finding great ghostwriters

An Epic Guide to Finding and Hiring a Great Ghostwriter

You don’t think Sarah Palin, Beyonce, Pamela Anderson, Lance Armstrong, and Nicole Richie actually wrote their books? As one celeb said, “I don’t do my own typing.” So many bestselling books were the result of an author hiring a great ghostwriter.

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was written with Ken Shelton. Richard Branson in Losing My Virginity acknowledges Edward Whitley. Howard Schultz’s Onward was penned by Joanne Gordon. Many of the top-selling CEO and celebrity books are penned by someone else, but the book could not exist without the author. The ghostwriter provides the words, and sometimes some supplemental research, but not the expertise, not the story nor the advice in the pages.

That’s all you, the author. So, if you hate writing, don’t have the time to do it, or you just know you aren’t the best person for the job, a talented ghostwriter could be the right solution for you.

A ghostwriter is someone who can write your book, in your words. Good ghostwriters work hard to capture your voice to create a first draft.

So, what exactly does a great ghostwriter do?


First, the ghostwriter needs to flush out the concept for the book. Which means, identifying the ideal reader, and the hook of the book. Working with the author, the ghostwriter will create the outline for the book.

Second, the ghostwriter has to get the content from the author. Usually, this involves interviewing the author extensively to capture their voice and expertise. The ghostwriter also will research the subject matter to supplement the content as needed.

At some point early on the writer will send a sample over to the author to check the tone of the writing. Then, they will put their head down and their hands to the keyboard and complete the first draft.

Finally, the writer then will take feedback on the full first draft from the author and rework the manuscript.

Once it’s a solid draft, it’s off the editors, and over to you, to review and revise.

 

If that sounds like exactly what you need help with, your next question probably is where can I find a great ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters are everywhere. We have several on our team at Book Launchers if you want help with a non-fiction book.

But, where do you find the right ghostwriter for you?

First, get as clear on your book project as possible. The more you know what you want, the easier it will be to identify a writer who can help you.

Consider:

These are all important things to figure out.

Now, you start looking. Here are three ideas for where to find a great ghostwriter:

Number one, you can ask your friends who have written a book.

Some may disclose they worked with one; others may say something like, “Oh, I have a friend who worked with one.”

Number two, check out writing groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Many of the groups are closed groups, but if you write the admin and let them know what you’re looking for, they just might put up a post on your behalf. When I was hiring a ghostwriter for Book Launchers, I received about 20 highly-qualified applicants from a writers group one of the people on my team is a part of. It was a fantastic source.

Number three, Google business ghostwriters.

I connected with a few ghostwriting service companies when I was trying to find a very specific, skilled ghostwriter for one of our clients.

Four, post a job where you might hire other freelancers, like Guru.com, Upwork.com, Indeed.com or Scriptd.

Post a job for a great ghostwriter could result in an overwhelming number of responses though. So, the next question you might ask is: How do you know when you’ve found a good ghostwriter?

 

We’ll cover that in a second, but first let’s explore what it can cost to hire a ghostwriter.

cost of hiring a great ghostwriterWhen Book Launchers first started, we only helped you write your book with writing coaches. We didn’t have ghostwriters on our team. Then one of our clients said, “I don’t want to be the one to put the words to my expertise.” I tried to argue the benefits of writing his book, but he insisted,  “It’s not a good use of my time. Find me a writer.”

My first call was to a ghostwriter I knew would be perfect for him. She’s written at least one Wall Street Journal bestseller. My client loved her, but her price tag of $50,000 to $60,000 was a bit of a budget killer. So I brought in another writer who was a well-respected sports biography ghostwriter. He couldn’t disclose a lot of his clients as many people don’t want you to know that they didn’t write their book. And because I didn’t know his experience level as well, I expected him to be cheaper than the other one. He came in at $1 per finished word.

Most business books are somewhere around 50,000 to 75,000 words, so you can see how $1 a finished word could add up.

So, I expanded my search and I started interviewing all kinds of people who had ghostwriting experience. Most of the other quotes came in between $25,000 and $35,000 for a book. The cheapest ghostwriter I found, and they were a service, not a single writer, started at $18,000.

When you understand that it will take most ghostwriters up to six months to write your book, the prices make sense. Great ghostwriters dedicate a lot of their life and time to this project. They aren’t making a living if they charge much less. And it’s not easy being a great ghostwriter, it’s a skill to be able to write a book well and to do it in someone else’s voice.

It’s not just a matter of putting words to the paper; it’s a matter of making sure they would be words that you, the real author of the book, would use.

Now, you can hire much cheaper writers. And the writing might even be half decent. The issue is that it’s not your voice and that is so important. It’s not your book if it’s not your voice. And if someone writes in a different style than you would, then you have a mountain of work to do to redo it. Sure, you save money, but you add a whole lot of time, energy and effort to the entire project.

Bottom line: to get a skilled professional ghostwriter working on your book, you’re looking at a minimum of 30 cents per finished word. The average cost is going to be closer to 50 cents per word. The more experienced the writer and the more extensive the work you’re asking for them to do, the higher the price.

 

Now, how do you select a great ghostwriter?

With all of the other things figured out, including:

  • Your goals for the book,
  • What you need your writer to do,
  • Where you are going to find your ghostwriter, and
  • How much you expect to pay,

now it’s time to uncover the secret to screening and choosing the best ghostwriter for your project.

This isn’t as easy as you might think because most people who hire ghostwriters don’t want you to know they didn’t write their book, so this presents a pretty big challenge.

How do you evaluate a ghostwriter’s work if they’re not allowed to tell you the books they’ve written?

In many cases, the ghostwriter has signed an NDA, so they can’t tell you they wrote that book. The more experienced ghostwriters will be able to point to a few projects they’ve worked on and can give you samples of their writing, but how do you know if they’ve captured the author’s voice if you don’t get to know who the real author is?

There’s a lot of ways to approach this, but here’s how I hire ghostwriters for Book Launchers:

Number one, I put something in the job ad that acts as an initial screen.

For example, I ask a weird question, like their favorite fruit, or I request that they do not send a resume, but instead send a short writing sample. If they don’t follow that instruction, I immediately eliminate them. If they lack care and attention to detail at the start when they should be showing their best self, it’s not a good sign for me, and it’s an immediate rejection.

Number two, I make sure that they’ve worked on similar projects.

Have they written several business books before? Not just articles, but full books. Have they written any of their books? Ideally, I want to check out their writing somewhere. Assuming that the writing was decent and they had relevant experience, we’ll move onto number three.

Number three, I send them a content editing test.

I’ve been using the first five pages of a client’s manuscript. I ask them to read it, provide five suggestions to make it more engaging and easier to read without impacting the author’s voice. Do they recognize the key issues? Can they offer interesting suggestions to improve the material? Are they able to identify questions they should be asking?

Number four, I then set up a time to chat.

When we’re talking, I’m looking for personality fit, engagement, and dedication. I don’t have a specific list of questions I’m asking when I interview a potential ghostwriter except for the following:

  • What do you love about writing non-fiction books? I’ve found a lot of ghostwriters who are passionate about fiction, but non-fiction pays their bills. I’m looking for a writer that loves learning new things and turning them into material that will be helpful and easy to digest for someone else.
  • How do you approach a ghostwriting project? There isnt’ a right answer but they need a process. If someone doesn’t have an approach at all, I will be concerned about their true experience level.
  • Finally, how do you prefer to communicate with a client?

If everything looks good, references are next.

Ask, “What was it like “to work with them?” “What was challenging about working with the writer? “What did you have to do to help them with the project?” And then, even ask them, “What did you think “the process was like?”

Now, before you hire them for the full project, you still may want to do a tester. Maybe you pay to an article written for you. That way you can see how it is to work with them and if they can capture your voice before you hire them to write your full book.

Finally, you have to talk price and expectations. You should have a good idea of this from above already. But here’s a few more points on this:

The lower the price, the faster they’re going to need to go to get to a first draft. This isn’t a bad thing, but know that they’re making money on quantity, not quality.

You have to manage them, set deadlines, layout expectations and provide feedback.

Remember, you’re getting a manuscript, not a book. You still have to hire editors, layout designers, cover creators, and more.

Writers won’t give you a satisfaction guarantee because it sets themselves up for a world of pain if they get a picky client. You can set a number of re-writes or revisions in your contract, but it will not be unlimited. It’s your job to manage the process from the start to make sure you get what you want.

If all this sounds like a giant pain in the behind, and it is, we can help! We now have writing coaches who help clients to write their book. If you prefer to have an experienced ghostwriter do the writing for you, we can do that, too! The best part is we can do it for less than it would cost if you hired one of these amazing writers on your own. If you want to chat about it, fill out this form and we’ll hop on the phone!

Are You Successful Enough to Write a Book?

“I want to write a book, but I don’t think I’m successful enough.”

Have you thought that? I get it … when I wrote my first book to help real estate investors, I wondered the same thing.

My husband and I had been investing for ten years, but we were far from driving Lamborghini’s and vacationing on yachts. We knew several folks who had done more than 100 deals. Two of our friends in Florida had done more than 300 deals!

Who were we to write a real estate book? When I started writing, I think we’d done 30 deals, and many of them were problem properties, not profit centers. I didn’t have all the answers, but I did have a perspective that wasn’t being shared that openly in the industry. And, I had the desire to share that perspective to help others.

The success of my book (it hit #1 Overall on Amazon as a print book!), proves it’s not about being the best or having the biggest numbers.

In fact, you might be MUCH better suited to write a book than the person who is THE BEST or THE BIGGEST.

Here’s why … Who would be best to learn from, someone who is a few miles ahead on the road you’re on, or someone like Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, or Richard Branson?

It’s fun to read about their journey, but it’s almost impossible to picture yourself doing what they have done. Most people would rather learn from someone who has unique insights and a different approach to teaching them EXACTLY what they need to know to move forward from where they are today.

So, look at it this way instead:

Someone is going to become famous doing what you do … why not you?

Kick those doubts to the curb by taking action. Start writing your book now. Determine the goal of writing a book and set to work on creating an outline. And the most important thing you can do is BE the person who would write the book you want to write.

Who You Be Comes First not WHAT YOU DO!

If you think you have to do SOMETHING BIG before you write your book, let me share something that changed my approach when I quit my job to start my first business.

This idea originated from Zig Ziglar:

‘Be, Do, Have

It’s the reverse to how most of us approach life. Most of us approach our goals with the idea that if we have x, we will do y and be z. For example, I thought: when I have an MBA, I can do a job where I make six figures, and then I will be successful, have freedom and feel financially secure.

It doesn’t work that way. In fact, that line of thinking often takes you in the entirely wrong direction – or at least that is what happened to me.

So many people think they need to have the perfect story for a book.  Then they can write a book, and become the known expert.

You DO need to have material for your book, sure. But, if you’re waiting to have something before you do something so you can be someone, it’s never going to happen.

The solution?

Figure out who you want to ‘be’ first.

Keith Cunningham business mentor explained it this way: “who you be dictates what you do, and what you do dictates what you’ll have.”

I think it’s about connecting to who you are and letting yourself be that person. That will dictate what you do, and what you have.

Consider carefully who you are. That’s where you begin when you set out to write a book, explode your career and become famous for what you do.  

And of course, you don’t know all the answers. Very few authors will when they set out to write ANY book. That’s part of the amazing benefit of writing a book. You add to your expertise and your network.

So … If you don’t have all the answers, who can you interview to help you get the answers?

What research can you add to the book to support your experience?

What stories can you find to illustrate the message you want to share?

BE your fabulous self, DO the work to fill in any gaps you may have and showcase the expertise that will help your ideal reader. Then, you will HAVE massive book writing success.

And if you need help – that’s what we do! Let’s chat about your book idea and how we can help you write, publish, and launch your book this year!

 

Why You’re Not Getting Your Book Done – But You Should Be

You have some excellent reasons why you’re not getting your book done.

It’s true.

What’s also true is that you should be writing your book anyway.

Reason #1 – I just need to do something more … then I can write my book.

“I don’t have enough experience,” “I haven’t done anything cool enough,” or “I don’t have the big successful ending yet” are all typical crutches that people lean on to not write their book.

My motto is, “Live a life worth writing about.”

Try new things. Take on new challenges. Face life head on. Do that, and you’ll have stories to share that will help people.

But besides that, have you ever heard of a writer named Napoleon Hill? Think and Grow Rich sold more than a hundred million copies worldwide, and guess what? It’s based on research, not experience.

He studied the individuals who built up personal fortunes and shared what he learned. By doing the research, he became the expert.

Reason #2 – I’m too busy


Admittedly there are times in your life when you do not have the bandwidth to spend five to ten hours a week working on a book. But is it really true right now? I’ve just had a baby, moved to a new country and launched a new business and I’m still writing my third book (of course, it’s MUCH easier to write your book with the help of a company like Book Launchers!). If you can find 30 minutes a day to write. Maybe on your commute, maybe speaking into a recorder, making notes on your phone at the doctor’s office. Then all you have to do is find an extra two hours on the weekend, maybe skipping some Netflix time, but don’t skip my videos, they’re valuable. Or maybe you just think you’re not a good enough writer. Well, that’s what editors are for, and if you do a lot of research, write a great

If you are committed you can find thirty minutes a day to work on your book. Maybe on your commute you can speak into a recorder, or make notes on your phone while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office. Some weeks you just need to skip that movie on Netflix and you’ve found the time.

Reason #3 – I’m not a good writer

Well, that’s what editors are for!  If you do your

If you do your research, and write a great outline then your book will almost write itself. But if you hate writing, then why don’t you try recording your book?

As long as you have a great outline to work with, you can just speak like you are telling your friend all about your book.

You can hire a company to transcribe it (for anywhere from .10 to $1.00 per minute), and then a great content editor will work magic on those words and turn it into the first draft of your book.

So guess what?

Those three reasons that you thought you had to not write your book, they’re excuses.

All you need is someone to just kick your ass and get it done. Or of course you can hire Book Launchers, because we’ve got a fantastic team of publishing professionals that are going to help you out, especially the writing coach who will help you craft a great outline and position your book so that it’s going to appeal to your ideal reader and sell a lot of copies.

Life is worth writing about. It’s time to share your story and build your business by writing your book! Set up a call to chat about starting your book!

 

The Secret to Completely Overcome Writers Block

You might be wondering how to overcome writers block permanently, but has this every happened to you?

Inspiration hits and you rush to your keyboard. You start pounding away at those little letters on your keyboard lighting it up with all the words that are flying out of you.

People need to hear this story!

When you’re done, you push your chair back from your desk and read it.

“Ugh. That is just a bunch of ramblings. Will anybody ever care about this?”

You drop the lid on your laptop and walk away…

Or, possibly more likely, you’ve sat down with the deep desire to start writing but that silly little cursor taunts you.

You stare at the blinking on the white screen wondering where to start or what you need to say.

If either of these things have ever happened to you there’s good news – there’s a really simple way to fix it.

How to Completely Overcome Writers Block (and Stop from Writing Ramblings)

The secret? Create an outline for your book before you start.

The outline is a non-fiction writer’s best friend.

We know your anxious to get going and write the darn book but skipping the stage of creating a great outline will cost you a lot of time later when you get stuck trying to overcome writers block or you waste dozens of hours writing material that never makes the final manuscript.

A good outline is your map. It lays out where your book is going, from start to finish. It also, conveniently, helps you gather all of the pieces and topics of your book prior to you writing a word. Then, when it’s time to write, it’s just like turning on your GPS with your destination. All you have to think about is when you make the next turn. The rest is in the plan and you just have to follow it.

You’re busy, right? This is the single biggest reason to take time now to create your outline – it saves you dozens and dozens of wasted hours later.

So … How do you create an outline?

It sounds simple, but the truth is that it’s not that easy to create a great outline. It’s why every Book Launchers client starts their book journey working with a Writing Coach who will guide them through creating their outline. Even with a professional by their side, this process often takes four to six weeks. It can be tricky to know what is important to include in a book, and what needs to be cut! (If you don’t think you’re a good writer at all, check out this article on writing a book when you aren’t a good writer).

Whether you decide to get help with your outline or not, there are three main approaches to laying out your book and putting it all together.

There are a variety of ways to outline your book. Different methods suit different people, depending on factors like the topic of the book, the author’s familiarity with the topic, or the type of learning that appeals to the author (visual, linguistic, kinesthetic, etc).

Here are three ways to outline your book. Try them all, or choose the one you know suits you the best.

Book Outline Method 1: Note Cards

Do you have sticky notes all over your office?

Does physically doing an activity jog your memory to what you thought of the last time you did that activity?

Note cards appeal to people who like to physically touch and handle their thoughts. If you like the notion of shuffling your ideas around like cards in a deck, note cards might be the method for you.

How it works

Buy a package of colorful 3×5 index cards. You want at least three colors. The pastels are easier to read your writing on versus the extreme colors.

Assign colors for each of the three parts of a chapter:
Chapter Subject: The main point of the chapter.
Chapter Topics: 3-5 Topics that expand on the chapter subject.
Chapter Sub-Topics: 3-5 subtopics that expand on the chapter topics.

Take 12-15 note cards and write down an idea for a chapter on each card.  If you’re writing a book on running your first 5K, for example, chapter subjects might include:

  • Equipment,
  • Nutrition,
  • Myths,
  • Injury Prevention, and
  • Training Schedules.

Each subject would get its own card. Your introduction doesn’t count, so if one of your cards is your intro, make another chapter heading.

Once you have 12-15 note cards assess what you have. Do all of these subjects really need their own chapter? Can some of them be combined into one? If they can, staple those cards together. Ask yourself, if you have enough material to make an entire chapter out of a subject.

Then, find two note cards that don’t belong and toss them. Having a fat book is not as important as having satisfied readers. Keep your book fluff-free! There are almost always a couple of subjects you think should be in your book, but when you look at all the topics laid out you can see that they just aren’t meaty enough to be their own chapter.

Now you have the Chapters of your book.

Exciting, right? You can really begin to see the shape and structure of your book. Now, you need to add a little more meat to it.

Next, uncover your chapter topics.

Write out 3-5 cards that further explain each chapter subject. To go back to our 5K running example, for Injury Prevention you might add Stretching, Hydration, Gradual Increases in Speed, and Slow Increases in Distances.

Finally, add your last color coded cards. On these 3-5 cards you would come up with details for each subtopic. For example, under Stretching, you may talk about Yoga moves, when to stretch, how long to stretch, and the best stretches for dealing with shin splints.

The big benefit of this method is being able to manually move pieces around, see what topics don’t have enough cards, and reorganize quickly. However, be aware that you may lose a card! Be careful to keep them organized in one place – get a recipe card box to store them in and once you have them in order, put a number in the bottom corner of each card.

Book Outline Method 2: MindMap

Do you like to doodle? Do you connect two unrelated topics by making intuitive leaps that leaves everyone else scratching their head?

Mind mapping appeals to people who like to work visually and creatively. If you like the idea of moving your book topics around on a canvas, then mind mapping might be for you.

How it Works

While pen and paper can work, you’ll have a lot more flexibility if you use one of the many mind mapping software programs available on the internet. Many are free, like mindmeister.com and most are fairly intuitive. Using software allows you to make easy deletes, color code your selections and move things around with a click of your mouse.

Start with your title in the center.

As you think of Chapter Headings, create circles that connect to the center. As details and topics occur to you, place them in headings or subheadings.

Populate your map over several days, letting your mind explore all the possibilities.

Play with the map and see how many circles you can get from the center.

As you fill in circles on your map, notice if it gets to be lopsided. Does a chapter subject not have enough topics to support it? You may need to reorganize or combine.

Does one chapter have a whole bunch of topics? Maybe it should be split into two.

Make sure you have at least three levels of detail from the center of your map (see example). If you find some ideas have appeared on your mind map that aren’t really applicable to your book you may want to create a new mind map for marketing ideas or other business ideas. You can go back to them once your first draft is finished.

The Mind Map is really helpful authors who have lots of ideas but don’t necessarily come up with their ideas in any discernible order. It’s a great way to get all your thoughts onto paper and explore the topics you want to cover. However, be aware that a Mind Map can become a distraction if you lose focus easily. It can also be very overwhelming if you are someone who really likes to have things in order.

Book Outline Method 3: Bullet Point Lists

If you make to-do lists and automatically group items according to where or when you plan on executing them, listing probably comes naturally to you. If you are a linear thinker or if you already have a good sense of the chapter subjects and chapter topics, this is probably the most efficient method to use to outline your book. If you have a good sense of what steps 1, 2, and 3 are in your book, start here.

How it works:

  • Make a list of 10-12 bullet points that you want to discuss in your book.
  • Create 3-5 sub points for each subject
  • Write 3-5 words that will help you remember what each sub point means
  • Just like the instructions for the above two methods, evaluate the subjects and topics. Cut or reorganize bullet points that are duplicated, don’t have enough sub points or don’t make sense in the context of the entire book.
  • Reorganize the bullet points in an order that makes sense to you.

Example:

  • 5K Book
    • Equipment
      • Footwear
        • Importance of proper fitting
        • Pronate vs. Supinate
        • Arch support
      • Apparel
        • Breath-ability
        • Cotton is Rotten
        • Chaffing
      • Safety Gear
        • Lights
        • Reflective Wear
    • Nutrition
      • What your body needs while you run
      • What your body needs after you run
      • What to eat while you are training
    • Training Programs
      • 12-week
      • 10-week
      • 8-week
    • Injury Prevention
      • Stretching
      • Slowly increase speed
      • Slowly increase distance

 

Again, you can really see your book take shape when you do this and it’s probably exciting! You now have a map to overcome writers block before it ever starts.

Before you dive in and start writing there are a few other things you need to do though. The first is have someone else look at your book outline. Ideally it’s someone familiar with the subject or familiar with non-fiction book writing. Have them look at the outline to see if the flow makes sense to them. Do they feel anything is missing or too heavily covered? It’s your book, but another perspective is really important.

Once you feel confident you have the important details covered, identify research, stories, quotes and any other material you need to gather to write your book. Now you can sit down to write! Another day we’ll talk about the secret to finding time to write … but for now, you have one of the most important pieces covered – the topic you need to write about.


Every Book Launchers client works with a professional Writing Coach to help guide them through drafting an outline. The Coach then works side by side with the author to guide the writing, evaluate the content and keep the author on track. If you want to be the one that writes your book and you know you need some help and support, set up a call to tell us about your book. You could be a published author, selling your book and boosting your business in the next nine to twelve months. Service levels start at $399/month.

 

“But I don’t think I’m a good writer” – How to Write a Book When You’re Not a Writer

When I was a little girl I would race home from school to write stories at my bedroom desk. I loved writing. I wrote short stories, essays and even penned a ‘book’ about discovering Unicorns in the forest.

It was literally penned … home computers were rare when I was a young girl. My writing was all hand written in notebooks!

A few of my short stories were published. One of my essays won a contest for my age group.

Mostly though, my writing was not much better than your typical 8-10 year old’s work. But still, I started to dream about writing for a living.

Reality hit in Grade 10 English. I couldn’t get an A no matter how hard I tried. My work felt harshly criticized by my teacher. I was discouraged.

Grade 10 English Crushed My Dreams of Being a Writer

She was grading grammar and structure more than the actual writing, but to a teenage girl, it was enough to make me give up being a writer.

It took decades for me to come back to my dreams of writing a book. Even then, the writing wasn’t easy. And, I spent thousands of dollars to polish the books to the level of a professionally written book. But, the good news is, you don’t have to be a great writer to be a published author. You don’t even have to write the book yourself if you don’t want to.

There are so many options! All you really need is a great idea, a clear goal for writing the book, and the desire (and resources) to create a great product.

 

If you have dismissed the idea of writing a book because you don’t think you’re a good writer, here are seven tips to help you write the book anyway (And make it AWESOME!):

#1 – Start with a GREAT outline.

Whether you’re planning to dictate your book, hire someone to help write it, or pen the pages yourself, you need to be clear on what your book is about, and what you’re going to put in each chapter. This all starts with a great outline.

There are two main reasons why someone struggles to write a book after they’ve started. They either haven’t done enough research, or they are really clear on what they are writing about. A clear outline fixes the second part of the problem and will highlight the work that needs to be done in advance on the research.

I wrote both my books without a clear outline. I probably wasted three to six months of my time trying to figure out what to write about and writing sections that never went in the book.

Save yourself a lot of time and struggle and get clear on what your book is about, who it’s for, and what is going to be in each major section before you start writing.

If this sounds hard to do on your own … that’s because it can be! Get help … there are writer’s forums, coaches for hire, and of course, Book Launchers!

#2 – Don’t write if you hate it.

The cost of hiring a ghost writer, if you get a good one, can be north of $20,000 for a typical sized non-fiction book. I discussed the costs in more detail in this article on writing a book on a budget.

That said, you’re not stuck at your keyboard for hundreds of hours if you don’t want to write the book yourself. You can speak into a recorder and have someone else transcribe it.

Once you have a clear outline, you can spend your time talking through the material instead of typing.

The key, of course, is making sure you’ve got an excellent content editor on your team to help turn your spoken words into something that reads well too.

#3 -Book Writing is a Team Sport

If you want to produce a book that you’re proud of then you need to have professionals on your side. If you only hire a couple of key people it should be a copy editor, an interior designer, and a cover designer. These three people will cost you at least $3,000 to hire, but it will be the difference between a book that looks self-published and a book that looks like it could be sitting on the shelves of your favourite book store. You can decide what works for you and your goals, but my guess is that most people want a book that is comparable to the best selling books in their industry, not something that looks like it was designed at home and printed at Staples.

That take a team. Who should you have on your team, exactly? It depends on your goals, but when you work with Book Launchers, you have the following people on your team:

  • Writing Coach
  • Client Care Specialist (your personal project manager and PR support person for book launch marketing)
  • Content Editor (for Platinum Level)
  • Copy Editor
  • Proof Reader (for Platinum Level)
  • Interior Design Layout Pro
  • Cover Designer
  • Copy Writer.

You don’t need hired professionals for every one of these positions, but someone has to do the work of each of them if you write, publish and sell a book. If you’re not hiring the work out, it means you have to do it yourself or recruit a friend or family member!

#4 – Bring on Some Cheerleaders

Writing a book is a long process. I know there’s some people who teach you how to write a book in 30 days or publish a book in nine weeks, but when you’re trying to create a high quality book that you’re proud of, it can take six to twelve months (maybe longer!).

That’s a long time to stay committed to a project without some support.

My husband is incredibly supportive. He helps clear my schedule when I need time to get things done. He cheers me up when I am down. Despite this massive level of support at home, I’ve still found that I always need additional support in the form of coaches, mentors and mastermind groups. Peers pushing me to be better elevate my performance. The input and commentary of people who have more experience than I do saves me time and money. And, knowing that other people are counting on me to come through on commitments always gets me working over time to meet my goals.

You know yourself best. If you want to succeed in writing a book, you need to surround yourself with the people who will help you get it done!

#5 – Remember, ‘sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity’

It’s a big frickin’ deal to be a published author. Of course you want everyone to like your book. And, absolutely, you need to work hard to develop your concepts and present them in a manner that is engaging and educational. You should not publish a book that is unedited. Nor, should you settle for something that doesn’t represent you well.

But, at some point, you have to let it go.

It will never be perfect.

Publish it anyway.

#6 – Pursue a bigger goal than just ‘writing a book’.

A book requires a significant commitment of time, money and energy. It’s easy to start and not finish because it is so resource intensive.

Before you start, get clear on your bigger ‘Why’.

Do you have a greater mission that the book is tied to? For example, is your business helping people get in shape? Do you have a message around health and fitness that the world needs to hear? Perhaps you want to help families build more wealth so kids aren’t accumulating gigantic student loan debt before they are even 20 years old. Or, possibly, you want more people to know about your business and you know a book is a great way to spread the word about what you do.

Whatever the bigger reason … just be sure there is a bigger reason. That will get you out of bed on the mornings you have to write before your family is awake and it will keep you going when the editor suggests reworking three chapters when you thought you were done.

It’s also the secret behind marketing a book successfully … if you have a bigger why behind the book, you promote that why and not the book. The book is then sold as a by product of spreading your bigger, more important message.

#7 – Celebrate your successes.

More things in life should be celebrated. When you think you’re not a good writer, but you write a book anyway, you should be toasting yourself at many milestones.

It doesn’t mean you lose momentum … it just means you give yourself a pat on the back and re-engage for the next phase.

Some ideas of moments worth celebrating when you write a book:

  • Completion of the first draft,
  • Finalizing the manuscript,
  • The cover is designed,
  • You get the first proof copy in your hands,
  • The book is on the shelves at the store,
  • You sign your first book,
  • Your first copy is sold,
  • The media wants to talk with you,
  • 1,000 copies are sold.

The list could on and on … grab three that get you excited. Write them down. Write down how you’ll celebrate when they happen. Now … get to work on making it happen. If you need help, let us know.

 

How to Write a Book You’re Proud Of – Even on a Budget

In December 2016, the Huffington Post published an article titled ‘Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word?‘. The title sounds like click bait, but it wasn’t. The author loathes the idea that you – yes you! – can write a book, publish it, and have it for sale beside one of her traditionally published books. She says:

The problem with self-publishing is that it requires zero gatekeepers. From what I’ve seen of it, self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature.

She goes on to explain that every self-published book she’s ever read is trash and is only similar to a traditionally published book in that it has “words on pages inside a cover”.

The article went viral in the publishing communities – with most people being horrified, angry and disgusted at her archaic view. New York Times Bestselling authors who launched their careers by self-publishing shot her down quickly. Realizing she’d clearly made a huge mistake, she posted a sincere and pleading apology on her Facebook page and indicated that she’d asked the Huffington Post to take it down. Instead of removing it altogether, they allowed her to make a significant update to the original piece.

The new toned down piece is more neutral – calling for more controls over what can be published. She still says, “It shouldn’t be something that you can take up as a hobby one afternoon and a month later, key in your credit card number to CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing before sitting back waiting for a stack of books to arrive at your door.

But, is Laurie Gough, the author of the article, wrong about self-publishing?

She was wrong to paint all self-published books with the same brush – and she realizes this now. But, she wasn’t wrong in her assessment of many of the books that are self-published.

I’ve bought a lot of self-published books – even highly rated and well reviewed books – from Amazon. Sometimes I’m stunned at the poor quality. One book, on writing and marketing a book, lacked all the elements of an actual book. It did not have a copyright page, a bio or a table of contents. It was not professionally edited, it looked like it was typed on a basic word processor, and the cover was a stock photo with some text.

I was pretty disappointed with the book even though the content wasn’t too bad.

Today, you can write and publish a book without money, experience or anything to say. You can even get it to Amazon Bestseller Status without having any content in the book! Brent Underwood did it with his fake book, Putting My Foot Down.

You don’t have to spend much money at all to publish a book. There are so many free resources out there. With minimal effort and expense you can be selling your book on Amazon.

Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you should.

Do you want people to type your name into Google or Amazon and find out that you published something barely worthy of recycling?

My name is my most important asset and I want it associated with things I am proud of – especially published works! You probably should too.

How to Write a Book You’re Proud Of – Even on a Budget

First – start with the end in mind.

Why are you writing a book?

The first step to writing a book is to ask yourself why. There are a lot of very good reasons to write, publish, and promote a book, but knowing what your primary goal is before you set your budget is important.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you writing this book primarily to get the status of Best Selling Author?
  • Are you hoping to reach new potential clients?
  • Will you use the book to sell your product or service?
  • Do you have an important message to get out into the world?
  • Is it important that your book generate revenue directly (from book sales)?

You probably want to achieve all of the above, but you need to know what is most important. That will help you prioritize and make decisions.

When you know the answers, your budget choices come down to this question:

Do I spend money, or do I spend time?

Some stages of self-publishing require you to invest both time and money.

Often, however, you can choose to ‘do it yourself’ to save money, or you can hire help to save time. There’s always a price to pay – but when you understand the costs and choices involved you can better plan your budget.

Please note – unless you are publishing a very small book (less than 100 pages) you should be prepared to invest at least $3,000 into your book project to create a high quality product.

In most cases, you can expect to invest at least $5,000.

To create a high quality product, you will have to invest some money in hiring professionals to ensure it’s the best possible product you can produce. When you do that, you’ll find that it’s also far more likely to grow your business, build your brand, and establish your status as an industry expert.

Just remember:

There’s publishing a book on a budget … and there’s doing it for cheap.

How to write a book … the Book Launchers way! We break it up into 5 Phases that take you from Concept to Copies in Readers’ Hands:

1 – Pen to Paper: Writing Your Book

2 – Process

3 – Publish

4 – Platform

5 – Promote

If you want a complete guide to help you estimate the costs and plan your book publishing project on a budget, you can download this workbook:
Click Here to Get Your Workbook
It’s free.

Phase 1, writing your book, will be the focus of the rest of this article. We’ll cover Phase 2 and 3 in our next post. What you choose to spend on Phase 4 and 5 is really subjective. Editing, layout and design are required to create a book you’re proud of.  An author platform, PR, and other promotions are really dependent on your goals, the subject of your book and your resources.

To give your book the best chance of success, you should do some research before you start writing.

Consider:

  • Who will be buying your book? This is two parts – who is your ideal reader, and who is already reading books like the one you’ll write?
  • What books will you be competing with? This requires you to research the categories your book is most likely to fit in, and read some of the books that are tops in those categories. Then, you want to understand how you’re different and what need your book will fill that isn’t being filled right now.
  • How will you market your book? Do you have a strong author platform to promote your book to right now, or will you be relying on other sources? What book is most likely to appeal to the people in your current platform or in the other sources you are connected with?

Starting with a plan for marketing, the final product sets the entire book up for a greater chance of success. Doing this first also ensures that the material you write has a unique angle that will stand out to hungry readers.

With a strong foundation in place, you’re now ready to create a book outline.

If you have never written a book before, you may want to find someone who can help with this step. A writing coach or someone who has experience writing books. Or, perhaps, you’ll want to do some reading about what makes a great book outline. Reading a lot of books in your niche will also help you get familiar with outlines and formats. Then, you set aside the time to write a bit every day until you get your first draft complete.

BUT …

What if you don’t like to write?

Or, what if you’re not a good writer?

Or, you just can’t find the time?

How to Write a Book without Writing:

There are a lot of good reasons to write your book yourself.

Writing your book ensures that it’s your voice coming through the pages. Readers (future potential clients, business partners, and contacts) get to know you, trust you, and want to work with you when it’s your voice. And it helps you solidify your concepts, collect important business stories, and improve how you explain what you do. This is all useful in business. It also makes you a more interesting guest for media, podcasts and conferences.

However, you don’t have to write your book to become a published author. You can dictate your book and then work closely with editors to refine the work, or you can hire someone to write your book for you (a ghostwriter).

How to Dictate Your Book:

Once you have an outline of what will be in your book, it should be fairly easy for you to then record yourself talking about each chapter.

Imagine you’re explaining each section to your friend or a client. Record your voice using Voice Note on your iPhone, Garage Band on your Mac or Sound Recorder on a PC (or any other way you have to record an MP3 or audio file). You can then send those files to a low cost but high quality transcription service like Rev.com.

Once transcribed, read through it, fill in some gaps, and then hire a content editor. A great content editor will ensure that the material is coherent, complete, and communicates your message in an engaging manner. You’ll spend more on editing this way, but you could save a lot of time and pain if you’re really not into writing.

The cost of transcription will vary depending on the minutes of content created. Editing costs depend on how much work is required to refine the material. But, this is an option many time crunched authors are turning to. It’s often easier to talk for 30 minutes than it is to sit down and focus on writing for the same time.

Hire a Ghostwriter

Alternatively, you may wish to hire a ghostwriter to do all the heavy lifting for you. A great ghostwriter will write your book for you. To do that, they will conduct research, interview experts, and spend a lot of time interviewing you. They need to know you and your material so well they can write as though they are you.

This costs money!

A good ghostwriter is expensive (typically more than $10,000 for a standard sized non-fiction book). You’re not likely to hire a high quality one on Fiverr. You’ll need to get referrals and check references to make sure you’ve got one you’ll be happy with.

And, for many non-fiction authors, it’s a great option to get a book done.

There’s a great article on the process and costs  over at Jane Friedman’s website. There’s also a chapter on it in my book, The New Brand You (yes, that was a shameless plug!).

Writing your book will cost you time and money no matter how you choose to approach it. Writing it yourself will cost a lot more time and much less money, but hiring someone to help you will cost a lot more money and still take some time. It’s your choice.

Here’s some rough estimates of what you can spend, and how long it can take:

 

Item Cost Range Estimated Cost for a 200 Page Book Time to Complete
Research Book Category, Title, & Competition* $200-$800 $300 1 month
Writing the draft manuscript on your own 0 0 3 – 12 months
Writing Coach for outline support* $250-500 $300 1 week
Writing Coach for Accountability and Manuscript Creation* $500 – 3,000 $1,500 3 – 6 months
Transcription Service $1/minute $500 3 days
Content Editor for Transcribed Material* $30 – $60/hr. (can complete roughly 2-3 pages per hour) $3,000 3-6 weeks
Ghostwriter Wide Range Depending on Quality and Scope of Work. $5,000 and up $7,500 3-6 months

 

*Your Book Launchers membership includes some or all of these services (check your membership level to confirm what’s included).

If you’re investing time and money in writing a book, no matter what your budget, make it something you’re proud of. Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Make sure you have the right support to keep you moving forward. Most people need accountability and guidance. Many people start a book and never finish.

It can be a long journey if you do it alone. Plan to bring on some support in the form of an accountability partner, a writing coach or join a mastermind group for support.

If you want a guide to estimate the costs of entire process, grab the Self-Publishing on a Budget Workbook: