Top 3 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Ghostwriter to Write Your Book

06 Dec 2022


Many people have a story to tell but struggle to put it into words. Writing a nonfiction book is not only a great way to share a personal experience and bring attention to a specific topic, but also an excellent marketing tactic to raise awareness about your brand and demonstrate your expertise and professionalism.

Writing is a specialized skill that can take years to hone. Luckily, some professional writers can easily capture your voice and express your ideas. People hire ghostwriters for several reasons. Maybe you love to write but don’t have the time. Or the thought of writing 1,000 words overwhelms you—never mind 80,000.

Whatever your reason, hiring a ghostwriter is a great option to save your time and effort while bringing your story to life.

What is a ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter is a professional hired to create different pieces of writing anonymously. Ghostwriters are paid to produce written materials for people or organizations, and the customer is credited as the author.

Ghostwriting is very common in several industries, like business and entertainment. For many, it’s easier to hire a ghostwriter than to depend on themselves or their staff for written materials. Almost 60% of nonfiction books are ghostwritten, with many of our favorite politicians and celebrities having published memoirs and autobiographies written by ghostwriters.

Who might need to hire a ghostwriter?

Anyone with a story to tell might benefit from hiring a ghostwriter. Whether you’re an everyday person, or a well-known public figure, hiring a ghostwriter can help you tell your story in the best way possible.

Ghostwriting is an investment in time and effort. Not only does writing take a ton of skill and experience, but also completing a nonfiction book is a large project that requires a high level of dedication.

Ghostwriters can effortlessly complete these projects, ensuring that the end deliverable is compelling and concise.

Choosing to hire a ghostwriter will ensure your book measures up to other nonfiction works, since most nonfiction writing is produced by writing experts.

Many ghostwriters are skilled in creating different nonfiction works such as:

  • Autobiographies
  • Biographies
  • Memoirs
  • Opinion pieces
  • Essays
  • Historical, scientific, technical, or economic writing
  • Journalism pieces

Why hire a ghostwriter?

Hiring a ghostwriter is the best way to ensure you complete your project. As a busy professional, it’s easy to let writing projects fall by the wayside or never even begin them in the first place. Ghostwriters are skilled in quickly gathering ideas and forming them into words, producing large amounts of long-form content in shorter amounts of time.

Many experienced ghostwriters are subject matter experts, bringing highly desired skills to the table. Deciding to hire a ghostwriter with experience in your specific field will ensure your vision is accurately crafted.

A skilled ghostwriter can easily incorporate their professional experience with their expert writing skills to make your idea come to life. Some of the most common reasons for hiring a ghostwriter include:

  • You’re not a good writer or don’t like writing. This may be the most obvious reason to hire a ghostwriter. Many people have excellent ideas but struggle to write them down in words, while others have no interest in writing.
  • You have no time to write a book. Writing a nonfiction book can take years for an inexperienced writer to complete. A ghostwriter can express ideas in writing a lot quicker. This will also free up your time to focus on other priorities.
  • The subject is difficult for you to write about. Hiring a ghostwriter is an efficient solution for covering tough topics. Maybe your book is about an emotional or traumatic event that resurfaces negative emotions that are too difficult for you to handle. Or, you have a complex idea that makes perfect sense in your head, but when you try to write it down, you don’t know where to start.

If you’re still unsure whether hiring a ghostwriter is the right move for you, it’s best to assess your own knowledge and writing skills. Consider how much of your free time and effort you’re willing to put into writing a nonfiction book.

3 Key Things to Consider Before Hiring a Ghostwriter

Before you invest in hiring a ghostwriter, think about how their services will benefit you along with any potential drawbacks. Taking your top priorities into account, explore your options and once you find a potential match, make sure your relationship is a good fit.

Establish your priorities.

Understanding exactly what you hope to achieve from hiring a ghostwriter will set you up for success.

You should think about the ghostwriter’s skills and if you need to hire someone with extensive experience. It’s also important to consider if you’ll need an individual writer or if you want to seek the help of a ghostwriting agency.

A ghostwriting agency is a one-stop shop for writing, editing, and proofreading. Hiring a ghostwriting agency can be a good investment for many, especially if your project is focused on scientific, technical, or economic writing.

Keep in mind your project timeline and your writer’s availability.

Do you want your project completed by the third quarter? Do you need a writer who can work weekends or late nights?

These are questions you should answer before reaching out to different writers.

Explore your options.

Once you’ve established your priorities, it’s time to find a ghostwriter. You want to hire a writer with multiple years of experience writing nonfiction works. They must be able to effectively capture your voice, so readers assume you’re the author. The ghostwriter must also create a deep connection with the audience, particularly for nonfiction books.

Their writing should be captivating and engaging, quickly drawing the reader in. You may also want to hire a writer with specific credentials and career expertise, depending on the topic of your book. Skills like these can take years to develop, so be sure to thoroughly vet each writer you’re considering.

Always request samples of prior work related to your current project, if possible. You’ll want to read through previous works and make sure the ghostwriter matches the skill set and voice you’re looking for.

If they pass the first test, ask for two or three references who can vouch for their professionalism and writing process. Ask the references different questions about their engagement style and satisfaction with the final deliverable to help gauge if the ghostwriter is a good fit for you.

Assess your relationship with your potential ghostwriter.

After you’ve narrowed down your options, assess how well you and your potential writer will work together. The writer should be able to capture the essence of who you are, so communication and listening skills are a necessity.

You should be able to express your thoughts, ideas, and concerns to each other effectively. Do you understand each other well? Were they listening closely to what you were saying in your initial conversations? Considering these questions and more to determine your relationship compatibility is necessary to ensure your investment doesn’t go to waste.

Another thing to consider is your ghostwriter’s contract. Hiring a ghostwriter isn’t cheap. You’ll want to be sure there are no unpleasant surprises and that their contract is fair.


Preserve your legacy

How to Determine if Hiring a Ghostwriter is the Right Choice For You

Even after finding the best writer, there are still a few important factors that’ll help you be sure about your decision. Before signing on the dotted line, assess how much hiring a ghostwriter will cost and whether it’s worth the investment.

How much can you expect to pay?

Every ghostwriter’s fee will be different, based on factors like years of experience, area of expertise, and the specific project. Some writers charge by the word, while others charge hourly. Although costs will be determined later in the process, be aware of the fees charged for preparation, research, transcription, and writing.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $250 per hour for preparation and $100 to $500 per hour for research and transcriptions. Writing fees can vary, depending on whether your ghostwriter charges hourly, per word, or by the project.

These numbers can be a bit shocking at first. But don’t worry, you won’t have to pay immediately. Most ghostwriters have flexible payment plans, so you can spread the payment throughout the duration of the project instead of paying it all upfront.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Ghostwriting is an expensive investment, so always run the numbers first. You can determine the ROI of your nonfiction book based on some key factors like:

  • The genre of the book
  • Whether you publish traditionally or self-publish
  • If the book is selling a service, like a class or a training program
  • The value your book will offer to the reader

A lot more goes into figuring out ROI, and an experienced ghostwriter will be able to share the facts on pricing and how much you can expect in return before starting the project.

How do you want your book to be published?

Self-published books are generally easier to produce. Traditionally published books are more time-consuming and offers through traditional publishers are much harder to get. However, the benefits of traditionally publishing your book are likely to outweigh the additional fees and time, depending on the ROI of your book.

Final Thoughts

Hiring a ghostwriter isn’t an easy decision and requires considering many factors. You should expect your ghostwriter to follow your vision, be a great listener, and provide valuable advice. Learn as much as you can about the ghostwriter you’re considering.

Ultimately, choosing to hire a ghostwriter comes down to whether or not you feel they will be able to help you achieve your desired results. It’s up to you to decide if they’re a good fit for your nonfiction book. Just be sure to match your expectations with the potential outcomes of the project.

Mariah Bourne 

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