Before you contact me about my book ghostwriting or editing services, please read the following FAQs:
Q. Will you tell me if my book is marketable?
A. Yes, I will give you my opinion as to the marketability of your book. This opinion is based on my years of experience in the industry. I can also sometimes give you ideas as to how you can alter your book to make it marketable.
Q. Do you recommend that I try to get a publisher or self-publish?
A. This depends on your situation. Generally, unless you’re certain that you have an audience/market that will buy your book, I don’t recommend self-publishing – whether physical book or e-book. However, if you do have a market, self-publishing has its benefits, and I can discuss the pros and cons with you based on your specific circumstances.
Q. Can you get my book published?
A. No. You need a literary agent to find you a publisher. While I know people in the industry, if I were to personally submit every client’s proposal, publishers would stop wanting to hear from me.
Q. Can you get my self-published book in the bookstores?
A. No. Amazon.com allows you to list self-published books, but Barnes & Noble and other bookstores almost never put a self-published book on their shelves. The reason for this is that the quality of self-published books varies so greatly.
Q. How much information do you need from me to get started?
A. This depends on the subject matter. I don’t write books from nothing. I prefer to work with authors who have expertise in their topics. I can certainly bring more to your work and add research-based material, but the majority of the information should come from you and should be original. You can provide this to me in any number of ways: through notes, materials that you have compiled over the years, or through interviews that I conduct with you.
Q. How long will it take you to finish my book?
A. This varies from book to book. The time can be as little as two months for a full-length book and as much as a year or more, depending on many variables. If you only require editing, the work can sometimes be finished in a week or two.
Q. Can you write my book by just talking to me on the phone or Skype?
A. Yes! This is absolutely a viable way to complete a book. I can record interviews with you and use them as the basis for the chapters of the book.
Q. Will you ghostwrite my book for a percentage of royalties?
A. No. When you sign a publishing contract, you are given an advance. That advance is against future royalties. So you don’t make any royalties until the publisher has made back that advance from the sales of the book. For this reason, few authors ever actually make any royalties. Their only payment is the initial advance they were given by the publisher. Bear in mind also that this is my full-time profession. I don’t do this “on the side.” Therefore, I’m not in a position to offer free work to anyone.
Q. How much do I need to be involved in the ghostwriting process?
A. Your involvement is necessary because otherwise, it isn’t your book – it’s my book. If I can write it without you, why shouldn’t I put my own name on it? The book should consist of your knowledge and experience because a book sets you up as an expert. If you aren’t an expert on the subject of your book, you’re misleading your readers. So in order for me to write a book that’s in your voice and based primarily on your expertise (perhaps with some additional research, if necessary), you’ll need to be involved. That said, hiring a ghostwriter does significantly reduce the amount of time you need to devote to completing a book.
Q. If you ghostwrite my book, who will own the copyright, and will you tell people you ghostwrote it?
A. Once I’ve been paid in full, the copyright will revert to you. If you don’t want me to disclose that I ghostwrote your book, I won’t, and we’ll put that into the contract between us.
Q. How much do you charge?
A. Please contact me regarding my rates. I usually write books for a project rate, or I can work on an hourly basis. No two books are the same – even books with the same number of words or pages. Due to my years of industry experience, please note that I don’t work for bargain rates. A ghostwritten book costs five figures. Editing costs less.
Q. Can you write my 200-page e-book for $200?
A. Sorry, but no, I absolutely can’t. I can’t write it for $500 either or even $1,000. A good 200-page book – whether e-book or print book (a book is a book is a book) – requires a lot of time and effort. I’m not interested in churning out below par work. So please don’t ask me to just spew out a book without worrying whether or not it’s “perfect.” That’s like asking a house painter to just throw the paint on your house.
Q. I want to write my life story. Can you do that for me?
A. While I have written memoirs, I no longer write them very often. Hiring a ghostwriter for a memoir is an expensive proposition, and it’s difficult to find a publisher for such a book unless you’re already famous. I fully understand that some people just want their life story down on paper for their descendants, and that’s definitely a worthwhile endeavor if they can write it on their own or afford to pay someone to help them. Note, also, that I don’t write screenplays at this time, and selling film rights to a story is even less common than selling a book. It happens, but it’s a bit like the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Q. Will you ghostwrite a novel for me?
A. No. I believe that ghostwriting fiction is unethical. This is because novels are primarily about the writing, not just about the story, and readers assume that the person whose name is on the cover is the person who wrote it. Non-fiction is different because it isn’t as much about the way the story is told as it is about the information within it. Of course, the writing in non-fiction is important, but the information is what is most important to the reader. As long as the author is an expert on the subject and just needs help making the message clear and cohesive, ghostwriting is fine. Fiction is another animal altogether. If you have an idea for a story, and you want a writer’s help, I feel strongly that you should put that writer’s name on the cover as a coauthor.
Q. Can you just look at my manuscript and tell me what you think?
A. This is what is called a professional critique. I can do that for a fee.
Q. Do you guarantee that my book will sell well?
A. No one can guarantee that your book will sell well – not Random House, not Penguin – no one. If someone makes that guarantee, they’re lying. Many of the top publishers have released books that they thought would do very well, only to be disappointed. Just think of all of the movies that fall flat despite the big names involved. There’s a limit as to how much anyone can predict the marketplace. That said, I do come from an educated vantage point.
Q. Can you introduce me to literary agents or publishers?
A. I make introductions on rare occasions.
Q. Can you help me with the marketing of my book?
A. I can make recommendations as to how to market your book and point you to some great resources that teach you about marketing books. I can also write press releases and point you to PR representatives, but I don’t do public relations work myself.
DO YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? CALL ME AT (718) 382-4530 OR EMAIL ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org.