Everything you Need to Know about Hiring a Ghostwriter
Ghostwriters are the behind-the-scenes invisible writers who pour their words into your ideas. Countless popular books, including bestselling celebrity autobiographies, business books, even fiction books, are written by incredible writers whose names we never know. Many celebrities, top CEOs, think tanks, and publishing houses hire a ghostwriter for their creativity and ability to transform ideas and concepts into a book. It often turns out great and is well-loved and ends up becoming a bestseller. Hiring ghostwriters involves collaborating with talented writers who understand what the book needs and will write your book’s actual content while ensuring that the voice remains yours. It means that the book belongs to you, the author.
What is so Great About Hiring a Ghostwriter?
One of the top reasons working with a ghostwriter to write your book is that it can save you months, possibly years of hard work involved in the actual process of writing a book. You may have many ideas about the book you want to write and why and how you want to write it but very little time to spare. You may like writing occasionally, but consistently turning up before a blank page, brainstorming, making multiple drafts of a book, and so on may not be something you thoroughly enjoy. Writing a good book that offers your readers value can be an arduous, time-consuming process. It may require tremendous time and patience to reach its completion, mainly if you are not accustomed to the process of writing. If this rings true for you, then definitely go ahead and hire a ghostwriter who will take your ideas and turn them into a book for you.
A professional writer is well organized and trustworthy. They are well versed in handling various types of content. Whether your content is highly sensitive, voluminous, creative, or informative, a professional writer will know how to handle it. They will organize your ideas and articulate them in a way that only you can. They will take inputs from you to understand your style, thought process, and vision for the book. So you can stop worrying about your book and let your ghostwriter weave the magic for you.
What’s more, they will write your book the way you would have written it so that the finished product will sound ‘like you.’ When you hire a professional and experienced ghostwriter, you get to experience first-hand how they adapt and dedicate themselves to your project. This way, you can have the time to promote your work through various events and platforms.
Finding the Right Ghostwriter
Hiring a ghostwriter to write your book is not so much about delegating. It is about partnering with a professional and talented writer, and more importantly, as dedicated to your project as you are, if not more. It would be best if you had someone who not only understands your ideas but someone who believes in them, as passionately as you do. In short, you and your ghostwriter should be the right match. The first most obvious step to hire a ghostwriter is asking around. Check with your friends and acquaintances if they know someone and find out how it worked out. Another simple way is to run a search on Google. Many ghostwriters have a website or have posted about their work on some platform. You can look in Facebook and LinkedIn groups for ghostwriters. There are websites such as Upwork, Reedsy, Fiverr, and so many others for hiring ghostwriters who might be a good fit for you and your book.
Once you shortlist ghostwriters, ask them questions about their work, speak to their clients. It will give you at least a preliminary idea of their work. Further, you may have them provide you with samples of their writing. Be thorough with this screening process, as once you find a good writer, you can relax and rest assured that the writer will do their best to make your book happen.
1. What you want your book to be like?
While you get to let the writer do all the work, you need to ensure everything is working smoothly and your goals and plan. This means that before you set up your meeting to brief the writer, you need to be sure of exactly what you want. Be confident of what your book is about, the tone and format, your target audience, plot, characters, concepts, and chapter titles. Being prepared and clear about your vision, goals, and expectations, and communicating the same effectively to the writer, is an excellent way of getting the writer to bring their best writing to book. It will help them understand you better and motivate them to persevere and push their creative limits for you.
2. Do you have a plan?
It can be a combination of what you have in mind and something that you work out together with the writer. Take stock of how much material you have at hand. You may have the first draft ready, and you want the professional writer to rework and come up with more polished work. Or possibly what you have is some roughly compiled ideas in a non-fiction or an outline and character outlines in the case of fiction. Further, look at what your goals and objectives are. What are you looking to achieve with the book – improved credibility, brand value, or business? Perhaps you want your book to feature among the bestselling fiction books. Consider what you want the book to do for you and what you want to do with the book. Whether you aspire to pitch to publishing houses and agencies or aim to self-publish, it is essential to think it through at the beginning of the project. Because this will undoubtedly determine what you instruct the writer to do with your book and possibly impact the cost to hire them. It would help if you briefed the writer about all you have in mind and what you want them to work on.
As a team, you can set up a schedule for your meetings, exchange material and notes. You can send inputs to the writer. The writer sends you written draft chapters at regular intervals and share feedback and other notes. You don’t want to be breathing down the write’s neck for the speedy delivery of draft chapters, but you also cannot be too lax or completely leave it up to the writer. It’s important to strike a balance there and set realistic expectations too.
3. Are you open to a fresh perspective?
You want the writer to write the book the way you would. It means the writer needs to have an in-depth understanding of the content and your style, thought process and flow, and the target audience. While taking care of this aspect, it is also essential to give the writer space to bring their creativity into the writing. If you get into too much criticism, it might have the opposite effect, and the writing quality will suffer. For the book to reach its full potential, keep your feedback constructive, encourage and appreciate what you like, and keep the writer coming to you with their best writing.
4. What are your budget and timeline requirements?
These aspects need to be clearly stated at the outset of the agreement. Have you thought of how much money you want to spend on getting a ghostwriter to write your book? If you are going to self-publish, you have to consider expenses that you would need to make for book editing, cover design, printing, launch, marketing, and so on. It’s entirely up to you how elaborate or minimalistic you want this to be. You want to ask around and do some research with authors who have had this experience before, and they can give you an idea as to the cost to hire a writer.
Additionally, as part of your initial interaction and screening process, ask the writers to quote their charges. This way, you can compare the prices and choose the writer who quotes the best price. However, remember that the best price is not always the lowest price. You want to consider the experience and writing quality that the writer brings to the table. Do you want your book to be excellent? Then it would be best if you had an excellent writer. And a perfect writer may not be readily available, and they may not quote a low price. Be that as it may, if you weigh your options carefully and choose what’s best for your book, you may end up hiring someone you completely trust, whose charges fall well within your budget. The result is often a beautifully written book that you’re proud of.
As far as setting timelines are concerned, know that, for the most part, the work will happen through mutual understanding and respect. Cooperating and communicating seamlessly will anchor the success of your book firmly. Each ghost has a different method of working. Some will coordinate with you intermittently, sending you draft chapters in batches. Others will meet with you several times at the outset, gathering all the information they need to, then work by themselves for a prolonged period and come back with the finished book. When you have the first draft of the entire book, you can take some time to go through it and make detailed notes on what you like and what you need to change. The writer will then make the second draft and then the third. Based on how many rounds of revision were decided upon earlier by you and the writer.
IBM CEO, Lou Gerstner, said, ‘I wrote this book (Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?) without the aid of a co-author or a ghostwriter (which is why it’s a good bet this is going to be my last book; I had no idea it would be so hard to do).’ Indeed, he is quite right and is probably speaking for several famous authors who almost always collaborate with ghostwriters to write their books. Some of the famously ghostwritten books include several books from among the Goosebumps, Animorphs, Nancy Drew book series, and some from among the Jason Bourne series.
Turning your first draft or book ideas into a book, you are proud of can be a joyride for you if you find the right writer. Following these above steps can make it much simpler to hire a ghostwriter and work with them seamlessly. A high-caliber writer will significantly contribute to your journey. Still, their writing will also assure a higher chance to reach the target audience of your book. Once you work with a ghostwriter and you like their work, it also opens up space for future collaborations.