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hiring a ghostwriter

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 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 be hiring a ghostwriter 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.


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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