12 Tips and Tricks for Hiring a Great Ghostwriter

20 Aug 2021


Have you ever thought about writing a book? Of course, you have. Most people think about it at some point or another, but where do you start? Even if you have a great story to tell or an idea to pitch, you may not be good at putting the words down. Besides that, who has the time?

Here’s something to consider. Hire a writer to write your book for you. Use your ideas and concepts, but let a pro do the writing. It’s called ghostwriting and, believe it or not, you can even still get credit as the author.

Don’t believe me? Consider this: Steven Covey is the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” but he didn’t actually write the book. A ghostwriter named Ken Shelton put the words together on the page.

And, if you paid attention, you would have noticed that Robert Ludlum’s “Jason Bourne” books have hit the shelves as recently as 2017, but Ludlum passed away in 2001.

Ghostwriting is a perfectly legitimate practice that has been going on for centuries. Even Alexandre Dumas worked with a ghostwriter!

Think of it like putting together a great building. You (the architect) create the concept but you hire a pro (the contractor) to put it together. The hard part is finding the right ghostwriter for your book.

Why Hire a Ghostwriter?

Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

Using a ghostwriter makes sense for a lot of reasons. Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, or baker of soufflés, you are probably pretty good at what you do. So are ghostwriters.

They know the tricks of the trade. They know how to take ordinary concepts, make them interesting and compelling, and keep your readers turning the page.

They also know how to research your audience, structure chapters, and pull a narrative out of almost any idea. Well, at least the good ones do. So just how do you find a good one?

12 Tips and Tricks for Hiring the Perfect Ghostwriter for You 

1. Embrace the need.

Come to terms with why you should hire a ghostwriter. Once you are at peace with the idea, you can let go of some control and increase your chance of success. This might mean taking a good look at your own writing skills as well as your available time.

2. Define your own goals for the ghostwriting project.

What do you want to accomplish with your book or article?

Is it merely to get a story out or are you trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry?

Brainstorm everything you want to achieve and then set a few tangible goals for your project.

3. Know where to look.

Believe it or not, it’s not too hard to find ghostwriters who are looking for projects. Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr advertise freelance ghostwriting services. Or, if you are looking to hire a ghostwriting agency who can take care of not only the writing, but also the editing and proofreading, The Writers For Hire has a whole team of qualified professional ghostwriters.

4. Determine the skill level you need.

Do you want to create an article for publication in a local magazine or a full-length book with hopes of national sales? The two projects require different skill levels. While a writer who can write a book for you can also probably handle the article, the opposite might not be true. A perfectly good article writer may not have the knowledge to put together a whole book.

5. Examine the ghostwriter’s portfolio.

You want a writer with experience, so take the time to look over that experience.

Are their former projects similar in scope to yours? Do they have experience writing about similar topics?

Taking a good look at their past work can give you a good feel for the writer’s skill level and style.

6. Account for your desired voice and style.

It’s essential to keep voice and style in mind. How do you want your project to come across? Some writers excel at taking difficult topics and making them approachable to a wider audience. Some can even bring in humor. You don’t want to wait until the writer is working on your project to consider these things. Deciding on your voice and style can help you choose the right writer.

7. Overcommunicate.

Before and after you’ve hired the writer, don’t be afraid to overcommunicate. What may seem obvious to you, may not be obvious at all to them. Remember, the writer doesn’t work in your field. Even if it’s just about meeting times, pet peeves, or passing thoughts about your project, you can’t expect the writer to read your mind. If something isn’t useful, they can choose to ignore it.

8. Define your desired process.

How do you want to progress? Will you communicate over the phone, email, or in-person? Do you want them to interview you, or do you have all of the information ready to go on a zip drive?

Do you want to see the project every step of the way or wait until it’s finished? How soon do you need the final product?

Once you understand how you’d like to proceed, you can communicate that to the writer, preferably before hiring them, so you’re on the same page.

9. Hire for skill, not price or availability.

You want your project done quickly and affordably, right? Who wouldn’t? But don’t let either one of those factors be the ultimate reason you choose a writer. If you want your project to be a success, you need someone with the right skills to do the job right. If that means you have to pay a little more or wait a little longer until they finish their current project, it’s probably worth it. Hiring someone with inadequate skills will only lead to frustration and wasted money.

10. Understand what the ghostwriter brings to the project.

This is a good question to ask when you are interviewing writers: What skills or benefits would you bring to this project as the writer? When you fully understand the knowledge and skills they bring, you’ll be more at peace with how they work and what you’re paying    them.

11. Communicate some more.

If you are having concerns or you’ve had new ideas, communicate them with your writer. There’s no such thing as too much information.

If you wait too long to say something or don’t say it at all, you could jeopardize the entire project. If you think something, say something.

12. Be gracious.

Working with a ghostwriter is a partnership. Like any partnership, it works better when there is courtesy. If you work with your writer like a boss with an iron fist, you’re going to be in for a long, unpleasant process. Be nice, give praise where it’s due, and be considerate of their time.

You’re a Team with Your Ghostwriter

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

While you may technically be the boss of the situation, don’t downplay the importance of your ghostwriter.

You each bring certain skills and knowledge to the project. It’s important to work amicably and with respect. You want the process to be smooth, if not fun, for both of you.

A ghostwriter can take your book or article project from ordinary to extraordinary, but only if you do your due diligence and find the right ghostwriter for you.

Your ideas should be in print. Find the right ghostwriter to make them shine!

Tyler Omoth 
Tyler grew up knowing he wanted to be a writer. In 2005 he landed his first professional writing role as a radio advertising copywriter. Since then he has penned over 70 books for children as well as blog posts, white papers, press releases, greeting cards and articles. He's even managed to get a few short stories and poems published. He's written for just about every kind of business out there and loves the challenge of finding the right voice to fit each client, even if it means matching their existing voice. He believes that the best writing strikes an emotional chord, even if it's just a 30-second advertisement. He is Hubspot certified for content marketing and knows how to create content that is SEO friendly. A Minnesota transplant living in Tampa, FL, when he's not writing Tyler is probably watching baseball or embracing the chaos of life with his wife, Mary, and twin toddlers, Gavin and Rachel.

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