You’ve got an idea for a book. You’ve hashed it all out; you know the theme, the message, and the flow. However, you don’t have the time or the skill to put the vision onto paper. But wait, you don’t have to put a pin on the project. You can still write the book—except that it won’t be you who’s actually writing it. There are thousands of ghostwriters out there who can transform your vision into a written piece. All you have to do is find a great ghostwriter that fits your style, budget, and work ethic. You can do this by clearly defining your project goals, knowing where to look for talent, and properly evaluating your prospects.
What to Look for in a Ghostwriter
Ghostwriting as it is defined, is the act of writing a literary or journalistic work for someone else who ultimately becomes the named author of the piece. If you hire a ghostwriter, he or she writes your book, but the credit falls on you; it’s your name that will be tacked onto the finished work. That’s why it’s essential, then, that you hire the right ghostwriter who can best capture your voice and produce excellent work, one which you’d be proud to associate with your name.
Here are some factors to consider when finding a great ghostwriter:
Skills and Experience
Just like in any other job, a ghostwriter’s skills and experience are some of the main things to look out for. Are they professionally trained? Do they have ghostwriting experience? How many books have they authored? Seasoned ghostwriters will likely be easier to work with. But raw talent shouldn’t be discounted either; newer ghostwriters may be just what you need to bring a fresh perspective to your book.
The cost of hiring a ghostwriter varies. You can expect to spend between $20,000 to $80,000 for a great freelance ghostwriter, and even more for exceptional authors. The cost can get steep quickly, so define a budget beforehand to filter only ghostwriters who will work at a price you’re comfortable paying.
The ghostwriting process lasts for months, and sometimes even years—because after all, an entire book is being written. It’s a collaborative process, which means that you’ll be working with your ghostwriter for the entire period. And you wouldn’t want to end up spending time and money on someone who misses deadlines, skips meetings, or turns out unresearched content. You’ll want to look for a ghostwriter who has a history of delivering high-quality work consistently.
Compatibility goes beyond being well-suited as partners. You must find a ghostwriter that’s compatible with your vision. He or she must be able to match your tone and voice and be able to execute your idea, as if it was you actually doing so,
How to Hire a Ghostwriter
Hiring a ghostwriter isn’t easy. You’ll have to do a lot of evaluating to make sure that you find the right talent to produce your book. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hire a ghostwriter:
Define Your Project
Before you even begin searching for a ghostwriter, make sure that you have a clearly defined project ready. You can’t hire someone on a rough idea; that’ll make it difficult for your ghostwriter to come up with content, and it will cost you more for the extra outlining and research required. Set all the project details, including the concept, target audience and timeline, along with any other relevant ones that may be project specific. Determine your goals, too, as these will help you better communicate the purpose of the project to your ghostwriter. Ask yourself: what do you want out of this, both in the short term and the long term?
Know Where to Look
There are many avenues you can use to source ghostwriters. You can find them through referrals, ghostwriter groups, publishing agencies, and online freelancing platforms like we offer here at Guru. You can even find them through social media or a quick Google search. To narrow down your list, make sure that you look for a ghostwriter through a trustworthy medium. More importantly, filter your potential candidates based on the criteria of your project.
Screen Potential Hires
Once you’ve got a few ghostwriters in mind for the project, it’s time to thoroughly screen them. Don’t just look at their resume. Evaluate them based on their communication skills, work ethic, and writing styles. Some ways to do this include:
- Screening on the job post
- Checking their portfolio
- Sending a writing test
- Setting up an interview
Go Over the Details
Once you’ve found a ghostwriter that ticks all of the boxes, go over the details of the project with them. Talk about the scope of work, timeline, deadlines, payments, and royalties (if any), among others. After everything is agreed on, seal the deal by writing it into a contract.
After hiring, the ghostwriting process officially starts. During the entire period, the most important thing is constant communication. Even though your ghostwriter is writing a book for you, it’s still your book at the end of the day. You must still be highly involved, providing information and resources, giving feedback, and collaborating along the way.
Should You Hire a Ghostwriter?
If you’ve got a book or any other type of literary piece that you need written but you don’t have the time or the skill to do it yourself, then hiring a ghostwriter is a logical option. However, you can’t just pick the first decent writer you come across. Finding a great ghostwriter should involve a selective screening process to make sure you end up with an author that perfectly captures your vision and translates it into a piece that’s written in your voice. After all, it’ll be your name on the book!