5 questions to ask before hiring a ghostwriter (or literary nigger)

Since I started The Book Maker, I get a lot of questions about two topics in particular:

The choice of a publisher

The choice of a ghostwriter

And most messages come from people who are in the same situation: people who have an idea but have not started writing a book yet. From then on, you will understand that the issue of the publisher often makes me smile …

But concerning the ghostwriter (or literary nigger), the questions are often legitimate and I decided to regroup the most frequent questions in this article. More specifically, I propose the questions you should ask before hiring a private writer … and the answers I provide.

How much does it cost to write a book by a ghostwriter?

There is rarely a universal answer and it makes sense: it all depends on your project! We must of course take into account the thickness of the expected book, but also the complexity of the text, the amount of research to provide, etc.

Thus, a book can cost between 2500 and 12 000 €, most “classic” projects being around 4000 to 5000 €. Anyway, always agree on a price in advance … agree on the principle that there will be no excess fees.

How to know what a literary nigger has already written?

If a private writer balances his list of customers with the figure from the first contact, there is a catch. The principle in general is that the ghostwriter disappears behind the needs of the author, not that he claims the paternity of his productions … Of course, this can happen during informal discussions but it should not become a sales pitch.

But you can instead establish the resume of a literary ghost quite easily on the Internet, which will allow you at least two things:

  • Know your past experiences (editor, assistant of an author, political collaborator …)
  • Check that he has actually already written books (a ghostwriter without a bibliography is suspicious)
  • For my part, the list of my books is here and I briefly mention some references here.

Does a ghostwriter also ensure the publishing and distribution of the book?

In general, the answer is no. Publishing is a profession that is not that of the private writer. Some ghostwriters work with publishers, which can make things easier, but others are freelance providers who have no contact with the publishing world since they are not supposed to exist.

In addition, it should be noted that, apart from a publisher interested in your text, absolutely no one can guarantee that your text will be published by a publishing house. Remember that even Marcel Proust was a young author in galley …

On the other hand, a correct ghostwriter should be able to provide you with both a list of publishers likely to publish you and the tools to solicit them: a formatted manuscript, a letter of introduction, an argument for your book … For my part, depending on the projects, I also propose (more and more often) to resort to independent publishing.

What to do if one is not satisfied with the work of his negro?

Objectively, it is unlikely that you do not like the end result by working with a ghostwriter you chose yourself:

It’s a rare profession, made by people who like to write

A private writer works from your ideas, not from his own

A book is built and written in the exchange so you intervene permanently

Starting from there, if the final book does not conform to your expectations, it is either that you changed your ideas en route, or that you did not invest yourself absolutely in this project … And you do not you’re not like that, are you?

How long does it take for a ghostwriter to write a book?

Most people are in a hurry and would like their project to take a few weeks because they have been thinking about it for a long time but in truth, it often takes several months to finalize a manuscript. Let’s say between three months and a year (usually).

Do not see time as a constraint. In terms of writing, time is often an ally: it allows you to adjust your point of view, to let the text mature, to review certain examples or certain formulations, etc. It also depends on the time and energy you spend on it …