Prospective clients ask me, “What’s the difference between a writing coach and a ghostwriter?” There are many differences ranging from the amount of time either invests in a writing project, the amount of actual writing done, and the costs for services, to name a few.
Writing coaches work with the client to help develop the book theme, outline, and a content plan. The writing coach helps the client, who is the writer, set and achieve writing goals for a period of time during which the coach is hired. To clarify, the client is the actual writer. The range of services the writing coach offers differs based on each coach and each client’s needs or wants. Sometimes the services are for preliminary work to get the client started. Sometimes a coach will assist with research. Some coaches will edit work as it progresses.
A ghostwriter also works with the client to develop the book’s theme and format, but then gets the stories and other content out of the client. A ghostwriter can do and/or verify all the research. The ghostwriter can be responsible for finding or developing any supporting documentation necessary for the book. Then the ghostwriter compiles all the content and writes the book from front cover to back cover. There are possible ways to reduce costs, for instance, the client may conduct and present all research, photographs, drawing, and supplemental materials to the ghostwrite for use in the book.
The bottom line is the bottom line varies based on the amount of time the writing coach or ghostwriter spends working with that client on the specific project.
Most ghostwriters charge an initial fee up front and the balance is paid at different percentages of completion along the way. Charges are by the word, by the hour, by the finished page, and some are a combination of these. A ghost writer may charge a flat fee up front and then a price per word or finished page once completed. A charge, for instance, by the word may range from five or ten cents a word. A charge by the finished page may vary from $75 to $200 dollars per page.
Ghostwriters charge more than a writing coach because there is more of a time investment and the expense can be up to four or five times what a writing coach charges:
For example, a ghostwriter may charge anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000 for a fully written manuscript depending on many factors.
A writing coach may charge based on a time frame of work, a 90-day contract:
For example, the writing coach may charge about $1,000 to $5,000 a month to coach the process.
Another consideration is that a ghostwriter is just that: A ghost. Their role in the book writing is invisible. The ghostwriter’s involvement is known to no one other than the writer and maybe the editor and/or publisher. A writing coach’s recognition can range from written credit on the inside front cover, or thanks in an acknowledgment, to serving as a co-author.
A co-author role is more involved than a writing coach’s role, but less involved than a ghostwriter, possibly. A co-author could also be a ghostwriter with full visibility. The co-author gets front cover billing. For example, most readers are familiar with books “written by” famous sports figures, actors, and politicians with ______. The celebrity’s name brings in sales for the book because after all it is their story, but they don’t know how to write a cohesive, sellable book.
The difference between hiring a ghostwriter and hiring a writing coach boils down to the answering these questions: How much writing do you want to do yourself? A little or a lot. How much money do you want to invest in getting the books written? A little or a lot. Of course, there are many other questions that need addressing, but I think these get to the heart of the matter.