Hiring a ghost writer

16 replies
Hey everyone! I'm new here, the name's Vierra. I came across this forum when I was looking for info on hiring ghost writers, but can't seem to find that thread anymore. I want to hire a couple of ghost writers to write novels for me. For anyone who has experience with ghost writers, what kind of expectations should I have upfront when hiring someone? Should I have a contract? What terms are very important to have upfront? With these kind of jobs is payment most often made once finished work is recieved or in installments? Thanks in advance and I hope I am posting this in the correct area.
#ghost #ghost writer #hiring #writer
  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Lenney
    Wrong place for this try the copywriting forum
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  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    I have used ghostwriters for non-fiction books, mainly sourced them from outsource/freelance sites such as elance and odesk. My advice is...

    1. If you can, break your project down into sections, chapters, pieces where you can outsource a portion of your project first to get a feel for the writer (will also often be less expensive too than having an entire book ghostwritten) - This may be easier to do for non-fiction than fiction though

    2. Look for reputation scores, reviews and ask for samples (at least 3 - the more the better) to make sure you are giving the best shot at dealing with someone reputable and to get a sense if their style meets your expectations

    3. The will typically demand some payment up-front - I would NEVER give full payment - hold back as much as you can. I recently negotiated a deal in 3 pieces with 3 milestones and payment spread evenly across those 3 milestones which worked out well

    4. Yes - have a very basic contract, I like to have an outline, #pages, format, milestones/deadlines, font size/margins (so they don't give you something with huge margins and fonts to reach their page total), any expected extras such as illustrations, graphics, cover, etc... and a statement listing you as the exclusive copyright holder and anything else you can imagine that may be important to you.

    Jeff
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    • Profile picture of the author StevenWT
      rather than having them submit a sample of their work, give them a small project to do in which they have to do something original. That would show you better what they will be doing for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Tandan
    100% agree with Jeff's points above.
    To take it a step further, I'd suggest having a prospective writer do a very brief piece for you that's completely unrelated to your novel. Say a VERY short story, fiction, based on a topic of your choice.
    It may cost you just a few bucks but that's a really small investment to determine the quality and deliverability of the writer. Because this 'test' project isn't just about the writing, it's about adhering to a schedule, and completing the work on time.
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  • Profile picture of the author donhx
    My view is that it is fine to hire someone to write nonfiction. Fiction is totally different, however. Fiction authors need to develop a following to be successful, and much of that success is built on plot, characterization and style. Very difficult to accomplish that if you are using different writers, especially if they are from different cultures.

    Otherwise, Jeff's comments are right on target, IMO.

    By the way, this is a good place to ask this question. Copywriting is an entirely different type of writing.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    Payment should be made in phases. Deposit up front, then a percentage after a pre-determined deadline, and the final payment when the project is complete.

    Definitely have a contract that spells out everything in writing.

    A ghostwriter for an entire novel will cost in the thousands, sometimes upwards of $10,000 depending on length, complexity, experience, etc. You can certainly hire them cheaper, but if your name is going on the book, it should be the best it can be.
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  • Profile picture of the author superchik
    Wow, thank you everyone for great advice! I have found 2 writers so far whose work I really liked and their vision is similar to mine. Also both charge $100 for a 60k word novel. I'm working out the contract right now and all the details. Both agreed on a $20 deposit and will have 1/3rd written by end of next week. I'm pretty confident that they will do a good job but if something doesn't work out, at least it is not a huge chunk of money. I told them that if the work does not meet my standard then I can cancel the job without further payment, so I will only lose the deposit or whatever I have paid up until then. I hope all goes as planned!
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    • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
      Originally Posted by superchik View Post

      Wow, thank you everyone for great advice! I have found 2 writers so far whose work I really liked and their vision is similar to mine. Also both charge $100 for a 60k word novel. I'm working out the contract right now and all the details. Both agreed on a $20 deposit and will have 1/3rd written by end of next week. I'm pretty confident that they will do a good job but if something doesn't work out, at least it is not a huge chunk of money. I told them that if the work does not meet my standard then I can cancel the job without further payment, so I will only lose the deposit or whatever I have paid up until then. I hope all goes as planned!
      $100 for a 60K word novel??? That's WAY too cheap. That's only $0.0016/word. I'd really question the quality you'll get for that price. Many writers charge $100+ for just a good article.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    $100 for a 60K word novel??? That's WAY too cheap. That's only $0.0016/word. I'd really question the quality you'll get for that price. Many writers charge $100+ for just a good article.
    I have to agree.

    I would check any work very closely for copyright.
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  • Profile picture of the author superchik
    I will have to see what they come up with in a week. I have a story line, plot, and characters and they have to write a novel using my information. That should make it harder for them to steal someone else's work.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
      Originally Posted by superchik View Post

      I will have to see what they come up with in a week. I have a story line, plot, and characters and they have to write a novel using my information. That should make it harder for them to steal someone else's work.
      Yes. That is a ridiculously low price but that doesn't mean they can't write. I was researching a fiction writer recently who charges $600 for 10K. I thought that was kind of cheap.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I am a ghost writer and I can confirm that the price is too cheap so you MUST check the quality. Perhaps you can consider me for proofreading of it once you have it finished?
    The Warriors for Hire section in here has numerous ghostwriters you can use.
    The good thing in here is that you can check people's credentials.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author vedremo
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    $0.0016/word is absolutely cheap. I'd doubt the quality of the writing involved. An acceptable starting rate in the market is $5/100 words. You're already assured that you'll be getting your money's worth.

    I just hope that you requested writing samples so that you can properly assess the writing style, capability, etc. of the hired ghost writer. Remember you can always use Copyscape. If the ghost writer you hired met all your requirements and have given you good results then you hit the jackpot.

    If you're not satisfied with your ghost writer's output, keep in mind that there are Warriors for Hire who can help you with your project.

    Any update on this matter will be appreciated. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rappostion
    $100 for a 60K is very cheap. If you want a quality work, you need to consider increasing the
    rate. I know someone who writes really well and charges me $5/200 words.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    I use to use elance many years ago. Fiverr is the king now. Do not believe that there is a queen. Actually, there are a lot of great ghost writers on FIVERR and we should make a list of them and post it. Look for busy people with multiple gigs in queue.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeePower
    Major publishing houses pay an average advance of $5,000 for a 50K to 60K word novel. That breaks down to 10 cents a word or $10 per 100 words.

    Should you pay that much? Probably not. Publishers expect to make a profit -- not just the advance -- but a profit on each book they publish. They only accept books that they know will sell in the thousands of copies.

    Writing a book is more intensive than writing a comparable number of articles based on the word count. For example writing ten 500 word articles take less time and effort than writing a 5000 word book. So we charge more.

    Dee
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