We ghosts don’t have a union or hang around together much, which isn’t surprising. After all, on the whole, the fact that we’re writing books for others and in their name is supposed to be secret. But we do find each other one way or another, and we compare notes, often about our fees and how we present them.
Recently a ghost and friend of mine explained works by the hour and often offers discounts under certain circumstances. For example, if her normal rate is $200 an hour, she also offers to work for $175 an hour if she gets her name on the cover of the book either as a co-author or presented as with the author. “If it’s a book I think will sell and I know I can do well, I want my name out there,” she explains.
And if she’s convinced the book will sell well once and awhile she’ll discount her hourly rate in favor of royalties. “I never take deep discounts,” she explains. “But if I think I can create a royalty stream for myself, it may be worth it.”
This all came up in my mind today as I was putting the finishing touches on a new proposal. I fiddled around with some discounts, than had lunch. Over lunch I realized I don’t really want my name on this book, and although it may sell well, I’d really rather have my money as I write it and not wait with fingers crossed.
As always, it’s a judgment call. I’ve sent my proposal; now I’m waiting to get an answer which, I figure, will be yes, no or a negotiation.