How to Select the Right Ghostwriter for You

How to find the right ghostwriter for youIf you find yourself eager to complete a book project that has been on your mind for years, but know you need help, it might be time to hire a ghostwriter. After all, if you haven’t found the hundreds of hours required to write a book in the last few years, chances are you won’t have the time today…or tomorrow. So, how do you find the right ghostwriter for you? That’s the challenge I wish to tackle with you today.

Research candidate ghostwriters

You can easily determine whether a candidate writer can help you with your story by researching her. Any qualified professional ghostwriter will have a website with testimonials. You can also throw her name into a search engine and see what you find. It’s a good idea to verify how reputable she is by checking her out on Google.

For instance, try typing “Laura Sherman Ghostwriter” into Google and see what you find. The first page will have various entries from my blog, but you’ll also see mentions of me from other professional writers.

You can also type in various key words that interest you and see what pops up. If you search for subjects like “memoir themes,” “help writing a book,” or “ghostwriting contract,” you’ll find a variety of writers that show up (myself included). That’s because we blog and guest blog a lot about these topics and have experience in these fields.

Now, it’s worth noting that a ghostwriter doesn’t need to rank well on Google to be a good match for you. However, a reputable ghostwriter should have some kind of web presence (other than social media).

Nail down pricing

Discover your budget to hire a ghostwriterWhen you begin searching for the right ghostwriter for you, there are different ways to narrow the field. I suggest that you determine your budget before you start interviewing. Some ghostwriters won’t post their rates, while others are upfront about their fees on their websites. If you can, ask for the rate before you begin the interview process. It will save you a lot of time and aggravation.

For instance, if your budget is $5,000 for an average-sized book, I wouldn’t be a good candidate for you. I charge one dollar per word (or $50,000 for a 200-page book). No matter how much I fall in love with your project’s concept, I can’t take a 90% pay cut.

If you have a small budget, I’d recommend that you scour one of the many freelancer websites to find someone within your price range. Just please be warned: you will get what you pay for.

Professional ghostwriters usually charge somewhere between fifty cents and two dollars per word.

Discover the ghostwriter’s preferred genre

Select the right genre for your bookOnce you find a ghostwriter within your price range, you’ll need to make sure your story is one he or she can write. The genre should be within the ghostwriter’s wheelhouse. Writers often specialize. For instance, I write memoirs, business books and novels, but I will only take on projects that are uplifting, inspirational or educational. Other writers don’t have such constraints on topic, while some only write books in a specific genre. For instance, I’ve seen certain ghosts who only write romantic comedies, how-to books, or screenplays.

The right ghostwriter for you will have prior experience writing a book similar to yours. So, if you’re writing a memoir, I wouldn’t recommend a writer who has only done scientific textbooks or who specializes in cookbooks.

Read up on the ghostwriter to discover his or her area of expertise. If you have trouble finding this information online, simply ask the ghostwriter about their preferences in an email or during the initial conversation.

Summarize your story to the ghostwriter

A ghostwriter doesn’t need all the details of your story to determine if she is the right ghostwriter for you. The broad strokes are enough for her to make a decision. With this in mind, don’t download your entire story to the writer in the initial conversation. Instead, find a way to summarize it in a few paragraphs. I recommend that you prepare this before you contact a prospective ghostwriter.

I can tell you that after twenty years in the industry, I can quickly determine if I can do justice to a client’s story.

For example, here are two excerpts from recent requests:

  • “My husband of 25 years abandoned me and our children to take up with another woman. I want to write a book to get back at him and her.”
  • “I’m a successful real estate investor and businessman. I want to share my story of how I overcame various challenges to inspire others to follow their dreams.”

Both wanted memoirs written, but each had a very different purpose. Since I specialize in uplifting stories, I knew I wasn’t the best ghostwriter for the first person and told her this immediately. However, the second project was well within my wheelhouse and I was chomping at the bit to start writing that book. I didn’t need all the details to be interested.

Hire the right ghostwriter for you

Find the right ghostwriter for youFollowing these guidelines, you can quickly narrow down the candidates who could potentially be the right ghostwriter for you. Once you’ve done this homework, set up a time to talk to the writer about your story. You want to be sure that you are able to communicate easily and that there is an immediate and budding chemistry between you two about the project. That’s important as this will be a long-term relationship.

If you’re interested in learning more about the steps that follow, check out my article on How to Effectively Work with a Ghostwriter. It’s a fun and rewarding adventure.

And please feel free to email me anytime to learn more about the process of working with me.

Want to Write a Book?

As the new year approaches, I wonder about all the potential authors out there who want to write a book. As a ghostwriter, I see many people procrastinate about embarking on that journey. There are many excellent-sounding reasons why their book projects get shoved to the back of the closet.

What’s the result?

The books never get written.

If you have a strong idea for a book, it’s important to write your book NOW. Don’t wait. I can’t emphasize this enough.

If you don’t start now, several things will probably happen:

In a year you’ll still be thinking about writing a book.

  • It’s true! Over the last years, I’ve had numerous prospective clients contact me for help with their book projects. These particular people all had very good ideas (I’m always honest if I feel someone’s book concept won’t work). I’ll try to stay in touch with them throughout the year, contacting them regularly. Their reply is usually the same. They want to write their book, but they are too busy to start. “Next year.”

Someone else will write a book very similar to yours.

People sometimes are very afraid that someone will steal their book idea. That doesn’t happen often and isn’t something to fear. However, other people can come up with a similar idea on their own. If your niche is highly specialized and requires a lot of research, you’re probably safe. However, if you’re writing about a general field or your life story isn’t unique, chances are someone else will write the book you wanted to write. It’s a bit demoralizing when that happens.

You will continue to think about your unfulfilled goal.

If you are anything like me, failure doesn’t sit well. You will continue to spend time thinking and considering your book project, wondering what your book would have looked like on the shelves of your local bookstore. You may even come up with brilliant marketing strategies to sell it. It’s all wasted time and energy if you don’t actually write your book.

That nagging feeling won’t go away. You won’t be satisfied until you finish your book.

You will develop a very bad habit of not writing.

Once you develop the habit of not writing, it can become increasingly difficult to start writing again. If you stop and start a lot, that pattern also becomes familiar. It becomes comfortable to you, something you learn to expect and accept. Am I right?

So then, in order to actually complete your book, you must overcome the additional hurdle of the bad habit that you’ve formed. I’ll admit one needs a lot of discipline to write a full-length book. Honestly, some people hire me because I’m a relentless bulldog when it comes to completing projects! Just ask my clients.

You can avoid all of this by simply working steadily on your book. If you can’t afford a ghostwriter, you will need to set aside time each and every day to write. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of excuses as to why you don’t have time, energy, or enough pencils. The dog ate your manuscript shouldn’t fly either.

Excuses will enter in

Oh, you’ll come up with all sorts of legitimate sounding reasons for why you can’t write one day or the next. “I’m tired.” “There’s a good show on TV.” They sound good and reasonable, but you can’t let that deter you.

The trick is to treat yourself as if you were your own client. Give yourself targets and deadlines; then meet them!

And finally, writing should be a joy. If it isn’t, something is wrong. If it is a chore, then don’t continue, because the manuscript won’t come out well. Your readers will feel your resentment pouring from the pages. If you are bugged, contact me and I’ll try to help you get back on track. Most likely your concept just needs a little tweaking. Once that is fixed, you’ll be eager to write again.

So, if you have a good book concept, please don’t wait. Write your book. NOW!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How To Write A Nonfiction Book

You Must Market Your Own Book

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?

Do You Want To Write A Book About Your Life?