How To Find and Hire a Ghostwriter
HOW TO FIND AND HIRE A GHOSTWRITER
It’s okay to hire a ghostwriter to create the book you’ve always dreamed of publishing. After all, you may not have the time to write, especially if you already have a full-time job or are a business owner with a lot on your plate.
But where do you find a ghostwriter you can trust? Aren’t there a lot of scams associated with the profession? How do you know who’s trustworthy and who’s not?
Many top ghostwriters are available who have the integrity and experience you need. But since they aren’t allowed to disclose client information, these highly skilled professionals tend to be elusive.
You won’t find legitimate ghostwriters hanging around regular job boards. Instead, you’ll have to get creative to hire one.
Finding Possible Candidates
Finding professional ghostwriting services who can write in your voice and work well with you to create your book or article is a tall order. Still, they do exist, so here are some suggestions to help get you started on your search.
When looking for a ghostwriter, the most obvious places are where freelancers look for jobs. These sites are nearly ubiquitous, but here are the top five to consider:
- Creative markets
While these websites may give you a head start to finding a freelancer, they have some drawbacks. For one, you will have to put up with the site’s rules. You aren’t allowed to communicate outside of the work dashboard, and almost anyone in the company can view your conversations.
Next, there is the matter of getting the freelancer to finish the project on time. Most writers working on marketplace sites have multiple projects going on at once. Unfortunately, this could push back your project deadline, sometimes in perpetuity.
In addition, freelancers may not respond quickly to a change request or revision. Worse, you might not even hear from them for an extended period, adding to your frustrations.
In short, since these are typically bidding sites, they become a race to the bottom. In other words, if you’re looking solely for a low price, you’ll get it. But if you need quality writing, it’s best to try other sources to find an experienced ghostwriter.
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are excellent places to find a ghostwriter. But beware. You will often get so many responses that it can be overwhelming, and you will have to sift through potentially hundreds of freelancers.
Instead of using a blanket job posting, try narrowing your search. Look for writing groups on LinkedIn and Facebook as a starting point.
Contact the group’s leader or moderator and tell them you are interested in hiring a ghostwriter. You’ll at least narrow your search to writers that have some experience.
Finding ghostwriters through publishers is possible, but it can be a tricky process to navigate. You’ll need a unique and compelling story to pull it off.
In most cases, you must convince the publisher that you have a book worth publishing. Then, they will match a ghostwriter to your genre or idea.
Unfortunately, many unscrupulous companies and vultures can’t wait to pounce on those who are desperate to publish a book. They typically promise to find a ghostwriter and provide all the cover design and marketing.
While this may sound great, in many cases, it’s a scam. The easiest way to tell is if you’re asked to pay fees to get the production process started. No legitimate publisher will ask you to pay to have your book published. If they genuinely like your book, they usually pay you an author’s advance for the right to publish it.
Recommendations From Other Authors
People you know are a great resource for finding credible candidates to write your book or article. Try to get recommendations from other authors who’ve used ghostwriters in the past.
Using Ghostwriting Agencies
Unlike individual freelancers, ghostwriting agencies bring together the best writers, editors, and project managers under one roof. They tend to take on larger writing projects and can draw from a wider talent pool.
When you hire a writing agency to take on your book project, you get an experienced team rather than a single freelancer. Each member has a specialized task: writing, editing, or proofreading.
In most cases, you’ll also have a project manager that oversees the work. This centralized point of contact ensures that all deadlines are met, and the finished product is completed to your satisfaction.
Unfortunately, like with book publishing, there are scams within the ghostwriting industry. So, be careful and do your homework. It’s okay to ask lots of questions. Be sure to get all promises in writing.
What To Look For in a Quality Ghostwriting Agency
- Years in Business. While this metric may seem unfair—after all, many new companies hit the ground running and are highly reputable—it’s best to choose a writing agency with some experience. Anything over 10 years is exceptional. It means the company has weathered the many storms of the writing industry. It also signals its commitment to delivering quality and value for its clients.
- Types of Clients It Serves. When you come across a writing organization that serves international organizations and Fortune 500 companies, you’ve discovered a real gem. If companies like [XX], [XX], and [XX] can trust it for all its content needs, so can you.
- Experienced Team. Having a team of in-house writing experts is the way to go if you want your book or article to be of the best quality possible. If you have a lot riding on the success of your book, why put it in the hands of a single freelancer? With a highly skilled team, you are assured of accountability across all project benchmarks.
- Customer Service. Error-free writing goes without saying, but what if you have a question or want to talk to a human being about making a few last-minute changes? Is that writer you’ve hired going to return your calls, or will you only receive text messages on the weekends? Will they contact you promptly, or will you be stuck wondering if you’ll ever hear from them again?
Assessing a Ghostwriter’s Abilities
Editor Flori Meeks from The Writers For Hire suggests that the most vital attribute of any ghostwriter is communication skills. They not only have to convey your ideas with the written word, but they must be able to listen closely to gain the essence of what you want.
In addition, your ghostwriter should be able to provide:
Referral letters and testimonials are valuable for understanding where a ghostwriter is in their career. Testimonials also allow you to assess how well they will interact with you as the client.
Online reviews are the same as testimonials and referral letters. The more reviews the ghostwriter has, the better. Still, understand that these can be easily faked, and many unscrupulous individuals will offer money in exchange for reviews.
While a ghostwriter doesn’t necessarily have to have the same credentials as you do, it helps if they know the subject matter you want to explore. For example, if you’re doing a book about creating algorithms for stock trading, you want a ghostwriter with a degree in computer science interested in the financial markets.
Look for ghostwriters who have been published and have a proven track record. While this may sound obvious, it’s astonishing how many people call themselves ghostwriters without having any proven experience or credentials.
A writer’s portfolio usually lists published books and articles in their name. Still, since you are hiring a ghostwriter, they are kept from displaying their work publicly due to confidentiality agreements with past clients.
However, the best ghostwriters will have at least a few articles published in their name. They may also include unpaid samples of their work on their website.
The main takeaway is to get at least a small sample of their work. You could have your ghostwriter perform a paid test, but, in most cases, it’s better to sift through to the best candidates and then ask for a professional writing portfolio.
Interviewing someone to write your book is the same process as hiring any other employee. Remember, they work for you, not the other way around. The onus is on them to prove they can handle the project—on time and within budget.
Ask about their experience writing the kind of book you want to publish. To do this, you must be detailed in your book description.
For example, instead of telling your writer that you want to publish a book about personal finance, give details about what you want in it and the type of audience you hope to reach.
Be suspicious of any ghostwriter telling you they can write about any subject to any audience. While most writers should be able to handle a fair amount of research, you want one who has experience writing to your niche audience.
The All-Important Contract
While the legal stuff can be unpleasant for most authors, it’s necessary to have a contract in place to protect both parties. Have it reviewed by a competent attorney, and make sure you spell out precisely what you expect, including:
- Payments and fees
- Termination rights
- Confidentiality and nondisclosure
Be sure you understand how much you are paying for your ghostwriter. While it’s common for you to pay some upfront costs, it’s best to avoid writers who charge by the word.
You should always insist on retaining 100 percent copyright for your book or article. There’s no reason to give it up to a ghostwriter unless you specify it in the contract.
It’s okay to share royalties, especially when working with a best-selling author. Again, make sure you have the exact amount stipulated in the contract.
Include clauses for plagiarism and subcontracting. Your writer should never be allowed to copy someone else’s work, nor should they subcontract any part of the writing process without your express permission.
Last, make sure your ghostwriter remains a ghost. Have them sign a nondisclosure agreement never to show anyone you were their client.
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More Tips for Hiring Ghostwriters
- Have clear, tangible goals for your book. Ask yourself why you want to write it in the first place, and set benchmarks using chapters, sections, and deadlines.
- Always keep the reader in mind. Before hiring someone to write your book, have a picture in your mind of your ideal audience.
- Ask lots of questions. Your ghostwriter will be expecting you to communicate during the entire book-writing process. Also, be sure to answer any questions they may have. Be open to several interviews. These sessions will help your writer know what’s on your mind so they can transfer those important thoughts into the written word.
- Be patient. After all, writing a book is a huge endeavor, so you must approach the process methodically and with a bit of patience and forethought. Still, the journey will be well worth it if you hire the right ghostwriter to help you.
- Contact The Writers For Hire today to discover how to start your book project. We’ll provide a free quote and general guidance on what to expect during the writing process. Of course, we’ll answer all your questions and make you feel like you’re part of the family!
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