Today, you can turn an ebook into a print book at a few clicks of your mouse. Perhaps that’s the reason that writers are finding that their book ghostwriting services are getting lots of attention.
An aside… If you’ve opened your KDP Dashboard recently you’ll see a “+Create Paperback” link next to the info on each of your titles. KDP Print has arrived. (No, I have no idea what differentiates this from Createspace.) End aside.
Your book ghostwriting services: charge what you’re worth
So… what are you worth? 🙂
A competent ghostwriter will charge upwards of $25,000 per book. If you’re just starting out as a writer, you may feel that this is an enormous sum. If you’re a professional writer however, you know that this is low for a project which might take you six months — and longer, if the client becomes temperamental.
Of course you’ll have other projects running concurrently, but book projects take time. Book projects also have an opportunity cost. That is, if you’re writing someone else’s book, you’re not writing your own, nor are you taking on client work which might pay more.
A common question I receive from writers is: “How do I get good book ghostwriting clients?” Those hapless souls find themselves being offering $500 book ghosting gigs.
The challenge here is your website and marketing: investigate your positioning, because you’re not attracting the clients you need to attract.
Let’s have a look at my best tips.
1. Qualify your prospects: hello, goodbye
Qualifying your prospective clients is vital. If a client is looking for a $500 ghostwriter, he’s not going to pay you $25,000. It doesn’t happen. Sometimes writers contact me after they’ve built up a freelance client list on the likes of outsourcing sites and Fiverr. They want these clients to “pay me more.” Nope. They won’t.
Here’s some excellent advice from: “Are They Worth It? 26 Qualifying Questions to Ask Prospects”
“They don’t make money by deluding themselves they can change a prospect’s stripes. Prospects are what they are. Get the facts. Size them up and eliminate. Move on.”
Time is literally money. You can’t afford to mess around with people. Use the insights that people give you (unknowingly) when they ask about your book ghostwriting services. Your aim is to disqualify as many prospects as possible, as fast as possible, so you can get back to writing.
Put your briefing form online, and at a minimum, check out enquirers on the Web. If the prospect doesn’t give you a detailed project brief, and has no website, no Facebook, no LinkedIn… No budget… Chances are good that this prospect isn’t for you. Be kind, and professional, and offer them alternatives; send them to one of the outsourcing websites.
2. Use templates for every single thing, including marketing, interviewing, and your writing processes
Templates are easy to create, and they save time. Make it a habit to create templates for everything you do. Keep your templates in Evernote, or Trello, so you can access them from your phone.
3. Ghostwriting is a craft, and a job, AND it’s easier than it’s ever been
Today, ghostwriters have brilliant tools, like Basecamp to keep your projects on track, Skype to record your interviews, and voice recognition software, so that you can get more writing done, faster.
When writers ask me how to get started ghostwriting books, my first and most important tip is: WRITE BOOKS. Your own books are your best advertisement for what you can do. If you write books, you can write books for clients.
Keep in mind: your ghostwriting is secret. Your name never appears on the books you write for clients, and you can’t use ghostwritten books to promote your services. Occasionally a client is willing to give you credit with an “as told to” or whatever on the cover… BUT they always want you to reduce your fee in exchange for the credit. Stick to your guns, and get your fee. Ghostwriters are invisible, and that’s fine. We get the fun of writing the book, and the money. 🙂
Relationships matter in ghostwriting. My first ghostwriting commissions were offered to me because I was writing for tech magazines, and had written business books for Prentice Hall. Acquisitions’ editors got to know my name, and offered me gigs.
Once you get into ghostwriting, you’ll find that gigs are everywhere, and you’ll gradually become known for what you do. People will pass your name around. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need to market — you do. See our final tip.
When you’re marketing, keep our first tip in mind too: always qualify your prospects. People who want books under their name are willing to pay for it.
4. Get paid: get a deposit, and use milestone payments
A book takes time to write. Initially, you’ll need to spend a lot of time with the client. You need to do interviews and discussions before you can start writing. Chances are, you’ll also need to do some research.
You should get a deposit up front. Aim for a deposit of 30% of the total fee before you start on the project. Then add milestones into the project. If you estimate a project will take you three months, you need milestone payments at the end of the first and second months, and the final payment at the completed first draft stage.
Be clear on what you want and when, and add everything into the contract. Should your client need more (graphics or marketing services, for example), charge additional fees for those services.
5. Keep your client pipeline full: market every day
Don’t stop marketing your book ghostwriting services once you’ve got a gig. If you’re a full-time writer, you need to be working on at least two books at any one time. This means that you need to market your services consistently. People need to know about your services before they’ll hire you.
Do some marketing every day, no matter how busy you are. Spend ten to 20 minutes a day marketing, and you’ll soon have a full pipeline, and a waiting list of clients.
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