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
If 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 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: