Plenty of us who dream of becoming writers have sat down to write only to discover that the process of actually taking a fantastic idea and turning it into a completed manuscript is far more complex than we thought. It is not unusual at this point to wonder if someone can help us write our book.
There are many services to help you write your book for everything from full service that will do almost everything to specific services. These services allow you to get help with a particular need like researching, editing or the writing process itself. So just pick the one you need help with.
How Much Help Do You Need
The first thing to decide is exactly how much help you need. A lot of this will come down to your previous experience.
If you are an extremely new writer and have not really developed your writing skills yet or have knowledge of the writing process, you may decide to start with some help on the early part of the process, like plotting and outlining.
If you have a bit more background, you may decide that you need some help with writing or editing. Picking what is suitable for you is obviously a very individual process, so this article will cover some of the various options available to you to help you choose.
It is also worth thinking about what your future plans are. For example, if you intend to just write one book covering your life story, you may decide that having others do most of the process for you makes more sense.
On the other hand, if you plan to turn writing into your career, you obviously want to make sure you are developing your own skills and hiring others that will help you find your weak areas and improve them is likely a better idea.
Full Service vs. Single Service
Your selection of the type of help you need will be different depending on your plan. Let’s take a moment to cover the significant differences before we go more in-depth.
if you hire a company to give you full-service assistance, you intend to essentially have them perform most of the processes for you. You will likely work very closely with them to develop the initial outline or plot of the novel, and then they will write the whole book for you based on that plan.
You will, of course, have input, but most of the work will be done by the hired writer. Once the initial manuscript is done, working with your further feedback, they will also take care of doing the revisions to craft it into a final version ready for submission to publishing companies.
The benefit of this is that they will do most of the work for you. You will just have to be clear on your needs and be available for questions and reviews.
The downside is that you have far less control over how the book will turn out as somebody else will do the actual writing. Unless you make sure to spend plenty of time reading and reviewing, you also may find you are not thoroughly familiar with your own book. Keep this in mind, especially if you are planning to publish under your own name.
Many writers who intend to do multiple books and likely aim for a full-time career will be much better served by hiring assistance for a single specific service.
For example, suppose you are a confident writer but do not find yourself creating a solid outline with a fully developed plot. In that case, you may hire someone who can help you strengthen that specific skill by working closely with you on one of your books during the planning stage.
Other people will be fully confident of those aspects but may find themselves weak when it comes to the editing process, which many can find overwhelming, dare we say, boring. Hiring someone to help you improve this skill can help a lot.
The benefit of this is that you can target a single issue you have and improve that one.
As with most of these, the downside is, unfortunately, the cost unless you are careful. However, if you are diligent, you can often get away with hiring someone just for a few hours to help limit the expense while still improving your own skill substantially.
Let’s take a look at some specific services you can use.
Writing Help – The Ghost Writer
The most popular service that people search for is usually the ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is someone you hire to entirely write the manuscript for you. They will generally take your plot and outline and interview you so they are clear on what you are looking for, but they will then write the whole manuscript.
This means you will get something that is obviously in their style rather than how you would write it. Once again, if you plan to publish more books in the future under your own name, this may be an issue or not.
Some people will consider this cheating if somebody writes your book and you publish it under your name.
Ignore these people.
If this option works for you, it is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. It has been done and is still done today by many writers. If your circumstances dictate that this is the best choice for you, then go ahead and do it.
The benefit is that you get a fully finished manuscript that is ready for you to review and edit.
The downside is that this is typically not a cheap activity. You are literally hiring someone to spend months of their life writing a book for you and therefore, if you want a good quality book, you’re going to pay quite a hefty price.
A brief look at the many articles covering the price for these servers will show you that a short book with an unknown ghostwriter could cost you $10,000, whereas a full-length novel by a proven ghostwriter is likely to cost you $30,000 and possibly far more.
Assisted Writing – Get a Writing Coach
If you intend to try to make this into your career, then hiring a ghostwriter will actually be a disservice to yourself.
Although you will get a completed book, you have not learned anything about the writing process and therefore, you are now in the same position if you want to write a follow-up.
That’s a problem!
It may be better for you to hire a writing coach. A writing coach is someone who will work with you to improve all aspects of your writing. They can start right at the beginning with your plotting and outlining process and then also work with you throughout your writing process and all the way into editing.
The benefit of this is you typically hire a writing coach based on hourly agreement. Although the hourly rates can be pretty high, over $100 per hour is not unusual, you are typically only hiring them for a few hours now and then rather than many days per week.
As you get more confidence and experience, you will likely be able to work with them less. The benefits and flexibility they offer are extremely useful, so this should be a serious consideration unless you truly only intend to write a one-time book.
It’s not unusual for many books to require quite a lot of background research. If you are writing a fantasy book about a completely made-up world, then obviously, your research is likely to be pretty limited.
If, however, you are writing a book that has any basis in the real world, such as real locations, actual products, people or physics, for example, then you are likely to require at least some level of research. The more fact-based your book is, the more research you will have to do.
If you’re writing something completely fact-based like a biography, you will likely require almost as much research time as you will writing time.
This could be quite a challenge, particularly for the inexperienced, so hiring a researcher to help you perform at least some or possibly most of your research could be your best option.
There are many people out there whose education and experience are solely dedicated to this aspect. As becoming a skillful researcher takes time, paying someone who is already developed this over many years could be well worth the high price. Furthermore, it could save you many weeks of your own efforts attempting to do what may then end up being lower-quality research as well.
After writing, the second most popular service that writers will attempt to get help with is their editing. Many writers find this very difficult for their own work if they are relatively new.
Looking at your own work with a critical eye when you have just spent so long crafting it can be very difficult. You have to put yourself in a frame to be open and honest about your writing, or it is unlikely you will genuinely improve your book.
The most significant benefit of getting a third-party editor is having someone with fresh eyes look at your writing. They will be able to teach you the skill of editing to do it much more effectively for yourself in the future.
Likely the more critical aspect they help you with is that they will be able to analyze the whole flow of your book, including the plot and working on your grammar and style.
Many writers think editors I just looking for sentence structure issues, spelling problems, grammar and clarity of your writing. However, an experienced, skillful editor will give you far more, such as helping you improve your characters, find and resolve any plot issues and improve the overall structure and flow of your novels.
This is probably where your book gets most of its benefits, so it is valuable to learn this skill. It may cost you a few dollars to hire a good editor, but you will likely learn a lot and find many benefits in your future writing.
Getting Advance Feedback – Alpha and Beta Readers
The last of the many skills you can outsource is to get outside readers. This one is a must-do and the good news is that most alpha and beta readers are typically free
As we have mentioned already, it can be challenging to step back from your own work and see problems. The quickest and easiest way to fix this is to get yourself some outside readers.
The two kinds of readers you need to hire are alpha readers and beta readers.
Your alpha readers will get very early drafts of your manuscript.
The intention of the alpha readers is to give you early feedback to identify significant issues such as a weak plot, bad or thin characters, and give you overall feedback on if your book is interesting.
They are not really intended to give you detailed feedback such as structure for a single sentence or punctuation, for example.
They will be more towards a reader with writing skills and so their feedback will be much higher covering significant issues.
Beta readers will be more casual readers intended to represent the general public. They could also give you detailed feedback on the central plot, but what you are really looking for from them is general feedback such as what they liked and what they didn’t about the book overall, the thoughts on the characters, if they thought the plot was exciting and so on.
The version of the manuscript they will get is more likely to be closer to the final version than the alpha readers who get a very early version. This is because the beta version will include any significant changes you’ve made due to the feedback from your alpha readers and is also likely a version from after you have done a lot of work with your editor if you decided to hire one.
So that covers the significant services that you can purchase as a writer.
They can be very expensive if you are not careful and as most books, particularly by new writers, do not make a huge amount of money you need to plan carefully. If you do not, you can find yourself paying far more than you ever make from your published book in return.
But with a bit of careful planning, these services can be absolutely invaluable in helping improve your writing skills far quicker and more effectively than just trying to do it yourself via trial and error.
Have you used any of these? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear about your experience!