This article is for those who want to publish their own book, but don’t have the time, patience, knowledge, or energy to write it themselves, or simply want to create passive income streams without having to do much work.
I’m talking about getting someone to ghostwrite a book for you. It’s one of the easiest things you can do, and will only cost you about $750–$1,250 if you do it right. That’s what I’m going to be sharing with you in this article.
Why Get Someone Else To Write Your Book?
Here a few benefits of getting someone else to do the legwork for you:
I could list a lot more, but you can already see that it’s worth exploring…
9 Simple Steps To Becoming an Author in 30 Days or Less
Although I’ve written my own book before (How to Make $100,000 Per Year Thanks To YouTube), I actually prefer to have others write them for me (The Sustainable Living Guide), because not only can I direct the writer what ideas I want to be written, but I can later also edit and add any personal bits as well to make it truly my own. Essentially, I get to leverage my time to the maximum.
Let’s explore the step-by-step process…
1. Decide on the Niche & Topic
Which category or niche will your book be about? Ideally, if your goal is to make the most money, then choose a niche where people spend the most money and there are a lot of (big or painful) problems to solve. If you’re having trouble thinking of some, start broad and then narrow down bit by bit.
For example, let’s start with Health & Wellness. I’ll narrow down from here… how about Diets & Nutrition? Or maybe even more narrower… Keto Diet? or even more micro… Keto Diet for Vegetarians. I think you get the point.
You can validate the profitability of niche & topic in a few ways:
A) Check out Amazon books and see how many books there are about this subject and how many reviews they’ve gotten. If there are competitors, that’s a good thing because it means there’s a market that they are already serving.
B) Find the search volume of the keyword phrase using a keyword finder tool (I use ahrefs.com, or you can use SEMRush.com, Moz.com, or KWFinder.com) to determine how many people per month are searching for this keyword phrase. In this example, “keto diet for vegetarians” has 2,700 monthly searches globally (according to ahrefs.com) and a keyword difficulty score of 32/100 (which is moderately challenging).
Once you’ve come up with a few possible topics by narrowing down to a niche that you’ve validated, these can be your starting points for books you get ghostwritten.
2. Come Up With a Hook For the Title
This part is absolutely critical and I can’t stress it enough because it’s what will primarily determine the success of your book in terms of how much attention it gets online. The title acts similar to a headline in a newspaper — to grab attention.
The title should be memorable & relevant to what it’s about. It should ideally also have the keyword phrase in it that you want to rank for in the search results, so when someone on Amazon or Google types that phrase, your book is likely to show in the top results (in Amazon, a lot comes down to your Sales Rank, which gives you higher ranking the more you sell).
I would come up with a list of at least 20 different potential titles, and make sure you cross-check them with existing books and trademarks so you don’t accidentally steal a title or IP of an existing book.
Here are a few examples with the keyword:
- The Ultimate Guide to the Keto Diet for Vegetarians
- The Beginners Vegetarian Keto Diet Cookbook
- The 20-Minute Keto Diet for Vegetarians
Here are a few examples without the keyword:
- Keto Diet Without Meat, Oh Try It!
- The Animal-Friendly Keto King (or Queen)
- The 30 Day No-Meat Keto Experiment
OK, I admit, some of these were way too cheesy, but they get the point across. The title will help shape the direction of the book before you start with creating the outline or structure.
3. Craft a Benefit-Focused Subtitle
The subtitle is your chance to really hook the potential reader or customer into wanting to read more. It basically gives a detailed, benefit-focused description of the book. In other words, it answers “what’s in it for them?”.
A few examples to illustrate powerful book subtitles:
- 26 Powerful Lessons I Learned Living a Meat-Free Keto Diet
- How to Increase Your Energy While Saving the Planet
- 96 Delicious & Mouthwatering (20-Min or Less) Vegetarian Keto Recipes
- A No-Nonsense Guide To Transition Into a Vegetarian Keto Diet
See how they basically suck you into wanting to read more? I would hammer out at least 20 of these (or more ideally) and then select the best one that draws your attention the most.
4. Draft the Outline & Structure
The next step is to draft out how you want your book structured. Of course, if you’re (still!) too busy, you can get someone else to do this for you, but they may not know the most comprehensive approach and could leave out important topics and points that your audience needs. This step involves two parts: Research & Refinement
The best way to see what a book on a specific topic should cover is to look at others with the same or similar topic. I’m not saying copy their structure, but make a comprehensive list of all of their main points and questions that they have in their table of contents. That will give you a good pool of ideas to work with. Ideally, look at the books with the most ratings and the highest reviews to understand what the audience perceives as valuable & helpful information.
Once you have all of these ideas down, it’s time to refine them by adding your own spin & twist to them. Make a hierarchical structure with at least 2 levels deep of how the table of contents would look like. Start with the primary sections (the chapters). Then under each chapter come up with the sub-sections. Finally, under each sub-section, write 2–3 points (→) that should be covered in there.
=> Who this book is for
=> What this book is about
=> How to read this book
> What is a Keto Diet?
=> The Process of Ketosis
→ Outline what ketosis is and the science behind it
→ Share 3–5 ways to boost your body ketones
> Meat-Free Keto Diet
=> Vegetarian Alternatives
This will definitely take you the most time and brain power because you need to think about all the most important pieces of information you want the writer to include in the book. Give yourself a few days to refine it, sleep over it, and come back to it with fresh eyes a couple of times. Once you feel it’s as comprehensive as it can be, as well as unique in its own way, you can move onto the next step.
5. Find & Hire a Researcher & Writer
If you don’t already know any researchers and/or writers, this step can also take some initial time, but once you have quality people in your network, you can obviously skip this step for future books. Finding quality talent at a reasonable price is hard, but with the right process, you can find the best of the best.
You can look on freelancing websites such as talent.hubstaff.com, Upwork.com, Freelancer.com or countless others (just search Google “freelance researchers” or “freelance writers”). Ideally, find a writer who also does the research part included, which would be the most optimal solution and saves both time and money.
In terms of where to hire them from, I tend to prefer writers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United States, and the United Kingdom or Ireland (in that order), simply because the currency exchange rates are favorable for the GBP I’m spending (yes, I live in the UK). Also because you’ll find the most native English speakers who also are well educated and know the intricacies of the English language.
You’ll also need to decide in which English locale you want the writing to be in (if your book is in English)— US English, CA/AU/NZ English or British English? That *may* influence your choice in countries you choose your writer from.
Next, decide on your maximum budget per word. I’ve found that $40–60 USD per 1,000 words ($0.04-$0.06 per word) including research will get you decent quality at a good price.
Finally, decide on the maximum length of your book. This depends on if you want to have a print version (I recommend you do!), so think of how “thick” you want it to look when it gets printed in physical form. The trim size will also determine this (smaller trim = more pages = thicker spine) and vice versa. A thinner print book will limit what you can and can’t put on the spine.
I typically aim for books between 15K-25K words, depending on the topic and my budget at the time. So if you find a writer (who also agrees to do the research) for $50 per 1,000 words, it would cost you between $750 and $1,250. Not bad at all!
Once you hire the writer/researcher make sure they are crystal clear on the terms you set as well as the outline you provide, and make them sign an NDA and an agreement which gives you full rights to the content they write.
6. Design Your Book Cover
Your book cover, next to your title and subtitle, is also one of the most important parts of a successful book that generates the most sales. Again, it needs to look professional, but more importantly, grab attention and stand out from the competition.
You can get your book cover designed by finding a high-quality graphic designer on a freelancer website, or if you want a large variety of concepts to choose from, I highly recommend 99designs.com which allows designers around the world to compete for your project and gives you a chance to select the best concepts.
I’d budget between $250-$750 for your book cover, and the reason so much is because you want to find a quality designer, not an amateur one.
At this point, you’ll need to know which formats you’ll be producing (e-book, softcover print, and/or hardcover print), as each will have a different design file. You’ll also need to provide the trim size of the book (i.e. 5" x 8", 5.5" x 8.5", 6" x 9"), which is determined by available options depending on which platform you choose to publish on (see step 9). The spine width will need to be adjusted after the book manuscript is completed and formatted (step 8).
7. Edit Your Book
The next step is to get either your writer to proofread and edit the book they wrote, or have a dedicated editor to fine-comb through it in detail. The latter will add an extra expense, but is well worth it to catch those tiny mistakes that even the best writers can make haphazardly.
I also recommend reading it through a few times yourself to make sure you are 100% happy with it before it moves onto the next steps of the process.
8. Format Your Book
This is the fun part, where you get to beautify the words and make the text enjoyable and easy to read. I highly recommend Book Design Templates which I’ve used for all of my books. I love how professional they are and easy to use, plus you can easily customize them to fit your exact preferences.
The templates on there are compatible with both print and ebook versions. Just make sure you select the right trim size in the settings of your word processor or design program.
Again, if you don’t want to do this yourself, you can find plenty of book formatting freelancers or companies that can do this for you, from scratch or using a template you purchase.
9. Publish Your Book
Your book is complete and it’s time to release it to the world. The most popular platform to publish it on is Amazon KDP which is 100% free to do. There are a few others that I recommend, but I’ll give you a quick rundown on the pros and cons of each:
- Free to publish on both print & kindle
- Access to 100 Million Prime customers worldwide
- Has an advertising platform to increase visibility & sales
- Colour print is prohibitively expensive
- Doesn’t have hardcover print book option
- Can only publish your book through this platform if using an Amazon ISBN
- Has more print options including hardcover and different quality levels
- Distributes across multiple platforms on your behalf
- Upfront fees for publishing both print and ebook versions
- Need your own ISBN if you are outside the USA
- Eco-friendly paper & print on demand options through API
- Multiple print options including hardcover and different print qualities
- Distributes to its network of bookstores and retailers
- Lower royalties and higher costs if being sold outside of Lulu’s own website
Barnes & Noble Press
- Access to Barnes & Noble audience and visitors
- Free to publish (both print and ebook)
- Distributes to B&N stores directly
- Slightly more complicated setup & review process
A Quick Note on ISBNs
An ISBN is aunique identifier of a book. Each published version (except some e-books) must have one. A paperback version would have a different ISBN to the same book in hardcover format. Amazon offers a free ISBN for all of your versions, however, it’s important to note that these ISBNs can only ever be used on Amazon itself, and nowhere else. So if you plan on publishing your book on other platforms as well, then I recommend purchasing a pack of ISBNs from a reputable source. I use Neilsen. You must purchase the ISBN for the country that your book will be published in. Also if your book as multiple languages, then each language and each format within each of those languages would have unique ISBNs.
Next Steps After Publishing — Making Sales
Great, so now your book is live, how do you start making the most sales? This is when the most important aspect comes into play — marketing.
The fact is, if you’re not a marketer or lack marketing experience, then it’s going to be quite difficult to make book sales. But the good news is you can either go to a marketing expert to help you with this, or if you have the desire to empower yourself to be able to do it, then you can learn how. Yes, it will take time and effort, but you’ll be able to build up the skills needed to sell more of your books.
Or, if you can’t be bothered, then reach out to a self-publishing company such as Inspired Freedom Publishing who can help you every step of the way to getting your book out there and provide expert guidance on how to market and promote your book.
Note: I’ll soon be writing an article on how to market your book online, so stay tuned and I’ll paste the link here once it’s ready. In the meantime, leave your comments on any other questions you have and I’ll update this article with the answers as soon as I have time to add them.
Good luck, and can’t wait to hear about your success!