Ghostwriting FAQs

Ghost Dog


I ghostwrite crime thrillers, dystopian fiction, science fiction, speculative fiction, police procedurals, true crime, and memoirs written by first responders, police officers and detectives, healthcare professionals, and prosecutors.

Preliminarily, I do not use any form of AI in my work, nor do I accept AI-generated work. I include these policies as terms in my service agreement.

Who hires ghostwriters?

You might have a concept, a basic story, or some notes, but you don’t have the time, the skills, or the inclination to write the book yourself. A ghostwriter is a professional who will write the book for you—not in the ghostwriter’s voice, in your voice.

As your ghostwriter, I leave none of my footprints on your story.

How does this process work?

We have an initial two-hour interview by Zoom (or phone, or any other platform but Skype), to discuss your vision of the book as whole. I produce a ten-page outline and send it to you. If desired, you make additions, changes, or comments to the outline.

We then have further interviews totaling about four hours to further discuss your concept of the book and your thoughts on the outline. After this, I produce a fifty-page summary of the book. Then you make any additions, changes, or comments.

I then start working.

Whose book is it?

Yours. You supply as much information as you can and then you and I work out the rest. You’ll see a portion of the book in process so you can give feedback.

If you’re doing all the writing, how is it my book?

Because it’s your concept and story. The fifty-page summary will even have the ending, which you will work out with me. If you don’t know how it should end, I can help with that too. Also, when we’re talking, I’m going to be paying very close attention to how you talk and will incorporate that voice into the book.

Oh, no! Don’t do that!

Okay, then we’ll talk about it. In fact, we’re going to talk about it anyway. For example, will you want dark humor to break up the adrenaline? How much gore? And what about strong language? Is it serious or sad? But my recommendation, generally speaking, is for the book to sound as much like you as possible.

Can I give you what I’ve written so far?

Sure! But understand that not all of it will necessarily end up in the completed book. In fact, none of it might.

If I give you what I’ve written so far, will that make it cheaper?

That depends. I’ve gotten manuscripts that have so many issues with submitted content that they need to be rewritten entirely.

How long does this take?

It will take anywhere from six to eight months, depending on length.

What about content restrictions?

I will not ghostwrite the written equivalent of a snuff film or books containing

  • graphic descriptions of violence against children or animals
  • graphic descriptions of sexual contact with children or animals
  • a protagonist who gleefully tortures anyone.

If an evil character does any of the acts described above, they will have to take place “offstage,” and if these acts are intended to be portrayed in a good light, you’re going to have to find another ghostwriter.

I will also not ghostwrite any content that would put me on the radar of the Secret Service or any other law enforcement agency, so if your protagonist is going to assassinate a real named individual, not only will I decline the project, but I may have to notify the appropriate authorities.

This is not a complete list.

What do I get?

You will get back a book with chapter titles that are basically a brief summary of the events in that chapter.

If you hit Ctrl + F, those chapters and chapter headings will show up on the left of your screen on the Navigation pane, so you will have a bird’s-eye view of the whole book.

This will help you with your revisions.

Those chapter titles should be deleted after you’re done. Generally, chapters should not be titled unless you’re really attached to the idea. The reader will see where you’re going as they read.

In order to make sure that everything’s happening in the right order at the right time and that the given events can all happen within the time period stated in the book, I make a calendar. I can send that to you too, if you want.

How much does this cost?

I charge 30 cents a word. For a 100,000-word novel, this amounts to $30,000.

Isn’t that a lot?

No, actually that fee is on the low end. Some ghostwriters can command ten times that.

Can you edit it afterward?

The book will need to be edited. All books do. But while I recommend that you have the book edited, this editing will have to be done by another professional. I can give you some names or you can find an editor on your own.

Editing and writing are two different tasks, and no writer can edit their own work. In fact, my own police procedural/science fiction crossover, A Million Monkeys, is currently on the (virtual) desk of an editor.

If the editor makes changes, does this mean you did a bad job?

No. Every author’s book has been edited. You just haven’t seen the original manuscript.

Will your name go on the cover?

Not unless you and I agree ahead of time that this will happen. If you choose to go ahead and put my name on the cover, that’s up to you, but my service agreement contains a nondisclosure clause.

It does contain four exceptions.

I may disclose any information of and concerning the performance of this Service Agreement to third parties under any one or more of the following circumstances: (i) upon the express written consent of Author; (ii) as required by law, including pursuant to a subpoena or search warrant directed to me; (iii) to notify the appropriate authorities or parties of any imminent risk to the safety, liberty, or property of myself, Author, or third parties, or (iv) for use in my defense to any cause of action arising from this Service Agreement.

I determine what is imminent.

Can I put your name in the acknowledgements?

Why not?

What about copyright and all that stuff?

Once you pay me in full, you get 100 percent of the rights and I get zero.

What about royalties?

My service agreement excludes my getting royalties.

Is my book going to be a best seller?

No one has control over whether a book is going to be a best seller. In order to sell more copies than you have family members, you will have to market the book. This is true whether you self-publish or try to sell it to a traditional publisher. There are whole Facebook pages devoted to marketing books. There are many paths to marketing, but it will have to be done.

What about finding an agent?

Agents can get almost 3,000 submissions a year. Approximately 14 million books are produced every year. Agents can’t take on every good book because there are only twenty-four hours in a day. There are also only so many traditional publishing houses, and they can’t take every agented manuscript. For traditional publishing houses, profit margins are slim, and they aren’t willing to take too many risks on new authors. Even if a traditional publisher accepts the manuscript, they aren’t going to do a lot of flashy marketing on your book without more. So you’re still going to have to market anyway.

I plan to self-publish my own book, since I’m going to have to market it anyway. In fact, I’m not even sure I plan to market it. That’s as much work as writing the book itself—if not more so.

How do I get started?

Contact me and we’ll talk!

Contact Me Now

You can either call me directly, send me an email, or submit an inquiry via this contact form.

Either way, your information stays secure (see my privacy policy). You can expect to receive a response from me within one to two business days.

I look forward to talking with you.

(480) 421-8922

What not to send me through the contact form:

  • Your credit card number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your social security number
  • Your bank information
  • Any records that contain any of the above information

Thank you for your cooperation.

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