If you are looking to hire a ghostwriter, then you have come to the right place. A book is something very personal to all of us so when you bring in another person to help, it becomes quite the intimate experience. You are sharing your ideas and solving problems with them. So finding someone you trust is of the utmost importance.
It’s not exactly easy to find someone you trust that also has the experience and skillset to write your book. You need to approach this task the right way. However, the first step is to come into this process with the right expectations.
What to Expect When you Hire a Ghostwriter
When dealing with nonfiction books, you will have to provide all of the stories, most of the research, and the case studies to the ghostwriter. Depending on the type of book, the ghostwriter might also want to conduct an interview with you in order to gather certain information.
Ghostwriters will also research to some extent but you are the expert of your book so any information you provide will make the entire process much more efficient. Also keep in mind that you are hiring someone to write your content. You are paying for their writing skills. Therefore, you might be better off paying a specialist to conduct research. Again, it depends on the scope of the book or content being written. When you hire a ghostwriter, be careful not to have unrealistic expectations.
What Does the Ghostwriting Process Look Like?
When you hire a ghostwriter, their process will typically follow this pattern.
- Ghostwriter will write and submit the first draft.
- Author will write comments using some form of tracking tool.
- Ghostwriter and author will discuss the comments.
- The ghostwriter addresses the comments and then submits a second draft.
- Author adds new comments.
- Ghostwriter produces a third draft if necessary.
How to Hire a Ghostwriter
Now that you understand the expectations, let’s take a closer look at the process of hiring a ghostwriter.
Step 1: Set Clear Goals
Always lay out a clear plan before you start reaching out to potential ghostwriters. You must have a clear understanding of what it is that you want to achieve. This will serve as a guide for your entire journey. There are also certain goals that you will need to share with the ghostwriter you choose. Here are the two important questions that you need to answer:
- How will readers benefit from this content?
- How will I benefit from this content?
Also if you are writing a book, you need to decide right now whether you are going to aim for traditional publishing or if you are going to self-publish.
Step 2: Search for Ghostwriters
Skilled ghostwriters are difficult to find because there are so many people who claim to be “skilled,” but are just looking for a quick buck. The most skilled ghostwriters struggle with two things – they are usually overwhelmed with work and they are usually unable to share any previous work that they have done. Therefore, sites like Upwork are probably going to be your best choice since they have a ratings system.
You will generally want to select around 5 ghostwriters that look appealing and interview them. Visit their website and blog to see if they are a good match. Not only will you need to find a skilled ghostwriter, but they will also need to have the right style.
Note: Ghostwriters are generally limited by Non-Disclosure Agreements and are not legally allowed to share work from previous clients. I mention this because I get asked to share work from previous clients all of the time. When you hire a ghostwriter, ask for their website and portfolio rather than writing samples from previous clients.
Step 3: Look at their Resume
The best ghostwriters will have set up their profiles and websites in a way to showcase their work. They will also be able to show you their portfolio. Again, this is going to be their original work since they can’t share work from previous clients. Look at their level of experience and writing style to determine whether or not they are a good fit.
Only after gauging their qualifications should you consider pricing. The best ghostwriters are going to be more expensive than others on the market. A majority of the “ghostwriters” you find online are going to claim to work for pennies. However, you’ll quickly discover that the quality of their work reflects that low price.
At this point, you will want to ensure that the ghostwriter can capture your voice. This is important but also takes the most focus so save it for the last step of verification. Once you have established their experience, skillset, and price is within your goals, then you can put in the work to make sure that they have the potential to capture your voice.
Always pay for a short writing sample based on your work before you commit to a long-term project and hire a ghostwriter. Never ask for free samples either because that comes across as extremely unprofessional.
Step 4: Clearly Articulate your Goals
By this step, you will have found a candidate. Now you need to be absolutely sure that you make your expectations clear. Share your goals with the ghostwriter.
- Are you going to give them creative freedom or have them stick to a detailed outline?
- Will you be self-publishing or are you going to look for a traditional publisher?
- Who is the target audience?
Set clear boundaries up-front and put them in writing. Will you expect them to hold regularly scheduled meetings with you? Do you want weekly reports? All of these issues need to be addressed before you start the project.
Step 5: Lay Out all of the Details in Writing
Ghostwriting will involve a lot of communication between you and the ghostwriter. When you hire a ghostwriter, you need to make sure that every detail is laid out in writing. Make your needs perfectly clear. Skilled ghostwriters are going to ask you a lot of questions and gather information at the onset of the project.
The most important part is that you’re comfortable with the process that the ghostwriter uses. This has probably already been established by this step. Just don’t try to micro manage because it’s rude and to be quite honest, experienced ghostwriters are more skilled at the publishing process than you are.
Step 6: Be Patient
As a ghostwriter, I can tell you that the majority of people who approach me are dead set on starting immediately. So they will often choose lesser skilled writers because they are available right away. This is a bit counterproductive. If the writer is not busy, then there’s a reason for it. The best ghostwriters are often going to have to schedule you in because they get a constant flow of work.
Be patient when you hire a ghostwriter if you want the best because they are very likely not going to be available immediately.
Let me share something else that I often see happen. Clients who are in a hurry to get started end up settling for an available, lower tier writer. The problem is that some of these clients will message me a couple of months later, expressing their desire for my services again because their previous ghostwriter provides them with subpar work. By this point, they are on an even tighter deadline.
Secure the best ghostwriters a few weeks in advance to get the best work. They will have to work you into their schedule.
When you hire a ghostwriter, I understand that everyone has a budget that they need to meet. The problem is that when you start sacrificing quality for cost, you will be punished on the back end. There are ways that you can make it much more bearable.
For large projects, most ghostwriters will work with milestones. You break your book up into several parts and each one consists of a payment. Most writers will be willing to work with you to help set up a plan that fits your budget.