I’d like to take credit for this one, but I heard it from another ghostwriter and decided to appropriate it and regurgitate it my own inimitable fashion. To the original author: Thank you, whoever you are, and apologies for not giving you full and personal credit on your creation.

Question: How much does a ghostwriter cost?

I get this question nearly every day. One major factor when I quote prices concerns the scope of work. With some jobs, I’m asked to do far more than on others. But still, as a rule of thumb, all things being equal and assuming the job in question is the creation of one complete, full-length book … how much does a ghostwriter cost?

Answer: About the same as a car.

Here’s how so:

What kind of car do you get for $0 to $5,000? A car that will likely not even make it from the lot to your house in one piece. So, too, a ghostwriter. A writer quoting this price is likely to not even speak English as a first language (or even second), and/or probably has never written a book in his or her life. Buyer should SERIOUSLY beware.


$5,000 to $10,000? MAYBE the car will get you home, but I wouldn’t expect much more from it. This writer might speak English, but has likely never written a book before or wrote one that was really bad. You’d probably be better off writing for yourself.

$10,000 to $20,000? Car should run. It’s not a great car, but it’s functional, which is also what you can expect from the writing. A semi-experienced writer who’s somewhat decent, perhaps. Maybe a young writer who will one day be great, but that’s always a risk, since it can go either way.

$20,000 to $35,000? A good, solid, safe, domestic automobile. So, too, the writer—good, solid, and safe. Shouldn’t embarrass you. Should be capable of presenting you with multiple published work samples and referrals. At this price, should have written a number of good books.

$35,000 to $50,000? Entry-level luxury. This should be a very good writer with many, many published credits, a nice number of substantive referrals, and probably some industry contacts.

$50,000 to $75,000? Unquestionable luxury. This is a real writer’s writer; someone who makes their living writing books and will be an irreplaceable asset to your project. He or she will not only have numerous publishing credits and glowing referrals, but should definitely have numerous industry contacts—literary agents, editors at publishing houses, publicists, etc., which will help your book immensely.

$75,000 to $100,000+? Lamborghini. The top 1%. Best sellers. A ghost whose name can enhance your name when it is attached to your project. Sit back, relax, and let the car drive you anywhere you want to go. Luxury only a few can afford, but worth it.