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Friday, November 6, 2015

How much does a ghostwriter cost?

How much does a high-end ghostwriter cost?

4 Answers
Tiffany Sanders
Tiffany SandersLSAT Geek
Because a client can hire pretty much anyone as a ghostwriter and rates can be whatever the two agree, there's a huge range. Though I'd like to agree with Shawn that the $12-50 rate is "completely and utterly incorrect," the truth is that there are a lot of people ghostwriting in that range. At the other end of the spectrum (since the question addressed "high end" ghostwriters, Shawn's figure is far too low for the most sought-after ghostwriters working with celebrities and politicians--in that sector, a book costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One of the reasons that the "salary" information provided by Anonymous isn't really useful is that many writers ghostwrite and publish under their own names, meaning that they're not making a full time living as ghostwriters. Another is that the term ghostwriter has become somewhat unclear as blogging and other quick publishing options have proliferated. People two years out of college with a marketing degree are working under the title "ghostwriter" and it means that they're blogging and running social media accounts for one or more company execs.
Owen Linderholm
Owen Linderholm30 years writing and editing professionally
Most ghostwriters I know (and I know several) are paid per project. You are ghostwriting something (usually a book, sometimes an article). You quote for the full project. Almost now writers of any kind are paid per hour. For shorter forms (articles) you are typically paid either per word or per piece. For longer forms you are paid either a single flat fee for the project or you get a percentage of royalties. Ghostwriters usually get a flat fee although I have heard of a flat fee plus a share of royalties. And there isn't a typical rate. If you want James Patterson or Stephen King or JK Rowling to ghostwrite something you'd better be prepared to offer an insane amount of money (and they still wouldnt do it). If you want some random person with no experience then you are probably better off just burning your money. To give you some idea, you can get someone who can write grammatically correct sentences for about 10 cents a word. You can get someone who can actually write a coherent piece of prose on a topic and do some real research as part of the project for about $1 a word.
Tim Vandehey
Tim VandeheyGhostwriter
Most of the top ghosts don't charge an hourly rate. I've ghosted more than 50 nonfiction books in my career, and my rate ranges from $30,000 on the low end to more than $60,000 on the high end, depending on the length and complexity of the book. That's for independent publishing. Ghosts can get more if they're getting a percentage of a large publisher's advance. Beware any ghostwriter on Elance who offers to write your 100,000 book for $5,000. You get what you pay for.
Shawn Bell
Shawn BellAuthor, Screenwriter, Media God
320 Views • Shawn is a Most Viewed Writer in Publishing.
$150 per page.

Ghostwriters aren't paid a salary.  They can make anywhere from zero to millions of dollars.  The answerer who claims that ghostwriters get paid a between $12 and $50 an hour is completely and utterly incorrect.

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