How much should you charge to write a biography? (Fact)

How much should you charge to write a biography

As a ghostwriter or a person who wants to engage the services of one for your biography or autobiography, knowing how much you should charge to write a biography is very important.


In this article, we examined how much a biography writing cost, factors that affect the price, advantages and disadvantages of hiring a ghostwriter for your biography and many more.

How much Should you charge to write a biography?

Charging a price for biography varies from writer to writer and it depends on several factors such as the writer’s experience, the difficulty, the reputability, the time frame, negotiation skills, research and other factors that we discussed below.

Factors that influence the prices of writing biography.

  • Experience.
  • Difficulty.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Availability.
  • Time frame of the job.
  • Research.
  • Reputability.
  • Success of previous works.

Experience of the writer.

The price of hiring a writer depends on the experience of the writer.

The more experience the writer has garnered over the years, the higher the amount of money he or she will charge for rendering such service.

We classify the experience of biography writers into three. High, medium and unsatisfactory experience levels and each of them charges according to the level of experience he or she have.

You don’t need to pay a higher amount if the writer has low-level experience.

But preferably if you can afford to go for a very experienced writer, the better chances of getting a very satisfactory job in your work.

Difficulty of the biography.

The more complex the biography is, the higher the amount of money you will pay.

And the easier the difficulty, it will charge, the lower the amount of money you have for it.

However, if the biography is very difficult to gather data and verifying them to produce a very detailed job, it will cost higher than one which is less difficult.

Negotiation skills of the parties Involved.

The ability to negotiate a better price is another factor to consider in before arriving at the conclusion of the total price involved.

When you have a higher negotiation skill to persuade the writer or the company that will do a job for the person at a favourable price, you will pay less than the person who lacks this important skill.

It is therefore advisable to get someone you trust or a lawyer to help in negotiating feels favourable to you if you lack the skill of negotiating, feels favourable to you if you lack the skill of negotiating it yourself.

Reputability of the writer.

When you hired a very successful writer that is known as an authority in his or her field, the amount of money they will charge you will be significantly higher than that of an unknown writer with fewer followership and authority in the field.

Famous writer’s charges are exorbitant, only those that are rich can afford, but the quality of their work is the best you can get anywhere.


Another important factor that affects the price of writing a biography is the availability of the writer.

Most of the time, even if you have the money to pay for the services of a writer, his or her schedule will be very demanding and covered by other activities for a very long time to come.

This non availability ends up pushing their prices much higher than it should be.

Time frame allocated for the job.

The time a writer spend in doing your work will determine the price he or she will charge you.

If the time involved from the beginning of the biography to the end is very limited or short, the price you will pay is lower compared to a biography that takes several months to finish.

Therefore, the shorter the time involved, the lower the payment and the higher the time involved, the higher the payment.


Research is an important part in any biography.

The harder the research process involved, the higher the payment to be made and the lower the researches involved, the lower the Charges to be made.

Some biographies require an in-depth research that involved travelling to many places, interviewing other people that have the relevant information and spending hours doing research across the internet in other to produce a better and detailed biography.

Success of previous works.

A writer with many successful works in the past charges more than others because his or her previous work will be a reference point in negotiating the price.

All of us want to be associated with other successful people, so the quality to be expected from such work will always be top-notch.

Were to find the writers.

Finding talented writers for your biography or autobiography is very important to it is success.

There are several agencies that offer such service but their services are very high compared to individual freelancers.

Some agencies that offer such services include

Other platforms that you can directly hire a freelancer or a freelancing agency to the work at affordable prices include:

The above platforms have thousands of freelancers that are highly experienced in ghostwriting both biography and autobiography with prices ranging from low to high depending on the experience of the writer involve and the charge mostly on hourly basis.

However, you can negotiate a better deal with the writers directly.

Legality of hiring a writer.

Many people used whether it is legal to pay another person to write your biography or autobiography.

It is not a crime to pay a ghostwriter to do the job for you as far as what the biography and the autobiography contained are facts of events that happened in your life.

Prominent people in history have done the same method of writing their biography from Julio caesar to Donald Trump.

Therefore, you are on the right side of the law if you hire the services of a ghostwriter or an agency to write your biography or autobiography and pay them for their services after.

But you can check local laws existing in your area in other to prevent anything breach of law that may lead to penalties.

Methods of payment.

There are several ways to pay for the services of your autobiography to the Writer. Which include:

  • Per hour.
  • Upfront.
  • Half payment upfront.
  • After work done.
  • Based on performance.
  • Shared royalties.
  • Payment after sells.
  • Bit by bit.

Per hour.

This method entails payment by the number of hours the writer spends working on the project.

The agreed hourly rate is calculated and paid to the writer.


This means paying the writer at the agreed job initially before the commencement of the job.

This is a onetime payment that covered everything from the owner to the writer.

Half payment method.

When the writer contracted received fifty percent of the total contract at the beginning of the work while the rest of the percentage after the work is done.

This method helps both the writer and the owner of the biography to concentrate on the job without disruption of financial issues.

After work is done.

this is the method whereby the writer will not receive a single cent till after the completion of the work hundred percentages.

From the commencement, the writer will not receive any part payment till after he or she successfully deliver the work, then payment will be made to the writer in full.

However, this method is at the disadvantage of the writer, particularly if the work exceeds several months.

Based on percentage.

This method entails payment based on the percentage of work completed by the writer.

As the writer covered a certain agreed percentage of the work, you will make payment till the moment the writer deliver the job hundred percentage.

Shared royalties.

This method refers to the process whereby the writer will not receive money but will be a part owner of the biography in terms of any commission and royalties.

No matter the number, the writer will benefit from any money generated as a result instead of a onetime payment.

Payment after sells.

This method involved paying the writer only after the biography or autobiography generated revenue after selling in the market.

This means that the writer will produce the entire work and submit it for publication, but will not receive a cent until it gets buyers in the market.

This method is not good for the writer because the biography has no guarantee of success in the market.

Market can be unpredictable regarding such type of products.

Bit by bit.

This is the method whereby the writer will be receiving his or her payment in smaller fragments from time to time from the owner of the biography or autobiography.

The problem with this method to the writer is that the amount of money that will come into his or her hand will not be enough to do any tangible project.

Hiring ghostwriter or doing it yourself, which is better?

It depends on whether you have the capacity, time and energy to do it without losing interest along the way.

It is better to do it yourself if you feel more comfortable if not outsource it to a ghostwriter that can do a better job than you if you have the financial capacity to do so without a negative impact in your financial life.

Time frame for writing the Biography.

The time it will take to write the biography or autobiography varies depending on the length, price and the agreement between you and the writer.

They (the ghostwriters) can do it between one to eight months, but in signing the contract, specify a time limit as to prevent the possibility of extra costs.

Were to source the funding for the biography.

It is more advisable to engage in outsourcing your work to a ghostwriter only when you have the financial capacity to pay for it without a problem.

Do not take a loan in other to publish your biography.

Moreover, there is no guarantee of it performing well in the market.

However, we have seen in the past how low some biographies performed against expectations.

Advantages of hiring a ghostwriter.

  • Save time.
  • Eliminate mistakes.
  • Increased chances of success.
  • Freedom to do other activities.

Save time.

By hiring a ghostwriter to write for you the time that you will spend doing difficult research is taking care of.

You can be able to delegate all the work to the writer and carry on with your normal daily activities.

Eliminate mistakes.

If you are not an expert writer, writing your biography or autobiography will be full of grammatical errors and other errors that can cause the failure of the work even after the hard work and the time allocate for it.

By hiring a ghostwriter who is a professional, you remove all the chances of making mistakes.

Increased chances of success.

By outsourcing the work to a professional writer who knows all the problems associated with why biographies and autobiographies fail, your chances of having an impactful book is therefore enhanced.

You may not be familiar with the pitfalls associated with such issues, but a professional does.

Freedom to do other activities.

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a writer is to afford for yourself the freedom to do other activities that you want without disruptions.

When you hire a ghostwriter for the project, you will have more space in your schedule of activities that will give you the chance to go for vacations with friends and family and enjoy your happy life.

Disadvantages of hiring a ghostwriter.

  • Expensive.
  • No guarantee of success.
  • Dissatisfaction.


Hiring a writer is a very  costly thing to do.

They can utilize the payment for other that are more beneficial to you and your family.

The price range of hiring a ghostwriter for a biography or autobiography can be from $10,000 to $100,000 if the writer is a professional.

It can leave a negative impact on your financial wellbeing if not planned well.

No guarantee of success.

Even after paying a huge amount of money in hiring a talented writer and marketing the project, there is no guaranteed assurance of recovering the money you spend on the project.


you may end up being unsatisfied with the project even after the money you spend on it.

Moreover, this feeling of dissatisfaction can lead you to anger and losing interest in the book altogether.

Example of famous biography by ghostwriters.

  1. Tony Schwartz. Wrote “the art of deal” for Donald Trump.
  2. Ken Sheton wrote “The 7 habits of highly effective People” for  Stephen R. Corey.
  3. Mark Twain wrote the autobiography of former president Grant Ulysses autobiography.
  4. Pablo Fenjves wrote “If I did it: confessions of the killer” for O.J. Simpsons.
  5. Robert Lindsey wrote “An American life” for former American president Ronald Reagan in 1990.


Going through this article equips you with all answers to the question of “how much should you charge to write a biography?” In the easiest way possible.

It also highlights the factors affecting the price, which includes.

  • Experience.
  • Difficulty.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Availability.
  • Time frame of the job.
  • Research.
  • Reputability.
  • Success of previous works. Etc


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