May 8, 2018 | Olivia Savoie
Finding an Affordable Ghostwriter You Can Trust:
Advice on What to Look For and Avoid
Do you have a phenomenal life story to tell? Maybe you know the intrinsic value and inspiration your life story can cast on your loved ones. Maybe you want to preserve your life and legacy in a book that will outlast your lifetime. But maybe putting pen to paper is harder than you thought.
Perhaps you have dreamed of hiring a ghostwriter to write your life story, but don’t want to pay tens of thousands of dollars to produce a book. Or maybe you see the super cheap postings online and wonder about their legitimacy. Keep the following things in mind when searching the internet for potential ghostwriters:
Look for an “affordable” rather than “cheap” ghostwriter.
Here’s why: Everything of good quality comes at a cost. Would you buy a used car that has a value of $10,000 for a road-side deal of $5,000? Or would you question if the car salesman has something to hide about what made this “deal” too good to be true? The same goes for ghostwriters.
If you do a little online research, you’ll discover that reputable ghostwriters often charge between 50 cents and 3 dollars per word. Stick. With. That. Pricing. If you see some amazing deal from an online posting offering to write your 50,000-word memoir for 500 dollars, just say no. Something’s WAY too good to be true about that “deal.” You are either about to get ripped off or be given a horrific product.
On the other side of the same coin, don’t pay 3 dollars per word for a ghostwritten life story book to give to your grandchildren. You should generally stick to the 50 cents to 1 dollar per word range. If there’s a ton of research involved in your book project or other additional labor-intensive hours involved, then paying up to 2 dollars per word makes sense. We don’t recommend paying much more than that unless you’re a congressman, a reality TV star, or Elvis’ long-lost son. Basically, family heirloom books should cost less per word than mass-marketed ones.
Look for a ghostwriter who writes to your audience from your voice.
If your goal is to write the next #1 New York Times Bestseller, then choose (and pay for) a ghostwriter with that track record. However, if you want to write a memoir for your children and community to savor, then find a family heirloom specialist. This goes for any genre or story idea. Find someone who can write to your readers in particular.
When you find a ghostwriter who strives to vividly and beautifully write in your own voice to your specific readers, then stop your search right there. When you discover a writer who desires to tell your story in your own way, then you’ve found the right match.
Look for a ghostwriter with ample references and a lengthy portfolio.
If an writer claims to be a professional ghostwriter, then he or she should have a plethora of excerpts to demonstrate their expertise. The writer should also be able to provide at least one complete book that a former client has permitted him or her to share. If not, how do you know the writer is capable of writing a book-length work? Don’t be anyone’s guinea pig.
It also helps to call or email real people who worked with the ghost writer before. Find out if the work matches the quality standards the ghost writer advertises, as well as if the writer is knowledgeable, responsive, and meticulous in his or her craft. And find out if the writer is passionately and genuinely excited about preserving your story.
Look for a ghostwriter who ONLY writes life stories.
Oftentimes, my clients choose me—a full-time writer with a specialized focus in life story writing—after speaking with other ghostwriters who have day jobs as journalists and teachers among other professions. My clients understand that their stories don’t deserve to be a side gig; instead, each story warrants dedicated, 100% focus.
When you look for a ghostwriter, find one who writes life stories day and night. Find one who breathes writing stories like yours. Don’t settle for less than a dedicated, skilled professional.
Now you know what to look for and avoid on your search to find the ideal ghost writer for your life story. I wish you success during your life story preservation journey.