If you have a great idea for a book, you've come to the right place.
My name is Hy Bender. I'm one of the top ghostwriters and developmental editors in the country, and probably the only book proposal writer you can hire who helped a first-time, non-celebrity author land a $1 million advance (please see below). I've helped hundreds of clients, ranging from New York Times bestselling authors to Hollywood screenwriters. Two of the books I ghostwrote, both for first-time authors, reached The New York Times Bestseller list; and a number of books I helped develop also made The New York Times list.
In addition, I'm the author or co-author of 16 books under my own name that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The latter include five books in the popular Dummies series and a Complete Idiot's Guide, which demonstrate my ability to explain even complex concepts in an accessible, entertaining manner that anyone can understand.
And they further include a nationally bestselling interview book with superstar novelist & screenwriter Neil Gaiman. I'd use those same interview skills to draw out the critical details of your book.
Book as Personal Brand
My most frequent clients are professionals who have tremendously valuable knowledge and insights—doctors,
lawyers, business executives, scientists, journalists, life coaches, marketers, nutritionists, financial advisors, fitness trainers, spiritual
gurus, and more—but lack the experience and time to communicate them effectively in book form. If you fall into this category, I'd be superb at extracting your expert information by casually chatting with you over the phone, and then "translating" industry jargon and complex concepts into flowing prose that's fun to read and easy to absorb.
The result will typically be a book that powerfully delivers your key messages to a potential audience of millions; legitimizes you as a top expert in your field; helps you achieve national fame; and becomes the foundation of your personal brand.
Your Life Story as Book and Movie
If you want to tell your personal story via a memoir, I have a major advantage over other book ghostwriters because I'm also a professional story expert who helps
screenwriters bulletproof their screenplays and teleplays. My deep
understanding of feature films allows me to give
almost any life story a movie-like structure,
which vastly increases your memoir's chances of winning over
both very large numbers of readers and Hollywood producers.
Laughter Makes Anything Better
On top of my book skills, I have a world-class sense of humor. I cover New York comedy via websites BestNewYorkComedy.com and HyReviews.com; and I've sold humor articles to such diverse national newspapers & magazines as The New York Times, American Film, Advertising Age, Spy, and Mad Magazine.
My comedy expertise allows me to both ghostwrite and edit with wit and an easy-going style, thus avoiding the sort of dry, muted tone that spells death for many nonfiction books.
Million Dollar Book Proposal Writer
My accomplishments as a ghostwriter and top book proposal developer include:
Meticulously developing a book proposal for a client who was a first-time author and non-celebrity that resulted in a $1 million advance—and without the help of an agent (it was snatched up in less than three days by the first publisher to which we sent it). This almost never happens, and you're unlikely to find any other ghostwriter who's managed to do this. The book went on to become a New York Times bestseller—and even more impressively, reached #16 on Amazon.com (i.e., Stephen King or Stephen R. Covey territory).
Helping Steve Olsher, who's been a client since
his first manuscript, reach #9 on The New York Times bestseller list with his third book What Is Your WHAT?, published by Wiley. In his Acknowledgements, Steve thanks me for being "the world's best editor" and "for teaching me the difference between writing and being a writer."
Helping clients receive glowing endorsements from such international celebrities as Elizabeth Gilbert, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love.
Please know that I'm not for everyone. I'm exceptionally honest and tough on pages (because both publishers and readers have high standards), so I'll never be patronizing and merely tell you what you want to hear. But if you have a thick skin, I'll do my very best to help you write an extremely compelling book proposal and a great book.
You Need a Book Proposal
By the same token, I won't ever try to cheat you. For example, if you speak to other ghostwriters, they may try to persuade you to immediately pay $35,000-$80,000+ for them to write your entire book.
But the truth is if you have a great idea for a nonfiction
book aimed at traditional publishers, the first step isn't to create a complete manuscript. It's to craft a book
proposal that clearly describes your concept, why it'll be compelling
to a large number of readers, the ways in which it can be promoted to
those readers, and how you'd flesh it out in book form. This proposal
can then be used to attract agents and convince book publishers. It's
only after obtaining a contractual commitment and advance payment from
a publisher that you should proceed to writing the entire book, either by yourself or with a ghostwriter.
Publishers not only prefer this approach for nonfiction books, they demand it. Among a proposal's advantages are that a busy editor can read it a lot faster than an entire manuscript; it provides critical business & marketing information that a manuscript doesn't; and it avoids you being "locked in" to any element,
giving an editor the freedom to ask for both major and minor changes before you devote an immense amount of time and effort into developing the full book.
I know of what I speak. On top of the 16 books published under my own name, I've been the ghostwriter for scores of books, manuals, scripts, and other client projects.
For almost all the books, I made the sale on the basis of
a 15-30 page "pitch" marketing
section, a 15-20 page detailed contents outline, and a 40-60 page collection of sample chapters.
I've been told repeatedly—by clients who meticulously explored the market for ghostwriters and then chose me—that I'm the finest book proposal writer for hire in the country. One of my clients, a New York Times bestselling author for whom I helped create an award-winning business book, calls me "the guru of book proposals."
to find anyone else who'll do as great a job of identifying and then presenting
on paper the best aspects of your book idea. Regardless of your level
of experience, I'll take your concept very seriously and, if I believe
you have a solid chance at selling it, will work hard to craft a winning
book proposal for you.
Self-Publishing and Hybrid Publishing
Traditional publishing is not your only option. If you want complete control over your book, if you want to get it out into the world quickly, and if you have a large existing audience to whom you can sell directly and keep 100% of the revenue, then self-publishing may be a better choice for you.
And one other way to go is hybrid publishing. For example, I have an excellent relationship with a publisher that will give you a much higher percentage of book royalties
(up to 50%, versus 10%-15% from traditional publishers) if you're okay with skipping an advance and bookstore distribution—which can be a fine deal if your sales are going to be primarily online regardless. This publisher will also market for you for an additional fee; and if your book sells well enough, that fee can come directly out of your royalties.
If your project is better suited for self-publishing or hybrid publishing, I'll help build and guide your book every step of the way: ghostwriting
the book, editing it to perfection, gathering evocative images, helping you hire book designers to create a stellar cover and interiors, advising you on distribution and promotion, and sharing a variety of strategies I know to substantially increase your odds of success.
World-Class Editor and Ghostwriter
While my specialty is proposals, I'm highly skilled at every aspect of book development. For example, if you have an existing manuscript, please know
that I'm an exceptional book editor. I've turned books that no one wanted to
buy into New York Times bestsellers through thoughtful—and at times brutal—cuts,
revisions, and rewriting.
Similarly, if you're writing fiction,
I'm second to none at providing analysis, editorial, and ghostwriting
help. That's why even Hollywood screenwriters rely on me to tell them whether
their movies are well-constructed and how their stories can be improved.
Alternatively, if you need an entire book written from scratch,
I'm a quick, efficient, and superb ghostwriter. Two books I ghostwrote cover to cover became New York Times bestsellers; one hit #16 on Amazon.com, which is Oprah territory; and my interview book with Neil Gaiman reached #240 on Amazon.com.
All You Have to Do is Talk
Among the reasons I'm at the top of the ghostwriting field is I'm a superb listener and interviewer. In addition to the extensive
interviewing performed for my bestselling books, I co-hosted a career podcast that involved interviewing executives from Microsoft, AT&T, 3M, Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, Deloitte, Pricewaterhousecoopers, Siemens, Eli Lilly, The Mayo Clinic, Salk Institute, Genentech, State Farm, Allstate, WordPress.com, Tumblr, and dozens more. (For a sample, please listen to my interview with wonderful comic Mike Lawrence by clicking here.)
Plus I've used my conversational
skills to tackle projects for such renowned organizations as Morgan Stanley,
Reuters, American Insurance Group (AIG), New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), Northern
Telecom, Juno Online Services, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Congress.
You therefore don't need to write anything. We can create your entire proposal—and, eventually, your entire book—by simply chatting casually over the phone while I digitally record your knowledge and memories. My transcriptionist will then turn your spoken words into Microsoft Word documents...at which point we'll have text I can edit and, eventually, turn into polished material. I've used this approach to ghostwrite scores of compelling proposals and acclaimed books.
I advertise myself as a ghostwriter because it's a term everyone instantly understands, but my services are actually broader and more holistic. If you're like most of my clients, becoming an author is part of a larger plan for taking your career to new heights. Whether you're seeking to expand your business, get recognized as a thought leader in your field, become nationally and internationally famous, spread an important message across the globe, or in some other way make the world a better place, I'll be a great resource for you.
Beyond your book, I can help you shape a powerful and focused message
throughout all your media efforts,
and help ensure your various
media activities all synergistically
support each other instead of sending confusing mixed signals. I'm especially strong at identifying core messages and finding the ideal wording to attract and persuade your target audiences (in fact, that's why I'm so good at book proposals....).
For example, I've helped self-help gurus to vastly improve or reinvent their ideas, key terms, and presentations. And one client for whom I helped create new branding and an online platform expanded her business so quickly that she no longer even needed to do her book.
I can share strategies with you for garnering thousands of dollars of free publicity. And I also have a strong relationship with a firm that specializes in book marketing if you prefer paying others to create a media campaign.
In a nutshell: Regardless of your field, the chances are that you'll make exciting discoveries and enjoy new insights as a result of working with me that you can apply to your career branding and marketing.
Resume, Writing Samples, and Movie Analysis
To learn more about my experience as a ghostwriter, bestselling author, and screenplay analyst, please
click below to explore:
You can also read about the 16 books published under my own name by searching for "Hy
Bender" via either Google or online book superstore Amazon.com. The following are the covers
of some of my books:
of Hy's 16 books published
under his own name
I typically charge an hourly rate working from upfront renewable retainers. I'm running a holiday sale in December that lowers my standard rate by 20% to $80 an hour (it's normally $100 an hour). Please feel encouraged to take advantage of this discount while it's still available.
As for overall cost, I can't give an estimate for a full book because books vary widely in length and complexity. But I can provide an estimate for book proposals, which have a much more predictable structure.
A book proposal is essentially a business plan
for your book. It requires only one investor, i.e., a publisher; but that
publisher will be spending around $50,000 on editorial, layout, cover design, printing, distribution, marketing, etc., plus an additional $10,000-$100,000+ on your advance. Publishers therefore need you to provide a rock-solid document to
justify that investment.
Creating a book proposal that adequately meets this challenge requires highly skilled and time-consuming effort. A proposal typically runs 80-110 pages, which breaks down to 15-20 pages for a detailed outline describing the book from beginning to end; around 60 pages of sample chapters; and a "pitch" section running 15-30 pages that makes a business case to convince publishers your book will sell numerous copies. And conceptually, the proposal covers roughly a third of the work involved in creating the full book—i.e., it's akin to the book's skeleton, plus most of its brain (while writing the rest of the book is effectively adding flesh and blood to that skeleton).
If we're starting from just an idea, such a proposal will typically cost $10K-$15K—or, under the current 20% discount holiday sale, $8K-$12K (with most of the cost going into the careful and strategic development of the book's outline and content). That's a very reasonable investment in your future if you're serious about getting published to communicate your message to a mass audience, boost your national and international fame, push your career to the next level, and/or have a solid chance of becoming the author of a bestseller.
It's important to understand that what you're paying for isn't merely a document to "trick" a publisher into saying yes. Creating your book proposal with me provides you with an extraordinary development process that helps you make the finest choices for your book, exploit and highlight its greatest assets, and help ensure you end up with the very best book possible. My goal for you isn't to simply land a publishing contract, but stack the odds in favor of your becoming a bestselling author.
When you land a publisher, you'll
typically receive an advance that covers most or all of your book proposal cost. And if your
sales take off, you could earn a great deal more than that from your royalties.
Your Ideas Are Kept Strictly Confidential
Please don't hesitate to share your book plans with me.
As a ghostwriter at the top of my profession, I receive hundreds of book and movie ideas a year. As a matter of policy, I keep them all strictly confidential. Protecting the concepts of my clients,
and potential clients, is as automatic for me as breathing.
If you still feel uncomfortable, though, then please feel encouraged to register
your manuscript—regardless of whatever partial stage of completion it's in—online with the US Copyright Office
It's a quick process, and
the $35 charge is worth it for peace of mind alone.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need a ghostwriter for any aspect of book development, please feel super encouraged to reach out.
Please be sure to include your phone number, as the best way for me to learn about your book and answer any questions you might have is to chat with you by phone.
Again, I've found that razor-sharp clients who spend weeks carefully interviewing ghostwriters around the country typically end up hiring me.
Whether you plan to put in that same amount of research work or simply want a ghostwriter who's an obvious right choice, I'd love to hear from you, learn about your ideas, answer any questions you might have, and chat about how I might be of help in turning your vision into a book.