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    « Family History Website or Book? Both! | Main | What Kind of Truth in Memoir? »

    2 Reasons You Don't Need a Ghost Writer for Your Memoir

    The site carried a recent post in which Arbor Books gave “7 Reasons to Ghostwrite Your Memoirs Now!”

    Co-owner Larry Leichman, said, "Having a book ghostwritten might be among the most important things a person can do."

    Here is his list of reasons a memoir is important:

    • As a gift

    • To give advice

    • To contribute to a family tree

    • To share your personal insights

    • As therapy

    • To build a legacy

    • To create a piece of history

    I can't disagree that those are great reasons for creating a memoir. When it comes to having one ghostwritten I disagree completely, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

    According to Arbor Books, “Ghostwriting a memoir generally costs between $3,500 and $25,000…”

    That’s where my disagreement begins. A more realistic estimate of the cost of ghostwriting emerges in a recent poll on business networking site, LinkedIn. The poll asked members to comment on, What are compensation plans for ghostwriting a memoir/biography…?” Here are some typical responses:

    • “The short answer is: ‘Whatever the market will bear.’” Patricia Hilliard Owens, writer

    • “A heck of a lot of money.” Judy Margolis, business writer / editor

    • “I've seen writers prices range across the board...from $10k-$150k.” Mitchell Levy, book publisher

    So I’d like to respond to Mr. Leichman with two reason not to have your book ghost written.

    • While Arbor’s reasons for creating a memoir are good ones, the company is advocating the most extravagantly expensive way to do it. Technology has made it possible for people who have never written anything for publication to create a book for a modest price, particularly compared with the cost of a ghost writer.

    • If your book is ghost written you miss the experience of creating it. Writing a memoir can be a unique creative experience of exploration and self discovery. But that’s only true if you – not a ghost writer - create the book.

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