Want To Be An Author?
It enhances your resume, brings in royalties, and distinguishes you from the crowd. It lets the world know what you think and what you’ve seen and done. It allows you to share your knowledge and insight. It gets you clients. It builds your fan base. It’s cool.
I can make it happen for you.
I’m a ghostwriter. I can interview you or take your notes and material and turn it into a publishable book.
You get all the credit and all the profits. I get a fee for helping you put the book together.
But I’m not your average ghostwriter. Your average ghostwriter writes down what you say, types it up, collects their check, and leaves you with an unpublished manuscript.
Maybe you can get it published. Maybe not. It could be years before the book sees print. If ever.
And if it is eventually accepted, what happens then? Unless you’re a Stephen King or a John Grisham, publishers aren’t likely to do much to market your book. All your work could come to nothing.
Unless you work with me. Because although I’m a ghostwriter, I’m something more: I have a lifetime of experience in writing, teaching writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and graphic design.
That combination lets me do things no other ghostwriter can. I can:
- Write your book or article for you
- Work with you to develop your book idea
- Coach or tutor you to write enjoyably and efficiently
- Proof, edit, fix up or rewrite an existing partly-finished manuscript
- Help guide you through the publishing process, whether it’s traditional publishing, print-on-demand, or ebooks.
- Design the cover and the complete book layout.
- Help you develop a marketing plan for your book
- Create marketing materials such as a blog or web site to promote your book
- Help you gain media attention for both book and author
- Work with you to create spin-off products: ebooks, audiobook versions, DVD courses
Other ghostwriters can see that you get a finished manuscript. I can not only help you get your book written, I can get it designed to your satisfaction, get it published, and get it in front of the public.
Can I guarantee a million-dollar advance or a best seller? No. I won’t lie to you. The public isn’t predictable. It buys what it wants to buy. What I can do is give you the assurance that your book will get in front of your target public, looking professional and saying what you want to say.
Why Hire A Ghostwriter?
And you don’t want the hassles that go with it; the headaches; the rewriting and proofreading; the heavy investment in time; the bad notices you could get if your publication isn’t professional level quality the first time.
Writing a book can make you an acknowledged expert or leader in your field. It can lead to lucrative speaking engagements and public appearances. The right book or article can supercharge your career and change your life – if you can find the right person to help you write it.
There are many advantages to being an author. There are no disadvantages. Whatever your goals or profession, being the author of a book helps. Period.
The only problem is writing the damn thing!
So why not get some help?
“Yes, but from whom?” From me. My experience and background brings together skills that are unique in the ghostwriting field. Skills that are uniquely suited to making working together enjoyable and profitable and to getting you the results you want. For instance:
I’ve written just about every sort of business or literary document there is, from non-fiction books, articles, interviews, web content, radio ads, billboards, promotional direct mail, full-page newspaper ads, reports, commercials and business plans, to novels, short stories, poetry, and plays.
Yes, I’ve been published. And as an editor I’ve published others. Yes, I am an award-winning writer. Yes, I’ve taught writing — to absolute beginners, teens, adults, and the elderly. My students have included award-winning novelists, college administrators, retired business executives, and authors of academic dissertations — as well as housewives, high school students, and other professional writers.
I’ve seen the publishing process from the other side too. I’ve served as an editor and contributing editor, and as a regular contributor of magazine articles. I’ve served as a judge on a grants panel for the arts, worked with independent publishers, had an agent, and run an independent literary journal. I even have a small publishing house of my own — Pascal Editions at www.pascaleditions.com.
I can help you understand and deal with the publishing process. Because I’ve been part of it from both sides.
Helping People Get Over Writer’s Block
As a writing teacher, I gave classes in a variety of subjects — Writing The Novel, Business Writing, Copywriting, Writing For The Web, Writing The Best Seller, Writing The College Admission Essay, even classes on T.S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, and Robert Frost.
But after seeing so many stuck and troubled writers in writing classes, my teaching took on a special focus: helping writers get over writer’s block.
I have a background in psychology. I made a special study of writing using that background. I looked for the factors that discourage enjoyable and productive writing, and those that sustain and foster it.
And, over time, I came to formulate methods and approaches that have been consistently successful in overcoming problems people face writing.
I taught them in class to students — with great success. I’m currently putting them into a book of my own — Writing More And Suffering Less — designed to help writers write more, and to do it without the anxiety and negativism that makes writing so very hard for so very many.
I can use those successful stress-reducing approaches to help you write too.
Giving Your Book The Look You Want
Ghostwriters are writers, not designers. Except in my case. I’ve worked as a professional graphic designer — more than that: for a while I served as the graphics designer for Kirtas, a Fortune 500 company that specialized in books and book digitization. Clients there included the Library of Congress, the University of Moscow, and the British Museum. I’ve created book covers not simply for my own individual clients or for people contacting me to create cover for their books, but for organizations ranging from McMaster University in Canada, to the Bronx Historical Society, to the Kirtas Classics Series for Kirtas technologies.
I’m still updating my book cover design page to include some of my more recent covers, but have a look at a few of my covers anyway. I think you’ll agree that I can come up with a more than adequate cover for your book.
If you’d like to actually see and hold one that I designed inside and out, page layout to font selections to margins, may I suggest you invest in a soft back copy of Frank J. Edwards’ five-star ranked bestselling thriller Final Mercy? Always liked that one.
You can also download — free — a full 200-page-plus PDF of an academic journal I designed and edited, or a shorter but elegant white paper I wrote and designed for a New York real estate developer. Just visit my Samples page.
Nothing is more painful for an author than to put their time, their convictions, their passions into a book and see it come back in a cheap little edition. As someone taking part in creating that book, it angers me too. So when I can, I like to do more just than help an author write the book — I help design the jacket, do the layout, and prepare it for publication, guiding you through the process till your book is exactly what you want it to be.
Writing It And Selling It
What happens after you write the book? Most ghostwriters present will collect a check, give you a finished manuscript, and leave.
But I’ve worked for marketing firms, freelanced as a marketing consultant, written about marketing, taught and lectured about marketing, given presentations on marketing, and provided marketing services for business clients.
So I can not only help you finish your book, but advise and assist with promoting it too.
Just writing a book is not always enough. Promotion is the critical part of the package that can get your book off the ground and into people’s hands
These days there are quite literally hundreds of low-cost to no-cost ways of promoting your book, from digital press releases to promotional web sites to using social media like Twitter and Facebook to building buzz on blogs and mailing lists.
Other ghostwriters help you tell your story. But they won’t help you sell your story.
How Does The Process Work?
Things usually start with a call or an email. Someone who needs a writer hears about me, often through a referral. Once they get in touch, we chat on the phone about their project to see if we’ll be a good fit. Often we are.
Once the client feels that we can work well together, we talk about what sort of book or other form of writing they want to write, and why. Are we working on improving an existing manuscript, for instance, or does it involve starting something completely new from scratch?
Once I get an idea of the project, I provide a quote and we work out payment arrangements. I’m open to negotiation, but I prefer to tie payments to specific deliverables along the way — after an initial deposit to start the project, payments are made once a set number of chapters or sections are completed and delivered.
When that’s all arranged, I like to collect and review any notes, research, or manuscript material my client may have already written.
If there’s enough existing material already, sometimes I start right away in developing it. If not, I arrange personal meetings or phone interviews to get the material I need to get started. Sometimes, if it’s called for, I may do additional research myself.
In some cases it couldn’t be more simple. You talk. I listen. I write up a chapter’s worth of what I’ve heard and give it to you. You review it and make corrections, if any. I make further corrections or suggestions, and the process continues till you feel the chapter says what you want it to say. Then we go on to the next. Eventually I hand you a completed manuscript. You give it a final review and final approval. End of story. If digital publication is agreeable to you, you can become a published author in a matter of weeks.
Some cases are more complicated. Sometimes the person hiring me needs facts checked and research done. Sometimes a client isn’t sure what exactly they want to say and I have to help them find out. Sometimes a client’s idea of the book changes halfway through writing it.
But one way or another, the first draft gets done; and once it is, you the client review the whole thing one last time. I make those final change, and we are ready to go. If a client is interested, I may help with the publication and marketing process. If not, we part friends.
What About Price?
I can’t really give you a set fee for projects in general. Projects aren’t general — they’re individual. A six-page business article is different from a six hundred page memoir or novel. And a six-page article that requires no research isn’t the same as one that requires three weeks of research.
But I like clients to know the average costs of hiring a ghostwriter, and also what existing prices are on the fair market. One of the best places for that is the Wikipedia’s ghostwriting page. The Remuneration section (as of August 1, 2018) says:
“Ghostwriters will often spend from several months to a full year researching, writing, and editing nonfiction and fiction works for a client, and they are paid based on a price per hour, per word or per page, with a flat fee, or a percentage of the royalties of the sales, or some combination thereof. Some ghostwriters charge for articles “$4 per word and more depending on the complexity” of the article. Literary agent Madeleine Morel states that the average ghostwriter’s advance for work for major book publishers is “between $15,000 and $75,000”. These benchmark prices are mirrored approximately in the film industry by the Writer’s Guild, where a Minimum Basic Agreement gives a starting price for the screenplay writer of $37,073 (non-original screenplay, no treatment).
“On the upper end of the spectrum, with celebrities that can all but guarantee a publisher large sales, the fees can be much higher. In 2001, the New York Times stated that the fee that the ghostwriter for Hillary Clinton’s memoirs will receive is probably about $500,000 of her book’s $8 million advance, which “is near the top of flat fees paid to collaborators.”
“In Canada, The Writers’ Union has established a minimum fee schedule for ghostwriting, starting at $40,000 for a 200–300 page book, paid at various stages of the drafting of the book. Research fees are an extra charge on top of this minimum fee. In Germany, the average fee for a confidential ghostwriting service is about $100 per page.
“In Germany, the average fee for a confidential ghostwriting service is about $100 per page.
Size matters. Wikipedia goes on to say:
“Manhattan Literary, a ghostwriting company, states that “book projects on the shorter side, tailored to new markets like the Kindle Singles imprint and others (30,000–42,000 words) start at a cost of $15,000”.
Discussions by actual ghostwriters, printers and clients are available on Quora by clicking here. They’re pretty much in line with the above: “… assuming you have most of the materials at hand, the ghostwriter will be working literally full time (40-45 hours a week) for at least half a year. You’ll just end up paying a level similar to a normal writer/editor’s salary — roughly US $30,000 to US $80,000 a year in the USA.”
How much do I charge? Well, generally, that depends. I have done charity projects for very good causes for nothing. I have also worked for Fortune 100 companies. That was not for nothing. My most recent book project clocked in at $20,000 for 100 pages. That isn’t atypical–in fact, it’s a little less than fair market value. I should add that I am virtually unique among copywriters in supplying an entire promotional and publication package along with the text itself. Sometimes that’s part of the price, sometimes it’s negotiated separately.
The first step in working out a price that’s all right with a client is to get a clear idea of what the project involves, and, maybe above all, what the client’s goals and reasons are for having a book and becoming an author. Some books may be labors of love, but other books are carefully-thought-out investments, and are priced accordingly: if the intended result of the book is to land several hundred-thousand clients, or launch a twenty-thousand-dollar a night speaking career, or secure the Presidency, a fee large enough to allow me to give the project full focus is a given.
I admit too that not all payment is financial. Clients sometimes offer interesting things, from houses to stocks to — well, I need not say more. Suffice it to say I am open to creative negotiation.
But in all cases, my prices are in line with fair market value. The going rates are not a mystery — I’ve listed several if them above, and you can check the standard market rates yourself easily enough. If I sometimes charge more, it’s because I offer more; and if the project interests me enough, or has some unique aspects or circumstances, I may charge less. It depends. Call and ask.
Once the fee is settled, and the project and the approach are mapped out and agreed on, I normally ask a partial fee in advance to get started, and to cover the time invested so far. Once the project is actually under way, I’ve found it’s best for both parties if partial payments arrive as milestones in the project are reached — in other words, smaller payments are made as each chapter or agreed-upon section of the book or project is finished.
And then the process generally follows the timeframe till the job is done, and the finished manuscript is in your hands.
Return On Investment
Regarding price, there’s one additional thing about hiring a ghostwriter you should consider–return on investment. Funding the writing of a book doesn’t just cost money: it makes money. Books generate royalty revenues–and not just revenues, lifelong royalty revenues. Not every book is a bestseller. In fact, most aren’t. But even if publication doesn’t cover the costs of getting it written overnight, the longer they’re out there generating revenue, the more likely it is that it will, and then start making profits all its own.
And for business clients, the returns are even higher. If you don’t sell any books at all, but putting your own book in the hands of a high-ticket client gets you a $500,000 contract or a million-dollar account, books sales are irrelevant. You’ve scored. On to the next high-ticket client. Business persons don’t think in terms of cost: they think in terms of return on investment. The income books can realize used as a sales and marketing tool push the price of their creation in the shade.
More than that: books can be used as the framework for live paid presentations or courses; as the framework and content for online courses; as the basis of talks and speeches. Chapters can be taken out, revised a bit, and sold to industry magazines as stand-alone articles. On a resume, they can distinguish you from the competition and get you the job you’ve always wanted. They can attract invitations for paid interviews from journalists and online interviewers. A well-written book opens the door to multiple streams of income. Sometimes significant streams.
By-Lines And Co-Authorship
My part in the creation of the book is completely secret and confidential, and it stays secret and confidential. The byline, the credit and the profits are all yours.
Not all ghostwriters work that way. Many want part-credit, or “As Told To…” written on the book cover. I find that tacky. It always carries the implication that the client is too inarticulate to write it on their own, which is far from the case. My preferred clients are highly articulate, highly intelligent people. They just don’t always have enough time or enough writing experience to organize their observations into a book.
What a ghostwriter strives for is to catch the client’s voice, and write a book that is exactly the book the client would have written if they’d had the time and the literary training. (I once had a client read my revision of his material out loud in one room and then ask his wife in the other room what she thought of it. “Thought of what?” she said. It turned out that she thought it was just him, airing his views out loud. That’s the impression you want to make: the client’s voice speaking, not yours. )
I have another reason for generally avoiding explicit collaboration with a client. Books last a long long time. Sharing credit generally means sharing royalties, and those royalties come in life-long and beyond, literally passing on to one’s children and one’s heirs. That’s a long time to be legally connected.
Being invisible has its drawbacks — references, for instance. It would certainly help ghostwriters get new clients if earlier clients were to come out and say someone helped them with their book. But few do, and I don’t believe in asking them to. Lord knows I would like too. No honorable ghostwriter gives up the name of his or her client, but I can say my clients and their bylines have appeared on the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, Fox Business, the Daily Mail, the Daily News, Crain’s, the Chicago Tribune, ABC News, Reuters, Business Week, CNN Money, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, the BBC, CNBC, and Yahoo News.
I do have references, of course, and writing samples galore. Sometimes I may even ask a former client if he or she would be willing to accept a phone call from a prospective client to vouch for my skills. But I don’t require it of them — or you. The credit and the full benefits of anything I write goes and should go entirely to the client. I keep clients’ names secret. That’s just part of the job.
Is publication guaranteed? Yes. It’s not widely known, but the publishing process has changed totally with the rise of digitization and print-on-demand technologies. The computer and the internet have turned the once-risky business of hopefully getting your message to the public into a certainty.
Print-on-demand and digital has minuses as well as pluses. But some of the pluses are huge. This Forbes article will give you the numbers, but suffice it to say that 30% of all book sales — as of last year — are ebooks. And 65% of those are through Amazon. The Big Six traditional publishers are still there, but Fifty Shades Of Grey made it to the big screen without any of them.
Of course not every book sells that well. But is publication assured? Yes! No completed manuscript needs to stay at the bottom of a desk drawer anymore. All you need to do is write the book. (Or have someone help you do it.)
Do You Provide ‘Piecemeal’ Services?
You mean, am I ready to supply just a book cover, or just edit a completed manuscript, or just make get it onto Amazon for you, or just create a digital ebook version, or just create a promotional web page for your book? Sure.
Creating and promoting a book is process that can involve a lot of separate elements. Yes, I can do one or more separate items individually.
How Far Away Are You?
That depends. Where exactly are you? I’m a Rochester New York ghost writer (well, also a Rochester copywriter, Rochester web designer, Rochester graphic designer, Rochester publisher — you get the idea). Personally I find Rochester NY a beautiful place to be, professionally speaking. I can reach Buffalo, Syracuse or Ithaca New York in a little over an hour by car, and Toronto and New York City in not much over three. So I’m very centrally located if you’d like to talk or meet in person.
The thing is, nowadays you don’t have to meet in person to have a book ghostwritten. You can be on the other side of the world. A face-to-face online conversation is as far away as your laptop or smartphone. Just Skype me (at david.pascal.ceo) or enter my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and hit the Facetime icon.
(But please email ahead first — I may be with a client.)
Are There Any Down Sides To Working With You?
I suppose so. I’m human being. I have sick days and emergencies. When I write, I concentrate. I shut the door and turn off my smartphone, my email, my Skype. I may not always respond the moment you call. Also, I am honest. If I feel the book is not viable, I will say so. I don’t believe in taking money for something that is not likely to ultimately benefit the client.
Plus, I am picky. There are clients I don’t take. Sometimes people who have suffered a deep personal loss will contact me and ask me to write about their departed wife or child or parent. I’ve gone through that myself and I deeply sympathize, but it’s dishonorable to take money from people who are emotionally broken.
I also don’t work with clients who are… strange. If a caller tells me that St. Paul appeared to tell him that Washington is really run by reptiles from the planet Venus and we need to work together to stop the galactic conspiracy, I generally do not call back. (Trust me, I’ve gotten nuttier.) I like clients who pay promptly and stick to contract arrangements. Clients who feel mid-project that their investment manual would do much better as a romance novel, or that this month’s payment for one’s work will just have to wait till next month, if not next year, are not acting professionally. I much prefer working with ladies and gentlemen. Clients who rant and swear or want to write a book to settle a score are not my speed. If you need someone to write Nazi propaganda, sorry, it’s just not me.
There are also clients I prefer. As someone who often is asked to help market books, clients who are knowledgeable are terrific. It’s easy to write and sell a book about building a business, for instance, if you’re working with someone who knows that business in and out. Celebrities make good clients; they’re not always easy to work with in terms of time arrangements, but what they write has a market. “Thought Leaders” are interesting and fun. If you can see yourself giving a TED talk, you’re someone who has the makings of a good book. And some clients are just plain generous and charming. I like clients that are likable. For the most part, such clients seem to find me amiable company too.
Start Getting Your Book Or Article Written Today
Just sit back and think about all the good stuff that can happen once you’re the author of a well-written book or article. And about how much easier it will be with a professional writer there to help you every step of the way.
And your book or article will be on its way.
– David Pascal