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Memoir Ghostwriting – How Much Does a Memoir Cost?

Memoir Ghostwriting

Working with a memoir ghostwriter is a viable option if you choose not to write your memoir yourself. Depending on the length of your memoir, it may take months and even years to complete your book. Understandably, people want to know how much memoir ghostwriting will cost. Here are a few considerations for you to ponder over as you assess how much a co-author might cost.

1. Asking “How much will it cost to have my memoir ghostwritten?” is like asking “How long will it take to cross the lake?”

Many factors will affect the time required for a crossing: the wind, the distance from one shore to the other, the design of the boat itself, the number of people on the boat, whether or not you wish to cross directly or whether you would like to make a few forays into coves and inlets.

Memoir Ghostwriting

Many factors will affect the hiring of memoir ghostwriting services.

In the same way, there are many factors that will affect the cost of having someone ghostwrite your autobiography.

  • How much have you already written?
  • How much of the materials (letters, photos, articles, journals) have you collected and annotated?
  • How much will you participate in the memoir writing itself? (Some people regularly turn in text while others prefer to let the co-author do all the composition.)
  • Will the ghostwriter do the final copy edit (commas, periods, etc.) or will you do that with family and friends who are “good at that sort of thing.” (The “family and friends” option is not recommended. Every memoir deserves an experienced editor.)

If cutting costs is important, do as much of the work of writing the memoir yourself as you can.

2. The truth is that working with a memoir ghostwriter does  cost—but you get what you pay for.

You can shop for a ghostwriter based on price. You can shop based on quality. In the end, of course, you have to be financially vigilant so as to be able to afford to finish the project, but “bargains” are not a good choice if what you want is a well-written and insightful memoir.

3. What will be the cost of not hiring a ghostwriter and letting your story go untold?

If you do not preserve the story of your life, or of your parents, or of your ethnic group, it will be lost. After you are gone, no one will have access to it. That is a price of not working with a ghostwriter. Would you rather leave your kids money so that they and your grandchildren can have a two-week vacation at Disneyland (or Disneyworld) or would you rather leave them with a memoir to remember you by?

4. If you sell copies of your autobiography, you will recoup some expenses.

Most writers I have worked with recoup printing and ghostwriting cost after selling between 650 and 1,000 copies. Marketing and selling your book is an excellent way to pay yourself back. Many people whom I have worked with have sold in these ranges. It does take some focus, but many writers have found the experience of reaching out to the public to be fun. It can be done. One 89-year-old client—along with his wife—sold 800 copies of his memoir in under one year. They did it—profitably and enjoyably—and so can you if this phase of book production interests you.

5. After telling your memoir ghostwriting professional how much you will be contributing to the writing of your lifestory, s/he ought to be able to share a “ballpark” figure with you.

This figure will most likely be based on a “per 100 pages of text turned in.” This cannot be a hard and fast figure. You need to have more in reserve than the quoted figure.

6. OK. So how much!

Quality Memoir Ghostwriting

My best guess is that a quality memoir ghostwriting professional will cost you in the vicinity of $8,000 to $12,000 per hundred pages turned in to you, depending on how much you do as suggested in #1 above. Any less of a fee than that and you are probably dealing with a part-time or even hobby writer who will likely be difficult to work with. S/he may feel you are getting a favor and ought not to be asking for exactly what you want.

Hiring a memoir ghostwriter will likely not cost more than redoing your kitchen and will cost a lot less than buying a summer home. It comes down to this: you buy what you value. You can afford a ghostwriter—if you value your memoir enough?!

Hiring memoir ghostwriting services is an excellent choice when you can’t write your book, or don’t have time to write, or simply choose not to. A good ghostwriter finds your voice to write a book that sounds like you. I have helped people write memoirs since 1988.

Action Steps

1. Visit the memoir ghostwriting pages at

2. Call 207-353-5454 today for a free consultation about how we can collaborate to write your memoir or email me at

3. Download the free Consumer’s Guide to Ghostwriting Services. (Look for the  book cover photo on the right-hand side of the page.)



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