I have a client that should have had me write his book from scratch instead of editing it. It certainly would have been cheaper. By about half.
I love all the mentality that everyone can write a book. It’s true: Everyone can write a book. Behind all this hububalu though, is an understanding: you have to hire a good editor and be willing to rewrite the book.
Of course, you say, you have to hire a good editor! Yes, I know, every writer, even the best in the world needs a good editor.
But here’s the hitch, if you aren’t a great writer – which I hate to break it you, you probably aren’t – that editor is going to cost you an arm and leg and you are going to have to do a lot of rewriting.
And then your editor is going to have to re-edit the book at least once.
If you hire an experienced ghostwriter, the edits that they need will be smaller because they are a great writer. (At least, that is the theory…) Often, and it’s the case with me and my company, http://www.theghostwritingagency.com, that each writer works with their own editor.
I’ve been working with Deborah for so long that she knows what I usually do wrong. She knows my style. She’s also worked with one of my other writers, Emma, enough to know before she starts that she’s going to have to watch out for UK slang.
The client that we are working on right now, is a perfect example of the cost of editing vs. the cost of the whole package.
He’s got great ideas. He’s willing to listen to our writing advice. He’s brilliant. He’s got a good platform. But he’s a terrible writer. Dry, convoluted. He just doesn’t have the flair. He also struggles with literary organization.
The budget for his book started out at $1600 for his 40,000 word non-fiction book about edible botany in sub-arctic climates.
About a year ago he came to me and wanted a content, or developmental, edit, line editing, proofreading, and formatting. So I immediately went to work on the content edit. He needed some serious help restructuring his book.
It took him almost a year to redo the book after he had spent two years writing it in the first place. (It would have taken me 6-8 weeks to write the book.)
I look over it again, and it’s still a mess, but much better than before. So I send it on to Deborah. She realizes that it’s still a mess and attempts to fix all the big things with massive deletions and rewrites.
At this point, we’ve pointed out the issue that the client’s contract needed to be reevaluated because he had added an additional 20,000 words to his book. (The book still ended up being around 40,000 when we ended). So the price went up to $2000.
Our price for a high quality written from scratch book with light line editing or heavy proofreading, plus formatting and book design is $2000 for a 40,000 word book.
Deborah completes her two rounds of line editing that are required for this book and the client reworks everything again. Because he needed to.
So, now we are on the third line edit of his book.
Which means, he needed to update his contract yet again.
I’m having to go through it for content again. And then Deborah is having to do a third line edit.
You want to guess how much that raised the cost? By now, it would have been cheaper for this guy to buy our premium package with 2 entire book rewrites, deep line editing, proofreading, 3 formats, book design, and two cover designs with multiple adjustments.
And frankly, it would probably be a better book.
Yes, you can most certainly write your own book. And yes it can sell.
I run up against the idea that a book written by a ghostwriter isn’t really your book. That’s one of the most common arguments for people not hiring a ghostwriter. I understand. You see these fake books on Amazon and associate that crap with ghostwriters.
But think of it this way: While you have been working on your expertise in sub-arctic botany, I have been honing my skill in writing.
In the end, I just want you to look at the bottom line: If you want a high quality book and have a limited budget, a ghostwriter might not be out of your reach. In fact, it might even be cheaper. My botanist could have saved nearly $1500 and 3 years by having me write it from scratch.
Have any of you had a fiasco that could have cost you less if you had hired a professional? (I’m looking at my husband and the mess that is our furnace.)