6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Ghost Writer
People hire ghost writers for many reasons. Almost everyone has a story to tell. Whether it is a personal journey, a flight of fantasy, an inspirational tale, or business information, we all have something that other people will want to hear. Unfortunately, not all of us have the time or skill set to translate these ideas into blog posts, website content, or books. That’s where ghost writers come in. Ghost writers do the writing for you, and, what’s more, they let you have all the credit. But how do you go about finding a ghost writer? What should you ask before hiring a ghost writer?
- Do I like the way this person writes?
By definition, ghost writers stay invisible and behind the scenes. Often, a ghost writer will have a confidentiality agreement with her client, so she they can’t tell you what she has written for someone else. It may be difficult to see examples of her ghostwriting work. A good ghost writer doesn’t just write in a ghostly way, however, and should be able to show you writing samples. If you don’t like her style, don’t hire her.
- Is the ghost writer a good listener?
Have a conversation with the ghost writer before hiring him. If you are hiring him to write in your voice, you have to make sure he can hear it. The best way to find out if this is possible is to have a conversation before committing.
- Should the ghost writer have subject matter knowledge?
If the ghost writer has subject matter knowledge in the area about which you want her to write, it could be helpful or harmful, depending upon what you want her to do. If she has subject matter knowledge, the understanding of the topic may help her write about it in a confidential way, using appropriate terminology and phrasing. On the other hand, some people, when they have knowledge of a topic, may substitute their own judgment or opinions for yours. Much of this is personality dependent, and needs to be addressed on the front end. As with most things, gauge for yourself by having a conversation with the ghost writer before you commit.
- Should I have a contract?
Yes! Absolutely and unequivocally. Without a contract, you won’t be sure that everyone’s expectations are the same. You also want to make sure there are provisions for what happens in the event that someone doesn’t do what they are supposed to do, or if they miss a deadline. Contracts will also cover what exactly the ghost writer does, and what you are expected to contribute. They protect everyone.
- How do I know if I am paying too much?
Do research on what ghost writers in your area are being paid. Note that this isn’t as regional as some other kinds of pricing, since a ghost writer can be anywhere and still do the work. A quick Google search will give you a good idea, or you can find my ghost writing rates here. Bear this in mind: you don’t necessarily want to hire a bargain ghost writer. This is one area in which you are likely to get what you pay for and, while you don’t necessarily need to hire the most expensive ghost writer, you should question why the ones near the bottom of the heap are charging as little as they do.
- Is my project too big (or too small)?
Not if you hire the right ghost writer. Look at the ghost writer’s website or other works to see what he has done in the past. Some ghost writers make a living doing nothing but 500 word blog posts. Some write novels or intellectual treatises. If it is written, there is a ghost writer out there writing it. More important than the size of the project is that it fits the ghost writer. They will tell you what they like to do.
Remember this: whatever the ghost writer writes has your name on it. You want the finished product to be something you are proud of. Don’t be afraid to do your research first.
To find out more about my ghost writing services, visit my Expert Ghost Writer Page.
To read more like this, visit Lori at her website, www.loriduffwrites.com , on Twitter, or on Facebook. For the Best of Lori, read her books, “Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza” and “The Armadillo, the Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket.”
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.