FIVE TIPS FOR HIRING THE RIGHT GHOSTWRITER
You don’t have to be famous to hire a ghostwriter: Lots of everyday people use ghostwriters to help with all sorts of writing projects – from creative fiction novels to family histories to business books. Most people hire ghostwriters because they have an idea for a book, but they just don’t have the time or the writing expertise to get those ideas on paper.
And, if you’re in the market for a ghostwriter, you’ve probably got a few questions: Where do you find a ghostwriter? How do you make the decision to hire one? How does the ghostwriting process work? How do you know you’ve found the right ghostwriter for your project?
Not sure how to get started? Check out these tips for finding the right ghostwriter:
1. Ask for samples. Any ghostwriter who’s been in the industry for a while should have a few samples to share with prospective clients (of course, given the secretive nature of the business, she may ask you to sign a non-disclosure form). Once you get her samples, look them over – do they read well? Is the prose interesting? Reviewing a few recent writing samples is really the best way to get a feel for what a ghostwriter can do. If you like what you see, chances are, you’ll be happy with her work.
Now, what happens if, say, most of her samples are biographies, and you want to write a corporate tell-all or a steamy romance novel? That brings us to the next tip . . .
2. Discuss style. Some ghostwriters are specialists – for example, they may be especially good at writing romance novels or business books. Other ghostwriters are more flexible, and are capable of writing in a variety of styles and voices about a wide range of topics. So, if you don’t see the style you’re looking for in her samples, just ask. If you’ve got a style in mind, talk to her about it. Even better, prepare a list of books and authors whose style you’d like to emulate in your own book. It’s an easy way to give your prospective ghostwriter a frame of reference.
3. Talk about your timeline and the process. Depending on your ghostwriter’s workload and the amount of research and preparation required for your book, the ghostwriting process can take anywhere from six months to a year – especially if your ghostwriter handles multiple projects or clients. Before you hire a ghostwriter, you should make sure that her work schedule is a good fit for your book. And, it’s a good idea to find out exactly how your prospective ghostwriter works. Most ghostwriters will work with you to create an outline of the book, and then email you each chapter for review and edits.
4. Meet face-to-face. Seriously. It’s not necessary to hire a ghostwriter who lives in the same city – or even the same state as you do, but it is important to meet with her at least once before you get started on the project. As your project progresses, you’ll be spending a lot of time working with your ghostwriter – discussing edits, trading ideas, and so forth, and it’s a lot easier to do this with someone you feel comfortable with. And, your ghostwriter will appreciate the opportunity for some face time – after all, she’s writing your story, so she needs to get a sense of who you are and what makes you tick.
5. Ask about publishing. Ghostwriters’ roles in publishing your work can vary a lot – some ghostwriters (especially ghostwriters who work for larger firms or agencies), have connections to people in the typesetting and publishing arenas. Other ghostwriters only handle the writing end of your book – once the finished manuscript is in your hands, it’s up to you to find a publisher. And, still other ghostwriters offer assistance with self-publishing or e-publishing.
Hiring a ghostwriter is an important decision – after all, you’ll be working closely with her every step of the way to bring your story to life – from the early outlining and research stages to the final editing and publishing. It will be a long relationship, so it’s important that you find a skilled ghostwriter that you’ll feel comfortable working with over the long haul.