Guest blog post: How I Raised my Ghostwriting Fee from $7,500 to Over $100,000 per Book

By Robert Bruce Woodcox

After I began ghostwriting 27 years in the past after promoting my promoting company of 25 years, I bear in mind how nervous I used to be negotiating my charge with a primary “potential” shopper. I had solely written one guide, so I had what I referred to as, “mild credentials,” and a really skinny resume (excluding my promoting background). Nevertheless, that guide had been a Los Angeles Occasions bestseller the earlier 12 months, so I did at the least have that going for me.

Earlier than assembly with this man, a 92-year-old hero of WWII, I requested my writer, Jim, how a lot I ought to cost for my first ghostwriting job. He responded shortly with a barely dismissive smile, “Robert, because you solely  have one guide, and no expertise as a ghostwriter, if I have been you, I’d ask for $10,000—and accept $7,500.”           

I defined to my writer, Jim, that the person was what individuals have been then calling a part of, “The Brokaw Era,” after newscaster, Tom Brokaw’s bestselling guide in regards to the Child Boomers and battle heroes. This shopper needed to inform his story so his three daughters might lastly know the way their father served within the invasion of Normandy, along with how he grew up on an Iowa farm starting in 1901 (he nearly lived in three centuries—that alone fascinated me)!

In 1997, $10,000 was some huge cash for an untested ghost. However, I knew the highest tier ghostwriters of the time, those who wrote for celebrities, politicians, and so on., have been getting properly over $100,000 and typically far more. Even so, $7,500 appeared so much to me—I used to be unemployed.

A number of days later, whereas assembly with this potential shopper and after a number of hours of speaking, Tom took me from his kitchen desk to his elaborate dwelling workplace crammed with practically ground to ceiling leather-based certain books. His large darkish oak desk and heavy leather-based chairs bespoke cash and knowledge to me. I used to be nervous. I knew this was the place the rubber was going to satisfy the highway, the place he would ask me, “Robert, what’s all this going to price me?”

I blurted, with out hesitation, “Ten-thousand {dollars} sir,” after which waited with a assured smile and crossed fingers.

He, simply as confidently and shortly answered, “I’ll provide you with seventy-five hundred.”

“I’ll take it!” I stated and like that I had my first ghostwriting job. It was pure coincidence that Jim had guessed what the ultimate quantity could be.

I received’t go into the main points of what it was like to take a seat for hours upon hours subsequent to a sequence smoking 92-year-old man with a sketchy reminiscence making an attempt to type by way of the very boring life he’d lived (his battle time recollections have been nevertheless, as unimaginable as I believed they’d be).

When that guide was written, I vowed I’d by no means tackle one other memoir for something lower than $15,000, which within the subsequent couple of years grew to $25,000, then to $40,000 and so forth and so forth till about 15 years in the past, I raised my charges to over $100,000 for a memoir or novel; barely much less for a enterprise guide. So far, I’ve ghostwritten 47 books.

My factors in telling you this story are:

  • Don’t ever promote your self quick, even in the event you solely have one guide underneath your belt—or none. You’re a good author—you recognize you’re—and also you should be paid properly (most likely way over you’re at present getting). In spite of everything, you’re good sufficient to hitch the AOG to study extra about your craft and to boost the bar in your charges.
  • After I acquired that first job, I knew completely nothing about interviewing a shopper, or in regards to the “course of” of “collaborating” with somebody to acquire and write his or her story.
  • There may be an outdated adage that applies right here: Faux it until you make it. All you want is the boldness and the drive to wish to make an amazing residing writing for different individuals. The cash will observe.
  • Use a contract. There are 100 alternative ways to miscommunicate, miss essential factors, or miss important authorized clauses. (Two of them are: divide your charge into three funds to make it extra palatable on your potential shopper after which invoice every stage upfront of doing any writing or interviewing. Base your charge on a per phrase price; mine is a greenback a phrase. That manner, you’ll have a transparent mutually agreed to purpose and there will likely be no misunderstandings whenever you get to stage two of the challenge and that fee is due. In case your shopper has agreed to a greenback a phrase, or some other quantity, if you end up a 3rd of the best way by way of the manuscript, it’s time to ask for the following examine).

    Ghostwriting is like no different career on earth, for my part.

Robert Bruce Woodcox

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