Living in Maroochydore, Queensland, Robin Storey is an author and freelance ghostwriter with over 25 years of work experience. After publishing 8 fiction titles and gaining insight into storytelling, Robin decided to specialize in ghostwriting memoirs. In terms of fiction, she enjoys mystery & crime the most. Curious about her portfolio? If so, make sure to check out “The Ambo: From Field Ambulance to Civil Ambulance and More”, by Bob McDermant, and “Making The Breast Of It: Breast Cancer Stories of Humour and Joy”, by Robin Storey herself. To learn more and to request a quote, access this page.
Specializing in book ghostwriting, short-form content, and book proposals, David Brewster is a Melbourne-based freelancer with more than 10 years of writing experience. During his career, he has published two titles and has worked on 18 more, either as a co-author or a ghostwriter. Since he delivers high-quality work, David charges at least $24,000 for ghostwriting a 30,000-40,000 word book. Non-fiction is his specialty, and he is mainly interested in biographies & memoirs, history, and business & management. To get an idea of his skills, you can look up “State of the Nanny: Telling It Like It Really Is”, by Louise Dunham, and “Assertive Humility: Emerging from the ego trap”, by Mr Stuart Taylor. Quotes can be requested here.
Sarah Billington is an experienced editor and writer who currently lives in Melbourne, Victoria. After gaining extensive work experience at Hickler Books and Lonely Planet, Sarah wrote for Girlfriend Magazine, The Loop, and HuffPost, to give a few examples. In terms of studies, she has a Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing & Editing and a B.A. in Professional Writing & Publishing. If you’re looking for ghostwriting or short-form content services, you should know that paranormal romance, dystopian, science fiction, thriller & suspense, children’s nonfiction, and horror are some of her favorite genres. To learn more and to request a quote from Sarah, access this page.
A Sydney-based freelancer who specializes in supernatural fiction, urban fantasy, and futuristic fantasy (both apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic), Gordon Donaldson’s inspiration comes from his experience as a psychic medium. If you find his approach suitable for your project, he can provide book ghostwriting, short-form content, and book proposal services. As he has a vast experience in writing, Gordon knows exactly what publishers are looking for. To get an idea of his skills, you should check out his book, “In-Between Heaven and Trouble (A Young Diviners Short Story Book 1)”. Before making a decision, feel free to request a quote here.
The Negatives of Business Ghostwriting
1. Hiring a ghostwriter is expensive
If you don’t get a good one, then you will probably get a book that makes you look bad. In fact, this is a very important point: if you hire a cheap ghostwriter, you will almost certainly end up with a bad book.
Below is a general guideline to the current market prices for ghostwriters. These prices can vary somewhat, because ghostwriting is an opaque market with no centralized marketplace for price discovery, but for a 100-300 page non-fiction book, prices usually break down like this:
800,000-$14,000 : This is the bottom of the barrel for ghostwriters. Anyone charging less than $15k is, quite frankly, not good. At best, they are very new and taking cheap work to build their portfolio. Usually, they’re just bad writers or are subcontracting the work out to offshore content mills. At worst, they’re flat out plagiarizing other people’s work. Anyone good moves their prices above $15k as soon as they can.
$15,000-$75,000 : Professional ghostwriters with credits and reputation will usually charge between $15,000 and $75,000. This price varies widely depending on the writer’s level of expertise, the amount of work required for the project, and how much work they are currently juggling.
Understand that there are substantial quality differences in this price range, and even within that range, a higher price does not guarantee quality. There are many who charge in this range who are not good at all, and many in this range who are cheap compared to the quality they deliver.
$100,000-$250,000+ : Once you get into the six-figure realm, you are talking about a very small number of well-established authors with extensive experience ghostwriting best-sellers (they often have books out under their own names that are well-respected).
There are probably no more than 100 ghostwriters in the world who can command these prices, and they’re usually hired by people who get large advances from traditional publishers and need to make sure their books are good; for example, actors, politicians, musicians and other famous personalities.
And the very best ghostwriters can actually command a share of the advance and royalties. One of my good friends and writing partners fall into this category— Nils Parker . For many of his projects, he charges a large percentage of the advance (up to 50% with some authors), plus some percentage of the backend. And because he is so good, he has a two-year backlog of clients waiting to work with him.
Ghostwriters at this level are actually easier to find, since they are known by most of the book agents and book editors in the business, and tend to work on a referral basis only.
2. Business ghostwriters are hard to find and hire
If you want to buy a book, you can go to Amazon and know that it’s going to be for sale there, and they will probably have the best price for it. It’s a transparent, reliable marketplace for books.
Furthermore, unless you are skilled at hiring and testing writers, you will have problems evaluating them. The very nature of their profession—writing things for other people— means that they often don’t get credit for their work, and cannot show it to you to prove their skill as a writer.
3. Business ghostwriters can be difficult to manage
Finding and hiring the ghostwriter are just the first steps. Are you a good manager, especially of someone you don’t know, working in a field you don’t know well? Because that’s going to be required if you hire a ghostwriter.
But if you didn’t pick the right ghostwriter, then you now have to worry about missed deadlines, payment issues, conflicts, poor work product, and any number of other issues that come from managing a freelance contractor who is looking for their next project.
4. There are no guarantees in ghostwriting
This system makes sense from the perspective of the ghostwriter. If the ghostwriters allowed for “money-back guarantee” clauses, or “quality guarantee” clauses, they would be setting themselves up for endless revisions with authors. It could mean thousands of hours of work. Since these writers literally make their money by selling their time, they can’t do that.
In fact, if you ever see complete money-back guarantee from a ghostwriter, it’s probably a sign they’re either very new, or possibly even cheating you. No good, established ghostwriter would ever do that.
The problem is that some authors are totally unreasonable, so the ghostwriters have to structure their deals this way to protect themselves from the few really bad author clients out there.
5. There is no process with ghostwriting
This really gets at the heart of the issue—ghostwriting has no defined PROCESS to it. Each ghostwriter has their own personal system, so you can’t know at any given stage what is going on, how well it’s going, etc. You are totally in the hands of the ghostwriter that you are working with.
Where to Find Business Ghostwriters
It sounds crazy, but it’s true. To make sure I was right about this, I asked Byrd Leavell , a New York book agent who represents lots of sports figures (which means he’s always in the market for ghostwriters), where he would go to find a ghostwriter if he wasn’t a publishing insider. His exact response:
“There is no set place that I know of. It seems like every time it’s a relationship that is created from connections. Someone has reached the point in their life where they want to do a vanity memoir and then they reach out to friends who for various reasons have come in contact with writers. This then leads to an old client coming to me saying they are being offered money to write this person’s book.
I was shocked at this, so I did more research with book agents and actual ghostwriters. I talked to dozens of other agents and ghostwriters, and collected the places they source writers or authors. I think it is the most comprehensive list on the internet, and as far as I can tell, the only one based on actual research with book agents and ghostwriters:
Most good ghostwriters have a website, even if it’s not very good, to source clients. Our writers said they get a lot of inbound leads from their sites, which they said people find two ways, Google and LinkedIn.
LinkedIn : This is a great place to start a general search, but be prepared to do a lot of research into their work, check their sites, etc. And also remember, you’ll only be seeing the people who explicitly offer ghostwriting on their profile. Many writers do that work, but don’t list it.
If you aren’t finding many in your city, that’s fine, but I would recommend going deep into the Google search results for “ghostwriter” because the first few pages will be ads and scammers. The good ghostwriters will be listed a few pages back. Or better yet, be careful using a general Google search at all, and start other places on the list.
Freelance Writer Marketplaces
These are places where freelance writers have profiles, to connect with people looking for freelance writers. Very few of these marketplaces are designed around ghostwriting specifically, and very few vet their ghostwriters, though many do have different ways of displaying social proof (reviews, etc).
Reedsy : This is the best freelancer marketplace that I know of for books. Their selection of ghostwriters is high quality and is getting larger. Helpfully, they also have a systematic process for finding ghostwriters, getting bids, and working with them, so their platform itself helps to solve quite a few of the ghostwriting issues outlined above. If I were looking for a ghostwriter, I would probably start here.
American Association of Ghostwriters : I have no experience dealing with them, but I know one writer who gets leads from them and has nice things to say. I looked at their stable of ghostwriters, and they seem pretty solid.
SolidGigs: I have no experience with this freelancing platform, but it operates by curating lists of ‘gigs’ to send directly to freelancers. The problem is that it’s a newer marketplace, so chances are you won’t find the highest tier of ghostwriters here.
Agencies make their money on the difference between what they charge and what they pay to freelancers. The less they pay to their freelancers, the more they make from you, so they are incentivized to hire writers who don’t charge as much, which means they are not as skillful or as experienced. Unsavory ones lure you into a contract with samples of one writer’s work, then hand you substandard material by someone else.
They can get away with this because most of them are not getting clients from personal recommendations or worried about building a reputation for excellence. They are content mills that make money by being good at buying Google ads, and in essence, scamming people. Once they accumulate too many bad reviews, they change names and start again. So you have to be very careful in picking the agency you use.
Not all agencies are like this. I know of three ghostwriting agencies that stand apart from the scammers, who have built a reputation of sourcing high-quality ghostwriters, vetting and pairing them carefully, and standing behind them.
These three were first recommended to me by the book agent Scott Hoffman (he founded Folio, one of the most successful book agencies in the world, they use dozens of ghostwriters every year for their authors):
Note: Regardless of where you find them, I would recommend doing a deep evaluation of a minimum of three ghostwriters, and probably five to be sure. Be prepared to interview up to ten to find the right one.