What’s Really Behind a Ghostwriter’s Fee?

By Jeffrey A. Mangus

Growing up, all I ever wanted was to play the guitar. From the age of six, all I wanted was a guitar in my hand. I wanted it so badly that I dedicated every hour, every minute, to practicing, learning, and playing, spending countless hours in my bedroom with my hands on the strings. I’d play until my fingers nearly bled, black and blue, and I kept going, all to master my craft. After a few years, at seventeen, I received an invitation to play in a garage band, and someone offered us one of our first gigs. However, the club owner was unwilling to pay us. He claimed playing would give the band good “exposure.”

I’ll never forget what the bandleader said, “Exposure is great, but we gotta make money too. So, we want to get paid.”

Laughing, the club owner said, “I can get another band right now.”

The club owner didn’t see our value as a group and as musicians.

That always struck me. What the club owner didn’t see was the years of dedication and hard work we, as a group and musicians, had put into our craft. I had spent countless hours practicing, making mistakes, experiencing failures, and enduring pain to reach a point where I was confident in what I was doing.

The same goes for ghostwriting. 

Ghostwriting and ghostwriting fees are not just about putting words on a page. They’re about the unseen work, the hours of perfecting your craft, the unwavering dedication to your skills, and the ability to capture a voice and tell a story. They’re about creating something that authentically helps others, and that’s just one reason we charge our rates and fees.

Here are a few fundamental qualities a professional ghostwriter should have:

High Level of Expertise and Experience: One of my most adhered-to attributes, and one that many other ghosts should have, is experience and expertise. This can only be obtained by sitting in a chair and writing, doing it repeatedly to reach a level of expertise. That only comes from doing it. Anyone can call themselves a ghostwriter, but until they’ve ghostwritten many full-length books, can they say they are an expert? I know the ropes and intricacies of ghostwriting a book, the publishing side, and everything it entails. There is value in my expertise, as I use my knowledge to authoritatively and accurately ghostwrite on complex or specialized subjects. Their understanding of the topic ensures that the content is credible and of the highest quality, providing the reader with assurance.

Unending Creativity: Every day, as I open my eyes, I prepare myself to bring skills and creativity to writing. It must be at its peak. Creativity in ghostwriting is essential to keeping the content engaging and original. I use my imagination to create captivating stories, unique writing styles, and fresh takes on conventional topics. Being creative makes the content unique and resonates with the audience.

Attention to Detail: Many people compare being a ghostwriter to being the captain of a ship because both roles require a strong focus on attention to detail. I have to remain vigilant in keeping the project on track and paying attention to the minute details of each book, chapter by chapter, until it is complete. My innate attention to detail ensures that the writing is polished and error-free, contributing to the finished book’s quality.   

Elite Professionalism: This may sound cliché and standard, but not everyone who calls themselves a ghostwriter is a professional. Elite professional ghostwriters, like myself, know how to maintain clear and consistent communication with clients, respond to feedback, and adapt to client needs while humbling themselves. They also keep their egos and personalities in check while maintaining confidentiality for the project.  

What else is behind the rates and fees of a ghostwriter?

We can’t overlook the sheer sacrifice, hard work, and dedication required to be a professional ghostwriter, along with the sheer guts and grit to stick our necks out every day. Inside our fees are all the lessons learned from real-world failures and mistakes. It requires years of study and practice in the craft of writing. As a professional, I must master listening, embrace compassion, study grammar, punctuation, style, psychology, and the ability to uncover the author’s most profound thoughts and desires with finesse and a unique voice.

Recently, I met with a potential author, and one of the first things they said was, “Your rates and prices are way too high! I’ve seen other ghostwriters cheaper.”

“Yes, sir,” I answered, “I’m sure you have, but those ghostwriters don’t offer what I do.”

“How so?” he asked. “What makes you different?”

I explained that my ghostwriting fee is much more than just money. Behind the scenes, I’ve made mistakes and failed. Still, I’ve learned through nine years of real-world, hard-hitting ghostwriting experience and countless hours honing my writing craft, drafting, writing, and publishing over 35 books, including six #1 Amazon bestsellers.

It is all those hours working on books chapter by chapter, word by word, sticking my neck out, being vulnerable, and then getting rejected or heavily edited and asked to improve that writing for the author’s sake. It’s an immense responsibility, and my rates reflect the lessons learned from mistakes and failures as I step up to the plate in my learning process.

Under the hood, behind the scenes, you’ll also find a diverse professional who brings unmatched insight, tenacity, and perseverance, and a man who gives it his all, even working sick, pushing to the limit to deliver the best for my authors.

I am continually honing my skills and expanding my knowledge base to increase the value I deliver to my authors. Each project offers a chance to delve into new subjects, research extensively, and write for new audiences, broadening my horizons. It’s a delicate dance of creativity and professionalism, where every word carries weight, and every story must be told with nuance and precision. And with setbacks, I know that each rejection is a lesson in failure, resilience, and perseverance.

Last, my rates reflect 25 years of entrepreneurial experience and nine years as a full-time ghostwriter, during which I cut my teeth, worked with the world’s best authors’ elite publishing houses, editors, and literary agents, and developed, learned, and refined my skill set.

These are the attributes behind my ghostwriting fees. If you want the best product and a bestselling-money-making book, you hire the best the market offers. I am proud to say I am one of them.

Contact me at, and let’s discuss your book in more detail.

Jeffrey writes powerful, bestselling money-making business books & memoirs for C-Suite Leaders, Founders, & TedX Talk Speakers. Top-Elite Authoritative Ghostwriter. Book Publishing Coach. Book Proposal Expert.

Known as an authoritative six-figure business memoir, ghostwriter Jeffrey A. Mangus is a 5x #1 Amazon bestselling ghostwriter and author of thirty-five (35) award-winning and bestselling books to his credit. Jeffrey has ghostwritten works for many of the big five publishers, including Harper Collins Leadership, Harper Collins Focus, Rowman & Littlefield, Tantor, Blackstone, Highbridge Audio, and Audible.