If you’ve ever wanted to publish your own book, but you simply haven’t had the time on your hands to do it, you’re probably feeling… well, stuck. If you don’t have the time to write, how are you supposed to get published?
This is where ghostwriters come in. However, finding the right ghostwriter for the project can be tricky. Most people struggle to find a good one, so they give up the ghost (pardon the pun), OR they end up hiring a bad writer and end up with a less-than-satisfactory book.
If you’ve ever found yourself in this position, or you want to avoid it altogether (wise choice), we’re here to help. Here are a few tips to help you hire the right ghostwriter for your project.
What Should You Expect From A Ghostwriter?
Let’s start with some clarity.
If you’re writing a nonfiction book, your ghostwriter will rely on you to provide the stories, research, case studies, and any additional materials they’ll need for the project.
Your ghost writer may also need to conduct interviews and gather additional information with their own research. If your project is particularly research-heavy, you may need to outsource this work to a dedicated researcher.
Remember: you’re hiring a ghost for their writing abilities. The perfect ghostwriter may not be a research whizz, so be prepared to look elsewhere.
Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, a good ghost will help you bulk out the main plot or storyline and organize your material so that it makes the most sense to your readers.
They can offer their insight to help you make the most appropriate choices for your book – they’ll want you to succeed, so listen carefully to their advice.
On that note, it’s important to hire a ghostwriter you can trust. Trust is essential in this process.
If you have a carefully considered idea you want to bring to life, finding the right ghost is essential for ensuring the process goes as smoothly as possible, especially if you’re handling confidential material.
You’re counting on their talents and knowledge, as well as their ability to be a generally decent person.
Ghostwriting: The Standard Process
Want to know more about what to expect from a ghostwriter? Here’s the standard process:
- The writer produces a first draft
- The author provides feedback
- Feedback is discussed between the writer and author
- Writer creates a second draft
- The author provides any additional comments or corrections
… and so on.
Usually, once it gets to the third draft, your project is ready to go. The next step will be editing, and then proofreading. A word of advice: these should ALWAYS be done by someone other than the writer. It’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes on the job.
How To Hire A Ghostwriter
We’ll be honest: hiring the right ghostwriter is NOT an easy job. As the saying goes, you may need to kiss a few frogs to find your prince.
Don’t expect the first ghost you come across to be the right fit, and don’t be disheartened if they’re not. Just keep chipping away until you find your perfect match.
There are three main avenues you can explore to find a ghost. These are:
- Your Own Search
- Freelance Marketplaces
With an individual search, you can scour the web (usually Google and Linkedin), and compile a list of worthy candidates. This can take a LOT of time and effort, though, so be prepared to put in the work.
Another popular way is to use a freelance marketplace, such as Fiverr, Upwork, or Reedsy. Marketplaces can help you narrow your search easier than you would on the web, thanks to their advanced filters.
Last, but not least, you can go through an agency. A ghostwriting agency is a popular choice, but unfortunately, many agencies out there are complete scams.
If you’re thinking of going through an agency, do your research, and only work with one that has a solid track record.
Assess Their Skill Level
If you’ve found a promising candidate or two, you’ll need to assess their skill level.
The professionals will have an abundance of skills at their disposal, including stellar writing skills, the ability to problem solve, process lots of information, and a strong imagination.
Set up meetings, ask to see a portfolio, and converse with references for an unbiased perspective. Ghostwriters with a solid record in publishing will be highly sought after, so it’s pretty easy to pick the cream of the crop.
A Word On Portfolios
Looking through a writer’s portfolio is a must, but remember: not all ghostwriters are permitted to share the ins and outs of their projects. So, although they may have some work to show you, they may have many projects they can’t disclose.
However, you’ll probably still be able to find this information in a roundabout way. Many ghosts will include these projects on their website, but not be specific about the roles they’ve played.
However, a quality, experienced writer will have at least a few final projects they can share. Ideally, you’ll want to work with someone who’s written and published at least two books.
Looking for ghosts who have been traditionally published is often more trusted. Although self-published ghosts are just as valuable, traditional houses will have stringent standards, meaning the quality of the work is often much higher.
When you’re browsing their portfolio, don’t forget to read reviews and rankings of their works. The word ‘bestseller’ has become a little devoid of meaning recently, so if this term is used, ask them to be specific.
You’ll want their claims to carry weight.
The Bottom Line
Finding the right ghost to capture your voice and style can be tricky, but you’ll know when you’ve found them. Working together is a two-way street, so prepare to be as transparent about your project as possible to achieve the best results.
Keep communication open and build a rapport, and with the right ghost, you’ll soon see your project come to life.