How To Hire A Ghostwriter

Ideas for a book when you hire a ghostwriter

Do you have a great idea for a book, but find yourself having trouble making your dream a reality? This is the year to write a book!

It could be that you don’t know where to start.

Or maybe you don’t have the time or discipline to write the book.

Perhaps you’re not a huge fan of research, or possibly you just don’t enjoy writing.

Whatever the stumbling block, it doesn’t have to keep you from finishing your book. There is a solution.

It may be time to hire a ghostwriter!

A ghostwriter can help you take your idea from conception to fruition. She can help sculpt your vision into a book your readers can’t put down.

Here is a handy checklist to help to help determine what to do to hire a ghostwriter:

Decide on your budget

Ghostwriting pricing can span a broad range but remember the old saying: you get what you pay for.

There are ghostwriters who seem to charge impossibly low rates. These could be enticing, especially if you are on a budget; but if you’re interested in producing a high-quality book, you’ll need to pay an experienced ghostwriter what she is worth.

You can expect an experienced professional writer to charge you between $15,000 and $75,000 for a 100-300 page book.

Ask your prospective ghostwriter about his fee right up front. There is no sense in pouring out your heart and story only to learn that the writer is way out of your price range.

Don’t dance around the subject. If your prospective ghostwriter does, he probably isn’t a professional writer. You want to hire a ghostwriter who writes for a living, not one who tries to cram in time after his day job.

Be ready to answer basic questions

woman thinks of questions for a ghostwriter

When you talk to ghostwriters, they are interviewing you, even as you are interviewing them. They need to know various facts in order to determine if they are the best ghostwriter for you. Plus, in order to create a bid for your project, the ghostwriters will need the following information:

The general subject matter and genre of your book.

Writers specialize in different kinds of books. Some prefer to craft fictional tales, others pen memoirs, and then there are those who create non-fiction business books. By knowing the kind of books you want to write, the ghostwriter will be able to determine if your project is a good match for his skills.

Your purpose for writing your book.

If you’re writing a fictional book, what’s your motivation for writing it? What are your key messages? Will it be part of a series? If you’re writing your memoir, what lessons do you wish to impart? Or are you simply writing your life story to entertain the readers? If you’re writing a business book, are you doing so to gain new clients, or perhaps you want to teach your readers how to master a new skill? There are countless reasons for writing a book. If you are clear on your main purpose, the writer will know if he can help you achieve it.

The proposed word count.

Of course, you can’t know the precise length of your book before you write it, but you will need to give an accurate estimate. Most ghostwriters base their bids upon the proposed length. An average word count will be 50,000 to 75,000 words (or 200-300 pages).

Your publishing goals.

Do you plan to self-publish, or will you pursue a traditional publisher? If you wish to secure an agent, your ghostwriter will be able to help you with a query letter and a proposal (but that will cost extra).

Your deadline.

Skilled ghostwriters are in high demand and book their projects in advance. They may not be able to take on your project right away. Consider being flexible so that you can engage the writer who will best bring your project to life. If you give him an unreasonably short period, he will need to turn it down if he has a full schedule. After all, it takes time to research and write a high-quality book.

When you are clear on your intentions and requirements, the ghost will be better able to help you formulate the best book to achieve them.

Find a good fit

Hire a ghostwriter with a handshake and a contractWriting a book is a financial investment, but also an endeavor of the heart, so you want to find someone with whom you are compatible. Make sure you feel comfortable talking with her about personal matters. You should mesh well with her.

Having said that, when you take steps to hire a ghostwriter, it is a business decision. You’ll need to do your due diligence as you would in hiring any professional.

These steps will help you find a good fit:

Check every candidate’s writing resume.

Ideally, you would want to see that the ghostwriter has written dozens of books. However, ask yourself, does your project require a highly experienced writer, or can you take a chance on someone with fewer books under his belt? Depending on his skill, you may discover a gem.

Check out my writing resume.

Evaluate work samples.

Ask for and read over the sample of every writer you interview. Make sure that the style of the ghostwriter you hire resonates with you. In addition, make sure that she demonstrates the ability to take on different voices. After all, your voice will be different from the chiropractor’s memoir or the schoolteacher’s how-to book she wrote last year. Make sure that she can write in the voice and style you want for your book.

Check out my samples.

Review testimonial pages.

Ghostwriting client testimonialsWhat have previous clients said about the ghostwriter you are considering for your project? That’s key. Note: some writers will have trouble coming up with testimonials from clients because of the confidentiality agreement they have signed. Still, someone who has been in the industry for years will be able to find clients willing to share their experiences. Hiring a ghostwriter with no recommendations is a little risky.

Please check out my testimonial page.

Learn the writer’s process.

Every ghostwriter has a different way of working. Some will work closely with the client as the book is written. Others will deliver a final manuscript only when they are finished. Personally, I will send a few pages early on. I’ll stop working until I get feedback. Once I receive corrections and a critique, I’ll incorporate those suggestions in the next few pages. Then, when the client and I are confident that I have captured his voice and style, I’ll send larger chunks at a time. Decide what works best for you and hire a ghostwriter who can work around your needs.

Once you’ve interviewed the writers (and they have interviewed you), you should have a good idea which writer you wish to hire.

It’s very important that you feel absolutely comfortable talking to her. Make sure she listens well and produces what you ask for.

If the answer is yes, then she’s the writer for you!

Pay your first installment and get started

Woman signs a ghostwriting contractOnce you have made your decision, plan to sign the ghostwriting contract and make the first payment before you begin the project. These will be required by any professional writer. Don’t wait too long to make your decision because the more popular ghostwriters will get booked quickly. If you love a writer and know you want to hire her, don’t dawdle.

I’ve discovered that January and September are key months for potential clients to contact ghostwriters. On the flip side, the summer months and December are quiet. So, my advice is to avoid the busy months and interview writers when they are less inundated with new prospects.

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. Don’t allow too much time to go by without communication.

If you find that you’re putting off talking to your ghost, it’s a good time to pick up the phone. Tell her what’s going on and let her help you. It’s not uncommon to hit a snag and need a little assistance. For instance, if you’re working on notes about your life story, you may want to talk to your ghost on the phone. She can help you navigate this emotional journey.

Personally, I love to shoot emails back and forth with my clients throughout the week. I also will pick up the phone to talk to each client at least once a month. Frequent communication is key to a good relationship.

Create a marketing plan

Once your book is completed, you must have strategies in place for marketing. It’s a good idea to have a dedicated author website and to start blogging months before the book is published. In addition, most marketing gurus suggest that you become active on social media and connect with your readers. It’s never too early to think about marketing.

With a great concept, a little bit of help, and a lot of preparation, your book can become a reality and a success. If you realize that you need to hire a ghostwriter, please email me, and let me know how I can help.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

Do You Want To Write A Book About Your Life?

Tips for World Building

Understanding Characters

Interview Questions for a Ghostwriter

How to Write Three-Dimensional Characters

Help! Help! I Need Help Writing a Book!