How to Hire the Ideal Professional Writer for Your Nonfiction Book
If you run your own business and are wondering if you should hire a professional writer to complete a nonfiction book you started, read on.
You’re an entrepreneurial author who’s just finished the first draft of a manuscript for a nonfiction book. You want to use your book to grow the market share of your business, or perhaps you have a professional practice and want to be recognized as an expert in order to reach out to new clients.
You’ve put a lot of effort into your manuscript. You’ve thoroughly researched each section, making sure that you fact-checked all your information. You carefully compiled the data in your charts and tables and you thought through your book’s outline carefully. You’ve taken all tasks in your manuscript as far as you can go.
But, you aren’t a professional writer and you know that even though your writing is decent, you don’t feel it’s up to par with the quality of popular nonfiction books you’ve read in the past.
Investing in a professional nonfiction writer at this stage is a great idea to bring your book to life.
Why Hire a Professional Writer?
You want to consider hiring one simply because you’re a professional yourself. You’ve built a reputation for excellence and expertise with clients and colleagues through your private practice or your business, and your book will become an extension of you and thus carry your reputation. Why would you trust the writing of your book to anyone less than an expert in writing?
By putting your book out there, you’ll establish your status as an authority in your field, you’ll be reaching out to new clients, decision makers who can open new doors, event managers who plan conventions, professional gatherings and trade shows, and producers in media outlets who are constantly on the lookout for knowledgeable people to interview.
They might have heard from you but likely never met you in person, and they’ll have the expectation that a book published by an expert like you will be of high quality.
In their eyes, the book and the expert are one and the same and they’ll be relying on your book to make some important decisions that could positively impact your professional life.
For example, you might be called in for an interview that will be aired to tens or hundreds of thousands of viewers or listeners. You might get invited to provide a paid keynote speech to an audience made up of prospective clients. You might be considered for a strategic partnership that could open some serious doors for your business.
For any of the above reasons, you want to make sure that your writing is of the highest caliber possible. You can’t really afford to cut corners on your reputation.
Professional Writing Services
Not every professional writer is cut out from the same cloth. There are varying degrees of expertise in the marketplace and you want to ensure that you hire the person with the right skills for the job.
If the services that you’re considering advertise that they write content for websites, do academic writing, article writing as well as books, they won’t likely be a good match. You don’t want to hire someone who seems to specialize in everything.
So, you need to focus on a service that specializes in books. Now, within this branch of professional writing services there can also be those who are jack-of-all-trades, because they’ll claim to be experts in every book genre.
But fiction books are a world apart from nonfiction books, and even within the nonfiction genre, creative nonfiction is worlds apart from problem-solving nonfiction.
Best Writing Services
The best professional writing services for your book will be those that specialize in problem-solving nonfiction areas, like psychology, business/management, finance/money, health/fitness, law (e.g. family/wills & estates), real estate/investments, etc.
These services know the problem-solving market well. They know the audiences that get attracted to these types of books. They know their psychology, what motivates them and more importantly, they know how to effectively communicate with them using the right “hooks” for maximum effect.
Also, problem-solving nonfiction books must always be written for an audience of one, and they require a writing service that knows how to do this well.
Professional Writer Rates Per Word
Before we get into the topic of rates, it would be useful for you to know the difference between a professional writer and a ghostwriter (all ghostwriters are by definition professional writers, but not all professional writers are ghostwriters).
A professional writer will take your completed manuscript in draft form and proceed to entirely rewrite your book, following your manuscript as a guideline.
They’ll begin by reading your manuscript, most likely several times, to get a firm grasp of your main book idea, your core messages and the overall flow and structure of your book. At this point, they may suggest rearranging your table of contents in consultation with you to improve your delivery.
Once the correct structure is established, they’ll begin the process of rewriting your manuscript. Depending on your total word count, this process may take anywhere from 3 to 6 months.
They’ll likely request regular meetings with you to show you samples of the writing and to discuss if the book project is going in the right direction. Aside from those regular meetings, there will be very little time commitment required on your part.
A ghostwriter, on the other hand, will not typically receive a completed manuscript. They’ll be supplied with the book’s main idea, some written or recorded notes, and perhaps an outline.
Then they’ll proceed to interview the author several times to obtain relevant information for the book, they’ll conduct their own research into the subject matter, and finally they’ll write the entire book starting from a blank page. Their costs will be more elevated than those of professional writers because, not only will they charge the author a per-word rate, but also hourly preparation charges, hourly research charges and transcription charges if they receive audio files from the author.
Your professional writer, on the other hand, will only charge you a per-word rate. Typical per-word rates will vary depending on the experience, reputation and demand for the writer. They can range between $0.30 and $1.00 per word.
How Do I Find and Hire a Good Professional Writer for the Job?
Like any other professional you hire, there will be some due diligence you’ll need to perform prior to hiring them, followed by some legal and housekeeping items.
Here Are 5 Useful Tips to Consider:
- Ask to see samples of problem-solving nonfiction books that they have created in the past. Buy a copy of a couple of those titles if publicly available and if not, ask if you can borrow an advance copy for you to read. If you can’t get a hold of any of the books that they’ve produced in the past, then take a pass.
- Ask for the expected timeline for your book project based on their current workload.
- Ask for two references from authors who have hired them in the past and then ask to talk to them in person. Among your questions, remember to ask them if the writer kept to the promised timeline for the most part. If your request for references is denied, then take a pass.
- Ask if they provide a written agreement detailing the services they’ll be performing, including rates and terms. Ask them to see a sample agreement. If they don’t work with a contract or don’t want to provide you with a sample, then take a pass.
- Finally, ask them about their work methodology. For example, how often will they meet with you and for how long and what do they expected from you. If they request a small manuscript assessment fee, make sure that it’s not payable upfront but part of your contract if they choose to take on the job.
Now you can proceed on your search to find and hire a professional writer with a high degree of confidence. To minimize your chances of experiencing buyer’s remorse, follow the above 5 tips and you’ll be standing on solid ground.
Good luck on your search!
If you enjoyed this article and are in the process of writing a nonfiction book, be sure to check out my free nonfiction success guide, drawn from years of experience editing books for bestselling authors (including a New York Times bestseller) and ghostwriting for CEOs and politicians. Simply click here to get instant access.
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or a specific need that I can help you address – I operate an author services firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners who want to publish books as a calling card for prospects, to establish their status as an expert or to generate additional leads for their businesses.
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Bennett R. Coles is an award-winning author of six books published through Harper Collins (New York) and Titan Publishing Group (London). He is also the publisher at Promontory Press, editor for multiple bestselling authors (including a NY Times bestseller), ghostwriter for CEOs and politicians and the founder of Cascadia Author Services, a boutique full-service firm that specializes in premium author services specifically designed for busy professionals. Our end-to-end services include writer coaching, ghostwriting, editing, proofing, cover design, book layout, eBook production, book promotion, social media marketing, printing and distribution.