We all must have heard the term Ghostwriting or Ghostwriter but not everyone actually understands its meaning.
Did you ever come across someone who asked you to hire a ghostwriter for them or to hire someone who can tell a story on their behalf?
I am pretty sure you must have been asked this question, if not then don’t worry. In the article below, we will take you through a guide to know everything about ghostwriting.
Who Is A Ghostwriter?
In simple terms, a ghostwriter is a person who is hired to write a book on behalf of the author with an agreement that their name will not be mentioned in the book. They are paid a good sum of money as compensation.
Absolutely not. They hire a professional ghostwriter who writes books for these famous people and other people who have limited resources in terms of writing skills and time.
The term ghostwriting was coined centuries ago. For example, in the 18th century, Mozart was famous for being a musical ghostwriter for elites. Another example of ghostwriting is Andy Warhol, an American Visual Artist, who used a similar approach to produce art at the commission.
By now, you probably know the basic concept of ghostwriting and how it works. However, if you are looking for a ghostwriter for your project, keep reading. There’s a lot more for you below!
What To Expect From A Ghostwriter?
Ghostwriting works in fiction and non-fiction as well. However, it follows a slightly different approach for both of the literary genres.
Generally, for a nonfiction project, the author provides all the information such as the stories, research, case studies, and other material that could be used in the book. The ghost may also conduct interviews with the author and other people involved in the story. It is done to gather the information that helps the book to get successful. Sometimes, a ghost also has to conduct research or the author may hire another person to research for them because a ghostwriter is hired for his/her specialty in writing.
In contrast, fiction projects usually come with a less-defined role of the ghost. Some authors provide their ghosts with a premise, plot, characters, and a couple of ideas for how the book could end and give the writer freedom to take it from there. While some novelists prefer to break down every chapter of the book with the ghost before the first draft.
Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, an experienced ghostwriter has the ability to flesh out your given ideas or storyline, organize your materials in such a way that is appealing and engaging to the readers, and also guide you in the decisions that work in the best interest of your book.
Hence, it is very important that you hire a ghostwriter who can sync with your mentality and can be trusted. Because you are counting on him with your confidential material and relationship as well as relying on them with their inside knowledge.
Where to Find a Ghostwriter for Your Book
There is a common situation in the book writing industry that we often see where a celebrity or a successful businessman wants to publish his/her book and does not possess the required skills or time to write a book, so they decide to hire a ghostwriter.
Hence they fall into one of these two situations; either they can’t find a good ghostwriter and cease the idea of book publishing or they find a bad one and end up writing a dreadful book.
This is a common practice because when an author goes for ghostwriting for the first time, they either do not know where to look for good ghostwriters or how to know if someone is good.
If you looking to hire good ghostwriters, you can find them on the following three platforms:
- LinkedIn and Google are the platforms where you can search for individual ghostwriters and their portfolio websites.
- There are some freelance writer marketplaces that connect writers with authors.
- The ghostwriting agencies, these third-party companies connect authors with the ghostwriters and take a commission from both sides.
How to Find Out If a Ghostwriter Is Good Or Not
Irrespective of the nature of the platform you use to find ghostwriters, you should know whether the writer is good or not. You don’t have to necessarily work with them to find out whether they are good enough or not. You can evaluate a writer on the basis of the following three points:
- Skill Set
One thing that you need to understand before getting your book written is ghostwriting is quite expensive. So, if you are approaching a ghostwriter, be prepared to get a high-price quotation. DON’T go for cheap service providers. Just like you will not put your life in danger by going to a cheap doctor, similarly, you should not put your reputation in danger by going to a cheap ghostwriter. You can visit our website to find out general pricing in the industry.
You should find out the reputation and experience of a ghostwriter before hiring them. Luckily, it is pretty easy. You can evaluate a ghostwriter’s experience and stature on the basis of:
- The level of authors they have worked with.
- The number of books they have published.
- The standard of books they have published. Whether the books meet the criteria of quality and reputation or not.
If a ghostwriter possesses these qualities, he is worth to be considered. If he does not pass this test, don’t let your reputation be destroyed at the hands of low-level ghostwriters. Moreover, you can easily find this information on their website.
3. Skill Set
This is an important way to find out whether the writer is good or not. Here, you read their work and analyze their ability to write. You should consider it especially when you are low on budget. Another thing to consider while you read their book is to evaluate how engaging the book is and look that is it easy to follow along or not. Last but not the least, ask them how well they can capture the author’s voice.
Moreover, consider the following step-by-step guide before hiring a ghostwriter:
Step-By-Step Guide to Hire a Ghostwriter in 2023
Step 1. Clearly Express Your Project Goals
This is the first step that you need to consider before hiring a ghostwriter for your book. You should clearly state what you want to achieve with this project. It will help you in the later part of the book writing process when you will be explaining the goals and objectives of your book to the ghostwriter. To get clarity, ask yourself these two questions:
How do you want to facilitate your reader with the project?
This part is more like deciding the genre of your book. Ask yourself what will this project do for the readers. Do you want to teach them something life-changing and valuable? Do you want to unravel some shocking reality to them? Or do you want to entertain them? Do you hope to change their lives or at least change their perspective in some way with this book?
What is there for you in this project?
Give some thoughts on how this project will benefit you, it is a vital factor in analyzing a book’s value. The thoughts might include, are you looking to increase your credibility or brand yourself or your business? Do you want to expand your outreach? Do you want to open doors for speaking engagements via this book? Do you want to become a best-seller with this book?
Step 2. Understand where to look for ghostwriters
It is really important to find the right ghostwriter that understands your requirements and delivers the project as per your needs. Although we have already discussed where and how to find the ideal ghost to write your book, let’s discuss it again because it has the ability to enhance or destroy your reputation.
Based on your goals, you have to decide whether you want to hire the cream of the crop or just a ghostwriter with strong skills enough for you. Look for the writer accordingly on the platforms stated above.
Step 3. Evaluate the ghostwriter’s level of skill
The top experts in this industry have excellent writing and storytelling skills, as well as sharp problem-solving skills, and the capacity to analyze and organize massive volumes of data. The best works also convey the author’s authentic voice. Your objectives will determine if your project demands the best in the business or just a skilled writer.
Ask your literary agency or trusted editor for their opinion on any potential ghosts if you have one. You’ll be able to distinguish between good writing and bad writing, but a publishing expert in the field will be aware of some of the tiny details that can make a significant difference.
Some of the most sought-after authors in the world are ghostwriters with experience in traditional publishing. However, there are a lot of new ghosts who won’t survive, which brings us to our next step.
Step 4. Analyze their previous work
In this step, you have to evaluate the work ghostwriter has done yet. By this, we do not mean to stalk their social media, but evaluate their past projects on the basis of:
- The nature of books they have written.
- How long they have been working in the industry.
The first question is challenging, but the second is not too difficult. Ghosts will discuss with authors if we are allowed to disclose the extent of the work we’ve done with them to prospective clients. As a result, there’s a good probability that the ghostwriter you’re thinking of hiring has both work they can show you or tell you about and work they can’t mention.
By visiting their websites, you can still get a feel of the work that spirits have completed. Our website, for instance, displays the books we’ve contributed to but doesn’t specify what part we played in each one. We co-authored a few, wrote some, and edited and tweaked others.
In order to build your authority, increase your audience, and develop your business, you need to hire a ghostwriter who has written at least two officially published books. However, major publishing houses often have standards that are far higher than those of self-publishing authors and the businesses that provide those services. I’m not suggesting that ghosts who have only worked on self-published books aren’t qualified; some of them are.
To find the best authors, check the book reviews and rankings of the books they’ve written and look for books that have won prizes. Find out what list the books were on if a writer claims to have written “bestsellers” before believing them. Over time, the term “bestseller” has lost its credibility because so many authors make this claim on the basis of their self-defined definition of a bestselling book. If the book is best-selling on their street, they claim it to be the bestseller. But if a book is claimed to be listed on New York Times bestseller, that holds some weight though.
Step 5. Identify if the ghost can capture your voice or not
Impersonators mimic others by changing their voices and facial expressions. Ghosts speak with rhythm, pace, and well-chosen words. An experienced ghostwriter, one who has a few novels or scripts, is usually able to blend several writing voices and styles. Because of this, examining the ghostwriter’s previous work may not be the greatest way to determine whether they can write in the tone and manner you need for your project.
An experienced writer can assist you in finding or capturing your voice if you lack an established style or voice in fiction or can’t seem to write as you speak in non-fiction. You definitely don’t want your non-fiction book’s voice to sound like it comes from someone else. Readers who have met you or heard you talk before and are familiar with your speaking style get disconnected as a result. It’s also disconcerting for readers who first encounter you through your work and then hear you talk.
Step 6. Be clear about what you want with the project
Till this step, you have found the contact that you want to work with and the link has been made. Now, let’s move to the next step.
Tell the ghostwriter how involved or not involved you want to be in the assignment. Do you want them to exercise their creative freedom or stick closely to your specific plan? It’s crucial to set up distinct boundaries. Are you receptive to suggestions and advice from your ghost? On the other hand, will the ghost only rely on the information you supply, or are they willing to contribute some of their own thoughts as well?
Furthermore, consider whether virtual meetings will work for you or if you want the ghost to be available to meet with you in person. The majority of ghostwriters communicate with clients virtually, which is quite successful. However, there are times when the author wishes the ghost to be close by or able to travel to gatherings, activities, or protracted interviews.
Step 7. Discussion about the process of the project
The majority of ghostwriting involves the author and the writer collaborating, the amount of each depends on the author’s requirements and the ghost’s method though. Some ghosts will spend a lot of time with the author at the beginning of a project, gathering data, asking questions, reading and processing research, or conducting interviews, and then vanish for months as they draft the chapters, revealing to the author the chapters one at a time or even the entire finished book. Others collaborate with authors chapter-by-chapter, gathering data and providing drafts as they go. Between these two examples, there are a plethora of possibilities.
The important is to get synchronized with the procedure of ghostwriters and match the compatibility with the work style. If you’re used to micromanaging, you’ll go crazy over the first example. You might prefer that the ghost email you a few chapters at a time if you’re incredibly busy and want them to work as autonomously as possible.
When you receive the written drafts, decide what part you’ll play in the process. Use a tracking tool to add your suggestions directly into the text, or leave them as comments for the author to use as they see fit. How many revision rounds, if any, are part of the procedure for the ghost?
Step 8. Do Not Emphasize Ghost’s Availability
Because they’re in a hurry and just want a writer that is available right away, many authors miss opportunities to collaborate with good writers. I’m sorry, but choosing the restaurant with the fewest customers is similar to that. There must be a reason if they are not busy.
What are the possibilities that a qualified ghostwriter will be on hand right away? Almost none. Good authors are in high demand and schedule their work far in advance. The advance time normally increases with project length. Short-term project experts are significantly more available to start a project right away.
Think carefully about this selection process part. It’s not a good idea to choose someone just because they’re prepared to begin work the next week if you’ve been talking about writing a book for years and then decide that you must finish it this year. A book should be considered a long-term undertaking with a timeless life.
Step 9. Don’t cheat yourself
Please refrain from cheating yourself by selecting a writer based purely on fees; if your project has important to you personally, professionally, or both. Of course, costs must be taken into consideration while selecting a choice, but in the case of ghosts, the saying “you get what you pay for” is accurate. You are represented by your book. It serves as your calling card to the world in a very real sense. Why would you skimp on something so crucial?
Moreover, readers are harsh critics who don’t give writers much leeway. They want you to give your absolute best if they’re going to spend money on the book and time reading it.
Questions to Ask Your Ghostwriters
You should come prepared to ask your ghostwriter a specific set of questions that will help you decide if they are a good fit or not.
Before moving to the questions, I would like to tell you the way of asking questions.
So, if you are more comfortable calling in the morning to talk about your project, don’t say, “Hey! Are you okay with the morning calls?”. Obviously, they are going to say yes because they want your business. Rather, ask them, “What time do you like to take calls?”. It will tell you about their preferences related to the timings of calls and help you evaluate whether they are a good fit or not for your project.
Moreover, as an author, you should ask the following questions to your ghostwriter:
- What is your method to work with the clients?
- What are the pet peeves of your clients?
- Do you want to ask me any questions?
Match the first two questions with yourself and evaluate if you can create compatibility to work with them. The last question is also important, it reveals if the ghost gets you. The more number of questions means they are more engaged with your project as well as more likely it is to get the desired results.
If you are a celebrity, or a businessman, or you have got a story to narrate to the world and you do not have time and ability to deliver it the way you want it, you need a ghostwriter. The industry is flooded with fake and cheap ghostwriters, it is quite difficult to find one who matches your mindset. However, the guide above will help you find the perfect ghostwriter for your book.
This resource above is everything you need to know about ghostwriting, how to find out that a ghostwriter is a good fit for you, and a step-by-step guide to help you find a good ghostwriter. If you have a question that we didn’t cover in the blog, feel free to contact us. Our writers are more than happy to cater to your questions.