Ghostwriter: A Typical Book Project

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An architect would like to write a book to help boost her business. You interview her and look at her previously completely projects. Impressed, you agree to ghostwrite it with her. She offers you half the royalties, but you insist on a flat fee—most books earn little in royalties. You negotiate a flat fee of $35,000.

Next, you collaboratively develop a list of chapters and a rough outline of each. Over the next week, you spend eight hours a day watching her work and interviewing her to elicit how she came to be an architect, how she has evolved, compelling insights, success stories, tales of failure, and her hopes, worries, and predictions.

After you're sure you have more than enough content to fill two good books, you spend the next three months actually writing the book. You E-mail her each chapter for comment.

Next, it's time for the big read: She reads the whole book and asks for more changes, only half of which you agree with. Your most stressful session is in trying to disabuse her of those, but you often end up having to swallow hard.

Finally, you try to help her get the book published, but she's unable to even get an agent, let alone a publisher. So, you refer her to a service that helps people self-publish print-on-demand and E-books, and then you're off to find your next project.