Before Hiring an eBook Ghostwriter - What You Need to Know
Pay for What You Know
As with all things, the profession of ebook ghostwriting is the art of doing what others cannot or will not do - create the digital literature of our world.
We as ebook ghostwriters are the unnoticed characters in the background, who often only find recognition in the fact that our books become immensely popular, often very quickly.
And that's why you or someone you know, may be seeking to hire an ebook ghostwriter to create your own masterpiece. You want to get your book written by a pro, who can produce your book with delicacy and speed, so that you don't have to spend years doing it yourself or so that you can rest assured that your ebook will sell and become popular.
Whether this digital book will be fictional or full of real-world information, this book is going to represent you and your mind, so it's important to make sure you choose the right writer. Though that isn't the only important thing you need to know, which is what brings me to the purpose of this hub.
I recently started a new gig on fiverr in attempt to answer dozens of requests for ebook writers. I decided I would go well beyond my usual rates and offer to write a full chapter for $5, of up to 3,000 words. I made a video, got my description set up and then the flood of questions starting coming in.
How long will it take to write a whole ebook for me?
How much would it cost to have it written in 30 days?
What would it cost to have 30 pages written?
How do I choose a word count?
There were so many questions I hadn't expect and since the world of ebook ghostwriting is still so new, I felt it might be helpful to leave a little guide here, to help any soon to be ghostwriter-shoppers, so that you can go into the situation knowing exactly what you need from your ghostwriter
This will help you maximize the abilities of your writer, and will keep you from getting hustled by any pseudo-ghostwriters trying to pull one over on you, because trust me - they are out there!
What Am I Paying For?
This is an interesting question and one to think about before you go any further.
What are you paying for when you hire a ghostwriter?
As much as I and other ebook ghostwriters will focus on word count, pages and research, the core of the matter is that what you are paying for is our creativity, imagination and speed. Whether you have all your research done, you need 10,000 words or 250,000, you want mostly pictures in your pages or you have a full outline, the reason you're hiring that ghostwriter is because you either do not have the time to sit down and write that book, or because you are not now aware of your ability quickly produce the book with grace and meaning.
The very trade of ghostwriting is all about being quick, creative and reader oriented. We know what your readers want to hear from you, we know how to extract the right information from you and we usually have a rate of 64 words-per-minute (wpm) or better, which means we can quickly write that ebook for you.
This is what you are essentially hiring a ghostwriter like me for. With all the prep work done, the meat is all that is left to prepare, and an ebook ghosterwriter is there to make sure that happens properly and productively.
What Does it Cost to Hire an eBook Writer?
Before we dive into this answer, I want you first to be aware that the ebook ghostwriting market is still so new, that prices are still fluctuating. So while I can give you a concrete answer for now, this January 2013, those rates could change at any moment. So make sure that you do your own research on the prices, so that you can take advantage of them while they are low and see the point when the pricing settles into a common rate.
When it comes to the lower end of things, currently you can hire an ebook ghostwriter for as little as .005 cents per word, if you don't mind outsourcing through odesk or elance, where you can have an eager foreign friend write it all out for you. This is not a bad route to go, especially if you do not mind spending a week or two on editing the final copy they give you. Not being in your geographic region, foreign writers are likely to have a different writers "voice" than you would use, and anywhere below .01 per word, you're looking at hiring new ghostwriters who might need some major assistance with grammar and spelling.
In the mid range, you're going to find that decent ghost writers charge anywhere between $200-$600 per ebook. These are going to be your ghostwriters who know where to gather the right research, who to talk to about almost any subject and they will know how to get all of the right information out of you, in order to write the ebook the way you want it. You won't have to do as much editing with these writers, as they will be plenty use to using their spell checkers, and you'll probably get your ebook in as little as 3-6 months.
On the higher end, you'll find well-seasoned ebook writers who could spin a tale so silky that Rumpelstiltskin himself would apparate into the room just to read it. The ghostwriters are also extremely efficient at managing their time and are more likely to have a team of other writers on board to take care of the story together. Having all those creative heads together can mean an extraordinary book produced in as little as 4-6 weeks and ready to hit the ebookstore shelves the minute you get it from them. There are obviously many bonuses to choosing a ghostwriter with this power, especially if you don't mind putting out $700-$2500 to have an ebook created that will bring you an extra $5000 per month. As a bonus, many ghostwriting companies will also include marketing packages with their services, which is priceless if you aren't sure how you're going to get your book out there to bring in that income.
How Do I Choose a Word Count?
The two most important factors that should decide your word count are:
1. What is the minimum word count your publishing agency or platform will accept?
2. What is your budget for hiring a ghostwriter?
Whether you are self-publishing or you are going through a publishing agency, nearly all publishing platforms will have a minimum word count for their ebooks. Some will allow as few as 5,000 words, while others set the low bar at 50,000 words.
If you haven't yet chosen a publishing method, now would be the time to do so. As it won't do you any good if you have your ebook written and it isn't long enough for the publisher you like or the best self-publishing community for your book.
Second, if you can only afford to pay $100 to have your ebook produced, you're going to be looking at a major limitation of word count. For that price, you're looking at an ebook with 10,000 - 20,000 words with a writer who charges somewhere near .01 cent per word. With more funds, you'll have more options on word count, which is why it is so vital to understand how your word count effects what you'll pay.
How Long Will it Take to Write My eBook?
To answer this question, consider the amount of time that your ghostwriter is putting into your ebook. If you haven't done any of the background research for your book, your ghostwriter will have to do that. If you don't yet have an outline of what you want in your book, your ghostwriter will create that from scratch too. They can then move forward to write your ebook.
Now, the average professional writer is said to be able to spend at least 4 hours per day producing original, new and authentic content directly from their imaginations. Some can go more, some less obviously, though they are exceptions to this common rule of writers attention spans.
Now, If you need a 90,000 word ebook and all the prep work is out of the way, your faster ghostwriter should be able to produce the meat of the book at somewhere near 3000 words per hour, and going by our 'common rule' of writers attention spans, that means that you could see your ebook in as little as a week. That sort of quick pace can be killer on the eyes, back and wrists of any digital writer though, which is why you'll see higher prices for this pace.
Then again, with your busy schedule and set budget, ask yourself now - How long would it take me to write 90,000 words with proper spelling, grammar and form?
For even the most efficient typist, self-writing an ebook can often take up to 2 years, especially if you don't have the added experience of publishing the book. So imagine what it would take to cut through that time like a knife through soft butter. That's two years ahead of you to make money, not sit at the computer writing and editing it yourself.
Now, the above scenario is idealistic and definitely in the higher range of pricing. Producing a full ebook within 1 week is not easy and will definitely take the skill of a seasoned writer.
The average time you're looking at for most ebooks with a range of 20,000 to 90,000 words, is going to be 4-12 weeks. Still, when it takes the average self-authoring writer, up to 2 years to write a quality ebook, 3 months seems like nothing in comparison
How Many Words Go Into a Page?
This is something that not many ghostwriter-hirer's consider, and it's understandable. Part of the reason you hire us is to discover things like this.
Many people need ebooks written and they know that they need to have it be a set amount of pages. The most common with ebooks is 30-50 pages. Now while I am ultra proud of those authors for knowing how many pages they would like, when it comes to hiring an ebook ghostwriter, knowing the number of pages really doesn't mean squat.
You could have 30 pages with 100 words on each one with big pictures to take up the rest of the "white space" on the page. Alternatively, you could use a font small enough to fit more than 3000 words on to one A4 sized page. The size of your font, the skill of your writer, the pictures you want to include with your book... These are the elements that come into play when we think about "pages", which is why your focus should be on How Many WORDS you want your ebook to contain.
Why is Word Count So Important?
There are several schools of thought about the answer to this question. The most relevant to you is that the higher the word count, the more content you're going to get. Now,that being said, if you're writing about an extremely obscure subject that you don't know much about and that there is much information available for, than having lots of words means you'll have a lot more "fluff" in the content than valuable content, which is another reason your word count is so important.
On your end, you want to make sure that you choose a word count that reflects the depth of learning you want to provide your readers with. Your average ebook reader is probably not going to have the patience to sit back and digest more than 20,000 words of information in digital book form. Though if you're providing your readers with an extremely detailed guide book that goes into all the little details of a subject or process, than you're going to want to make the book longer. Books of this caliber are often coaching books, expert books or technical manuals that describe the process of mastering something. To cover your topic thoroughly and without too much fluff, I would start no higher than 50,000 words, which is a lot to say about nearly any topic.
Infoproduct eBooks are extremely particular in their own right when it comes to word count, as most of these books are going to be in the 10,000 word range because they are focused more on encouraging another action - such as purchasing a service or membership. They are short because they are meant to get the reader excited and inspire them to take immediate action. If the book is too long, than the reader will lose interest before they take the next step. You have to be careful with infoproduct books though, as they can be overdone with sales lingo and that tends to turn into a buttload of refunds for you after your readers decide the book was just there to sell them on something else and not provide them with any real information. This is why you'll often see infoproduct books created by seasoned ghostwriters at a mid-level price. Not only does It take grace and authenticity to sell anyone on anything, doing it in 10,000 words or less is going to be a challenge on it's own.
Novels go completely in the opposite direction, with word counts varying between 90,000 words and 250,000 words which is the average size of word count in each of the Harry Potter or Twlight series books. And where it's actually more difficult to write fewer words with other types of ebooks, it's actually more of a challenge to write large word counts in a fiction ebook, because it has to come purely from the imagination of the writer.
Basically, your word count is so important because it will determine how long it will take your writer to produce the work, how much they will charge and how much research will need to be done to get the book written.
To help you save some time and money in your quest to hire the ideal ebook ghostwriter, I have created this easy little list of information you need to have before you approach any ghost writers. Once you have this information ready, you can move forward and hire the perfect ghost writer for your project.
Pre-Hiring Checklist for Ghostwriter Seekers:
- Decide If You Will:
- Do all the background research for you're own book, including gathering statistics, expert knowledge, fact-checking, reader demographic research, etc...
- Pay for a more experienced ghost writer in your area or a newer and/or foreign writer who is more affordable.
- Write your own ebook outline for the chapters, transitions and content.
- Do your own editing once the final draft is finished.
- Handle Your Own Publishing.
- Have Answers to These Questions Ready:
- What Is Your Word Count Goal?
- When Will You Need Your eBook Finished?
- What is Your Maximum Budget for this Project?
- What Genre, Niche and Subject Will Your Book be About?
- How Much Preliminary Research Do You Have and How Detailed is it?
- Do You Need Your eBook to be Formatted for a Specific eReader or Writing Website?
- Do You Need Your Ghostwriter to Do Any Additional Research, Prep-Work (like Outlines) or Publishing work?
- Questions to Ask Your Ghostwriter Candidates:
- How Much Do You Charge Per Word or Per Project?
- How Quickly Can You Write My eBook of (??),000 words?
- What All is Covered With Your Ghostwriting Services and Do You Offer Any Extras?
- Can You Take Care of Necessary Research You Find You Need Along the Way, or Will You Need to Have Me Provide You With it?
- How Many Revisions or Major Edits Will You Provide Me With After Your Final Draft Is Completed?
- How Many Other eBooks Have You Written or Ghostwritten before mine?
- How Many Years of Experience Do You Have as an eBook Ghost Writer?
- How Will I Pay You? (i.e: In Person, through Paypal or with a Credit Card)
- How Often Will You Send Me Progress Reports?
- Will Any of Your Services Cost Me Extra?
- Do You Require Any Funds Upfront?
- What Do You Need to Get Started?
- How Soon Can You Get Started?
With this checklist, you'll be prepared to maximize your experience with any ghostwriter, see through scams and get your ebook out into the world were people can read and be transformed by it.