What is the Difference Between Ghostwriters and Editors and Indie Publishers?

By Henry DeVries, CEO, Indie Books Intl.

For a consultant and coach that wants to get a book published, there are three main professionals they might need to work with:

  • Developmental Editor
  • Ghostwriter
  • Indie Publisher

    Developmental Editor. A developmental editor focuses on structure and content, and looks at a book with a more critical eye. These editors do fix errors in grammar and spelling, but mainly look for structural problems. Developmental editors will comment on more complex structural issues, suggesting that an author delete or add sections, combine thoughts or expand on a point made. Publishers will sometimes hire more than one editor to review a manuscript. If you are self-publishing, you will definitely need to budget to hire at least one editor. Some editors will also do minor rewrites, if needed, but that usually brings a higher price tag. For a business book of around 20,000 words, a developmental editor usually charges $4,000 to $8,000, depending on how much work is needed. Don’t confuse a developmental editor with a proofreader. A proofreader, or line editor, reads over a completed manuscript to make sure there are no errors. They are looking for typos, grammatical issues, etc. and are far less detailed than an editor. Hiring a proofreader is often the final step in the book writing process, right before the book goes to publication. Typically, you’d hire both an editor and a proofreader. Their fee can typically range from $4 to $8 per page, about $500 to $1,000 for a 20,000-word book.

    Ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is a tool that is used to help create a book. The ghost (so nicknamed because they are invisible and will not be named in the book) interviews the “author” as a first step, next creates a blueprint for the book, and then does the heavy lifting of writing the entire book for the author. Although your book will be written by the ghostwriter, it’s written in the author’s voice. When the manuscript is done, you’ll have all the rights to the book. A ghostwriter needs all the information from the author in order to craft the book. Ghostwriters will also need to interview you to fill in any gaps. In addition, they must research any subject needed, which relates to your book. Ghostwriters vary widely in price. Usually, you can expect to spend somewhere between a quarter to two dollars per word for a book.

    Indie Publisher. Like a traditional publisher, an indie publisher takes a finished manuscript, cleans it up, creates the cover, and handles all the tasks involved with printing. The indie publisher adds rigor to the process. Typically, the indie publisher usually has a staff of editors to make sure the book is as error free as possible before printing. Sometimes the indie publisher has in-house writers as well. Ghostwriters are not publishers themselves, but might have connections to publishers.