If you’re reading this because you have a great idea for a book but aren’t sure how to go about writing it, you might need a ghostwriter.
I know quite a few people who spend a lot of time tossing around book ideas, but for one reason or another they have trouble getting started. Does this sound familiar?
If you wish to write a book, but don’t have the time or the discipline to do so, it can be frustrating on many levels. Some people aren’t a huge fan of research while others just don’t enjoy writing. Whatever the stumbling block, it doesn’t have to keep you from finishing your book. A ghostwriter can help you take your idea from conception to fruition.
Here is a handy checklist to help guide you through the steps of hiring a ghostwriter:
Decide on your budget
Before you begin searching for a writer, it’s a good idea to determine your budget. What can you comfortably afford? Don’t go into debt when hiring a ghostwriter.
Pricing for ghostwriting can span a broad range. You should know that you will get what you pay for. Some ghostwriters advertise extremely low rates, which can be appealing. However, if you’re interested in producing a high-quality book, written by an experienced author, you’ll need to pay them what a good writer is worth.
Be ready to answer basic questions
In order to get a bid from a ghostwriter, you need to be able to answer various questions. A ghostwriter will need to know:
How many words your book will be
Your publishing and marketing plans
The general subject matter or genre of the book.
It’s also wise to ask your prospective ghostwriter about their fee before you get too far in the conversation. There is no sense in pouring out your heart and story, only to learn that the writer is way out of your price range. It’s worth noting that most ghostwriters share their price on their website.
Find a good fit
It’s a good idea to do a little homework on a ghostwriter before you interview them. Start with their testimonial page. After all, it’s more important to read what others say about them than what they say about themselves. Also, review their writing samples to see if you like their style.
Once you’ve determined that they have the experience and writing expertise, It’s important to find someone who you will mesh well with throughout the ghostwriting process. Writing a book is a financial investment, but also an endeavor of the heart; there is a balance.
Pay your first installment and get started
Once you have made your momentous decision, plan to make the first payment and sign the ghostwriting contract so you begin working on the project. Any professional writer will require these. Don’t wait too long to make your decision. If you love a particular writer and know you want to hire that individual, don’t dawdle. Authors book the more popular ghostwriters quickly.
Plan the time to work with your ghostwriter
As your project unfolds, it’s important to answer your writer’s emails and phone messages promptly. After all, you and your ghostwriters are partners in this project. Your ghost needs you, assisting them to achieve your goals. For that reason, don’t allow too much time to go by without communication.
When I work with a client I love to shoot emails back and forth throughout the week. I also find myself picking up the phone to talk to him or her at least once a month.
Before you hire a ghostwriter, it is a good idea to conduct an in-depth interview with several candidates. This will be a very personal journey, so you want to make sure the writer you pick is the best ghost for you. However, please don’t stress. Interviewing a ghostwriter doesn’t have to be difficult.
Ask about her experience
While interviewing a ghostwriter, watch out for writers who are interested in cutting their teeth on your book. Unless you’re a gambler by nature, it is better to stick with a writer who has written at least a few books. Completing a full-length book takes a certain dedication, knowledge, and follow-through. Some writers aren’t cut out for it.
Ask your candidate ghostwriters to share titles of books that they’ve ghostwritten or authored. While this can be difficult for some, the writers who’ve been around the block will have a few titles that bear their name (as well as dozens they can’t share because of confidentiality agreements).
Request client testimonials
If a freelance writer has been in the business for any reasonable amount of time, he or she has probably collected a few testimonials. Reading these over will give you a feel for what others have to say about the ghostwriter’s work. Most will be signed only with initials or a first name. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have generous clients who happily gave me a testimonial including their full name.
In addition, if the ghostwriter has authored a book or two, it is probably selling on Amazon. Check out the reviews there to see how readers feel about her writing. Read the content to learn more about the ghostwriter’s abilities.
Find out what the ghostwriter enjoys writing
Not every ghostwriter excels in all genres. For instance, I have written nearly two dozen memoirs, but have never touched a historic romance novel or a true crime book. Some writers specialize in fiction, while others are business book experts.
Ideally you want to find a writer who is passionate and knowledgeable about your subject. However, this is not always necessary. When writing nonfiction, I feel I have an edge when I don’t know anything about the topic as I can easily put myself in my readers’ shoes and write to them with reality.
Talk about pricing and schedule
It’s a good plan to talk about a ghostwriter’s fee upfront. If she is out of your price range, there is really no point in continuing the conversation. The interview should be over. Having said that, it doesn’t hurt to ask the ghostwriter if she has anyone she can refer to you.
The same applies to the ghostwriter’s schedule. If you need the book done by a certain deadline, ask the ghostwriter early in the conversation if she can help you. Keep in mind that the average book takes eight to twelve months to write, depending on the content, research required, and the length of the book. If you need the book expedited, offer to pay a little more. That may encourage the ghostwriter to clear her calendar to take on your project.
Interviewing a ghostwriter will help you find a good match for your project. Find one with whom you can communicate well from the start. This road is best traveled with an experienced friend.
It is a thrilling moment when you find the perfect ghostwriter for your book project. Your dream is about to become a reality—you can already visualize your book on the shelves of your local bookstore. I understand how exciting this moment is, but don’t forget that there is also a business aspect to writing a book. It is vital to have a contract with your ghostwriter covering certain important elements.
Protect your rights
When you first sign with a professional ghostwriter, she will probably possess a contract that she’s used for years. It’s important to take the time to read over her contract word for word even if you trust her. Please make sure your rights are protected.
Retain your copyrights
As an author, you should always retain all the copyrights for your book, along with the rights for any possible future formats that might come about. For instance, let’s say Warner Brothers wishes to option your life story for a movie. Make sure the ghostwriter can’t come after you for a percentage of that deal.
Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the ghostwriter’s trade. The contract with your ghostwriter needs to spell that out specifically. The information in your book is yours and all the words the ghostwriter creates for you belong to you. She should never divulge her part in the work to your readers. You are the author; she is the ghost.
Safeguard against plagiarism
Although it may seem odd, you should have a clause in your contract protecting you from any acts of plagiarism on the part of your ghostwriter. This is really only a problem with low-budget and inexperienced writers. These ghostwriters can sometimes resort to stealing someone else’s work when the deadline is looming, and they become overwhelmed. As the author, you need to protect yourself from the financial liability that can result from this crime.
Spell out all relevant details
When you interviewed your ghostwriter, you probably went over a lot of little details and came to an arrangement. These specific agreements now need to be put in writing and included in your contract. That way there can be no misunderstanding as you move forward with your book project.
Payment schedule and deadlines
There are numerous ways to structure a payment schedule. I prefer the milestone approach to a monthly draw, as my clients will know what to expect with each increment of money they spend.
As an example, in my contract I have four milestones for each book project:
A detailed outline
The first half of the first draft
The second half of the first draft
A completed manuscript
Although these milestones might differ from writer to writer, most ghostwriters will ask you to pay before each segment. If you decide to pay your ghostwriter monthly, make sure you receive something tangible as the project progresses.
Although it can be hard to precisely predict a book’s length, you do need to estimate a ballpark figure to determine the price. For instance, if a client wishes to write a 150-page book, I’d estimate that to cost $37,500. If it goes a little over, I wouldn’t charge extra. However, if the client later decides to increase the length to 200 pages, we’d amend the contract.
The contract with your ghostwriter should protect both you and the writer. If you have any concerns about the terms, be sure to clear them up before you sign. Once you have the paperwork done, you can focus on creating and enjoy the ghostwriting process.
A writer for hire is a goldmine to entrepreneurs! Most business owners are overloaded with the various day-to-day activities of operating their company. They get to pick their own hours, but those hours usually push way beyond any 9 to 5 job. Personally, I can attest to that! No, the average CEO has no time to write a book. So, what’s the solution?
Hire a writer for hire. Hire a ghostwriter. It makes sense!
Would you like increased credibility?
If you’re a successful CEO, you probably know the effect of handing a potential client a book with your name blazoned on the cover, right? It’s one of the best ways to show credibility. People respond to published authors a little differently; you instantly become an expert in your field . You also gain peer respect.
However to maintain that respect, the book must be well-written. If you’re writing your memoir, it must be riveting, following all the basic rules of writing. Publishing a poorly written book with tons of errors will backfire on you.
Do you have a story to share?
Most successful entrepreneurs have many stories to share. Writers for hire know how to pull these stories together in such a way to create a book that won’t be put down. Perhaps you have created your businesses from scratch. How impressive is that?
Of course, I’m sure you made plenty of mistakes on your journey, and through those learning moments, I’m sure you’ve stumbled upon various key successful actions.
Those lessons can be key components for a great book.
Are you willing to share yours?
How many people are struggling in today’s economy? Many readers want to create their own thriving business, but don’t know what is involved.
They need guidance, and you can provide that!
Do you have advice for existing clients?
How many times have you repeated the same set of instructions for your customers? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just hand your client a book and have them read the relevant portions for their situation? Imagine the look on their face as they accept your book.
And if you’re a coach, your knowledge and advice could reach more people if you wrote a book. There are only so many hours in a day and so many people you can help one on one. By writing a book you can get your message out there to more people.
How can you market your book?
Once you have your book in hand, make sure to plan a marketing strategy:
Offer to be a guest lecturer
Give seminars around the country
Build an attractive website with a blog
Maintain a healthy social media campaign
As an author, you will want to give lectures or offer seminars to your fans. This is a great opportunity to sell your book and get more name recognition. It also allows you to get personal feedback from your readers.
You definitely will want an online presence. Make sure to have a good-looking website, with a strong call to action. Add in articles to give potential readers a taste of what you can do for them. Also, start your social media campaign now, as it takes time to build up a following.
Books help to brand your name. As more people buy and read your book, they will recommend it to others. Word will spread and your name will be better known.
Make sure to make your book available on eReaders. Amazon sells more eBooks than hard copy books today, because they are easy to produce and sell.
As a ghostwriter, a writer for hire, I can tell you that books help entrepreneurs on into the future. The book you write today will be passed around decades from now!
Most people want to write at least one book within their lifetime. It makes sense! For some, it’s a burning passion. They won’t be satisfied until the goal is completed. It is very unfulfilling to be stuck in the middle of a project, isn’t it? Contact me, if you need help.
Why do people want to write a book?
It’s been my experience that people don’t desire to write a book because they crave fame and fortune. Instead, they have something important to say and want to share that message with an audience. Maybe it is their memoir, or useful information in their particular field, or a just fantastical story. They seem to have a communication bottled up that they wish heard.
Hire a ghostwriter
While most everyone has something to say, many don’t have the time or skills necessary to put a book together.
I speak from experience when I say that you will gain a sense of pride and self-confidence that’s unparalleled when you publish your first book. There’s nothing like seeing your name in print and getting reviews of praise from readers.
Writing the book yourself
If you decide to tackle your book project yourself, my advice is to write from the heart and focus on helping others through your message. Your book will stay with readers long after they’ve finished it, influencing their lives and the lives of those they talk to about your book.
Perhaps you’ve already started on your book, but haven’t been able to finish it due to time constraints or writer’s block. Whatever the reason, don’t give up! You’ll run the risk of leaving an important life goal hanging in limbo, not to mention all the lives that could have been influenced through your message.
Complete your book
If you’re reading my blog, you’re most likely one of the many people who yearn to see their words in print, to see their name on a book cover. If so, then I urge you to find a way to complete your book. Too many people let the dream of being an author go unfulfilled.
I’ve ghostwritten thirty books and have personally authored one, Chess Is Child’s Play – Teaching Techniques That Work. When I receive notes from readers about my book, it brightens my day tremendously. There’s nothing else like it! It’s wonderfully rewarding.
Whether you’re just getting started or already several chapters deep, if you find yourself stuck, let me know! I’d like to help in any way I can, be it offering writing tips and tricks, helping with self-publishing, editing or proofreading, or taking on your book project to free up your time. I have a large network of talented writers, editors, and proofreaders and can help find the perfect match for you.
Many new authors are opting to self-publish their print books and e-books because it’s much quicker and easier than trying to break into traditional publishing. Self-publishing also allows the author to have more control–especially in the areas of cover design and publication title. When new authors begin exploring their options, they often conduct an online search for companies offering self-publishing services, which leads us to this critical question: Are the most popular listings for self-publishing companies on the Internet necessarily the best?
The answer to that question is “no.” The companies on the top of the list have simply paid the most to appear there. These companies pay top-dollar to pay-per-click search engines to get to the top of the list. Does that make them better than the others? Absolutely not! They are just paying more money per click to have you visit their site.
In fact, some of these big-name companies (also known as vanity presses) have been sued and found liable for not delivering what was promised. And many authors have brought their nightmare stories to Internet discussions. So how can you avoid becoming the next casualty? Here are some red-flag suggestions on what to watch out for:
Beware of Offshore Affiliates
Many of the big names outsource their customer service to the Philippines, India, and other remote locations. Authors have complained that these individuals are often not knowledgeable, inaccessible, and hard to understand. This could be a sign you’re headed for trouble. A credible company should have in-house services with a qualified and helpful staff to assist you. Some companies may have in-house customer service that disappears once they have your money. Try to get feedback from other authors who have done business with them before you give them your money.
Beware of Poor Quality Editing
All editors are not alike. A less-than-reputable company will hire inexperienced editors who will work for low pay. I’ve heard of an instance where an author ended up with more mistakes after the editing process! Find out about your editor’s background, location, and level of experience. Ask to see a before-and-after sample edit. If they refuse, walk away.
Beware of Inflated Pricing
Like any major purchase, you need to shop around. If Company A can provide the same services as Company B, why are they priced twice as high? Company A may not care about you or your book. They may just want your money. Some of these outfits are really not about publishing books; they are only about making money. If a company accepts any manuscript–rather than being selective in their process–that sounds like a scam.
Before you give any money to a publisher, make sure you research their background and policies–especially on contracts and refunds. For more detailed information, you can read my book, “No-Hassle Publishing: An Author’s Guide to Today’s Changing Industry.” I’ve uncovered some facts that could save you a lot of grief. Read actual testimonials from other authors. Check discussion boards and join social media groups (such as LinkedIn and Facebook) for comments and feedback. You don’t want to become the next victim with a “horror story” to share about vanity presses.