Top Menu

You're not logged in!

You'll need to log in to get access to all of the premium content at The Memoir Network.
Writng memoir

Why You Should Not Nickel and Dime When Hiring a Ghostwriter

How much does hiring a ghostwriter cost?

If you are  hiring a ghostwriter, of course, one of the facets you are concerned with is how much it will cost to have your memoir written. Your concern is appropriate.

What if you had a few useful guidelines to help you determine if the costs you are being asked to pay are in line with current rates? Well, you do below…

1. Above all, do not to bring a nickel and dime attitude to the process of having your memoir written.

The process is not a mechanical one in which you can expect so many words for so many dollars. Your ghostwriter will be thinking of your memoir in the shower and while doing the dishes and perhaps when out to dinner. Being a creative person, your ghost is not likely to shut off inspiration and insight. S/he might, in the most unexpected moment, realize, “Oh, this character trait seems to have led to that result and perhaps it was not that other reason my client was alluding to that was the cause. I need to talk to my client about this.”

Your ghost’s willingness to dwell with your memoir beyond the writing time will improve your memoir, and it is not likely that your ghost will charge you for the moment of insight in the shower.

2. Fees can be as low as $30 per hour and as high as $100 plus.

The lower-end fee is probably from someone who is starting out. This person has less experience writing and working with clients and is building a track record. But s/he may very well be a good bet to write your story. On the other hand, s/he may not know what questions to ask and may not have experience at shaping and pacing a longer piece of writing. S/he is also perhaps not experienced in  pushing clients to new insights? Perhaps this new writer writes more slowly and will cost you the same as a more experienced writer.

The higher-end writer is probably someone who has a steady stream of clients and therefore can charge a higher fee. Why does this person have more clients? S/he is likely to be very experienced and can work quickly and with considerable polish.

You can generally expect to get what you pay for when hiring a ghostwriter but not always. The high-per-hour-fee writer may live in a large city where rents and professional fees are elevated, while a lower-cost writer may live in a small town or in the country where expenses are less. These two writers have different income needs. You will have to check what factors affect the writer’s charging a particular fee the same way you ought to evaluate what quality you are receiving.

A well-written memoir will bring you and your family much pleasure over the years.

3. Generally speaking, the quality memoir ghosts will charge in the $60 to $100+ per hour range.

Within that spread, the writers are probably all good, but they will have a variety of styles, both working and writing. It is probably in the realm of style—both writing style and interaction style—that you ought to base your decision as you are hiring a ghostwriter.

4. How many hours will it take to write a memoir?

That depends on the length of the memoir and on your ability to do some of the work yourself. It is realistic to presume that it will take 110 to 130 hours to produce 100 pages of text. Too often, people I work with will not think of their memoir before our conference call and then will wing it with me for an hour. This sort of reminiscing is not efficient and leads to more billable interview time or to later revisions. These add to the cost of a memoir—and these costs are totally dependent on the client.

5. Remember that you will perhaps do this only once in your life.

Be sure you have the memoir you want—not the memoir that has saved you money.

Hiring a ghostwriter—the right one for you—can make or break your memoir. Choose well.

A Coach Can Take You Through the Writing Process—More Quickly

A writing coach can help you at every step of the process. Having “been there and done The Memoir Networkthat”—and being able to talk clearly about it, a memoir-writing coach can point you in the right direction and gently correct your course.

A coach is a teacher, a cheerleader, a critic, a motivator, a writing buddy, a person who holds you accountable for meeting your goals, a good listener, and sometimes an editor—and a coach can be more if you need more.

For a free consult, call 207-353-5454 today to make an appointment.

Click here to read more about coaching.

My Memoir Education

From the inside outA free membership pathway for your writing journey

Here's what we have in store for you:

  • High-impact print and audio materials on crucial aspects of memoir writing.
  • MP3s of interviews with prize-winning memoir writers to inspire and guide you.
  • An introductory writing course to jumpstart your memoir with depth and fluency.
  • An organized reference guide to the “best of the best” of the Memoir Network that all elegantly fits together.
Free Registration

We'd love to have your thoughts on this article.

Join the memoir conversation by leaving a comment below, or start a conversation at the Memoir Café.

You can also follow us on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.

, , ,

No comments yet.

Receive your free ebook.

* indicates required
Email Format
A gift for you...
...because you need to get your memoir written.
  • Your memoir deserves to be written. We help people get their story down—right!
  • Writing a memoir or want to improve one you're working on? Download Memoir Writing 101: How to Craft a Compelling Memoir or Lifestory / 10 Steps and a Bonus.
  • Memoir Writing 101 comes with The Lifewriter's Digest newsletter.
  • If you are already a member, this e-book and others are available to you free in Member Resources.

I want Memoir Writing 101.