“How to find a ghostwriter” is a two-part process.
The first part involves creating a short list of candidates to interview. This is the mechanical part of finding a ghostwriter.
You have several options for gathering the names of book ghostwriters:
1. Check with a ghostwriting service. There are many of these, including Gotham Ghostwriters and Reedsy. You simply contact the service, explain what you’re looking for, and the ghostwriters attached to the organization are invited to submit their credentials and proposals for your perusal.
2. Check with literary agencies. Many agents work with ghostwriters, and will be happy to put you in touch with their favorites. Here’s a list of literary agents you can contact.
3. Check with writers’ organizations such as the American Society of Journalists and Authors. They often have an online directory of book ghostwriters and editors.
4. Conduct a focused google search. You’re undoubtedly familiar with googling. Just be sure to narrow your search. Instead of typing in a general search term such as “ghostwriters,” try “book ghostwriter in Los Angeles,” “New York Times best selling memoir ghostwriter” or some other phrase that contains descriptions of the type of ghostwriter you’re looking for.
How to find a ghostwriter on a budget
If you’re working with a very tight budget, you can try looking for a student ghostwriter in your local university’s graduate writing program, if such a program exists. (I coauthored my very first published book while still a writing student.) Students are often eager and inexpensive, albeit it inexperienced. You can also post an ad on inexpensive job sites such as Fiverr. You’ll find some amazing deals there, but remember, you get what you pay for.
So now you’ve got some names…
That’s the mechanical part of the “how to find a ghostwriter” issue.
But how do you find a top ghostwriter? And just what is a top ghostwriter, what makes certain ghosts rise above the rest?
Is it that they’ve worked with glamorous celebrities and high-echelon business leaders? The glowing recommendations they’ve received from clients? Their degrees from prestigious universities? Is it the length of their resumes?
Top ghostwriters have that extra “something” that allows them to get in sync with a client’s thoughts – quickly. They can easily put themselves into your shoes and understand your vision of your book.
And then they take it further.
They’ll push against the boundaries of your idea, scrutinizing it in different lights and from different angles. They’ll challenge, strengthen and improve your idea. And they’ll make your book better, often much better, than you ever imagined.
Top ghostwriters don’t just throw together any old book to keep the client happy. They craft an excellent book based on your idea, your dream, your vision – plus.
How to find a ghostwriter – a top one
Finding a ghostwriter is simple. But finding a top ghostwriter is much trickier, because there is no single measure of quality. Even a string of bestsellers on a ghost’s resume is not a guarantee, as he or she may not be a good match for you or your material. You’ll have to do a little more digging.
So create your short list of ghostwriter candidates, and start interviewing them by phone or in person. But don’t just ask questions about their resume and fees (although both are important).
Invite them to challenge your book idea. To poke holes in it.
Don’t settle for someone who simply tells you how wonderful your idea is.
Look for the ghost who tells you what’s wrong with your idea, and makes a convincing case for improving or even re-imagining it.
Try throwing some new ideas into the mix, and see how the ghost responds. Does she embrace dealing with these new ideas as an interesting challenge? Does she tell you, firmly but politely, what’s good and bad about the new ideas? Does she enthusiastically offer ideas for incorporating the good parts in the book? And do her ideas make sense?
If so, you may have found your top ghostwriter!
For more on ghostwriters and ghostwriting…
…see our “Professional Ghostwriter” page. And if you’d like to get started on your book, use the form below or to the side to contact us, Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, ghostwriters and editors of memoirs, business books, and more.