“I’ll just hire a ghostwriter to write my book.” It sounds easy enough, right? But is a ghostwriter really what you need? Or is a professional editor enough? Here are some tips on how to choose which method is right for your project:

Tip #1: More Money than Time

If you have more money than time, a ghostwriter is definitely something to consider. Ghostwriters take your idea from concept or outline to finished book. They make it almost effortless to create massive amounts of content – faster than you can often write it yourself. And as you already know, writing a book can take time and a lot of work! A skilled, professional ghostwriter can cost anywhere from $3,000–$35,000. If money is not an issue, a ghostwriter can be the best choice for you.

Tip #2: More Time than Money

If, however, you find yourself with more time on your hands than money in your bank account, writing the book yourself and hiring a good editor can be a better option. A copy-editor who checks spelling, grammar, punctuation and consistency can range anywhere from $500–$1,000 for a typical 200-page book.

Tip #3: Repurpose

Another option is to repurpose content you already have. Do you have articles you’ve written? Blog posts? A newsletter? Compile all those individual pieces into an organized Microsoft Word document and, whalla, you have the foundation for a book! Read through it once yourself, updating any outdated stats or examples, then send it to a professional developmental editor for a deeper edit. A good developmental editor can range between $1000–$3500 for a typical 200-page book, and are worth their weight in gold! They will do everything the copy-editor will do, adding to that a consistency in the overall tone of the manuscript, your tense and voice, and polish your sentence structure to read clean and clear.

Tip #4: The “Speaker Who Writes”

An author friend of mine, Sue Falcone, often teaches that either you’re a “writer who speaks or a speaker who writes.” If speaking comes more naturally to you than writing, creating your book from transcripts of your recorded keynotes, teleseminars and workshops may be the best option. In this case, either a ghostwriter or a professional developmental editor will be necessary to make your words flow in a way readers can easily understand.

Additional Thoughts…

If you’re considering a ghostwriter, know what kind of ghostwriter you want. Do you want a “cleanup” writer/editor who will polish the manuscript you compiled from blogs, articles, or transcripts? Or do you want a ghostwriter who will interview you for several hours and craft a book based off the content of the interviews? The more the ghostwriter is hired to write, the higher the price tag. The more information you can give your ghostwriter to work with, the lower your investment will be.

If you’re considering a ghostwriter simply to cut corners with getting your book written and not out of necessity, think again about the potential costs involved. No matter if you choose a ghostwriter or editor, you will still have to take the time to review the manuscript and make sure everything is written the way you want before publishing it.

What are your thoughts on ghostwriters and editors? Have you had experience with one or the other? Comment below!


Photo Credit: Flickr, hobvias sudoneighm

Kristen Joy

Kristen Joy

Kristen Joy Laidig is the founder of The Book Ninja. She has authored over 40 books, started over 50 publishing companies, trained over 10,000 authors worldwide, has her black belt in karate, and eats way too much chocolate. She currently changes lives through her students… one published message at a time, manages her two retail stores Toy Box Gifts & Wonder® and Nerdvana Outpost in the heart of her newfound hometown, Chambersburg, PA, is in the start-up phase of at least three new businesses at any given time, and generally causes anyone reading this bio to be out of breath. On her “off” time (what’s that?) she brainstorms business ideas with her awesome husband, the great Public Domain Expert himself, Tony Laidig, and hangs out with her two ragdoll kitties. She’s even been known to sleep... occasionally.

One Comment

  • I’m thrilled that a proof reader comes with Kristen’s program so, with Kristen’s package and support, that’s all I use. I, however, love to write(so no ghost writer) and have been doing so on my blog for years.

    Having said that, I have a friend who is a professional editor and she gave me a sample edit on my first book (I continue to use her template!). Her work was AMAZING! She makes the difference between a book that looks like I wrote it and a book that looks professional.

    I know people who’ve published on their own and end up selling to their personal contacts vs. people who’ve done it right and sell to the masses.

    As a reader, I don’t want to pay for anything that isn’t professional. There’s more free info online than we could ever read meaning no need to pay for mediocre. If you’re going to publish, have a pro help you out.

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