When it comes to hiring book ghostwriters there are a lot of things you need to do. And choices to make.
A Q&A with G. Ghostwriters
By Valerie P.
Book Publishing Expert
Hiring Book Ghostwriters
Ghostwriting is the practice of writing for and in the name of someone else. It is most commonly associated with book publishing, but today it is also widely used in public relations, corporate communications, social media, and many other industries and fields that are producing greater and greater amounts of written content.
In this article, a professional book ghostwriter explains the field and how the process works and what to look for when “shopping” for a ghostwriter for your project.
What kinds of projects do ghostwriters work on?
Throughout the history of publishing, politicians, business leaders and other busy public figures have relied on ghostwriters. To help them turn their ideas and stories into polished works. More recently, thanks to the self-publishing revolution, an even wider assortment of authors are using ghosts. To share their expertise and experiences in business how-to’s, self-help books, memoirs and even cookbooks. Hiring book ghostwriters is becoming more common than ever before.
In addition to books, ghostwriters are also hired for:
Presidents, members of Congress, and CEOs have long used professional speechwriters. To help them find the right words to win votes and build brands. In addition, there is the growing popularity of TED-style conferences and the platforms they provide. More and more executives and advocates who want to be seen as thought leaders are turning to wordsmiths. To craft their remarks and presentations, so they can break through and stand out.
• Corporate communications
In this era of specialization, large companies often turn to experienced writers. They hire ghostwriters to craft their annual reports, white papers and other thought-leadership pieces. Plus newsletters, website content, business papers and corporate histories.
• Social and digital media content
Social media and a rich online presence has become a must for the leaders of major corporations and organizations. As well as celebrities (including book authors). The people behind these brands most often don’t have the time to constantly update their Twitter, Facebook, and blog feeds. So they will typically employ a digitally-savvy ghostwriter to curate accounts and provide content. Read more about author websites and effective social media for authors. Hiring book ghostwriters can help you with your social media marketing too.
Does the ghostwriter get any credit?
When it comes to books, most ghostwriters don’t receive any recognition beyond a “thank you” in the acknowledgements section. In many cases, they are asked to sign non-disclosure and/or confidentiality agreements. Especially for high-profile projects. Some ghosts, though, are publicly credited on the cover as a co-writer (either with an “and” or “with”). When it comes to speeches and other kinds of content, ghostwriters are truly invisible and seldom acknowledged. Hiring book ghostwriters means hiring anonymous faces and names.
How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?
The cost of hiring a ghostwriter varies greatly. Depending on the stakes of the project, the caliber of the writer, the complexity of the subjects, and more. When you hire a writer, you’re paying for their skill, experience and time. Someone who won a Pulitzer Prize or worked as a White House speechwriter is going to command a higher rate than a recent college graduate new to the field. Writing a full book-length manuscript from scratch will involve more of the writer’s time. And therefore cost more than fleshing out a short e-book that has been partially written. A client hiring a ghost for a full book can expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000—and up.
How long will it take?
Again, every project is different. The timeframe depends on how much source material has been compiled. How much additional research has to be done. And how many drafts are needed to capture the author’s voice. Some projects like speechwriting and corporate communications are driven by firm deadlines. These projects often have quick turnarounds. On the other hand, book projects, especially serious, idea-driven works, can take months and sometimes years to complete. Hiring book ghostwriters, though, can definitely speed things up.
Where do I go to find ghostwriters?
Corporations, organizations and well-connected public figures go through a literary agent or PR firm to find an elite ghostwriter. But for most others, the Internet is the best place to start. Some popular online resources for finding professional freelancers include Mediabistro, Elance, and Craigslist. Or you can connect with a firm like Gotham Ghostwriters that can source their network of freelancers. The advantage to going through a firm vs. hiring a writer directly are many. They can identify proven, quality options suited for your project. Handle contract and fee negotiations, and act as an arbitrator if conflicts or other issues arise.
How do I choose the right ghostwriter for my project?
There are many things to consider when choosing a ghostwriter to assist you.
One of the most important considerations is your budget. Which will likely determine the level of expertise you can expect.
(Read more about what you can expect to pay for editorial freelancers.)
• Experience and Credentials
You will also want to consider the work a writer has previously done. Ideally, you’ll be able to find someone who has worked on similar projects before. Which should make yours go more smoothly. Request resumes and writing samples from writers. So you can see their credentials and work products. Also, be sure to ask for and contact their useful references.
Once you’ve got a short list based on skills and experience, spend some time talking with the writers to get a sense of with whom you connect. After all, you’ll be spending quite a lot of time with this person. In addition to this, you may be sharing intimate details of your life and your thoughts. And if everything goes well, you might want to continue collaborating and write more books together.
How does the writer-client relationship work?
Generally speaking, the ghostwriting relationship should be a highly collaborative one. The most effective ghostwriters are the ones who can help you produce the best version of your vision. To do so, they will often conduct extensive recorded interviews to get a sense of your voice, style and personality. As with all relationships, open communication, clear boundaries, and manageable expectations are key. For avoiding conflicts and keeping the work flowing. In other words, hiring book ghostwriters is a process, and it can take some time. But, it can be fun and productive. And it may be your best route to getting published, optioned and/or produced for the market.
Come to us here at Ghost Writer, Inc. We are your one-stop shop for all your book, screenplay, music or other freelance or contracted writing. And your editing, publishing, optioning and marketing needs. Go to our Contact Page and click on a link to enter in your type-in info on one of our many forms!
Hiring book ghostwriters