Everything You Need to Know Before You Hire a Ghostwriter
So you want to be an author?
Give yourself a pat on the back. Only two percent of the 81 percent of Americans who want to publish a book will buck up the courage to do it. But unless you’re a born writer, you need to enlist the help of a ghostwriter. In the non-fiction publishing world, this is common practice. Typically, when a business owner, industry expert or celebrity decides to commit their story to print, finding that pitch-perfect ghostwriter is at the top of their to-do list. A great ghostwriter will take all of your raw ideas and tell your story for you, adopting your voice like it were their own. The best ghostwriters are chameleons of tone and style. The trouble is, finding those writers can be like a game of “Where’s Waldo?”
If you’re considering hiring a ghostwriter to write your book, here are the 5 things you need to know first:
- The process requires several hours of interviews, after initial meetings to get a proposal and outline approved on both sides. For your writer to understand your story and fully inhabit your voice, expect to spend as much as 20 hours on calls or in interviews with them. This is how they extract the content that gets fleshed out in the book.
- You do not have to hire your ghostwriter as an independent contractor. Sifting through independent ghostwriters is a lot of work. You have to scour the internet and review dozens of portfolios to find that potentially decent match. You also have to use your instincts to decide whether or not theywould do your story and your voice justice. Unfortunately, your instincts could be wrong. If you hire them to write the book and the two of you end up being a poor match, you still have to pay them for the work you contracted them to do.
- Brace yourself for the possibility of missed deadlines, financial conflicts and creative differences. When you work with independent ghostwriters, these are all potential stumbling blocks. Writers who aren’t staffed by a bona fide agency or publishing team don’t answer to project managers or editorial supervisors, so they can sometimes be a wild card. It’s important for you to know that your ghostwriter does not have to be an independent contractor who you find and hire yourself. There are other options.
- There are ghostwriting agencies that specialize in pairing you with the ideal ghostwriter for your story. These agencies match you with an experienced writer and take the hassle of independent contracting out of the picture. However, whether you go through an agency or opt to hire an independently contracted writer:
- The ghostwriter’s contribution starts and ends with writing the manuscript. They will hand you a stack of papers and tell you, “Good luck!” The rest of the process, like finding a publisher, printing, distributing and marketing your book, will all fall on your shoulders. Your far better alternative is to work with the newest breed of publisher: the hybrid publisher. They strive to take all that work off your shoulders. Hybrid publishers have pioneered a full-service, done-for-you system to bring your book to life. It’s an all-in-one service, wrapped in a bow.
Whether you’re a small business owner or C-suite executive, The Definitive Guide to Publishing Your First Book: For Entrepreneurs, Business Moguls and CEOs contains a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know about getting that book you always“planned to write” off the ground.