Skip to main content

Strawberry season is winding down here in Western New York, so I ran out this morning in the hope of getting some freshly picked strawberries for the weekend.

I had the option to pick my own, at a cost of $3.25/quart, or pay for just-picked berries at $8.00/quart.

I opted to buy already picked and after paying $16 plus tax, I was in and out of the farm stand in under 10 minutes.

Some of you may wonder why I was willing to pay nearly $10 more than if I had just picked some myself. A few may even consider that unwise or wasteful.

I’m all for saving money, but the time it would have taken for me to pick my own was not worth it. It would have taken 5 minutes to be taken out to the field by tractor, 15-20 minutes to pick the strawberries, and 5 minutes to be brought back to the cashier. That’s a solid 30 minutes, not to mention the exposure to sun and 90-degree heat.

In 30 minutes of work, I can easily earn way more than $10. It doesn’t make sense for me to pick my own strawberries unless I enjoy the process (spoiler alert: in 90-degree heat, I do not).

Which brings me to my first point about hiring a ghostwriter.

Many business leaders, experts, consultants, and speakers are very capable of writing their own books. I can say the same about every single one of my past clients. You, too, are likely articulate and able to write down your ideas and thoughts.

The first question to ask is, is it the best use of your time?

For all of my previous clients, the answer has been no. No, it did not make sense for them to spend days or months writing their books. Instead, they earned far more money by staying focused on their job and paid me to tell their stories and explain their concepts while they continued to earn a paycheck.

In addition to considering the time you’ll save by outsourcing the drafting of your book to a professional, you should also consider the value being created through the creation of a published book. Will you be able to qualify for a promotion? New business opportunities? Will your sales cycle shorten or will your conversion rate to close new clients increase?

If a ghostwriter quotes you, say, $100k to write and edit your book over the course of six months and in that time you will earn more than $100k, it does not make sense for you to pause work and write a book. Working on your book is not the best use of your time.

And even if a ghostwriter quoted you $75k, if the value to be created by being able to call yourself author is more than $75k over the next few years – putting aside the money you’re making while the book is being written – it’s probably worth doing.

Another factor to consider is quality. Even if you had the time, can you draft a manuscript that is of publishable quality? Unless you’ve written other books, the answer is probably “no.”

The second question to ask is, am I a skilled writer who understands the publishing process?

Again, my clients have said no.

Many have been excellent writers and some have been able to hand over terrific background notes for us to start with. However, even with writing skills, without familiarity with all your publishing options and the process itself, taking on the responsibility of writing can become a big investment of time.

Without publishing expertise, it is very easy to spend money on services you don’t need or to head down a publishing path that does not make sense given your book and purpose for writing it. That can cost you both time and money.

That’s where an experienced ghostwriter can recommend how to proceed and connect you with resources to help you make the best decision for you.

What you don’t want to have happen is to write your book – with or without a ghostwriter – and when it’s done ask, “What do I do now?”

Some of you may be thinking, “I like writing, so I can probably write my book myself.”

And you may be right.

If you love to write and have received feedback that it is publication-worthy, you may very well be able to write your own book.

What I would ask, however, is, will it be as strong as if you’d partnered with a professional writer? Only you know the answer, and it could certainly be “yes.”

In that case, you don’t need a ghostwriter, you need an agent.

But for everyone else who wants to become an author and who doesn’t have the time or the skill or the interest, a writing partner/ghostwriter can make sure that your manuscript helps you reach your goals.