Some guy on Fiverr is trying to convince me to ghostwrite his novel (40K) for $250 because that's already 'more than the going rate'
40,000 words at $250 is $0.00625 cents per word.
Going rate, my arse. The guy’s a gouger.
A creative writing teacher friend had a shadow gig “novelizing” films (that is, rewriting screenplays as publishable books). He was getting about 50 cents per word for uncredited work.
50 cents per word? Damn, that’s really high.
Gosh, that’s a pretty good and probably fairly easy job, ghostwriting people’s unproduced screenplays. As long as you aren’t supposed to be adding extra scenes or anything.
The screenplay of a two-hour movie contains 15,000 to 20,000 words. Even a short novel is two or three times that length, and you’re not going to reach that figure by padding the descriptions of characters and locations. If there are any scenes that got deleted before the movie started production, you might be able to use those, but otherwise, you’re going to have to come up with additional scenes yourself.
The way the schedules work, you don’t usually get to see the film, because the studio wants the novelisation to be released around the same time as the film. So you’re writing the book at the same time as the film is being shot and edited. You work from the screenplay and (maybe) the storyboards. You might spend a lot of time describing a complex scene only to find that the director decided to do it differently, or it got cut out of the film altogether.
It’s about the same rate as a professional ghostwriter would charge for a novel-length manuscript. (Which I guess is what this guy is, if he’s not being credited.) It’s more than many writers get for original novels, but because films cost so much to make, it’s a tiny percentage of the film’s overall budget. Most films probably spend more on catering…
Oh are we talking about a novelization of a real movie? I was thinking it was about people who wrote screenplays, then they never got produced, and then wanted to turn them into novels but wanted to hire someone else to do it.
You’re probably right about the wordcount, though; I imagine that even the longest screenplays would need an extra 10. 20,000 words aside from just prose.
That’s what “novelisation” usually means, though I could be wrong
I don’t think that happens very often, though again I could be wrong.
I’m a ghostwriter, and usually charge around 1 cent a word, but I’ve seen some clients offer around 3 cents a word. I actually have one client right now paying 4 cents.
At the end of the day, just remember how much you’re worth and don’t accept less. People actually suck, and it’s a real shame to see people who apparently can’t write their own novels degrade writers. Best of luck to you
I probably misread the original post.
I’m not sure how often it happens for books, but I know a LOT of graphic novels were originally film screenplays that went unproduced.
This doesn’t only happen to writers. This is a common problem for people who do art for money, and by art I mean illustrations, music, literature, etc…
There are a lot of people who will do absolutely everything to get something for less or no money at all, and that’s basically robbing the artists’ time and talent! Artists spend their whole time practicing non-stop for the skill they have at the present, and people just keep thinking that “art is easy, so you don’t need to get paid for it”.
It’s extremely annoying and it irritates me so, so much. In my country, there’s still this belief that artists are poor. Whenever someone says that their child is studying any form of art, the others will think that “oh, so your child is stupid, so they choose to study art to relax”. That. Is. So. Rude. And. Untrue. I wish that people would stop thinking that art is easy. Like, seriously.
Heck, scammers can do everything to get what they want. Like you said, they can try to insult you and break your confidence. They can even go as far as to say that “that person is better than you, but they charge less!”.
I just began the last chapter of my WIP novel. It looks like it will be around 90,000 words.
True, I’m a slow writer, but I’ve been working on it for over a year. When I finish this last chapter it will be in much better shape than a first draft. I’ve already edited the existing chapters many times. But that’s all part of my writing process.
So at 1 cent a word for a 90K-word novel that took me a year to write, that’s $900.
You must be an exceptionally fast writer for it to be worthwhile.
Nah I just stick to smaller projects haha
I would never be able to live on the rates offered on fiverr. I publish books for my fellow authors and have to charge a minimum of $400.00 just for the layouts and cover. If I had to write them, hell… that would cost a bundle. Of course if I could get someone to write the books I have locked in my head, it would be worth something, only if the writing was a (Good or Bad) as my writing.
It’s amazing the rates that some buyers ask for on Fiverr. But it’s worth it to stick it out for the good clients that are willing to pay for quality. I’ve been on there for about a year and a half and have a roster of regular clients that allow me to work exclusively from home and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’d like to tip more into editing than ghosting, but the regular ghosting projects I have are a lot of fun and I’m really invested in my clients personally at this point.
But yeah, if I had a dollar for every time somebody asked for a 10k word story for 30 bucks… brutal!
I do editing too and would like to get more into ghostwriting. I love my editing clients, but I’d rather write. How’d you start getting consistent work? Word of mouth?
I recently saw someone on Twitter say they wanted a 40K-word book ghostwritten for $100, “take it or leave it.”
They can say what they like but if somebody acts on the offer, it’s their own fault. Saw a YouTube clip recently. Somebody had advertised a laptop and got asked how much. 750 bucks.
Okay says the buyer, I offer oyu 200 take it or leave it. That’s a rubbish offer but still better than this Fiverr deal.
Seller says okay. I meet you at a certain location. Buyer turns up. It’s a club. He gets told to go inside which I believe he does. Then he gets told to get up on the stage and tell more jokes.
That’s a very creative response to a ridiculous offer…
When I was researching to see what to charge as a ghostwriter, I found a list from 2006 Writer’s Digest. There were various ways to charge: by the project, by the hour, by the word. I wanted to charge by the word (because I was new to doing this and wanted to be as fair as possible to both me and the client) and the low end of the scale was 50 cents a word—which was a lot more than I used to get for writing in the confession magazine market (3-5 cents a word).
I also tracked my hours, and at the end, I feel it all came out to a fair hourly wage. It’s a lot more than many people would want to pay, but if someone is really serious about wanting a professional ghostwriter, I think this is a fair price for all the work involved.
Exactly! When I’m mentoring people in one of the most common things I try to impress upon them is that they need to make a living wage. Do some math to figure out how much they’re charging for their time.
I price per word but I know how many WPH I can do and I adjust based on how quickly (or how much of a slog) a particular job will be.