Go online and Google “ghostwriter,” and you’ll find no shortage of hits. And it’s no wonder. Self-publishing has made it easier than ever to get a book out in the world. However, while many of us have a story to tell or an area of expertise to share, not everyone has the time or skills to write a full-length book. The ghostwriting industry has evolved to address this need.
So you’ve decided that collaborating with a ghostwriter could be the next move for you – and you’ve begun exploring options. But how do you go about finding the right ghostwriter for your project?
Consider the following:
- Does the ghostwriter have a proven track record? Do they have links to previous projects? If there are Amazon links to the ghostwriter’s previous collaborations, you can often read a few pages by clicking “Look Inside.” Evaluating previous projects should give you a sense of the ghostwriter’s capabilities.
- Do all of the ghostwriter’s previous projects look and sound somewhat the same? If so, the ghostwriter may have a bias toward writing in their own voice, rather than understanding and writing in their clients’ voices. Remember, this is your book. Your voice should come through, loud and clear. Skilled ghostwriters are adept at nailing a client’s voice and using it consistently.
- Look at the table of contents for some of the ghostwriter’s previous projects. Does the book seem well organized? If you read this book, do you think you’d gain an understanding of the topic covered? You can try this exercise both for topics you already grasp, as well as those that are foreign to you. If you’re familiar with the topic, does it seem like the book explains it well? If you’re unfamiliar, do you think you’d acquire knowledge about the topic by reading this book?
- What services does the ghostwriter offer? Do they provide manuscript services only, or do they also provide their clients with cover design, page layout, production, and online placement? Do they offer marketing and promotional assistance? What other post-production services does the ghostwriter offer?
- The ghostwriter should be willing to have one or more discussions about your project before you’ve signed a contract and money has changed hands. It’s vital that you have the opportunity to explain your vision for the book, ask and answer questions, and get a feel for the ghostwriter’s process and work style – before you make a commitment.
Deciding to collaborate with a ghostwriter is a significant undertaking. While writing your book with a ghostwriter, you’ll devote both time and money. You’ll also be sharing material that’s extremely valuable – and often deeply personal. Take your time, do your research, and make sure you’re completely comfortable with your choice of ghostwriter before you sign on the dotted line.