There couldn’t be a more perfect time to write that book you’ve always been dreaming of. Publishing a book could boost your career and credibility, and could even help you snag lucrative speaking engagements.
However, writing a book can be a daunting prospect, even for the most seasoned writers. It takes a great deal of time and effort that you probably can’t fit into your already overloaded schedule. This is the reason many successful authors, celebrities, politicians, and businessmen turn to ghostwriters to help complete their manuscripts.
Sounds good, right? But as with anything, there are some pitfalls to hiring a ghostwriter. Pick the wrong one and your precious project could devolve into frustrations, missed deadlines or worse, an incomplete manuscript. Choose the right one, however, and you can end up with a compelling work that will help you shine. If you want to find the perfect ghostwriter for your book project, here’s some expert advice to ensure you’re in good writing hand:
Know Where to Look
Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to find ghostwriters who are looking for their next big gig. There are sites like Fiverr, UpWork, and Freelancer that advertise freelance services for ghostwriting. There are plenty other cheap and reliable writing services that will not only take care of the writing, but can also handle editing and proofreading.
Check Their Rates
Hiring a ghostwriter to work on your manuscript is much like putting your life in the hands of a lawyer or doctor. Put it in the wrong hands and you could put your life and reputation at risk.
Don’t go cheap. Ghostwriters are like high-end service providers and they range vastly in price, depending on the task at hand. For a book with 100 to 300 pages, below is a breakdown of the price and quality a reliable ghostwriter can offer:
- $1K to $14K. It’s best to rule out anyone who charges less than $15K. Oftentimes they’re the bottom of the barrel and hiring them could result in a bad book. If you think you can’t afford it, keep saving until you finally can.
- $15K to $70K. Ghostwriters who charge within this range are those that are steadily building a profitable portfolio and are earning good reputations in the market.
- $80K to $200K+. They’re the best of the best; composed of a much smaller pool of experienced ghostwriters who already have a record of working with bestseller and have even published books under their own name. The level of quality you’ll get within this price range is guaranteed to be high.
No matter the type of book project, a reliable ghostwriter who’s earned credits will typically charge no less than $35K. Use this as a rule of thumb when you’re in the market for a quality ghostwriter.
See If They Can Capture Your Own Voice and Writing Style
Ghostwriters are much like impersonators who use their voices and expressions to mimic others. In writing, they carefully choose the words, pacing, and rhythm they use.
An experienced ghostwriter has already written a number of manuscripts and/or books, which means they can easily match different voices and writing styles. However, a ghostwriter’s portfolio isn’t always the best test of whether they can write your book in your own voice and style.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t established your own writing style or voice, or can’t seem to put your thoughts into writing, an experienced ghostwriter can help capture your voice or guide you towards finding it. If you’re looking to write non-fiction, you won’t want the voice in your book to sound like it belongs to someone else. It disconnects you from your readers, especially when they’ve already met you or heard you speak and know what you sound like in person. It can also be off-putting for the audience who meet you first in your book and will hear you speak later.
Let Them Know What You Want
Let’s say you’ve already found the ghostwriter whom you want to collaborate with. You’ve already reached out and established a connection. And then, what?
It’s important to be clear about your expectations and what you want. Tell your chosen ghostwriter how hands-off or hands-on you want to be with the collaboration. Are you willing to give them creative license or do you prefer they stick close to your original plan?
At this point, it’s important to set some boundaries. Make sure you’re open to feedback and new ideas from your ghostwriter. Or, ask them whether they’re willing to contribute their own ideas or rely solely on the content you provide.
Give some thought if you want to meet the writer in person or just go for virtual meetings. Most ghostwriters are happy to work with clients remotely, and it can be effective. However, some authors would want their ghostwriter nearby or available to travel with them to meetings, interviews, and other events. In this case, you may want to meet them in person, whenever possible. Doing a Google Meet, Skype or Zoom meeting will do just as well and can give you a pretty good sense of someone.
Don’t Cheat Yourself
Hiring a ghostwriter for something as important and life-changing as publishing a book, isn’t the best time to cut corners. Your book is an extension of yourself. It represent you. In a sense, it’s your calling card to the world.
If your book project is meaningful to you professionally, personally, or both, don’t cheat yourself by hiring a ghostwriter based solely on fees. This should definitely be included in your decision-making, but remember the saying, ‘You get what you pay for’? This couldn’t be more true with hiring ghostwriters. Readers can be the toughest critics, and they can be unforgiving to authors. After all, they’re spending money to buy your book and investing their time to read it. They’ll expect to get their money’s worth.
While books are no longer etched in stone, they last forever – longer than any of us do. Therefore, they can work either for or against you. Be that as it may, you won’t want to pay for more than what you actually need.
Working with a ghostwriter means that you’re going to be sharing your thoughts and ideas, solving problems, and trying to meld minds with another person. Ultimately, it can add up to an intimate and fruitful experience.
The fact of the matter is, it’s not easy to find someone you can trust and establish that connection with (not to mention someone who has the experience to pull off your book). But with the right approach to the ghostwriter-hunting process, you will no doubt find an amazing writer you can collaborate with. Best of luck!