Creating a full-length book for a client is like constructing a house from the ground up, or like manufacturing a car–both of which have thousands of moving parts.
A typical non-fiction memoir has 65,000 to 100,000+ words, with multiple chapters organized into a cohesive structure, each sentence customized to create momentum and interest. The process takes months of work, sometimes more than a year, including creating a story board, a chapter line-up, hours of tape-recorded interviews, transcription, composing text, followed by multiple re-writes, editing, and copy editing.
So what should writing a book from scratch cost? In the magazine world, for a seasoned writer, a fee of $2 per word is not uncommon. In the book world, it ranges from $1 to $2 per word, depending on many factors–the length of the manuscript, the number of months involved, the extent of the research, the supplementary interviews required, and the project’s deadline.
But remember, regardless of cost, creating a book is not just a business, but an art. It’s like commissioning a painter. In centuries past, great noblemen (and women) would have a self- portrait created by a master artisan in the court who could capture their aura, facial expression and body language, down to every wrinkle on a silk blouse or leave on a background tree.
Writing a book is no less detailed an art. So when choosing a ghostwriter, you must look at their past “portraits”–their track record, published work, style, and, not least important, their reputation on the Internet.
In addition, as I’ve said in a previous blog, CHEMISTRY between the Author and Ghostwriter is paramount. Your personalities should click. There needs to be a natural conversational rapport between you, a meeting of the minds, with both people on the same “wave length.” If you’ve got that–you’re well on the way to building a compelling book that will attract readers to it.
Before the work begins, there must, of course, be a discussion of price. It’s not quite like buying a car–though authors should feel free to kick me in the wheels and lift up my hood, as they examine my background.
Unlike an automobile assembly line, books cannot be made in duplicates, following a cookie cutter approach. Each book is unique. So you must choose your ghostwriter carefully. For starters, in my case, check out my Official Web Site, My Latest Book, and the site exclusively for Ghostwriting.
In any case, this is the assessment period and it’s important. So feel free to ask lots of questions.
In the end, you can find someone to write a book for almost any price imaginable, just as you can buy a used car for almost nothing or pay into the six figures for a top-notch car.
No matter what, first things first. Define your budget, then find a great writer who fits into it, someone who is reliable and consciousness, experienced, and produces work that captures your voice and message.