Should You Hire A Local Ghostwriter?


Should I hire a local ghostwriter?If you’ve decided it is time to get a little help writing your book, you might be considering hiring a ghostwriter. If that’s the case, you may be searching for advice on the internet. While that’s logical, there is a plethora of information on the subject (not everything will be correct). For instance, some sites will adamantly 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.

As you might suspect, the reality is much different than these fictional portrayals. Looking back on it, only a small fraction of the three to four dozen clients I’ve served over the last twenty years were ever local. And interestingly enough, when they did live in a neighboring city, we still chose to communicate via email and phone. Why? Because it’s easier.

Having said that, there have been several happy coincidences when I have been able to meet with clients face-to-face. It allowed me to 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? Proximity just doesn’t help me write a better story.

Don’t limit your options

If you think about it, it makes sense to cast a wide net when looking 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 focusing on hiring a local ghostwriter, I recommend that you should look for other characteristics. 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.

You must 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, but 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. Make sure they have a solid reputation.

If you find a ghostwriter through Craigslist and they don’t have a 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 their writing samples. How many books have they written? Do you like their 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 keywords (like “ghostwriter” or “books”) along with the name of the writer you wish to hire. What comes up?

Please feel free to contact 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



  1. John Schultz

    Laura…… I’m very interested in writing a book I’m 76 years old and never went past eight grade in school I made millions of dollars in operating nightclubs… Then I went into politics and then I went to jail …..For the past 40 years everyone’s been telling me I should write a book just by listening to my interesting stories my name is john Schultz and I live in Atlantic City New Jersey please google me… John

    • Laura Sherman

      Hi! Well, you certainly sound like you have an intriguing story to tell! I wrote you privately and look forward to learning more. Thanks for reaching out to me!

  2. Francine

    Hi, I want to write someone else’s life story, a life full of struggle and betrayel, could you possibly recommend some books I can read to help me start and give me inspiration? Thank you!

    • Laura Sherman

      It is always a good idea to read books that are similar in content and style to the books you’d like to write. If you go to the library, you can ask the reference desk to help you locate these books. Good luck!

  3. Jessica Plumer

    If I want to use a ghostwriter to help rewrite my book, do you have a link for that topic already or would the same rules apply in regards to cost, and timeline?

    • Laura Sherman

      Hi! Thanks for your email! I also wrote to you privately, but wanted to reply to your comment here as well. If you’re hiring someone to completely rewrite your book, the price would probably be about the same. However, if you just need an editor, the cost would be substantially less. Hope that helps!

  4. Shontell Verwayne

    I want to have a ghost writer write a book for me, it’s a little nonfiction and a little fiction. It’s a gift for my boyfriend about how we met and it would elude to our future together. Do you know what a ghost writer would charge for something like that, I doubt imagine it being over 50 pages.

    • Laura Sherman

      Hi! I just wrote you a private email. Thanks for writing!

  5. Sherra Hedrick

    I have people everday pushing me to write my story about why i am still alive and how I have overcome the most agressive Triple Negative Stage IV breast cancer. Even my oncologist says I should write it. He can’t believe what happened.

    I have kept a journal of events the past 4 years and have been giving it a lot of thought. I can talk a mile a minute but writing a book is a lot different. I read a lot of Dr Wayne Dyer and have all Suzanne Sommers books and many others on “How to Heal Cancer. My story is still, I believe, very different and could help so many patients and family members—- and that’s what I want to do—-is help others. Now I get phone calls all the time to talk to a patient and I have given my testimonial many times. I would like to reach a lot of people and aye a book could do that but I think I need help—-my writing confidence is not there.

    I will tell you that my favorite books are non-fiction. I have always been drawn to true stories and I love learning.

    I have been at deaths door several times but I don’t look like it. There were strong southern women in my life of growin up in a very small town in Georgia. I am 69 years of age and people tell me I look like I am 10 to 18 years younger without a facelift. I exercise regularly (not extreme) and stay positive. But writing a book is totally different and I think I need help. I like what I have read on your site. I research all the time and that’s why I have found a lot of tools I have applied and it worked. I would love your opinion on this subject. My friends call me the Steel Magnolia. Thanks much

    • Laura Sherman

      Dear Sherra, Thank you for writing! I will write to you privately to discuss the details of your very inspirational story.

  6. Semone may

    Hi I want to write a book about my life but I’m overwhelmed by it all as its been an unbelievable life and people wouldn’t believe it, can you give me any advice please. S.May.

    • Laura Sherman

      Hi! I’d be happy to offer you a free 20-minute consultation. Please email me privately your phone number so that we can talk. Thanks!

  7. hala alatawneh

    Hi Laura,my name is Hala,I have a story to tell that I want to be published…I don’t know where to start…

    • Laura

      Hi, Hala! It was good to talk to you. I hope you pursue your book. Let me know if I can be of further help!

  8. Belinda

    Is there any way to acquire a ghost writer’s assistant, who is eager to get their feet wet for a smaller fee?

    • Laura

      Belinda, feel free to write to me and we can discuss ideas. I have a few thoughts on this line.


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