent. Even after getting a literary agent, there is no guarantee that you'll be offered a book contract from the publisher. Traditional publishing is very competitive and the chances that your book is accepted are low even if you've paid a premium on getting a new york times bestseller writer. J. K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before she could sell her first Harry Potter book. We'll let you calculate your odds by yourself.
If you decide to self-publish your book, then you should know about all the work a big publisher would do to your manuscript, because now you'll have to take care of those tasks by yourself. That includes editing, formatting, proofreading, cover design, etc. We'll get into the other elements in the next heading.
If you would like to retain the rights of your book and the royalties from sales, then the self-publishing option is your way to go. Knowing that before hiring a writer will help you shortlist potential ghostwriting services. There are ghostwriters and ghostwriting agencies that will help you self-publish your book for a nominal fee and you can still retain the rights of your book and the royalties from sales.
If you choose self-publishing as your go-to method, then you need to consider all the additional tasks that you have to take care of before you can publish the book. Your manuscript alone is not going to be enough. It needs to be edited and refined to take the shape of an acceptable book of quality. Then it needs to be formatted according to the self-publishing industry standards. After that, you also need to get your book proofread by someone else. Finally, your book needs a cover design that represents the book and grabs the attention of people.
A ghostwriting agency gives you the complete ghostwriting experience. They are experts who handle all the steps till final publishing efficiently. It may be your first book, but an average ghostwriting agency publishes multiple books a day. Bear in mind that they charge for those services.
So you should take that into account when you're deciding. Be realistic in your expectations from yourself. Many people are tempted to save money and try to handle everything on their own, but without the expertise, it gets a little tough. After wasting valuable time, a lot of them do end up hiring someone to design the cover and other aspects.
If you hire one entity and get all the work done under a single umbrella, it obviously costs lesser than going to someone new for each job. So planning it beforehand saves both time, money, and energy.
Once you've planned out the writing process on your end, and you are clear on everything that you need, you can start the hiring process. If you've done the planning right, the hiring should be as smooth and painless as it possibly can.
Where to Look:
It is the age of abundance in data, thanks to the internet. When we need a service or a handyman, we don't open the yellow pages' book anymore, we browse Google. That much is obvious. Google will give you three types of answers when you ask "hire someone to write my book," "memoir ghostwriters for hire," "how to find someone to write my book" or something along those lines. Let's explore what those types are and how they're different from each other.
This part is for authors who have already written a book or two before. So if you're one of the first-time authors, you can skip to the next heading.
Hiring a new ghostwriter would mean you have to work on that relationship all over again. If you've worked with a ghostwriter before, they probably already know how to capture your voice right. A new ghostwriter will have to start over trying to figure out how to find the right tone, voice, and writing style that sounds like you.
Therefore, it is suggested that you talk to your previous ghostwriter for the book. Especially if it's a sequel that you want to write. Switching authors upsets readers and looks bad on the author. Many times authors would switch to a different ghost and it's detectable by people who personally know you.
If you've faced trouble with your previous ghost and that's why you want to find someone new, then that's another story. Even then, we would suggest that if the trouble is resolvable, consider them as potential candidate. You can still research and look for other writers to work on the project.
There is a whole world of talented writers that you can find on one of the freelancer platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, guru, etc. These platforms can also offer you other services that you might need, for example, you will find a myriad of graphic designers to design the cover of your book.
On a freelancer website, the problem is that you will find many people with fake profiles who are not what they claim to be. They are not aware of how the literary writing industry works and might ruin your project. There is tons of talent on these platforms, with a lot of them actually surprisingly good at what they do and cheaper than usual. But the problem lies in the sorting. There is no proven way to sort through the thousands of profiles to find the right person for the job.
Nevertheless, they are still worth a try. You can browse here to get a rough idea of the market and how much the project will cost you.
Dedicated Ghostwriting Websites
A professional writer who writes as a day job will have invested in their trade enough to have their own website, and sometimes even a blog. These dedicated ghostwriting websites either belong to an individual ghost writer or a ghostwriters agency.
These websites will be able to tell you about the projects the writer has previously worked on, what other authors they've collaborated with, the genre they usually write in, how they work, what their requirements are from the authors, etc. You will find these details on the freelance writers' profiles too but they don't tend to be as detailed as a complete website made for this purpose.
Except for individual professional writers, there are ghostwriting agencies that have their own websites as well. These ghostwriting agencies are likely to be able to handle all other extra services that you need in order to take your book from the form of an idea to a complete book on the shelves of kindle. They can also assist you in traditional publishing.
Moreover, these ghostwriting agencies have fully established departments of writers for different genres and categories, who have been writing every day for years so they are bound to have the expertise and creativity required for the job. The agency wouldn't hire someone to work on their projects who is not fit for the job in the first place because they have to maintain their reputation in the market.
Again, it is important to do your research before hiring. Browse around their website to see how professional they look. A good ghostwriting agency will be happy to talk to you even if you don't hire them. So, go to the 'about us' section of each website that seems fit to you, get their number, and call them up. A simple conversation with some basic questions should be able to clarify if you have any doubts whether they're good at their work, what they're going to charge, their track record, and other related things like that. Let's discuss what it is that you need to look for, and what you need to look out for before you hire a ghostwriter.
What to Look For:
The per-word worth of a professional writer is based on their experience. We'll talk about the costs of hiring a ghostwriter to write your story in a bit. There are four essential criteria on which you can evaluate potential ghostwriters for your project.
To make sure that the writer you're hiring to work on your memoir knows has the capabilities, you have to ask them for their experience. This is true for all professional writers. But in the case of a ghostwriter, there's a catch to it.
Since we're talking about ghostwriters, you can't exactly know about the specific projects they've worked on unless the authors have given them permission to disclose it to potential clients. Something that you will also be negotiating against with the writers. The writers will be reluctant to show you their track record. If they are willing to show you their track record, then they aren't trustworthy.
Professional writers will never break a nondisclosure agreement. So they probably only have a few books they can claim they've contributed towards even if the work they're showing is the tip of the iceberg. They really can't help it.
Especially when it comes to ghostwriting agencies, some of them have a strict policy again disclosure. They will never have anything to show for their portfolio, at least not anything they haven't signed a nondisclosure agreement on. The only way to test the waters is by communication.
You might find a great professional writer who fits perfectly with you, and even has years of experience under their belt, but if they don't write in your genre, then it's useless for you. You need a writer who has experience writing memoirs. You want to find someone to write your story, not a dissertation or an essay project for college.
Extra points for writers who have worked on stories similar to you, for example, if you're a military veteran, a writer who has already written books for military heroes would be able to provide useful insights and angles to your story, thanks to their previous experience.
Communication and Trust
Many people overlook this one simple detail but it plays a huge role throughout the project until delivery. Suppose that a writer has significant experience and lies in your budget but you don't feel comfortable talking to them for some reason or the other. This one little aspect can ruin your whole book.
Memoirs are very personal. The writer will be looking into the deepest, darkest depths of your heart, analyzing them through various angles and perspectives, and describing them in detail. That requires a flow of communication that is free from all hindrances and barriers.
The writer (or a manager in the case of a ghostwriting agency) should resonate with you, be nonjudgmental, understanding, kind, and clear in their communication, and so should you. If for some reason you can't talk to the writer openly, then the project would be affected.
To get the most out of your book, you need to be able to tell your stories to the writer in any form, whether via email or voice chat but the communication should be open and clear. Professional writers know what kind of questions to ask to unlock the client's chamber of secrets and to get them to share stories that they themselves didn't know could prove to be useful.
Writing a memoir requires a lot of work on the client's emotions and memory. It's like therapy. You would like your therapist to be someone who's trustworthy and nonjudgmental. The same goes for your ghostwriter. A simple conversation can yield whether the ghost you're about to hire is a professional writer for memoirs or just a good ghostwriter who may not be your best fit.
How They Work
This one goes with the communication part. Most ghostwriters will communicate with you over email. They have a question? Email. They want to deliver a chapter? Email. They need research material? Email. They want your opinion on something? Email. They have a question? Email. You have a question? Again, email. Basically everything is conveyed over email.
Writers are usually shy nerds who are more comfortable over text and email rather than calls or physical meetings. If you're not an email person, you might want to get familiar with the email system of communication. Even other than ghostwriting, email is a widely adopted means of official communication. Learning the basics of email, the kind of language that is used in an email, and how the essential features work should deem to be useful. If you're already familiar with how email communication works, then you're good to go.
If you're not, or you prefer to communicate over voice calls or in person, then you need to get that into consideration. However, face-to-face meetings will limit your search to writers who live in your city. Many people can comfortably talk for hours on voice calls.
Either way, you want to find someone with whom you can communicate easily.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter for a Book?
The cost of your book depends upon some factors that we will discuss later. You could get the answer to that with a quick Google search or a call or email to your potential ghost. Although, we suggest the latter rather than the former.
The lump-sum fee that a ghostwriter will quote you to write a book lies around $10,000 to $20,000. This can be divided into multiple instalments. The first payment is made upon delivery of the outline, the second when the first draft is completed, and the third when the final revised version is delivered and the project is closed. The criteria may be different for different writers. Some writers would even ask for half payment before they get started as insurance. While some writers would like to get paid after each chapter's delivery.
The ghostwriters pricing method is based on the cost-per-word multiplied by the total number of words of your book. The per-word cost of writers ranges from $0.40 per word to $5.00 per word. This variation is mostly dependent on the experience and expertise of the writer.
Many people are tempted to start from the bottom end of the range but beware, there is a reason why there's a difference in their fees. Don't be discouraged to explore your options though, a ghost asking for more money is not guaranteed to give you more value than a ghost who seems to be lowballing it to land the project.
There are other factors than just experience and skill that affect how much it costs to hire a ghostwriter to write a book.
Factors Affecting the Cost
A professional writer who has put in the time and sweat in his work writing books of different genres and stories of people with diverse backgrounds would know the issues that usually arise when you're a ghost. They would be ready to work for a little less than their usual fee if they can foresee the project going smoothly because the client is cooperative and provides research material to aid in writing.
The ghost would be happy to work for a client like that because it's actually painless for them, and effective for you as a client too. Let's look at all the factors that will affect the price that your ghost quotes to write your story.
The amount of cooperation that a client is willing to offer to their ghost when they're writing their book affects not only the cost of the project but also increases the quality of work. Memoirs are not completely a product of imagination. It requires a lot of creativity to tell a story in a way that people would love to read, but the facts can not be recreated. What happened with you, happened with you. You are the only source of information for the writer.
Those facts are supposed to be provided by the author because, after all, it's the author's life story. The more material you provide to the writer, the more room they have to exercise their skills. Otherwise, the writer has to be conscious of every single detail throughout the book.
Writers write a lot of books in their career that they know could be so much better if only the author was a little cooperative with them, but then, there's nothing that they can do about it.
As a client, if you can show the writer that you are willing to assist them in every way necessary, then the writer would be willing to give you a discount. They might even throw in some extra word count. And they'll definitely put in their heart and soul to write your story.
And yes, all of that, only because you were nice to them.
Most writers will send you each chapter so you can review it and correct anything before it grows into a full-blown key detail by the end of the book. Many people don't check their email regularly, and they won't prove to be good clients for their writers. If you're going to take weeks to reply to an email only to tell the writer there's some major change in a chapter when the writer is already two chapters ahead, it's going to cause a lot of trouble and frustration for the writer. The writer will now have to edit three chapters, which is thrice than he initially would've, only because you did not respond to their email.
That's partly why we suggested earlier that you find someone whose preferred means of communication aligns with yours. So if your preferred means of communication is not email, then hiring a ghostwriter who is more effective at communicating over voice calls or something like WhatsApp should be your priority.
Things like these affect the writer's motivation and can be detected in their deteriorating writing style. The enthusiasm of the writers from before they start writing their books will not be maintained if the client themselves are not ready to match the writer's vigilance in writing a great book. So if you just be wary of those problems and actively check your email for deliveries when expected, then you have a chance at saving some money without sacrificing on anything.
Experience and Level of Skill
Naturally, a writer who has acquired some experience in their niche will have learned and polished their skills. As a result, they're going to charge more than the writer who has comparatively lesser experience.
But bear in your mind that the writer with more experience is not guaranteed to write better for your particular story. If you resonate better with a writer who does not have as much experience but does have the knack for writing and the creative mind of a writer, it is possible that they can beat the more experienced writers in the quality with which they write your story.
Like we mentioned earlier, you might be tempted to hire someone who is promising everything but costs half as much as their peers. Be careful and considerate of all the possible risks before you hire a ghostwriter like that.
On the other hand, you do not have to be persuaded by a writer who is charging more than you think is appropriate for your pockets. It is your budget and your story. You do not have to hire a celebrity journalist to write a book for you. You can do well with an average writer. The quality of the end product depends on a lot of other factors too.
Especially considering your budget, you should have a fairly good idea of what you can afford and what you can't. If you're the kind of person who has so much money that you can barely not afford anything, then sure, hiring the best writer in the market to write a book for you and share your story with the world is not just okay, but desirable.
With that, we've covered everything you need to know before you begin hiring a ghostwriter to write a book for you. From the costs to the process and even the little-known tips and tricks that can help you save some bucks.
If you've reached the end of this article and know in your heart that you want to write a book on your life story, then start preparing already. You can always come back to this article for reference in the future. If you follow the guidelines even roughly, the ghostwriting experience is going to be one of the best experiences of your life.
Good luck ghost hunting!