Help Writing Your Book – the Ghostwriter, Rewriter, Editor & Book Coach

Book writing help is readily available from the book ghostwriter, rewriter, editor, a book coach.

The ghostwriter might appear to be the same thing as a book doctor, a book coach, rewriter or an editor because, in the end, they all share the same goal—helping you write a book that’s well organized, clear, interesting, and a great read.

In truth, however, these roles are very different.

Let’s take a quick look at each of these writing professionals.

The Ghostwriter

The simplest definition of ghostwriter is the person who writes your book for you. You don’t have to commit a single word to paper; your ghost will do it all for you. In other words, you can get the most book writing help from the ghostwriter.

Your job is to provide the ideas, experiences, and point of view for your book. Your ghostwriter, in turn, will organize, develop, and shape your material, fill in the blank spaces, create the rest of the book’s content, and produce a finished manuscript.

Naturally, you’ll need to review the drafts to make corrections or additions. But you really won’t need to do any writing at all; your ghost will do it for you.

The Book Coach

A book coach is a consultant who can advise you at any point during the book writing process, but does not write for you. She helps by providing crucial advice and direction on a wide range of topics, from refining your initial book idea to maximizing marketability; from choosing the best format for your manuscript to producing clear, compelling copy; from finding an agent to working your way through the self-publishing process.

The book coach’s professional expertise can help you navigate the often treacherous and confusing paths that lead from book idea all the way to finished product.

The Rewriter

Suppose you’ve already written the first draft of your book, or second or even fifth draft, and realize it’s just not up to snuff.

The rewriter takes your existing material and rewrites it, from beginning to end. He may set aside the bulk of your words and almost completely rewrite your book, or may keep substantial portions and simply rework them. He may stick with your existing structure, tweak it a bit, or completely redo it.

It all depends on what type of help your book needs.

The Developmental Editor

The developmental editor is the person who goes to work on your completed (or nearly-completed) manuscript when it doesn’t quite work. For example, maybe your manuscript lacks focus and/or organization. Maybe there are areas that need further development or contain language that needs to be sharpened. Maybe certain sections are overwritten and need to be trimmed.

A developmental editor is both an organizer and a troubleshooter. She will analyze your manuscript, ask pertinent questions, give you constructive criticism, perhaps reorganize some or all of your manuscript, and may rewrite certain sections.

The Line Editor and Copy Editor

There are two additional kinds of editors: line editor and copy editor.

The line editor focuses on writing style and language, ensuring that the reading experience is seamless and enjoyable. Are your words used precisely and for maximal impact? Do they convey the necessary tone and emotions?

The copy editor checks your finished manuscript for errors in spelling and grammar, as well as redundancies and omissions, and ensures that the writing style is consistent throughout. Every manuscript will need a good copy editor!

Book Writing Help from Many Sources

Which professional you should hire depends on how far along you are in the book writing process. Maybe you’re still at stage one, wondering if your idea might translate into a great book. Or maybe you’ve started to write, but have found the process difficult, if not impossible. Or maybe you have a completed manuscript that needs help.

Whatever your situation, rest assured that there is a writing professional who is ready and willing to assist!


Contact us! We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.

For more information, call us at 818-917-5362 or use our contact form to send us a message. We’d love to talk to you about your exciting book project!

How to Write a Memoir: 11 Tips

Eleven great tips for writing a memoir.

Writing a memoir is definitely a challenge.

That’s because there’s a lot more to it than simply telling your stories one after another, or putting together a rundown of the facts and important people and places in your life.

A memoir isn’t just a recitation of events.

At its best, it’s a glimpse into the inner you, at your thoughts and emotions, especially during a crucial time in your life.

Here are eleven essential tips to ensure that the process of writing your memoir will be as smooth and productive possible.

Tip #1: Think theme

The theme is your memoir’s through line, the central question, problem, issue, or situation that drives the story forward.

A well-crafted theme turns a collection of random stories into a compelling memoir.

For more on developing a theme, see “Memoir Ideas Are Everywhere.”

Tip #2: Fit stories to theme

Mentally sort through your stories, selecting only those that truly fit your theme.

Be willing to sacrifice stories. If a story doesn’t work with your theme, toss it aside. If it doesn’t help to build upon your central idea, it will damage your memoir.

For more on theme, see “Book Themes & Chocolate Cake Recipes.”

Tip #3: Emphasize feelings, not facts

A memoir should focus on your thoughts, feelings, and responses to what is happening to you and around you at a specific time.

There’s a temptation to pile on the facts when writing a memoir—to describe the people, places, and events it covers in minute detail. And sometimes you do need to go to great lengths to describe someone or something in your memoir.

But it is much more important to open up and let the readers into your mind and heart than describe things, people, and events to the nth degree.

Tip #4: Breathe life into your characters

Remember that while you know the people you’re writing about, your readers don’t.

So find the actions, words, characteristics, habits, or other things that will make your characters come to life on the page. Otherwise, they’ll bring your story to a grinding halt every time they appear.

For more, click over to “How To Write a Memoir” and scroll down to “Does a Memoir Have Characters?” 

Tip #5: Reveal, reveal, reveal!

Focus on your feelings and don’t hesitate to reveal them.

Don’t hold back; the whole point of a memoir is to let the readers see how you struggled with your emotions and changed as a result.

Tip #6: Follow your pen

Let your writing take you where it will, especially in the beginning.

Yes, it’s a good idea to plan things out and work from an outline, but if you find yourself going down a path you had not considered, see where it takes you. It might be a better approach.

If not, at least you’ve learned what doesn’t work.

Tip #7: Always use your “writer’s voice”

All writing has voice—a tone, an attitude, and a level of authenticity—that’s created by word selection, tempo, arrangement, and more.

The best voice for a memoir is always the authentic voice that emerges when all pretense is stripped away, when you let down your guard and allow the genuine, if imperfect, you shine through. This is known as the “writer’s voice.”

There are many other voices, including the “in-person voice,” “imagined voice,” “desired voice,” and “acquired voice,” but none of these will produce a work of art. For that, you must dig deep to find and use your authentic writer’s voice.

For more on this, see “How to Find Your Memoir Writer’s Voice.”

Tip #8: Avoid the “and then I did” approach

Another common mistake made by memoirists is attempting to stuff in as many stories as possible.

Your stories are undoubtedly great, and people love to hear them.

But when writing your memoir, you need to remember that all of your stories must serve your theme. Otherwise, they will turn your memoir into a litany of “first I did this, then I did that, then I did this, then I did that.” 

We all know people who do this verbally, reciting every single detail of their most recent vacation, favorite childhood memories, how to cook a certain dish, and so on. Isn’t it boring? Don’t you want to escape as soon as you possibly can?

This is how your readers will feel if you get wrapped up in the “and then I did” approach.

Tip #8: Keep reader expectations in mind

Always keep in mind that the top things readers want from a memoir are theme, emotional engagement, and entertainment.

Tip #10: Make sure it’s a memoir, not an autobiography

People often use the words “memoir” and “autobiography” interchangeably, but there is actually a sharp distinction between these two genres.

An autobiography is a recreation of your life that attempts to mention all of its important people, places, dates, and events, from the beginning to the present day.

A memoir, on the other hand, is look at the inner you, at your thoughts and emotions during a challenging, changing, or otherwise interesting portion of your life.

There is certainly some overlap between these two genres, but they are not same thing. Take some time to think about what you want to cover in your book, then decide whether it’s best presented as a memoir or an autobiography.

For more on this, see “Autobiography or Memoir?”

Tip #11: The winning tip

The best tip of all for writing a memoir is simply write, write, and write some more.

Don’t worry if you haven’t tracked down all the information you need, if you haven’t completely laid out your story, if you’re not sure you can do it, or if what you’re producing isn’t perfect.

Just keep writing. Most problems will eventually sort themselves out.

Many times, your theme will become sharper as you write, or a new and better theme will emerge. You may come to realize that a certain story doesn’t work as well as you thought it would and another one works better.

Think of the writing process as journeying down a long and winding pathway through your mind and memories.

Enjoy the journey! It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself, your development, and life in general. If that’s all you do, you will have accomplished something wonderful.


Barry Fox, Nadine Taylor, ghostwriters, memoirs, business books, art books, history books, health books

Contact us! We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.

For more information, call us at 818-917-5362 or use our Contact Form to send us a message.

We’d love to speak with you about your exciting memoir!


What Does a Ghostwriter Do?

what does a ghostwriter do, ghostwriting services,

Exactly what does a ghostwriter do?

In brief, the ghostwriter is an expert at writing books for other people.

Sometimes, the ghostwriter begins with nothing more than a concept provided by the client, and handles all of the research and writing, rewriting, and editing.

In other cases, the ghostwriter works closely with the client, bouncing ideas back and forth, using some of the material the client wrote and creating the rest himself. Every situation is different.

In addition to creating the manuscript, clients have requested that we help them decide what to do with their books, write their book proposals, facilitate self-publication, oversee the printing process, handle the marketing and distribution, and more.

Let’s take a look at the various tasks that ghostwriters may be asked to handle, above and beyond writing the manuscript.

1. Helping you answer the “why”

This may sound odd, but a lot of people are not sure what to do with the books they are eager to write.

The process of deciding what should be done with the completed book begins with a simple question: Why are you writing your book? For example, are you hoping to:

  • make lots of money?
  • introduce a new idea?
  • share your life experiences?
  • launch or enhance a business?
  • address a pressing political/social/economic/religious situation?

Answering the “why” helps determine how the book should be written, published and priced, marketed, and so on.

You may think you know why you are writing your book, But the “why” can evolve, and it does so in a surprising number of cases. As the “why” changes, so does the way in which the book is written, published and promoted.

Your ghostwriter can help you establish the “why” so that the finished product helps you achieve your goals.

2. Editing and proofreading your manuscript

Every manuscript must be edited and proofread, but not by the person who wrote it. Instead, it should be edited by an independent editor, then checked by a separate proofreader.

You can locate these professionals on your own, or your ghostwriter may offer some recommendations or send your manuscript to an editor and proofreader as part of the service provided.

3. Writing the book proposal

Next on the list is creating the document necessary to approach literary agents and publishers: the proposal.

Essentially, the proposal is a combination blueprint of the book-to-be, plus an idea of how much money the publisher stands to make.

Your agent will show the proposal to appropriate publishers in the hopes that one or more will want to purchase and publish your book.

The key elements of this document are:

  • Title Page
  • Proposal Table of Contents 
  • Overview – also known as the Synopsis or Introduction
  • Author – also known as About the Author, Author’s Qualifications, or Biography
  • Competition – also known as Competing Books or Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing – also known as Marketing & Promotion
  • Book Table of Contents
  • Chapter Outlines – also known as Chapter Summaries
  • Sample Chapters

Various agents have different names for and preferred ways of arranging the parts of a book proposal, but the basics are the same.

To learn more, watch Barry’s YouTube presentation on “Writing a Great Non-Fiction Book Proposal.”

4. Identifying literary agents

You’ll need an agent if you want your book to be brought to market by a standard publisher.

A handful of these traditional publishers are willing to review book ideas sent directly to them. But most require that you approach them through an agent.

We help our clients who are interested in standard publication secure agents.

That’s not to say that we will get an agent for you. Instead, we help you create a short-list of appropriate agents for you to approach, and we help create the materials necessary to query prospective agents.

5. Facilitating self-publication

So far, we’ve described the regular tasks that most ghosts are familiar with. With the types of assistance that follows, we’re venturing outside the traditional realm of book ghostwriting.

With self-publication, in essence you have three options:

  • Do it all yourself—If you’re handy with computers and have an eye for design, you can use online tools to design your book cover and interior layout by yourself. You can work directly with a printer, manage your own PR campaign, and do everything else necessary to turn a manuscript into a finished book that’s available for sale and brought to the public’s attention.
  • Work with various self-publishing professionals—You can hire individual experts to handle the various elements of self-publishing for you. These include a cover designer, interior designer, social media company for PR, and so on.
  • Hire a self-publishing company—You can hire a self-publishing firm, such as Lulu or Infinity Publishing, to do all of the above. This is the simplest approach. It is also typically more expensive than handling it yourself, and you have less control over the process. But you are able to transfer all of the responsibility—and the burden—to the self-publisher.

6. Arranging for cover design and interior design

Cover design involves creating the combination of images and words that will appear on the front, back, and spine of your book.

Interior design, on the other hand, involves selecting the font, placement of the pictures and other graphic elements, and otherwise creating the “layout and look” of everything between the front and back covers.

Standard publishers routinely handle these designs for their authors, and many self-publishing firms offer these design services as part of a package or as à la carte offerings.

Still, clients have asked us to help them create their inside and outside designs.

While we are not designers, we can educate you about these matters and help you decide whether you need designs created from scratch, or if it makes more sense to go with a premade designs.

7. Getting your book printed

Having your book printed can be a simple matter. Or it may require research and a bit of effort, depending on how you approach it.

The simplest approach is to hire an all-in-one self-publishing company, such as AuthorHouse. These firms offer complete, turn-key packages that include the printing.

You can also work directly with a printer, such as IngramSpark or 48HourBooks. This can be less expensive, as you won’t be paying the middleman’s commission.

However, you’ll have to research printers to find the ones whose services best match your needs. You may also have to make your book files “printer-ready” or pay to have someone do so for you.

A third option is not to print your book at all. Instead, you make it available in print-on-demand (POD) format on Amazon or other online retailers. Copies will be printed as they are ordered.

8. Handling marketing and public relations

It’s the very rare person who is expert in both book ghostwriting and marketing/PR.

In almost every case, you’ll be better off hiring one person to write your book, and another person or firm to bring it to the public’s attention.

Having said that, we have seen marketing/PR campaigns in action, for our own books as well as those of our clients, and can give you some general advice.

What does a ghostwriter do? A lot!

In days past, ghostwriters mostly worked with standard publishers.

Whether hired by the publisher, agent, or author, the ghost wrote the manuscript, and the publisher handled editing, cover design, distribution, and the other aspects of publication.

Today, many book authors prefer to self-publish, and they ask their ghostwriters to help them do so.

This has encouraged many ghosts to learn all about design, printing, and other aspects of publication, so that they may offer a full slate of publishing services.

Which services do we offer?

All of the above, except marketing and publicity. Our goal is to help you go from idea to published book, no matter which publishing options you choose.


Contact us! We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.

You can learn about our ghostwriting work and credentials on our Home Page.

For more information, call us at 818-917-5362 or use the contact form below to send us a message. We’d love to talk to you about your exciting book project!

The Best Ghostwriting Process

Many people ask me about the ghostwriting process. Specifically, they want to know the “best” process for ghostwriting a book; the approach that will guarantee great results.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the “#1 Best Process” for ghosting a book. Individual ghostwriters have their preferences, authors (aka clients) have their own needs, and the only thing we know for sure is that the best ghostwriting process is the one that works for a particular ghost-author combination. (For more on ghostwriters, click here.)

That said, we can break the book ghostwriting process down into five major parts:

  • Presentation – The author’s initial ideas and/or stories are presented to the ghostwriter. This generally happens during one-on-one conversations between the ghost and author, whether in person or on the phone, via Skype, Zoom, etc.
  • Development – Even before the presentation stage has been completed, the ghostwriter begins to develop the ideas and information by asking questions to jog the author’s memory, fill in gaps, open new areas for exploration, and so on. Development could be an open-ended search for whatever seems relevant or a narrowly focused deep dive into a specific area or two. Depending on the book’s topic, the ghost may acquire more information by reading books or articles about the subject; chatting with the author’s colleagues, family members, and friends; interviewing experts in the field; touring the author’s factory, childhood neighborhood, or other relevant places; or hiring a researcher to find more information.
  • Organization – As ideas, stories, and other information are presented and developed, the ghostwriter and author explore ideas for organizing it all. They eventually select a theme, a central “argument” that holds the manuscript together, as well as a structure for the book. Sometimes the theme and structure are obvious from the start. Other times, a few possibilities need to be explored before discovering the strongest combination.
  • Creation – The ghostwriter writes the book. Some ghostwriters (including me) like to send rough drafts of chapters to the author as they are written to get immediate feedback, then make any necessary adjustments. Others prefer to write large chunks of the book before asking the author to read and comment on it.
  • Correction – Once the manuscript has been completed, it is sent to a proofreader for final corrections.

The ghostwriting process need not follow this approach exactly as I’ve outlined it.

For example, some ghosts prefer to present and develop only enough information to get an overall idea of the book, then create the book chapter by chapter, going back for more material via the presentation and development stages with each new chapter. (I prefer to present and develop as much material as possible at the beginning.) And during the creation stage, the ghostwriter may feel the need to develop more information or redo the book’s organization.

As I stated at the beginning, the “best ghostwriting process” is the one that works for you and your ghostwriter. But whichever way you and your ghostwriter decide to work, it’s always helpful if you come to the process with a clear idea of who you are writing for, and why. Give that a lot of thought before beginning writing, whether on your own or with your ghostwriter. Knowing where you intend to go makes it a lot easier to get there.

You’d Like Help Writing Your Book…

Barry Fox, Nadine Taylor, ghostwriters, memoirs, business books, art books, history books, health books

Give us a call! We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.

If you’d like to get started with a ghostwriter, call us at 818-917-5362 or use the form below to send us a message.

We’d love to talk to you!

Book Editors, Ghostwriters, and Coaches

book ghostwriter

All About the Book Ghostwriter

A book ghostwriter is a writer-for-hire who specializes in writing books. These include memoirs, business books, novels, history and political books, and books in other genres. The book ghostwriter can work on manuscripts written for the popular press, as well as those intended for academics or other specialty areas.

Any subject or story that works as a book—whether hardback, paperback, e-book, or audiobook—can be written by the ghostwriter.

What does a book ghostwriter know that other ghosts don’t?

The top-of-the-line ghostwriter excels at turning the author’s ideas and stories into written words. The ghostwriter:

  • Is able to sustain a storyline or topic presentation over the course of many pages – The typical book for the popular audience runs between 150 and 250 pages, and some run longer.
  • Understands the mindset of the book’s audience – This ensures that he or she knows how deeply to delve into a story or idea. The expectations of those who read books are not the same as those reading articles, web copy, or other material.
  • Knows how to write material intended to be read from beginning to end – It’s different than writing material that is skimmed through from heading to heading or bullet point to bullet point, as in web copy or a white paper.
  • Understands the various ways that books are utilized – For example, some authors want to sell a lot of copies of the book, others want to use it to establish themselves as experts or burnish their resumes, and still others simply want to record a story or idea for personal reasons. Knowing how the book will be used is vital, as it guides the writing.
  • Is a long-distance runner as opposed to a sprinter – It takes many months to write a full-length book. Even more time is necessary for lengthy books, or those requiring a lot of conceptualizing, research, or interviewing. It also demands maintaining a relationship with the author over many months.
  • Is familiar with the publishing process – This includes both standard publishing and self-publishing. The book ghostwriter doesn’t need to be an expert but must know enough to help the author match the written material to the “right” publishing method.

What’s the ghostwriting process?

This depends on the ghost. Some book ghostwriters follow a well-defined set of steps, while others prefer a more free-form approach.

Here’s what a formal process might entail:

  • Initial interviews – Over the course of three, four, or five interviews, the ghostwriter asks the author questions designed to elicit an overview of the story or idea. More detailed questions are saved for later. These interviews can last from a half-hour to two hours and can be conducted in person, or via phone, Skype, or other platforms. Ideally, they are recorded so they can be transcribed and referred to often.
  • Preparation of book outline – After reviewing the tapes, and perhaps doing a modest amount of research, the ghostwriter prepares an outline of the book. Most outlines are between 2 to 15 pages long, depending on the type and complexity of the book.
  • Perfecting the outline – The author and ghostwriter discuss and refine the outline, passing it back and forth a couple of times to get it right. The perfected outline becomes the book’s “blueprint,” containing all the information about style, tone, and content necessary to write the manuscript.
  • In-depth interviews – Once the ghostwriter and author know exactly where they’re headed, they begin another round of interviews. Depending on the type of book being written, and how much material will be supplied by the author, there may be 20 to 80 hours of interviews. Many of the interviews should be recorded and transcribed as they will contain much, if not all, of the material the ghostwriter needs to complete the book. They may also reflect the author’s voice as well as favorite phrases and figures of speech.
  • Additional research – If necessary, the ghostwriter interviews other people, tracks down quotes, and statistics, and gathers information that the author does not supply.
  • First draft – Working on his or her own, the ghostwriter writes the first draft of the manuscript. This can take anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on the length and complexity of the book.
  • Author edits – The author carefully reviews the first draft, making careful notes of items to be corrected, expanded, cut, etcetera.
  • Second draft – The ghostwriter revises the book according to the author’s notes and comments.
  • Final author edits – The author reads the entire manuscript once again, ensuring that all notes and comments have been addressed. In the process, the author may find a few more small items that need revising.
  • Perfected manuscript – The book ghostwriter makes the final changes, and the manuscript is finished.
  • Polished manuscript – Depending upon the author’s needs, the ghostwriter may send the manuscript to an editor and/or proofreader. For more on editing and proofreading, see “Book Editors, Ghostwriters, and Coaches.”

Ghostwriters and authors who enjoy a formal, scheduled approach might decide to work this way.

But it’s not the only approach. We—Barry and Nadine, ghostwriters of memoirs, business books, and more—often work informally.

That’s because some projects work better when more time is devoted to exploring and experimenting with different ideas in the beginning.

We recently ghosted a book that combines the author’s life story with her political philosophy, and explored different approaches such as combining the life story with the philosophy from the get-go, writing chapters that alternate between the two, and so on. Once we discovered what worked best, we locked in the outline—but not before.

We’ve also worked with authors whose ideas evolved during the writing process, which meant we needed to be flexible about the book’s themes, structure, and content as we went along. It simply wasn’t possible to work from a set outline.

What’s important to remember is that there is no best ghostwriting process. There’s only the process that works best for your book.

How long does it take to complete a book?

It’s impossible to say precisely, because each book, ghostwriter, and author will be different. As a general rule, a full-length, non-fiction book intended for the popular press can be completed in six months to a year. However, many factors can influence how long it takes, including:

  • Book length – Typical non-fiction books range anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 words.
  • How well thought-out the idea is at the beginning – Many of the books we’ve worked on have evolved significantly during the writing process. Generally speaking, program-driven books such as health books and how-to books can be firmly outlined before starting to write. But memoirs and other books with story arcs can be difficult to describe in an initial outline, because they often change as the writing progresses
  • Research required – For some of our books, the authors were able to give us all the information we needed. They spent a few hours answering our questions, sent us an article or two, and that’s it. For other books, we’ve spent scores of hours on independent research. For still others, we’ve literally flown across the country to visit certain sites and conduct interviews.
  • Author availability – Many of the authors we write for are working professionals. They often tell us that they’ll be unavailable for a few weeks, or months, and that can slow the process. One of our books was put on hold for an entire year while the author transitioned to a new job, moving across the country to head up a large enterprise.
  • Interviewee availability – Sometimes we have to wait weeks or months to conduct an interview with a key resource for a book.

These are just a few of the items that can slow the writing process. Some of them can be anticipated and worked around, others cannot.

What does it cost to hire a book ghostwriter?

Fees vary depending on the ghostwriter, type and length of the project, and other factors.

As a general rule, for a full-length book you can expect to pay:

  • Under $25,000 for a ghostwriter who is new – Or one who is inexperienced, lacking credits, or simply not very good. For this fee, you’ll also get non-native writers whose grasp of the English language is suspect.
  • $25,000 to $125,000 for a ghostwriter with experience –This means she has published books to her credit, as well as testimonials from satisfied clients. Expect to pay at the higher end of this range for ghosts with many books published by standard publishers such as Simon & Schuster, quotable praise from editors at major publishing houses, and a resume that includes New York Times bestsellers, or books on other major bestseller lists.
  • $125,000 for celebrity ghostwriters – Or those with track records of bestselling success in big-money genres, such as political memoirs.

If you’re on a budget, you might consider hiring a book coach to guide you through the process of writing your book yourself, and/or a developmental editor to assist you once you’ve completed your first draft.

Should you hire a book ghostwriter, or do it yourself?

It is possible to use a book coach or developmental editor instead of a ghostwriter. It’s also possible to write your manuscript entirely on your own, then hire a line editor and a copy editor to tidy things up, as well as a proofreader to find and correct typos and other little errors and omissions.

Which approach you take depends on how comfortable you are developing your idea and writing the book, as well as how much time you have to devote to the project.

If you’re so inclined, there’s nothing wrong with trying it on your own. If it works, or you only need a little assistance to perfect your book, great! If not, well, consider it time well spent in demonstrating that you need to use a book ghostwriter.

Will a ghostwriter get your book published?

That depends on the ghost, as well as on what you mean by “published.” Let’s start with the meaning of published.

There are two primary ways to publish a book: standard publishing, and self-publishing.

In standard publishing, your goal is to convince a publishing house, such as Macmillan or HarperCollins, to publish your book. This means they will invest time and money in your book and expect to make a profit for doing so. To persuade them, you begin with a query letter explaining the gist of your book. This is sent to literary agents and you’ll need one, for major publishers typically refuse to look at unagented submissions. If an agent is interested in your book, he or she will ask you to send a book proposal—a formal document explaining the book and its marketing potential in detail.

If the agent decides to represent you, she or he will present your book proposal to the appropriate publishers. A publishing company that agrees to publish your work will then handle the editing, cover and interior design, printing, marketing, and distribution of your work. It may also find other ways to monetize your work, by translating your book into different languages, recording it as an audiobook, and so on.

In self-publishing, you serve as your own publisher. You won’t need a query letter, a book proposal, or a literary agent. Once your manuscript is polished and perfected, you will handle the book’s interior and cover design, printing, marketing, and distribution.

You can do this in one of three ways: 1) entirely on your own, if you happen to be adept at designing and marketing and can keep track of a lot of details; 2) by hiring various experts, such as a cover designer and a PR company, to do various tasks for you; or 3) by hiring a “turnkey” self-publisher like AuthorHouse or BookBaby, which can handle all the publishing chores for you.

All three of these self-publishing options are viable. It’s just a matter of what suits your needs and budget.

With this brief background on standard versus self-publishing out of the way, let’s return to the initial question: will a ghostwriter get your book published?

The answer depends on the ghostwriter. Some will write the manuscript and nothing more, while others will guide you through the standard or self-publication process for an additional fee.

We—Barry and Nadine—fall into the latter group. We’ve written book proposals and interfaced with agents on behalf of clients interested in standard publication. We’ve also handled the self-publication process completely. For one of our clients, we even produced a two-volume set, with the books snuggled in a box whose lining was selected to complement the book’s cover color.

If you’re looking for ghostwriters who can help you with book publication, check their websites to see if they offer publication assistance.

How do you find a book ghostwriter?

There are many ways to find one:

  • Google “hire a ghostwriter,” “find a ghostwriter” or something similar – You can narrow your search by being more specific, typing in, for example, “find a memoir ghostwriter,” or “hire a business book ghostwriter in Los Angeles.”
  • Contact writers’ organizations that maintain a database of writers for hire – These include the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Editorial Freelancers Association, and the National Writers Union.
  • Ask a literary agent for recommendations
  • Check the acknowledgments sections of books you like to see if a ghostwriter or writer is mentioned
  • Looks for ghosts on sites such as Reedsy and Fiverr – But remember, you get what you pay for.

For more on finding a ghostwriter, see “How to Hire a Ghostwriter.” and “The Absolute Best Ghostwriting Process.”

Is it cheating to use a ghostwriter?

There’s no reason to have any qualms about hiring a ghostwriter. The idea and, often, much of the information is yours. And you have developed the concept or basic storyline.

Perhaps you’ve literally lived the story you want to tell, or struggled through a learning process that you now want to explain. Maybe you’ve devoted months or years to researching or testing a process, or have worked with thousands of clients or patients. You may have had experiences most of us have not, whether good or bad.

The story or concept belongs to you. You simply need help developing, structuring, and writing it. That’s what book ghostwriters are for. It’s not cheating.

What’s in a book ghostwriting contract?

There’s no such thing as a standard ghostwriting contract; many ghosts have developed their own contracts, and some use contracts offered by writers’ organizations. However, several items should be included in any ghostwriting contract, including:

  • A description of the book to be written – This can be as brief as a sentence or two, or as complex as a 10-page outline appended to the contract.
  • A summary of duties – Will the ghostwriter do all of the research and create all of the material herself, or use some of the material the author has written? How many times will the author be allowed to edit the manuscript? How many drafts will the ghost be required to write? All of this, and more, should be clearly spelled out.
  • The schedule – Among the questions to be answered: When will the work commence? When is it expected to be finished? How much time will the author allot to interviews and editing?
  • The fee and payment schedule – Will the author pay the ghostwriter monthly, or in installments pegged to certain benchmarks like completing the first draft? How much are the payments, and when are they due?
  • Authorship credit – Will the ghostwriter be completely invisible or receive some credit? This could include being thanked in the acknowledgments or given a “with” credit on the book’s cover.
  • Copyright – Who owns it? Entirely, or in part? And when is ownership vested?
  • Confidentiality – Does the author require complete confidentiality from the ghostwriter, or will she allow the ghostwriter to talk about her work on the project when seeking future clients.  
  • Expenses – How will expenses for travel, photocopies, research, and other matters be handled?

What are the pros and cons of using a book ghostwriter?

When considering the advantages and disadvantages of using a top-notch ghostwriter—and we believe that top-notch is the only way to go—you’ll find several items on each side of the ledger.

The pros:

  • Your book will be completed, and won’t end up as a forgotten, half-written manuscript shoved into a desk drawer.
  • Your story or idea will be fleshed out and written in an appealing, understandable manner.
  • The book’s language and tone will be appropriate for the intended audience.
  • The project will be completed in a timely manner.
  • If your ghostwriter is an expert in your subject, you may appear to have added expertise.
  • You’ll save yourself a lot of time and heartache. (Creating a professionally-written book on your own is hard; maybe even impossible!)

The cons:

  • It costs money.
  • You have to go through the process of finding and hiring a ghost.
  • At some point, you have to be able to let go of your idea and trust your ghost to turn out a sterling product.
  • You’ll be in charge of managing a writer who is accustomed to working on her own.
  • If you select the wrong ghostwriter or have trouble working with him, the project may collapse.


Barry Fox, Nadine Taylor, ghostwriters, memoirs, business books, art books, history books, health books

Contact us!

We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, ghostwriters and book coaches with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses. We work in a variety of genres, including memoir, business, history and politics.

You can learn about our ghostwriting work and credentials on our Home Page.

Call us at 818-917-5362 or use the contact form below to send us a message. We’d love to talk to you about your exciting book project!