Joey Robert Parks - Wordsmith LLC (hedader)

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do You Charge?

My ghostwriting fees fall into one of four tiers*. Why not just one flat fee? It's like the classic Good-Fast-Cheap addage, "Choose any two. If you want it good (with high quality) and Fast (with normal, about eight months turn-a-round time), it won't be cheap. If you 1. I ghostwrite it ($40k - $65k)
2. I ghostwrite it and my interns** assist ($20k - $40k) 3. I coach you to write it and get it published ($350/1-hour session) 4. I make an exception***
(My company policy is to never turn away a potential client with the proper motivation and an idea I feel is worth writing and publishing, for lack of funds.) * In all tiers, you and I are behind-the-scenes partners on your book until it has been published, be that through traditional or self-publishing outlets. Why until published? Because there is really no such thing as a "final draft" until the book has been published and because I'm great at what I do and want my counsel and advice to assist and empower you all the way to your objective: a published, well-recieved book. ** My interns are 3.0 GPA or better journalism or creative writing college students from across the USA. They are eligeble to recieve school credit for their work with me. I mentor them on an individual basis and write reccomendations for them when they leave school and look for full time work. My goal is to educate them, inspire them, challenge them, and give them working experience they won't find anywhere else. To become one of my interns, they must pass a three phase serires of writing challenges and prove to me they are teachable, reliable, timely, and excellent written and verbal communicators. *** I'd be thinking the same thing you are, "Why must I do to get you to help me write and publish my book for that fourth tier?!?" Nothing. This tier is something I offer, but it is not something you get to choose. If and when a situation calls for it, I'll suggest it. I only take on one of these at a time, so if I currently have someone in this tier, I won't suggest it. However, I will still advise you on what I would do if I were in your situation. If you really want to write and publish your book, there is always a way. It's not due all at once. I require a retainer with a signed Agreement and then we divide the remaining portion equally over the anticipated number of months it will take to complete the book. Fee includes? All interviews, writing, editing, proofreading, book proposal, query letter, and publishing consultation (for self-publishing, finding a literary agent, and traditional New York trade publishing). If you're pursuing traditional publication, you'll have me as your consultant, coach, and I'll even pitch literary agents on our behalf (I'll always refer to you as the 'Author' and myself as the 'ghostwriter'). Once an agent is aquired and interested publishers reach out, they'll typically have suggested changes they'd like to see. You'll want me to make those changes for the same reason you hired me to ghostwrite your book in the first place. I only take on clients who I feel have a very good chance of getting published. In my mind, we're collaborators until your book is published. Should you decide to self-publish, I'll advise you until the final draft of your manuscript is completed. After that, you're welcome to hire me and my company, Liquid Gravity Publishing, to ghost-publish your book, or you can continue to use me as an advisor only.

NOTE: Acquring a literary agent and a traditional publisher cannot be guaranteed by anyone, no matter how many contacts in the industry they have. Regardless, in my 15-year ghostwriting career, I'm currenlty batting a hundred for all of my clients who've hired me to help them pursue traditional publication. My secret is reverse-engineering from what you want to where you are and choosing the most effecitve path; which is not necissarily the most common one.

What is the 1st Phase to Writing a Book and Getting it Published?

Phase 1

Discussing terms and signing an Agreement.

In this phase, probably the biggest component is finding out how well we communicate with each other. About 85% of the reason a ghostwriter and author work together is because they trust each other. That usually takes two or three meetings to establish that there is trust, confidence, and evidnece to show that the story you want to tell can be backed up by evidence. I routinely pass on projects that are excting, but which the author has no evidence to prove whatsoever. The other 15% of the reason a ghostwriter and author work together is based on the potential of getting an agent and publisher, how excited you and I are about the prospect, how much confidence you have in my expertise, track record, and my ability confident I am that you have enough content in you to put into a book. It’s also the time for you to ask me lots of questions and get answers.

Near the end of this phase, I'll quote my ghostwriting fee. There are generally three tiers in ghostwriting:

  • A ‘Craigslist’ level ghostwriter will typically charge between $5,000 and $15,000. If the writer is any good, he’ll have done a couple books, will have been writing for a few years, may have a book or two self-published, with nothing traditionally published. He will have had limited experience in the publishing world and is not very knowledgeable about publishing and the pros/cons between self-publishing and traditional publishing.
  • A ghostwriter who's written a couple dozen books, with one or two published traditionally, is a second level ghostwriter. This writer is very good, very knowledgeable, and an all-round professional. She generally charges between $25,000 and $65,000. A few have the potential to be a New York Times best-selling ghost, but haven't had their "break" yet.
  • Ghostwriters like this are essentially level two ghosts, but they've had a New York Times best-selling or #1 book ghosted. They generally have books of their own published traditionally as well, either in fiction or non-fiction. They charge $75,000 to to about $150,000. There are always exceptions, which is where you here about the over $200,000 amounts.

What is the 2nd Phase to Writing a Book and Getting it Published?

After an Agreement has been signed and a Retainer is in place, the 2nd Phase begins. This is the Writing Phase. This is what my ghostwriting process looks like from a 50,000 foot view:
You and I talk once every two weeks, for an hour or more each time. This is the part of the process where I listen to you tell your stories, thoughts, and ideas. One hour at a time, you talk about whatever’s on your mind—your personal and business history, relationships that were important to get you where you are today, ideas you’ve never told anyone, thoughts on mentoring those who can learn from your expertise and experiences, business and personal victories, and of course, I’ll want to hear all about your fears—past and present—and those intangible fears that at some point have kept you from reaching your dreams. For most clients, I’ll need up to 40 hours of interviews. We’ll also spend some time talking about how best to structure the material. Is this a chronological tale, a book of ideas, or something more challenging like a theme-based memoir? We talked about it being a combination of a how-to, a memoir, and a book to inspire and be positive. We’ll work out all the details. Is there other material we can draw on, such as speeches, or stories from people who know you best, or photographs? Then we start the writing process. This is where I turn that mishmash of stories, notes, and conversations into a cohesive narrative so good that it’s impossible for the reader to put down. You and I will send drafts back and forth until the story structure and tone and pacing is just right. I’ll walk you through every phase and even though I’ll do the heavy lifting, you’ll need to commit time to reading and commenting on my chapter drafts, and later, the full book drafts. But that’s really the most time you’ll spend on it besides the interviews. You’ll enjoy it the whole way. Our goal is irresistible innovation, education, entertainment, and inspiring the reader. I’m unlikely to settle for anything less, partly because I know you won’t either.

What is the 3rd and Final Phase to Writing and Getting a