So You Want to Publish a Ghostwritten Book. Now What?

Ghostwritten Book

So, you’ve hired a ghostwriter and now your ghostwritten book is ready to publish. Should you go the traditional publishing route? Or should you self-publish?

Each has pros and cons, and we’ll focus on traditional publishing below. I’ll post about self-publishing in a follow-up.

Traditional Publishing

Some authors want their books to be published by a traditional publisher. Well-known publishers (as in the top tier — Penguin Random House, Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, and Simon & Schuster) do not accept unagented manuscripts.

The Query for your Ghostwritten Book

Thus, you must query literary agents open for submissions in your genre. This takes effort and research, and most of all, patience.

Once you’ve located literary agents, visit their websites. Each will have specific submission requirements. Study the websites thoroughly and follow the instructions precisely.

For instance, the agent may want a short of long synopsis. The agent might want to know about your social media presence, you connections within organizations, and your ability or willingness to help market your book. This information helps the agent create a stronger pitch when reaching out to publishing houses.

Frame your query letters around the information you see on each agent’s website. In other words, customize your query letters. Include something about the books represented by the agent and why you chose the agent to potentially represent you.

It can take six months or longer to find a literary agents who agrees to represent you.

You Don’t Pay the Literary Agent

Agents are picky. They aren’t paid by you, but receive a commission on your advance on sales. They won’t get paid if they can’t land a publisher, so they only represent books they believe in.

After signing you and successfully pitching your ghostwritten book to a publisher, the agent negotiates terms with the publisher, including the advance. So nothing comes out of your pocket upfront. In fact, you may get a nice advance on sales, even after the agent’s commission is subtracted.

The Publisher of Your Ghostwritten Book

The terms of your contract are negotiated between the literary agent and the publisher. Ask your literary agent to keep you in the loop. You’ll probably want to retain some input in the procees, including what content can and cannot be removed, the book cover design, etc. However, once your book is sold to a publisher, they have the ultimate say. Also, it can take up to a year (or longer) for your book to roll out, and there is an expectation that you’ll help market it.

That’s why some authors prefer self-publishing. They retain control of their book, make all the decisions regarding cover design and the cover wrap, and can get their book on the market in a matter of months (not years).

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I enjoy helping authors with ghostwritten