“How Do I Find a Ghostwriter for My Book?”
As a book writing coach, I meet many people who have a great idea for a business book, a self-help bestseller, a groundbreaking health book, a gripping novel, or a fascinating memoir or autobiography.
These experts, leaders, visionaries and creatives have good reasons for wanting to write a book but some of them may lack the particular skillset required to actually do that kind of work – a way with words, an understanding of audiences, organizational skills, editing skills, persistence for months (or years) and stamina.
For some aspiring authors, the limiting factor is time. Even if you are an excellent writer, it still takes a great deal of time to research, write, edit and rewrite a manuscript so that you achieve a book that embodies the level of quality you would be proud to put your name on.
That’s why many busy, successful people who would like to author a book ultimately choose to hire a ghostwriter. They have a goal they want to pursue and a book is part of reaching that goal:
- Have a positive, inspirational impact on a particular audience.
- Grow an existing business or launch a new business as a consultant or a coach.
- Offer a book as a product in conjunction with a seminar or workshop.
- Increase their public profile prior to launching a speaking tour.
It’s simply too important to delay the project or to accept anything less than the highest quality so they enter into a ghostwriter work-for-hire contract with an experienced writer.
The challenge is how to find an experienced ghostwriter and the optimal fit.
Most authors and publishers are not comfortable sharing that they hired a ghost writer for a particular work. That’s where a ghostwriter referral service can be useful.
I work with a number of excellent writers who provide ghost writing services. All of the authors on my referral list are skillful, compelling writers with a body of work that speaks to their talent. Some have written or edited New York Times bestsellers, Business Week bestsellers, award-winning books, and books that were featured on Oprah (along with the author who conceived the work and hired the writer).
Our ghostwriters are seasoned experts: many of them have been in the ghostwriting business for more than two decades.
I work with ghostwriters who specialize in:
- Business, leadership, and finance
- Self-help, psychology, and relationships
- Health and healing
- How-to and going green
- Memoir and personal success stories
- Novels (depending on the genre and subject)
- Book proposals
- Blog posts
Our ghostwriters have written and co-written books published by:
- Hachette Book Group
- Skyhorse Publishing
- Da Capo
- Globe Pequot
- Lyons Press
- Forbes Books
- Entrepreneur Press
- Seal Press
- Broadway Books
- Free Press
- Simon & Schuster
- Beyond Words
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- and more
Recent books that were ghostwritten or co-written by our writers include:
- The memoir of a prominent New York philanthropist and CEO. His book was published by Wiley and won three major book awards
- The memoir of a prolific cardiac surgeon, a book that got picked up by Hachette and sold out its first printing in just 4 weeks!
- An award winning memoir of a doctor and amateur athlete
- A successful self-help book written with a Psychiatrist and an Executive Wellness Coach with an MBA
- An illuminating overview of palliative care in the US, picked up by Johns Hopkins University Press
If you are serious about finding the perfect ghostwriter for your project, contact Lisa Tener. After answering a handful of initial questions by email, followed by an interview, I will refer you to one or more select ghostwriters whom I believe to be the best match for your particular project based on the genre of your book, your personal style and your budget.
Choosing a good ghostwriter is ultimately up to you
A book is a very personal thing. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the writer you choose. I have provided some guidance for interviewing and choosing a ghostwriter on this site and with an accompanying free e-book, 20 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Ghostwriter. Be diligent in thoroughly investigating the writers you are considering.
If none of the writers I have referred to you for an interview prove to be a good fit, contact me again and provide more detail about your needs and the qualities you are looking for in a writer. I may be able to provide additional referrals based on your feedback. Never feel you should “settle” if a match does not feel right. Trust your instincts and stay in communication!
Ghostwriter services and fees
Begin planning your book project by establishing a realistic budget. If you are considering hiring a ghostwriter, determine what services you want from that writer. Will you need help with a book proposal, or with research? Determine the approximate number of pages (your writer may have insights into this). Do you have any deadlines that must be met? A tight deadline can affect costs.
For the high-quality, experienced ghostwriters with whom I work, books of 120 pages typically run from $15,000 to $35,000 (though can be more expensive for a particular skill set and expertise) and books of 250-pages start around $25,000 to $75,000 and up into the six figure realm.
If your budget is below $12,000 for ghostwriting a short book or $20,000 for ghostwriting a full-length book, please do not ask us for a referral to a ghostwriter. We can recommend an editor for that budget range. For a very modest budget, you may want to check elance.com.
Lisa Tener’s fees and services
I do not charge a fee to clients seeking a ghostwriter referral. If a match is made through my service, the ghostwriter pays a marketing fee.
Occasionally, an author will seek my input and expertise on other parts of their book project. I am happy to provide additional services, such as those listed below, under a separate contract:
- Ideas and input during the outlining phase
- Editing a chapter
- Reviewing the book from a marketing perspective
- Advising on finding a publisher
- Building an “author platform” or online following
- Reviewing a book proposal and providing additional ideas to make the proposal fresh, compelling and marketing-savvy
If you are ready to get your book project off the ground with the help of a skilled ghostwriter, contact Lisa Tener. My team and I look forward to helping you find the perfect match.
Do you refer ghostwriters for particular genres?
Yes, we refer ghostwriters who specialize in business, leadership, self-help, psychology, health, how-to, finance, relationships, business, memoir, personal success, healing, going green and many other areas. Some of the ghostwriters we refer to have broad experience across genres. I will personally communicate with you to find the best match for your needs.
Will the ghostwriter’s name be on my book?
This is your decision. If you wish to have the person named as a co-author, you can say “with” or “and.” If you do not wish to have the ghostwriter receive credit, just be sure that you discuss it before commencing the project and have it in your written agreement.
Regardless of the name situation, ghostwriters would like to know that they can receive a reference and testimonial for their work. If you don’t want the ghostwriting to be public, you may still be able to write a testimonial that addresses the writer’s abilities as an editor or coach.
Who will do the research for my book?
This is another area where you decide what you need. If you enjoy research, or already have the data, this could keep down the overall cost of the project. If the ghostwriter needs to do extensive research, it will add to the price, but can save you a lot of time. The most important thing is to define ahead of time how much research each party will do. Of course, you may not yet know the answer to that. In such cases, the contract will likely include x number of hours of research, and will name an hourly fee for additional research beyond that limit.
How many revisions can I make?
This will be decided between you and the ghostwriter, and your initial agreement should be specific. If you desire revisions beyond those initially agreed upon, that can generally be done for additional cost.
Can you suggest a ghostwriter for my book proposal, or do they only ghostwrite books?
Yes, we can refer you to a ghostwriter for your book proposal.
Will I be working with Lisa Tener directly?
On ghostwriting projects, the answer is generally, no. Ghostwriters are hand selected by me, and I will suggest the person or people who seem to be the best match. From then on, you will work directly with the ghostwriter and will develop a written agreement or contract with that person–they work with you to write your book as a work for hire.
Occasionally, an author will want to have me provide input into the project, such as ideas during the outlining phase, editing a chapter or looking at the book from a marketing perspective. In that case, you would generally have a separate agreement with me solely for that work.
How will I work with my ghostwriter?
You and your ghost writer will determine the best way for you to proceed. You may choose to meet regularly, to talk on the phone at determined intervals, email drafts back and forth or provide materials that the ghostwriter will review and put into a book form. In any case, you will also want to schedule some intense personal meetings that allow you and your ghostwriter to truly understand one another.
Do I pay a finder’s fee to LisaTener.com?
No. The ghostwriter pays the marketing fee and we ask them to take it out of their marketing budget, not your fees/cost.
Do you guarantee the ghostwriters?
We do our best to find and recommend excellent writers who will fit your particular needs, including your budget. You will interview and hire the writer yourself. Most of the writers we recommend we have worked with for many years. Occasionally we will bring on a new writer if their work is excellent and they fill a void in our offerings. Feel free to ask us more about our experience with any writer we recommend.
We have sometimes heard from people who signed a contract with a competitor of ours and was then unhappy with the writer they assigned. We will not assign you a writer. Rather, you are in charge of the project, you do the hiring and can interview a number of writers and will only choose a writer you feel comfortable with.
Having someone ghostwrite your book is a very personal thing. While we cannot guarantee that you will be satisfied, we have an excellent track record with happy clients. What we can do is recommend that you:
1. Speak with a reference or two who worked with this writer;
2. Ask for samples of their work so you get a feel for it;
3. Negotiate to have them write 1 or 2 chapters as phase 1 of the project so that you are not tied to working with them if you decide it is not a perfect match;
4. Listen to your intuition. If you speak with a writer who is not the fit you are looking for, let us know and we can explore a better match. The more you can tell us about your vision and needs and the qualities you are looking for, the better clarity we have to match you.
We also recommend setting clear expectations and clear communication up front and throughout the project. This should create a solid, fulfilling working relationship.
If you are ready to get your book project off the ground with the help of a skilled ghostwriter, contact Lisa Tener. We look forward to helping you find the perfect match.
Read more information on how to hire a ghostwriter and the specific accomplishments of the ghostwriters we work with and recommend.