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How many published authors use a ghostwriter?

The short answer: Lots.

The exact number is unknowable, because it’s the policy of many ghostwriters (including me) to remain anonymous. But you can assume that any celebrity, politician, business leader, or otherwise notable person who’s not a professional writer wrote their book with the help of a ghostwriter or co-writer. This happens for all the reasons I talk about on this site—time, energy, expertise, and the need for a professional product without professional training.

If I use a ghostwriter, is it still *my* book?

Absolutely! Using a ghostwriter is not cheating on your homework. Your book is your baby: You brought it into the world. It's the product of your ideas and direction. I'm just helping you deliver it.

Say you have a great concept for a tattoo—something unique and perfectly you. You wouldn't have even a second of doubt about hiring a tattoo artist to ink it on for you. So, does asking someone else to apply the tattoo make it any less yours? Or have you smartly realized that you may regret not trusting a professional to execute your vision?

Does my ghostwriter's name appear anywhere in the book or the copyright?


So no one will ever know that a ghostwriter helped with my book?

That's the idea (hence the term ghost). As a certified information security professional, I take your confidentiality seriously. If we need to engage third parties to complete the book, such as interview subjects, specialized researchers, or a proofreader, we first get 1) your written authorization, and 2) a signed non-disclosure agreement.

How long will it take to write my book?

Most books take 6 months, but I'm always willing to work with you on scheduling to fit your needs.

How do you determine the project fee?

We settle on a project fee after you and I have:

  • Gone through your notes (if applicable), ideally with a Readiness Review

  • Determined how much research and writing need to be done, and how complex that will be

  • Discussed your vision and goals for the book

  • Outlined a schedule and deadlines for the project

After we agree on a fee, we both sign a contract that clearly stipulates the project terms, conditions, expectations, deadlines, and deliverables for both of us.

Why do you use a flat fee?

Writing a book is a massive undertaking. It doesn't happen Monday–Friday, 9–5, and a ghostwriter is never "off the clock" when writing your book. Billing creative projects by the hour gets messy, and also doesn't allow for flexibility when changes are necessary. A flat-fee structure takes everyone's eyes off the time sheet and produces the best book.

Do you offer payment plans for ghostwriting projects?

Yes. Projects are billed in monthly installments, with the first payment due when the contract is signed. Payment is accepted via PayPal, credit card, or secure wire transfer.

What about my future earnings?

All earnings from your book are 100% yours. I hold no copyright or intellectual property rights to your work at any time, and I do not collect any payment for publishing advances, future sales, copyrights, international rights, film rights, audio rights, reprints, or any other means of revenue. Even if your book makes you a multimillionaire, I don't collect a penny beyond my project fee.

Instead of a flat fee, will you write my book for a percentage of the royalties and profits after I sell the book?

Unfortunately, no. Publishing outcomes are unpredictable. Whether your book makes money depends on lots of factors, including your willingness to market and promote yourself. Beyond that, not every author has the same financial goals. Some want books to sell at speaking engagements for marginal profit but huge networking value, while others want to get big advances and top best-seller lists. Both these outcomes (and countless others) are possible, but like other professionals, ghostwriters are paid for the time and expertise we use to produce an object of value.

Can't I find cheaper ghostwriters elsewhere?

Most definitely! Craigslist and other freelance sites are teeming with people who will happily write your book for $10,000 or less. Just keep in mind that if you pay bargain basement prices, you'll get a bargain basement book. These "ghostwriters," who often charge by the hour, page, or word, are usually well-meaning but inexperienced writers trying to break into the business or make some quick cash, and because they don't have the training, experience, emotional investment, or skill to charge professional rates, they also probably can't deliver professional quality. The money you save using a cheap writer will probably be spent later on, when you hire someone else to fix your manuscript.

Put more simply: Your book is an investment in yourself, and you get what you pay for.

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