Let’s face it: if you’re here, you’ve likely had brilliant ideas that just wouldn’t read the same when you tried to pen them down. The self-doubt that might stem from any such episodes is enough to dissuade most of us from ever working on the idea altogether.
The mistake here isn’t that we haven’t mastered the art of writing; it is that we often forget to extend the margin of being human to ourselves.
It isn’t possible for everyone to know everything. Even the most brilliant minds on the planet have failed to do menial tasks we would expect a child to be able to do—think Einstein and tying shoelaces. And yet, we have attached a burden of expectations to ourselves that are too unreal to meet.
You could just be someone who has the knack for thinking outside the box and has ideas that nobody else does—and that’s brilliant on its own. You don’t also need to be a writer, painter, or executor.
So, whether you have the concept for a blog, business proposal, or book or need content for a website, you can hire a professional ghostwriter to do the work for you. There are writers out there who are essentially ghosts and don’t take credit for the pieces they produce for you, hence the name: ghostwriter.
In this blog, we will:
- Explain the benefits of working with a ghost
- Review the process of working with a ghostwriter
- Teach you how to assess your project to determine the best fit
- Walk you through the process of hiring a ghostwriter
- Tell you how much a ghostwriting service will cost
What is a Ghostwriter?
As we said, it’s all in the name. Ghostwriters are professionals who work for others while staying invisible—Casper, the friendly ghost, paid-edition.
The practice of hiring such ghostwriting services is more common than you might assume. Think about it, most of us barely have time to even write as a hobby after a full work day, but there are entrepreneurs, entertainment stars, and politicians who have churned out series of self-help books or written their biographies and memoirs.
Do you think that between their work and social engagements, they had the time to put out a 500-page manuscript?
Or that all of them came gifted with the art of writing?
Now, we aren’t saying that every famous person with a book to their name had someone else write it for them. There might be a few who actually found the time and did it themselves. But as a ghost who’s been in this industry for a long time, I have had the pleasure of working with a lot of A-list stars who went on to publish under their names.
And if they can do it, why can’t you?
At the end of the day, ghostwriters are no different from masons, mechanics, or accountants—basically any skilled professionals you would hire to help with a certain task.
Characteristics of a Good Ghostwriter
There’s more to a ghostwriter than just, well, writing. I mean, technically, that IS what they do, but if you want to know how to hire a ghostwriter for a project, you need to have more information than just that.
So, what are the key criteria you need to judge your potential ghost using? Here is everything that’s important:
They don’t ask for credit
This is the key identifier of a ghostwriter: they aren’t doing it for recognition.
Confidentiality is the name of the game in the ghostwriting business, and most ghosts will not ask for any acknowledgement. In fact, depending on the sort of confidentiality you are looking for, you can even bar them from mentioning that a certain writer had anything to do with your project—in any capacity.
However, some famous ghostwriters could ask that you either give them credit as editors or mention them in the acknowledgement section of your book so they can add your book to their portfolio.
Although, these are things you can discuss before taking a writer on board and coming to an agreement about the terms of their involvement.
Make sure, however, that anyone willing to do it solely for credit might not be the best fit for you. As enticing as it might sound to get someone to work for you for free, always question why they would do it.
They have a Knack for Adapting to Different Voices and Styles
The best thing about a ghost is that they write for you, as you.
This means that they are masters of changing writing styles and tones and can adapt to yours so that your book is authentic to your voice.
Think about it, people who already know you know your distinct style; it would be off-putting if they read your work and thought, “Hmm, this doesn’t sound like Mark…”
To maintain the credibility that you, in fact, are the author of the book or piece with your name on it, any good ghostwriter is going to offer to match and carry your voice through your work. They will think as you do, adopt your vocabulary, and structure sentences in a way you would say (or write) them.
Obviously, it isn’t something they can nail right off the bat. No matter how good your ghost is and how many books they’ve worked on, it might take them a few tries to get there.
An authentic writer is going to be open about this from the start.
They are experts in the niches they write for
No two genres are the same—and nobody is an expert in everything. The same goes for ghostwriters.
Being a great writer doesn’t mean you can write everything well. Whether someone’s written one bestseller or ten (for themselves or for others), every writer has carved for themselves a specific niche.
When hiring a ghostwriter, it is important for you to identify the genre of your book and find someone who has experience in it.
But if ghosts can’t share their previous work, how will I know the level of proficiency my chosen writer has on the subject? You might think.
Well, first off, some ghosts can share works they’ve contributed to. As we discussed before, how much confidentiality needs to be maintained for a certain project depends on the understanding between the author and their ghost.
So, feel free to ask your ghost about books they’ve worked on.
If not, you can look up their blogging profile to understand their writing style. Additionally, you can even pay for a sample.
They take your opinions into consideration
If you’re hiring someone to write for you, chances are you’re doing it because you trust their expertise.
And that’s exactly what a good ghost will do for you—bring their experience and mastery to elevate your ideas and work. The mark of a good ghostwriter is that they will not shy away from calling out something they don’t think is right.
If they’re contributing to your book, they are going to have their opinions!
But equally true is the fact that a good ghostwriter will respect your opinions and ideas.
At the end of the day, it is your book—your name will be on it and you’re ultimately the one calling the shots.
Make sure you and your ghost are on the same page about how much input you’ll be giving in. We’ll discuss this more in the next section.
They have a working style that fits well with yours
Before deciding on your ghostwriter for hire, ask them about their preferred working style.
Although the process of ghostwriting is largely the same—the writer will do interviews with you and offer up an outline before getting started on the book—the personal working style of each writer may vary.
There may be those who want your feedback on every step before they progress to the next.
And then there are ghosts, who, as a testament to their name, disappear for months after getting the outline approved. They work in their space and deliver the book by a certain deadline for your review.
There are also writers who like to work in batches. Essentially, they will write a few chapters, send them to you for review, and, based on the feedback they receive, work on the next batch.
If it is your first time collaborating with a ghost, it would be better to find someone who gives you more of a chance to offer feedback. Remember: already-published authors have books that ghosts can use to emulate tone and style. This is not the case with you.
You will need to guide your ghost every step of the way to make sure your work is true to your voice.
However, if the reason you’re hiring a ghostwriter is a lack of time, it would make sense if you can’t find it in your schedule to send reviews multiple times during the week. Then a writer who works in batches may be your best bet.
What to Expect from a Ghost Writer for Hire?
The working style and deliverables from your writer’s end change with each project and genre.
Essentially, a ghostwriter will depend on the author to supply all the anecdotes, case studies, research, and other materials that will be utilized in the project for nonfiction work. In order to acquire facts and tales, the ghost could also interview the author and other professionals. On occasion, the ghost may also carry out research.
The ghost’s function in non-fiction literature is less defined. Some authors offer their ghosts a starting point, the major characters, and one or two possible conclusions before letting the writer take it from there.
While others will discuss each chapter in-depth before the initial draft is even written.
Regardless, in both nonfiction and fiction, a skilled ghostwriter may aid you in developing your main idea or plot, arranging your information in a way that makes sense to readers, and assisting you with selecting choices that are ideal for your book.
Remember: it is essential that you develop a comfortable and trusting working relationship with your ghostwriter.
Not just because of the confidential nature of your ideas but also because you are depending on their insider expertise and require their advice as you progress through your book.
The General Process of Working with a Ghostwriter
This is a question that comes up again and again as I work with first-time authors: Is there a set process of ghostwriting? A method to the madness, if you will.
Well, as we said before, every writer will have their practices when it comes to working on a book. The type of project you’re working on will also require tweaking the process.
However, certain steps are so crucial to the process that no matter who you choose to work with, these steps will apply.
- The initial draft is created by the writer.
- The author and writer discuss any changes required.
- The writer completes the second draft.
- Author comments on any specific corrections or factual mistakes.
- The third draft is completed by the writer.
After the writer has completed the third draft of the full book, the next step is editing, followed by proofreading – both of which should be completed by someone other than the writer.
Now that you’re up to speed, let’s tackle the million-dollar question:
How to Hire a Ghostwriter?
Hiring a ghostwriter will not be simple, but if you invest the time and effort to locate the ideal ghostwriter for you, it will be worthwhile — and you will even come out with a beautiful book at the end of your hard work. Without further ado, here are three simple steps to hiring a ghostwriter.
Step 1: Establish your project objectives.
Before you invest any of your hard-earned cash in this project, you must first define your goals for yourself. This will assist you later in the process when discussing your objectives and goals to your ghost. Consider the following:
What will your book accomplish for readers or customers?
Do you want your book to teach readers anything useful or to change their lives? Do you wish to amuse them? Do you want to startle them with another world or awaken them to a fresh perspective? Are you expecting that your book will influence them in some manner or cause them to make new decisions?
Think about how you want this book to assist you; this will be a crucial factor in determining the value of the book.
Step 2. Assess the ghostwriter’s skill level
The top experts in this industry have excellent writing and narrative abilities, sharp problem-solving skills, and the capacity to analyze and organize massive volumes of information. The best works also convey the author’s authentic voice.
Your objectives will determine if your project demands the finest in the business or merely 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 area will be aware of some of the smaller details that may make a significant difference.
You might also judge anything based on what you find appealing and what sounds appropriate.
Step 3: Clearly state your goals.
You’ve now located the ghost with whom you wish to work and have made contact. The link has been made. What’s next?
Tell the ghostwriter how involved or not involved you want to be in the assignment. Do you want them to use their creative freedom or adhere closely to your specific plan? It’s crucial to set up distinct limits.
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 prepared to contribute some of their own thoughts as well?
The majority of ghosts communicate with customers virtually, which is quite successful. However, there are times when the author wishes the ghost to be close by or able to go to gatherings, activities, or protracted interviews.
Once you have all this decided, you are ready to start working with a ghostwriter on your next project! Don’t be scared to ask a particular writer what they might be prepared to do to facilitate your collaboration. Although writers want to be paid what they are worth, worth isn’t always only about money.