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How Much Does a Ghostwriter for Book Cost

How Much Does A Ghostwriter for a Book Cost?

You have a great idea for a book, but… you don’t quite have the skills or the time.

How much is a ghostwriter for a book going to cost you?

The short answer is anywhere from $3,000 to over $250,000 depending on the length, complexity, and style of the book, as well as the level of experience of the ghostwriter.

But let’s get into it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cost Range: Ghostwriting fees vary widely, ranging from $3,000 to over $250,000.
  • Pricing Structures: Ghostwriters typically charge by the word, per hour, or project-based.
  • Factors Influencing Cost: Project length, complexity, ghostwriter's experience, and timeframe for completion significantly affect pricing.
  • Revisions Cost: Revisions are often charged by the hour, ranging from $25 to $250.

Our Book Ghostwriting Service

Book Idea
  • A proven track record of satisfied clients - (check out some testimonials)
  • Will write autobiographies, biographies, business books, blogs, newsletters, and more. 
    • Professional audiobook recording and translation are available
  • Our approach covers the entire process, from planning to launch. 

Learn More

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Book Ghostwriter Cost Breakdown By Project

Book Ghostwriter Costs Breakdown

A quick table to show you the numbers!

Per WordBy the HourPer Project
Fiction Novel
$0.01 to $1
Standard Non-Fiction
Children’s Book
Short eBooks/Novellas

How Do Book Ghostwriters Charge?

How Do Book Ghostwriters Charge


Book ghostwriters have a few different pricing structures that they work with, depending on the scope and requirements of the project.

There are three general structures to this: by the word, per hour, and project-based.

By The Word

Some ghostwriters charge by the word. This is a less common model, especially for longer works where there could be upwards of 100,000 words, but is commonly used for children’s books that have fewer words and rely more heavily on pictures.

Ghostwriters can charge anywhere from $0.01 to $2 per word, depending on their level of experience.

Per Hour

Another pricing model used by many ghostwriters is a per-hour one.

In this case, ghostwriters will charge the client per hour. This usually ranges from $30 up to $250+ per hour, again, based on the level of experience of the ghostwriter and scope of project.


Possibly one of the most common ways that ghostwriters charge and, of course, is the form that varies widely due to the nature of how different the lengths of different books are on top of the different levels of experience of the ghostwriter.

Because of this, ghostwriters charge anywhere from $3,000 to over $250,000 for a project.

Courtesy of Reedsy, here’s a more extensive list of what the average ghostwriter charges per project:

Cost Range
Avg Word Count
Biographies & Memoirs
$12,000 to $42,000
Business & Management
$8,000 to $32,000
$6,500 to $26,000
$4,500 to $16,000
Science Fiction
$4,500 to $16,000
Action & Adventure
$4,000 to $16,000
Middle Grade
$3,500 to $15,000
Picture Books
$1,500 to $5,000

Factors that Influence the Cost of Book Ghostwriters

Factors That Influence Cost of Ghostwriters

There are many, many different factors that affect how much a book ghostwriter will cost.

Here are just a few of them.

Project's Length

The first, and seemingly most obvious, factor the consider is the project’s length.

If a ghostwriter is just writing a short eBook or novella, that cost is going to be significantly lower when compared to a 60,000-word plus non-fiction novel, which will be a far more time-consuming endeavor and require more work.


Another important factor is the complexity of the project.

For instance, business and management require insider knowledge and extensive research, while something like a children’s book is generally less complex and requires less expertise.

Because of these differing requirements, you can expect to pay different prices for ghostwriters depending on how complex the book is.

Ghostwriter's Experience and Reputation

If you want a best-selling ghostwriter… expect to pay best-selling prices.

On the contrary, someone with less experience will likely charge less. Such is the case with any job. When you’re starting out, you can expect to make less than a more seasoned expert with years in the field and a few successful projects under their belt.

More on price vs quality later.

Timeframe for Completion

Last but certainly not least, consider the timeframe. If you need a book written ASAP, you will need to pay more for the added pressure on the ghostwriter.

If you’re able to give the book ghostwriter a longer timeframe, you may pay less due to them not being on a time crunch.

Think of it as paying extra for express overnight shipping rather than standard 3-5 business days.

How Do Ghostwriters Charge for Revisions?

How Do Ghostwriters Charge for Revisions

Aside from the initial writing, you (or your editors) may find some things in your book that need tweaking.

So how do ghostwriters charge for revisions?

Rewrites and revisions are usually charged by the ghostwriter by the hour at an additional rate. This rate is usually around $25 to $250 per hour (depending on, once again, the scope of the project and the experience level of the ghostwriter).

Some ghostwriters include revisions as part of their per-project package, but it really depends on the specific project.

Price vs Quality for Book Ghostwriters

Price vs Quality

As with most things, you get what you pay for.

It may seem tempting to go with the cheapest ghostwriter you can buy. But remember, you’re outsourcing work to a professional for a reason, and, likely, your name will be the one of the cover.

With your reputation possibly on the line, you’ll likely want to pay a little more for higher quality.

A few issues that could arise from using the cheapest ghostwriter you can find include:

  • Lack of experience
  • Lots of editing and revisions needed
  • Inaccurate information in content
  • Lack of voice
  • Heavily AI-based content (a new issue in the past year!)
  • Overall poor quality of content

Worst case scenario, the writing you receive from a cheap book ghostwriter could end up needing a total re-write, costing you more money in the long run.

If you’re hiring a ghostwriter for a long novel, don’t expect to get anything high-quality for under $20,000.

Do Ghostwriters Require Contracts?

Do Ghostwriters Require Contracts

Typically, the more in-depth a writing project, the more likely there is a need for a contract between the client and the ghostwriter. A contract helps to lay out the expectations by each party. A contract can also provide a timeline that keeps the project on schedule.

For smaller projects, such as hiring a ghostwriter for a blog post or article, a contract may not be required. Or, a verbal contract may be sufficient.

In more modern times, there may be guidelines laid out on a ghostwriter’s website whereby, when purchasing the product or service, the client is agreeing to certain terms such as who gets credit, how the piece is delivered, and what will be included.

What Are The Typical Payment Terms?

What Are the Typical Payment Terms

Payment terms, as with many other industries, depend on the two parties involved.

Some ghostwriters require 100% of their fee to be paid upfront. Some require 50% upfront and 50% once the project is complete. Some may not require any payment until the project is completed.

Typically, the larger and more complex the project, the more likely it is to have at least some of the payment required upfront. It may also be based on the experience and ability of the writer. It may also depend on the reputation of the writer and/or of the client.

Tips for Budgeting a Book Ghostwriting Project

Tips for Budgeting Book Ghostwriting Project

Not sure how much to set aside for a book ghostwriter?

Start at the beginning. What is it that you want to write? This is the best clue into how much you should expect to pay. (Hint: you should start at $25,000.)

Next, plan for the additional costs that will come along with the book ghostwriting project (more on that later!)

Consider other factors like the length of the book, how experienced a ghostwriter you want to hire, whether you want to self-publish or use a publishing company, deadlines, how much research will be involved, and even whether you want to write some of your own content as well.

When it comes to contracts, if you’re working with an experienced ghostwriter, they will likely have some type of contract for you to review. It may be worth it to hire a lawyer to look over the fine print, since a copyright lawsuit could be far more expensive than an initial lawyer.

Additional Costs to Consider

Additional Costs to Consider

There are a few additional costs that need to be budgeted for when trying to calculate the overall cost of hiring specifically a book ghostwriter as opposed to an article or blog ghostwriter, a few of them being:

  • Researching
  • Editing
  • Publishing
  • Marketing
  • Legal costs
  • Travel costs
  • Transcription costs

These extra costs can really add up, so be sure to set aside at least a few extra thousand dollars.


Affordable Book Ghostwriters to Consider

So there we have it! Hiring a book ghostwriter comes with a ton of hidden costs, but as long as you know what you’re doing, you can successfully hire a book ghostwriter for whatever project your heart desires.

Just be ready to set aside $20,000 at least!

Check out our list of best freelance websites for writers. It has a comprehensive list of all of the best places where you can find the ghostwriter of your dreams.

Or check out our service, where we do everything from planning to design to launch:

Our Book Ghostwriting Service

Book Idea
  • A proven track record of satisfied clients - (check out some testimonials)
  • Will write autobiographies, biographies, business books, blogs, newsletters, and more. 
    • Professional audiobook recording and translation are available
  • Our approach covers the entire process, from planning to launch. 

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

Do ghostwriters get credit for their work?

Ghostwriters usually don't get public credit for their work, though sometimes they might receive partial credit. This arrangement is usually agreed upon before starting the project and is often specified in a contract if there is one.

Who owns ghostwritten content?

Typically, the client is the owner of the content they paid the writer to create.