Your story, your writer

Figuring Out Your Costs

There are a few matters to consider when figuring out the possible costs for writing your book.

What is an average size book?

An average size book in genres like memoirs, family histories, self-help, psychology and so on runs about 65,000 to 75,000 words.

Imagine a finished book that is 6 inches wide and 9 inches long. At 65,000+ words, the book would contain about 250 pages.

  Called a "trade paperback," a book with those format
  dimensions is a standard size in the publishing industry
  where good quality paper and cover stock are used for
  books that readers would cherish and want to keep.

  At the same time, many successful, bestselling books have
  run from 125 to 200 pages and are often presented in
  smaller formats.

How many hours does it take to write an average length book?

A book of 65,000 to 75,000 words (around 250 to 300 pages in a 6"x9" format) may require about 400 to 700 hours to complete (more or less), but there are many variables that affect how long the project may take and cost.

The variables include content complexity, author availability, author's previous writings to be blended into the book, number of interviews, research, fact-checking, author review of drafts, preparation of transcripts, selection of photographs (if any), and so on.

In particular, historical or current affairs books that require a great deal of research and fact-checking would take longer to write than straightforward memoirs. Having said that, I estimate that an uncomplicated book manuscript would take about 6 to 7 months to complete, but more complex books could take longer. I mean, the 1,440 page epic masterpiece War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy was not written in a few months. (It took him 72 months using a feather quill and ink).


Okay, War and Peace is fiction. We hope it is, anyway. But the nonfiction book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer, a 1,280 page monster, took the author more than 15 years to write.


I promise you that I will not take that long writing your book!

Estimating costs

Most ghostwriters work on an hourly basis, particularly for books that require lots of research and fact-checking, or where not all the elements are known at the beginning of the project.

I charge $50 per hour and prefer this arrangement as it allows you the flexibility and freedom for changing your mind and adding new elements during the writing process without us having to redefine the parameters of your writing project.

As we would be in constant contact, authors can easily track my progress and hours.

During our free consultation, I would estimate the number of words I expect in your finished book manuscript. That would give us a general idea what your project could cost, not including unforeseen changes or additions. Here are a couple of examples of how costs may break down:


Example 1. For example, let's say that your book is an uncomplicated memoir. And we estimate it will likely be the typical 65,000 to 75,000 words (around 250 to 300 pages in a 6"x9" format). We can multiply 400 hours x $50 per hour and come up with a tentative completed project amount of $20,000. The final amount depends on the variables mentioned earlier, as well as expenses, if any.

Example 2. In our initial free consultation, we may decide that your book would be around 50,000 words (180 to 200 pages in a 6"x9" format) or even 38,000 to 45,000 words (about 150 pages in a 6"x9" format) and take less time to write than the standard size--and therefore cost less.

For instance,
38,000 to 45,000 words (about 150 pages) may cost about $8,000 to $10,000 to write, depending on the amount of research required and other variables.

Payments. It's impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all estimate. Your book is as unique as you are, and in order to estimate its costs we must discuss your ideas, hopes and dreams for your project. Payments would begin with a retainer to start and then periodic advances as I incur hours.

Funding your project. It's best if you have already funded your project or have acquired a source of funding for the term of the project, as we do not want delays once the writing process has begun.

When would you like to start?

When you contact me, be sure to say when you would like to start your project. I'd be happy to send you a mutually-beneficial Ghostwriting Agreement.

As my time is in demand, and human cloning hasn’t been perfected yet, a signed Ghostwriting Agreement and retainer are required to place you on the schedule. Please reserve time for your book writing project as soon as possible.

Sample of Allen's writing: What's my style?

When ghostwriting books, I write in the author's "voice." I use the author's words from interviews, transcripts and conversations. Sometimes people ask me what my style is. My style is different in every book, as it captures the essence of the author, the way the author speaks, thinks and dreams. Examples are at:

                                           CopShock                        Gifts My Father Gave Me                Just Plain Dorothy
                                   by Allen R. Kates                  by Sharon Knutson-Felix           by Dorothy H. Finley


 Purchase these books at

            “I feel safe, believed and respected in exposing my heart,soul,
             and mind on paper to Allen. He is astute and honest in his
             comments and suggestions, filling me with encouragement 
             belief in my ability to write a horrifying story beautifully.”

                 —Dawn Rafferty, memoir in progress


Contact Allen

To estimate how long your book may take to write and its cost, please contact me. Your consultation is free and everything we discuss is confidential. Click here to connect.

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