Each month BookMachine offers a community member, with great ideas, the chance to write on the site. February’s winner was Emma Murray, who wrote for us about why it’s worth investing in a good ghostwriter. Emma is a bestselling author and ghostwriter, specialising in business, psychology and higher education. She also ghosts books, blogs, articles, case studies, and book proposals.
Consider this scenario. You are an expert in your field; you have over a decade’s experience and a great reputation. A professional person contacts you and offers you £5,000 for six months’ work on a large and complex project. This works out at less than £7 an hour – lower than the national minimum wage. Do you accept the project or walk away?
For most of you, this would be a no-brainer – why would anyone with your skills and experience accept such a low fee for an enormous amount of work?
Yet, this scenario is more common than you may think. More and more often, professional ghostwriters are being offered astonishingly low fees for book projects. This is because there are ghostwriters who will work for this sort of fee.
Ghostwriters who DO work for peanuts
The sad truth is that there are ghostwriters who will work for peanuts. These are ghostwriters who are just starting out and need to build their portfolios, or students who want to make an extra bit of cash on the side. There are also ghostwriters who will work for very little or sometimes nothing at all just for the cachet of working on a celebrity book.
The problem is that ghostwriters who accept low fees set a false industry standard for the rest of the ghostwriting community. Besides, when novice ghostwriters mess up, it also taints the reputation of professional ghostwriters.
Why it pays to invest in a professional ghostwriter
Professional people know that quality comes at a price. If I quoted my clients £5,000 for six months’ work, they’d seriously question my writing abilities (and quite frankly, my sanity). Besides, my clients know that paying for quality reaps rewards.
- A book is the new business card: it showcases your expertise and promotes you and your business.
- It enhances your reputation as a leading authority on a specific topic.
- It opens the door to more speaking engagements (Think TED/TEDx).
- It gives you something tangible to give to colleagues and hand out at conferences.
- There is a certain cachet to being an author. It helps you to stand out from the crowd. Your book makes you memorable.
- A successful book will earn you royalties which will help to cover your ghostwriting fees, and potentially act as another income stream.
What you are paying for
Professional ghostwriters charge more than novices as they have more knowledge and experience, as well as excellent reputations. Here’s what you get when you invest in a professional ghostwriter:
- Professional ghostwriters have more than one string to their bows.
Ghostwriters often come from different backgrounds, including journalism, marketing, PR, and publishing. Not only can they write but are well-connected and able to offer you advice and guidance that goes beyond the act of just writing your manuscript.
- Professional ghostwriters are also authors
Most professional ghostwriters are authors in their own right which puts them in an excellent position to advise you on the publishing process.
- Professional ghostwriters are full-time writers
Professional ghostwriters do not ghostwrite ‘on the side’. This means that they are totally committed to working with you and your book until it reaches completion.
- Professional ghostwriters have an excellent work ethic
Professional ghostwriters are reliable, efficient, totally committed to deadlines, very discreet and extremely loyal to their clients.
So this is why professional people pay more for professional ghostwriters. It’s simply not worth your time or money to do otherwise. Besides, as oil-well firefighter Red Adair used to say, ‘If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.’