How to Find a Ghostwriter: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Posted on July 1, 2013


Once you’ve made the decision to use a ghostwriter to write your book, you will probably be asking yourself, “How do I find the right ghostwriter for me?” It may feel like an overwhelming task. There are plenty of talented writers out there, but that doesn’t mean that they will all treat your book the same way or work with you in the same manner. Your book is important to you and you don’t want to waste your time and money on someone who won’t do your ideas justice. As you begin your search, here are five questions for you to answer and narrow down your criteria for your “perfect” ghostwriter.ghostwriting-basket

1.      Do you want someone with a background in your topic?

The answer to this question probably depends a lot on your specific topic and how you envision your finished book. Do you want a book geared toward readers who already know a lot about your subject, or is this a book for “newbies?” This could determine whether you feel more comfortable working with someone who already knows a lot about your topic or would like to interview and brainstorm with someone who will be learning from you. Also, what extent of experience/knowledge would you like them to have? Would you prefer that they’ve written books in your genre or regarding your subject matter before?

2.      Do you want someone with a lot of experience/published works?

The answer to this question could relate a lot to your budget, as the more experience in the publishing world your ghostwriter has had, the more they can charge for their work. Will your book require a lot of work from someone who’s had a lot of hands-on experience with ghostwriting and publishing? Do you want someone who is knowledgeable with the process so that it will go faster and meet your deadlines? Do you feel fairly comfortable with the writing and publishing process, or do you need an experienced ghostwriter to take the reins for you?

3.      What can you afford?

Naturally, your budget is an important topic to think about as well. What can you afford? What are you willing to spend on a ghostwriter? If you’re on a tighter budget, you may have to find someone who is less experienced or limit the hours/work you ask a ghostwriter to do for you. It all depends on your level of comfort with the project and expenses. Make sure you have a clear cut-off for what you are willing to spend and then discuss costs with ghostwriters as you search. Ghostwriters can charge using various methods (hourly, per words/per pages, etc.), so you don’t want to be caught off guard with the price or pricing method later after you’ve already begun work.

4.      Do you want them to also do your research, editing, proofreading?

Ghostwriters can do a lot more than just write your book. They typically interview you and make notes or recordings to glean all of your ideas from you and get a clear picture of what type of book you want. They can also help you brainstorm, organize, research, edit, and proofread. Some might even offer additional publishing and marketing services or assistance. If you feel like you need help for the entire process, make sure you find someone who is willing to walk with you every step of the way. If you are more confident with doing some of the writing yourself or have already chosen a particular publishing company to work with for future services but don’t yet have a ghostwriter, then look for someone who simply focuses on more basic tasks or works more as an assistant.

5.      Do you want to work/meet in person or virtually?

Finally, it’s also good to consider how you prefer to work with your ghostwriter. If you choose a more experienced ghostwriter, chances are you won’t have met the person previously and that they won’t live locally. You’ll probably be doing all or the majority of your meetings and collaboration via the phone and internet. If you’re comfortable with this style, then great! However, if you feel like you need more face-to-face time with someone to make the most of the experience, you’ll want to ensure that you limit your search to people that are not only close to you but also willing to take the extra time out of their busy schedules to sit down with you at least occasionally.

As you start the search process for a ghostwriter, be sure to constantly keep these questions and your answers in mind. Be sure to decide with which aspects you are more flexible or more willing to compromise, and to which you will need to strictly adhere. This way you know immediately which questions are the most important to research or ask a potential ghostwriter. Finally, take the time to sit down and write out any other questions you might want to ask your ghostwriter, such as topic-specific questions based on your book. The key to the search process is simply knowing beforehand what you want—then you can be sure you will find it!

Rachel Schade, Editor and Writer, Asta Publications

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

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