Ghostwriting FAQs

Ghost Dog


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

Who hires ghostwriters?

You might anything between a concept and a basic story, but you don’t have the time, the skills, or the inclination to write the book yourself. A ghostwriter is a professional who writes the book for you. You want a story written in your voice and you want help.

That’s where I come in.

How does this process work?

We have an initial two-hour interview by Zoom to discuss your vision of the book as whole. I produce a 10-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 50-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 with you.

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

Because it’s your concept, your protagonist, your fictional world. The fifty-page summary will even have the ending, which you 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, in a crime novel, will you want dark cop-like humor to break up the adrenaline? In science fiction, do you want to make up a conlang (like Klingon) or do you want to just signal that the characters are speaking in the language of your alien speaker? Does the protagonist have a temper problem or is the protagonist well adjusted?

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 it needs to be rewritten entirely.

How long does this take?

It will take anywhere from 6 to 8 months for a 100,000-word book.

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 with 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 100,000-word 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 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 $30,000 for a manuscript of this length—in installments. I charge 30 cents a word for for shorter manuscripts.

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.

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.

In part, this nondisclosure clause says this:

Ghostwriter agrees not to disclose to any parties her role in the creation of the book without the express written consent of Client.

Exceptions: Ghostwriter may disclose Confidential Information to third parties under any one or more of the following circumstances: (i) upon the express written consent of Client; (ii) as required by law; (iii) to notify the appropriate authorities or parties of any imminent risk to the safety or property of Ghostwriter, Client, or third parties; or (iv) for use in Ghostwriter’s defense to any cause of action arising from this Agreement.

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. You’re going to have to market the book. You’ll want to talk to a marketing consultant. Marketing will take a long time. For example, Andy Weir, who wrote The Martian, first had a blog with an audience, then he posted his book on his blog for free. Then he uploaded the book to Amazon and sold it for 99 cents a copy. Once it established a track record of sales, a traditional publisher bought it and the rest is history.

What about finding an agent?

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. If you choose to look for an agent, I might be able to refer you to someone who can help with those steps. That’s outside my practice area.

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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