And they're usually not going to get any credit for that service either.
So how do ghostwriter's stay in business if they're going to write for clients and get no byline credit for it?
Well, they have to charge the client for the work.
I always charge on a per-project basis.
I've tried charging by the word or by the page, but those projects never panned out, so I'm sticking with what has worked.
To charge by the project, I'll start with a free consultation. I talk with the client about what they want, deadlines, available material, research, etc.
This free consultation, which lasts about thirty minutes, is to get an idea of the full scope of the project. Determining the full extent of the project will help avoid "scope creep" and other common issues. Now, not every problem is avoidable, but with a little foresight, we can save ourselves some headache.
I then estimate how long the project will take and break it down from there. That's how I come up with the project fee.
I don't demand the full fee upfront, or half now and half later.
I do in payments.
Usually, my projects run six, eight, or sometimes even twelve months long. So I charge by the month with payment due on the first of the month. Once I get that first payment, work begins.
For example; say I consult with the client, you, and I determine I'll need about six months to complete a project that has some interviewing, transcribing, and research involved. That's going to take a lot of time, and if I'm to commit my energy and resources to it, I won't be able to do other work. Since it's technically freelance, I'll be paying taxes on it out of my pocket.
These factors must be considered for every project.
I'll ballpark it around $30,000. That comes out to $5,000 a month.
I do it this way to ensure the client doesn't have to pay it all at once or in batches and to ensure there's money coming in over the life of the project.
I understand that this may be a sticky situation for some and I've had potential clients walk away at this point before. Though that hurts, I have to let them go because I can't afford to work for sub-average fees. I have children to take care of, a mortgage, car, and other living expenses.
While I do love ghostwriting, and helping people tell stories, I can't do it for free or for payment later on.
Maybe in the future I can take on some pro-bono clients, but not at the time I'm writing this.
Listen to the Chirp I recorded on this topic.
And then get to writing!