What is a book ghost writer, or a book ghost?
By Karen S. Cole – Two terms: book ghost, and book ghost writer.
Different concepts, separate ideas. One is short, the other is longer. Does this mean you are talking about two separated professions, two conflicting worlds? No. LOL, this is largely for SEO purposes, so that ghostwriters can get under various keywords, several of them.
They are all quite interchangeable. Basically, “book ghost” is how you find a book ghost writer, by typing into a smartphone or handheld device. Through AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages. “Book ghost writer” is what most people type in on notebooks and PC desktop computers. However, the greatest number of people nowadays type in “ghostwriting services.”
As I explain later, multiple spellings may also occur. It doesn’t matter: a lot of our clients can’t spell! They may have English as a second language. Or they may be in a hurry, typing into a cell phone. Often, they simply don’t have the correct writing and editing skills.
Below, find some questions you should ask yourself – or ask the writing professional – when you hire a book ghost or book ghost writer. First off, you should ask yourself the most important question:
How do I find a book ghostwriter?
It’s a fairly simple process. You look us up on Google, or some other search network. Then you go through ghostwriters. However, this process is not as simple as it looks. This is due to so many awful ghostwriters being “out there” in the blogosphere. You need to find the right kind of book ghost writer, before you hire a ghost. Meanwhile, looking around is great, but if you find somebody good, it’s best to stick with them. Don’t move around forever trying to find “the perfect writer,” because you never will. Look until you find somebody you’re comfortable with, who appears to understand your needs. Sympathetic people matter.
How do I hire the right ghost writer?
Doing research counts. Check out their reviews. Ask for references. Go over the website of the book ghost writer you are researching with a fine toothed comb. Mainly, just check them out carefully and take some time in doing so. While you’re exploring, keep in mind the questions and concerns you have. Write them down on paper, preferably in Word or other electronic form, as this will help the book ghost writer that you find. Once you find a decent ghost, work with them regularly to ensure both of you are satisfied with what you’re both doing. Hiring a book ghost writer begins a kind of partnership; bear that in mind. You canright here!
How much does a ghostwriter charge?
If it’s too much for your budget, ask them if they have other ways to help. Some ghostwriters offer book editing, coaching, development and/or book doctor work. This is all basically just book editing or mild to heavy rewriting, but it comes at a cheaper price. You can type out your rough draft manuscript, and we’ll take it from there. But if you want to get “more bang for your buck,” hire a student ghost writer. This should be someone with prior writing experience, preferably published experience too.
Check over the student’s writing. If it feels talented, modern, suited to your genre, superb and sensational – you’ve found a ghost! But you may need someone who’s more likely to get you published. It’s largely a matter of “you get what you pay for” in this world, so don’t forget that. Too cheap of a writer has less experience, and far more experience means you’re far likelier to be commercially published.
How long has a ghost writer been in business?
If it checks out to be several years, that’s terrific in most cases. When you go through their credentials, look for this. If they have plenty of valid sounding references, great. If they list genuine human names with their references, this is also good but not necessary. Remember, you’re dealing with ghostwriters, so they might not be able to list many names. Some of us don’t give out any! This is because clients often don’t want to mention they used a book ghost writer. Nothing is wrong with this; clients do write their own books, and they deserve credit where credit is due. A book ghost writer usually signs so that he or she gets no credit. Sometimes they receive partial credit, so you can look for this as well.
How good are the skills of the ghostwriter?
This is extremely important. You may be lured in by low prices. Then you discover you’ve hired a Third World quality book ghost writer. Someone whose English skills are not impeccable, who lacks the luster, sophistication and outright abilities to assist you properly. Not to mention the field contacts with literary agents or top commercial publishers. I am not coming down on outsource ghosts. Rather, it’s a case of needing a book ghost writer skilled in English as a first language. Or in whatever language you need from your ghost or book editor. You absolutely must check out a sample of work, straight from the book ghost writer.
How do I get a sample from the ghost writer that applies to me?
Ask the book ghost writer to perform a free five-page edit from your own notes. I know you might not be much of a writer, although your ideas are terrific. But this method works. Write down a full three pages of what you’re thinking about. Like you’re telling your story, straightforwardly. Then have the book ghost writer “free edit” the few pages. If you really like what you see, chances are you’ve found yourself a perfectly good book ghost writer. If it seems to lack luster, bores you, or is otherwise inappropriate – full of spelling and grammar errors, for example – don’t hire that book ghost writer, look for a new one!
Do I sign a contract or agreement with the ghostwriter?
Absolutely. This is a necessity, and part of the overall ghostwriting process. By the way, you can spell it “ghost writer” or “ghostwriter,” etc. It doesn’t matter. Just thought I’d mention this, it’s a rare exception to the rules of spelling in English. But it works. Meanwhile, regarding signing a contract, your book ghost writer should have access to a valid ghostwriting or editing contract.
There should be a clear contract signing arrangement, with a legal document. At least a one-page agreement is needed, while a multiple page contract is much better. Beware of “boiler plate” contracts assigning all rights, conditions and privileges over to the book ghost writers or their companies. If the Contract seems unfair to you – don’t sign it!
Once I sign, am I indebted for life to the ghost writer?
Not at our company. Anyway, usually you can back out of or cancel a book ghostwriting or book editing contract. Make sure the Contract stipulates you’re allowed to do this. You should also make sure you are the party who receives full rights, copyrights that is. This would be for all original material created by either you or the book ghost writer. You can’t gain copyrights for material created by other people than you, otherwise. The book ghost writer should sign all such copyrights and rights to the original material over to you. However, sometimes in lieu of pay, the book ghost writer will accept coauthor status and also the related copyrights.
Can I just pay a ghostwriter out of what I make from sales?
No, but sometimes yes. This is a tricky area, one subject to a great deal of debate. Some book ghosts will take “on spec” pay for certain books. This is only if they think the book involved is likely to sell to a large audience. Lots of copies in other words. And some book ghosts are involved with marketing partners, like at our company, who can help you sell your book. But in most cases, a book ghost writer only works for upfront pay. Some really great book ghosts don’t even assist with marketing. They leave that to you. Possibly you’re only writing a family memoir, for instance, and no such book marketing will ever be involved. It’s a keepsake book, not a moneymaker.
You can possibly sign a percentage-only contract for a book that’s really likely to sell extremely well. One written by a celebrity, or about a hugely timely big news event. This has to be genuine, not “I have the greatest idea ever, it’s guaranteed to be a bestseller!” Everybody and their dog thinks like this; very few such books sell that well. But you can work with celebrities and timely news events authors. For on spec pay, which might be 50% of a book advance against profits. Once sales have paid off the book advance, then net profits from the book would go to the client and the ghostwriter. Depending on the nature of the contract signed, the percentages involved can vary widely.
What does a ghost writer get, other than the money?
A notch in his or her career belt. Even if you can’t cite the work or the author client, there are ways. A book ghost writer can have a brief citation such as, “I couldn’t have done this without so-and-so.” This is generally listed on the Acknowledgements Page of your book. Or, as mentioned above, the infamous “As told to so-and-so” on the book’s cover. Or being listed as a coauthor, with the same full rights as you, the author client.
But many book ghosts prefer to simply make the upfront money and move on to the next book ghostwriting project. If they did a great job, there is obviously nothing wrong with this. They are paid, and you are content. You have received a polished, wonderful book manuscript. And it was written, edited, or even crafted and created by a professional writer. If this work for you, all is well.
What if I’m not happy with my ghostwriter?
A lot of companies, including mine, will try to find you another book ghost writer. Something can go wrong with the first one: the ghost may get physically ill, be drawn away by family matters, experience a variety of computer failures, things along those lines. Sometimes it simply doesn’t work out. For some reason, client and ghost aren’t getting along. Possibly the client doesn’t see the writing the ghost has done as productive enough.
However, author clients themselves can get too picky. What I mean by this is you can send them a great ghost or editor, one with years of experience and wisdom. Then those clients turn around and can’t stand anything, needing to write everything by themselves. In fact, there are occasionally people that nobody and no one will ever be able to satisfy. So I only send my referral clients to one more book ghost writer, not two like I used to. Wisdom and experience count!