Ghostwriting: When Can You Expect Your Book to Be Ready?

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Talk With a Ghostwriter

Are you a company owner who doesn’t have enough time to write business guides? Do you struggle to jot down your thoughts and produce a riveting book on your own? If so, hiring a ghostwriter may be an excellent choice for you. 

Ghostwriters work behind the scenes to write your book for you based on your ideas, thoughts, materials, style, and voice, ensuring that it gets written professionally and on time. Ghostwriters help people cement their legacies through the written word. If you’re looking for high-quality memoir ghostwriting, check out our services.

There’s one question every ghostwriting client asks: “When will my book be ready?” There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The best one we can offer is “It depends.”

What factors affect the timeline?

The time required to ghostwrite a book depends on a myriad of factors. We understand that you may have a specific deadline for launching your book, or you may be eager to get it out on bookshelves as soon as possible. However, you should keep in mind that there’s so much more to the process of ghostwriting than just writing your book. For starters, the ghostwriter needs to understand what you want, what your story is, and what you’re like since they need to infuse your voice in their writing. 

The ghostwriter and the client first conduct a meeting to discuss how to proceed with the project. During this conversation, they learn about each other’s expectations and can decide how much time to allot. In the initial meeting, the client may provide the first draft of their manuscript or just share the ideas they want to include. If the client has already crafted an outline or a first draft, the ghostwriter may be able to start sooner assuming they deem the outline or the draft acceptable. However, this will likely require lots of editing as the first draft is never the final one. 

When presented with just a few scattered ideas, a ghostwriter will have to conduct research. This process involves diving deep into the details of the subject, collecting adequate information, and fleshing out a suitable writing style (if the client hasn’t mentioned what kind of tone they want to be used). Interviews take a lot of time. If the client can’t express their vision clearly or the writer can’t quickly grasp the client’s desires, the writing process may be delayed. Another factor is the client’s schedule—if they can’t easily set aside time to talk with the ghostwriter, they’ll be holding back the process.

It’s important to note that the size of the project also makes a huge difference: it’s one thing to write an 80,000-word novel and quite another to pen an 800-word blog post. Also, the longer the book, the more editing and proofreading it will require. Some books may need several rounds of edits and a plagiarism check, which will involve lots of feedback and revisions. Finally, the document has to be proofread, which also takes time. If your book is long, temper your expectations for the deadline accordingly. 

So, how long does it take to ghostwrite a book?

The time spent ghostwriting a book is often around three to 12 months, sometimes even longer. Five to six months is probably an ideal amount of time to spend on the writing phase. This timeframe doesn’t include the publication phase, which is notoriously slow, and the editing and proofreading process can extend this period by up to a year or more. Some ghostwriters can complete projects in three to five weeks flat, but this is extremely exhausting for them. Three to five weeks is rarely a reasonable timeline if the project is large as the ghostwriter will be rushed to get the job done in time. It’s really only viable when you have an extremely important deadline to meet (perhaps spurred by current events), and you’ll have to pay a hefty sum to incentivize the ghostwriter to spend nearly every waking minute of their day on your book.

To create an excellent book, the ghostwriter and the client should develop a strong relationship because miscommunication may delay the process. Also, you’re entrusting this person to write your story, which will represent you and sport your name on the cover, so it would be best if they liked and respected you. Sometimes, the project may take a few years to complete. Projects that encounter legal hurdles may even take five to six years.

When a user on Quora asked, “How long does it take a ghostwriter to write a book?” author and editor Josh Bernoff posted the following response:

It depends.

Each of the two books I ghost wrote was about 70,000 words. That took 5 months and 12 months respectively.

If the source material is all present you could write a book like that in 2 or 3 months. Less if you don’t care about quality.

But most authors (the people for whom you write the book) can’t generate the stories and source material that fast. You have to wait for them to review what you wrote and make revisions based on their comments. That takes longer.

What ghostwriters aim to do is help you craft your dream book. The time it takes to finish it depends on what kind of book it is and who the ghostwriter is. Don’t forget that a long timeline may be the trade-off required for high-quality content, so it’s worth considering whether your deadline is flexible. Remember, what ultimately matters is the quality of the manuscript. Contact us for a free memoir consultation with highly skilled ghostwriters.

Talk With a Ghostwriter