Should You Hire A Local Ghostwriter?

Man looking for a ghostwriter on the internet
Andrew Scott / Foter

You may be wondering if you should hire a local ghostwriter, someone who lives near you. This is a valid question, and I hear it a lot. I think it’s because whenever you see a ghostwriter in the movies, he is practically living with his client.

However, reality is much different than these fictional portrayals; none of my clients are local. They live all over the world. We correspond via email and talk regularly on the phone. Sometimes we Skype.

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 with the book was finished.

Why limit your choices?

There are internet articles that advise you to always hire a local ghostwriter. I’m not sure why people suggest this, but there are people who fervently hold onto that idea. I’ve actually had prospects (potential clients) refuse to talk to me because I wasn’t in their area.

This concept of only hiring someone locally severely limits your choices, which could 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 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, personally tour the towns or buildings where your story takes place. Locations can always be researched on the internet. Sometimes I find amazingly detailed photographs and videos of an area, which help paint the picture along with the descriptions provided.

Qualities to look for in a 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.
  • Excellent communication skills. Make sure that you are comfortable talking with her.
  • Professional behavior. Some good writers have no idea how to run a business. Make sure she answers your questions and respond to queries quickly.
  • Reliability. Select a writer who can meet a deadline and work through difficulties.
  • Within your price range. The cost of a ghostwriter will vary from writer to writer. Find one within your budget.

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. It will cost extra, but it is a viable option.

Research your ghost

research a ghostwriterSome 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, nor will he have a media page. 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!

So, what do you think – do you still feel you need to hire a local ghostwriter?

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Hiring a ghostwriter

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?

There is no “standard” ghostwriting deal

Laura Sherman (111 Posts)

Laura Sherman, a.k.a. “Laura the Friendly Ghostwriter,” is a professional ghostwriter and author. She enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and is happiest when juggling multiple projects.