Should You Hire A Local Ghostwriter?

Should I hire a local ghostwriter?

If you’re looking to hire a ghostwriter, you may be searching for advice on the internet. Some sites will tell you to only hire a local ghostwriter. I’m honestly now sure why, but perhaps this misconception comes from the silver screen. Ghostwriters in movies always seem to live with the client. That’s just not the way it works.

No, the reality is much different than these fictional portrayals. Looking back on it, only a small fraction of the three- four dozen clients I’ve served over the last twenty years were ever local. And interestingly enough, when they did live in a neighboring county, we still chose to communicate via email and phone. It’s easier.

Having said that, there have been happy coincidences when I have been able to meet with clients face to face. It allowed me shake their hand or give them a hug. This meeting usually occurred after the project was completed. I will say that it was lovely to put a three-dimensional face with the voice I’d been corresponding with for so long.

However, when a prospective client rejects me because I don’t happen to live in their city, it makes me scratch my head. Why? Close proximity just doesn’t help me write a better story.

Don’t limit your options

If you think about it, you want to cast a wide net and look for the perfect writer for you. If you narrow your search to your backyard, that’s going to limit the pool of ghostwriters you have to choose among. Even if you live in the center of NYC, a haven for writers, wouldn’t you kick yourself if your perfect ghostwriter soulmate was in Oregon or Iowa?

With nearly two decades of experience under my belt, I can tell you it just isn’t necessary for a ghostwriter to walk where you’ve walked, or personally tour the towns or buildings where your story takes place. I find that internet searches can show me what a location looks like very nicely. If I’m lucky, I’ll sometimes find wonderfully detailed photographs and videos of an area. These can easily fill in gaps.

Rather than location, I recommend that you should look for other characteristics in a ghostwriter. Talent trumps proximity.

Good qualities in a ghostwriter

Prepare yourself; finding the right ghostwriter might take some time. It’s a very personal choice. Having said that, there are times when a prospective client reads a few of my blog articles and decides that I’m the one they want. I always feel so privileged when an author does his research and selects this friendly ghostwriter.

It is really important that you do your research, because when you do choose a writer, you will be working closely with her for many months.

Now, since hiring a local ghostwriter isn’t key, what is? Let’s review some attributes that one should look for when hiring a ghostwriter:

  • Excellent writing skills. Not only should your ghostwriter write well, she should also write in a way you and your readers will enjoy reading.
  • An ability to put you at ease. If done correctly, you should enjoy each ghostwriter interview. You should feel like you’re talking to an old friend as you confide your deepest secrets. If you’re not comfortable talking to a candidate writer, keep looking.
  • Reliability. Select a writer who can meet a deadline and work through difficulties. If she doesn’t call you when she promised she would, this isn’t a good sign.

If you absolutely feel you need to meet your ghostwriter in person, you can always fly out to her or fly her to you. It will cost extra, but it is a viable option for some. A cheaper option would be to “meet” the writer via Zoom.

Research your ghost

research a ghostwriterIf you seek a local ghostwriter because you feel that’s the only way you can trust the person, know that con artists are excellent face to face as well as via email. Meeting someone isn’t a good test to see if they are on the up and up.

Rather than chatting over coffee, try doing a thorough internet search of your potential ghostwriter. Use a variety of search engines and look into their social media profiles.

If you find a ghostwriter through Craigslist and he doesn’t have his own website, this isn’t a good sign. Professional ghostwriters usually have at least a blog or an online resume. Someone who is trying to con you, will not have any internet presence because they don’t want to be tracked.

If your writer does have a website, take your time to review it. Read over the testimonials and review his writing samples. How many books has he written? Do you like his writing style?

As a side note, I have an extensive blog with many articles about writing and ghostwriting. If you wish to hire me, I’d be honored if you looked over a few so that you could get my take on writing. Do you agree with me on most points? Do you feel like I have something to say on the topics I write about?

You can also try typing in a few key words (like “ghostwriter” or “books”) along with the name of the writer you wish to hire. What comes up?

Please feel free to email me and let me know what you think. Do you still feel you should only hire a local ghostwriter?

Additional resources you might find helpful:

How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?

My ghostwriting process

Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter

 

Hiring a Local Ghostwriter: Is It Necessary?

Hiring a local ghostwriter won't help you write a good bookMany people feel that if they are going to hire someone to help them write their book hiring a local ghostwriter is vital. I get it and it’s a valid question, one I hear it a lot. Perhaps you are influenced by the movies, where a ghostwriter lives with his client, following him around wherever he goes.

However, I can share with you that my reality is much different than these fictional portrayals. Not only do I not live with my clients, but none of my clients live near me. The fact is, they live all over the world. We correspond via email and talk regularly on the phone.

Having said that, if it is convenient to meet up with my client in person, I will. It just isn’t necessary for the project’s success. The fact is, when I’ve met my clients, it’s usually been after the book was finished.

Don’t limit your choices

There are internet articles that advise you that hiring a local ghostwriter is a good idea. I’m not sure why people suggest this, but there are people who fervently hold onto that idea. I’ve actually had prospective clients refuse to talk to me because I wasn’t in their area. That’s a mistake.

This concept of only hiring someone locally severely limits your choices and will hinder your project. Truthfully, unless you live in a major city, you probably won’t find a qualified ghostwriter in your area. Most likely your ideal writer for your book lives clear across the country from you.

With two decades of experience under my belt, I can tell you it just isn’t necessary for a ghostwriter to walk where you’ve walked or personally tour the towns where your story takes place. Instead, I prefer to research locations on the internet. Sometimes I find detailed photographs and videos of an area, which help paint the picture along with the descriptions provided. Research is easy these days.

Qualities of a good ghostwriter

Finding the right ghostwriter might take some time. It’s a very personal choice, one you shouldn’t feel pressured into making. When you do choose a writer, make sure that you really like her because you will be working closely with her for many months.

Since hiring a local ghostwriter isn’t important, I want to spell out attributes that do matter and that are keys for success. Here are some qualities to look for in a ghostwriter:

  • Great writing ability. Hire someone who writes in a way you enjoy reading (and others will love).
  • Excellent communication skills. Make sure that you are comfortable talking with your ghostwriter.
  • Professional behavior. Some good writers have no idea how to run a business. Make sure yours knows what she’s doing.
  • Reliability. Select a writer who can meet a deadline and work through difficulties

If you absolutely feel you need to meet your ghostwriter in person (and Skype will not do), you can always fly out to her or fly her to you. Again, I don’t think this is necessary, but it is an option.

Research potential writers

hiring a local ghostwriter is best when you do the research onlineSome people feel they need to meet a person face to face to know whether or not he can be trusted. While I agree that this helps, internet research is much more effective for spotting a con man.

Someone who is trying to rip you off will have no internet presence. He will not have a website or a blog, and he probably won’t have any videos (because he won’t want to be seen). Testimonials are key to establishing trust in a ghostwriter. After all, what other people have to say about someone is more pertinent than what he has to say about himself, right?

Another trick is to type the ghostwriter’s name into a search engine with the word “scam” or “complaint” and find out if there have been problems with that person. Of course, there might be numerous people by the same name, but if you know where he lives and that he is a ghostwriter, it’s a good bet it’s the same person. I used this technique with a potential publisher before going into business with him. It saved me a heap of trouble!

In the end, it is far more effective to do your due diligence and research a someone rather than insist upon hiring a local ghostwriter. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter

My Ghostwriting Process

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?

A Ghostwriting Contract