If you want to be a ghost writer, be prepared to work for a high cost, expensive services clientele. It takes something in the ballpark neighborhood nowadays of figures in the five to ten to fifty thousand dollar range to hire a great book ghost writer. You can hire a book editor, a book doctor or a book coach for much less than that. Prices for editing and assistance with you yourself actually writing your book run for far less.
I have worked directly, myself, on some upwards of 50 book manuscripts for a wide variety of client authors. I don’t do screenplays; I have edited them, and I do an adequate job, but you really need to know the film industry to create the very best in scripts and screenplays. So I leave that sort of project to experts, optioned screenwriters and produced script writers for TV, who are on our team. What I specialize in is books.
I can whip out a great, revised and edited book for an author client without having to worry about whether or not it’s misspelled, has grammar or syntax issues, or is colorful enough to grab a literary agent’s attention. Well, that is one way to put it. To be honest, I work over the top to produce the best manuscript I can possibly give each of my author clients, and that can mean working like a dog sometimes. It depends. Some clients hand me easy background notes, book outlines, chapter by chapter outlines – I’m the one who requests them from each client – and some clients don’t. They need to either write out a full manuscript and have me edit it for them, or book coach them into writing it out, or book doctor an existing manuscript by performing content and/or developmental editing on it for them.
So when you’re a book ghost writer service, you can handle both ends. When it comes to screenplays and scripts, I have other people work on them. The right thing to do is to specialize for a while, I believe, and then when you’re bored it’s time to move on to a different specialty. I know a ghost writer who grew tired of writing screenplays, so he moved on to the prose writing and editing of book manuscripts. It doesn’t hurt to step out of one field and into another. I started out editing people’s book manuscripts for free, also for low cost, and I then stepped into the field of book ghost writer services in the early 2000’s. It’s been lots of fun for me, and a real roller coaster ride.
My daydream is to continue with getting author clients over to the correct literary agents and commercial book publishers. It’s more than just a dream, I’m able to do that. I have people on our team who handle that, and they have the right connections. But I’d like to shift eventually over to doing that myself someday. It’s more lucrative. A book ghost writer on our team landed a $75,000 advance for a book where she only wrote the proposal and query letter. The book was published, selling quite well. She used the advance to make a down payment on her new house.
She’s very gracious and is always willing to bend to the needs and desires of her clients. But she won’t take on the “wrong kinds” of non-marketable book projects. Only the ones she sees as potential winners, which have a great chance at being marketed appropriately. So I need to enter that field myself someday down the road. Right now, I’m taking it easier, mostly farming work out to writers, editors, marketers and others on our team, and trying to get my own three books, the ones I wrote myself, published. I smuggled one of my author client’s books into The Library of Congress, early on in my career, and we have placed several more of them over there through the years.
I’ve gotten my books into Google Books, Smashwords, Amazon, bookstores, and plenty of my author clients have been published on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, other media outlets, brick and mortar stores, online venues and the Public Library System, as well as around the world. Our books and some of mine have landed in France, Great Britain, Rwanda, China, Canada, Germany, Spain, South America… it is rather the glamorous side, the life of one book ghost writer running her ghost writing services. But there are also many pitfalls and drawbacks. The main one is getting out enough advertising to bring in the clients. The second most important aspect is finding ways to get our author clients to sign a firm Contract, and then stick with the project. I’ll write another article about those two topics soon, I promise!