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. When interviewing a ghostwriter, request these success stories. 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 names.
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 historical romance novel or a true crime book. Some writers specialize in fiction, while others are business book experts.
Ideally, when you are interviewing a ghostwriter, 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.
Check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter to learn more about the process.