You’re eager to find a ghostwriter to write your book. But simply googling “find a ghostwriter” or “looking for a ghostwriter” will bury you in a huge pile of results!
I just googled “how to find a ghostwriter” and got 4,760,000 results, plus ads, while “looking for a ghostwriter” produced 6,920,000 items!
Instead of searching through mountains of results, try these ten things to make your search more efficient and effective.
To Find a Ghostwriter…
#1 – Focused searching
Try giving the search engine more information. For example:
• Add a word or two describing the type of work you’d like to create. For example, “find a book ghostwriter,” “looking for a textbook ghostwriter,” or “looking for an e-book ghostwriter.”
• Add a word or phrase describing the genre, as in “find a business book ghostwriter,” “find a political book ghostwriter,” or “looking for a ghostwriter for my memoir.”
• Add a word or phrase indicating the experience level or price range you’re searching for. Try “find a New York Times bestselling memoir ghostwriter” or “find an inexpensive ghostwriter.”
• If you’d like to find a ghostwriter who lives nearby, add the name of your city or state, as in “find a memoir ghostwriter in Los Angeles, California.” Or even “looking for a ghostwriter near me.”
#2 – Advanced Googling
You can also use negative keywords to screen out ghostwriters you don’t want.
Go to the Google Advanced Search Page and use the “none of these words” box to eliminate ghostwriters you don’t want to work with.
For example, you might want to type “cheap,” “budget,” and “inexpensive” in this box to eliminate low-end ghostwriters. (The old adage “You get what you pay for” applies here.)
You might also type in “academic” and “textbook” to screen out writers who may lack experience in writing for the popular press.
You can also search by language on the Advanced Search page, should you want a ghostwriter fluent in a certain language.
#3 – Looking at other books to find a ghostwriter
Some of the works you enjoyed reading were probably written by ghostwriters. You often can’t tell, but sometimes you can find clues by checking the author credit on books you like.
So look at books you admire, as well as books in the same genre as the one you’d like to write.
Check the cover and title page. If you see “with” or “and” before an author’s name, there’s a good chance that she or he is a ghostwriter. You can also check the acknowledgments to see if anyone is thanked for “editing” or something similar. Ghostwriters are often called editors to disguise their contributions.
If you identify a likely candidate, you can probably find that writer online.
#4 – Turning to writers’ organizations
A quick way to find a ghostwriter is to check with a writers’ association and see if they have a list of ghostwriters.
There are many writers’ associations, including the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Horror Writers Association, the National Writers Union, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. You may find a list of writers for hire on their website, or you can contact them and ask how to contact ghosts.
#5 – Asking literary agencies for help finding a ghostwriter
Many literary agencies know and can recommend ghostwriters. At least one agency, 2M Communications, specializes in representing ghostwriters and editors.
Here’s a list of literary agencies to help you get started in your ghostwriter search.
#6 – Investigating writing groups
Search for writers’ groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Be sure to look for groups designed for experienced professional writers, not aspiring authors.
Contact the group moderators and explain that you are searching for a ghostwriter.
Be specific. Don’t just say “I’m looking for a ghostwriter.”
Instead, say, “I’d like to find a ghostwriter for an autobiography,” “I’m looking for a ghostwriter for a history book,” or something similar.
#7 – Asking your author friends
If you know people who have written books, ask them how they found a ghostwriter.
You can ask if they used a ghostwriter. You may not get entirely truthful answers to this question, for many people don’t wish to reveal that they used a ghost. That’s why you should also ask if they used an editor – there’s a chance that the editor was really a ghostwriter.
#8 – Posting an ad
You’re guaranteed to find a ghostwriter if you post an ad on sites such as Guru, where people bid for jobs. You’ll get a lot of responses and the bids can be quite low, but remember that you get what you pay for.
You can also check out curated sites such as Reedsy, where you can select from numerous ghostwriters and contact them to see if they’re a good match for you and your project.
#9 – Checking with your local university
This is a long shot, but if you’re on a budget, you might consider hiring a student in a university’s graduate writing program to ghost your book. (I wrote my very first published book while in graduate school.)
Contact the university. Ask to speak with a professor familiar with the writing students and their ability levels.
#10 – Waiting for the best ghostwriter
The first nine steps are the mechanical part of finding a ghostwriter. But how do you find the best ghostwriter? And just what is the “best” ghostwriter? What makes certain ghosts rise above the rest?
Finding the best ghostwriter is tricky 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.
Create your short list of ghostwriter candidates using the steps above, 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 idea. To poke holes in it.
Don’t settle for someone who simply tells you how fantastic 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 reimagining 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? Tell you, firmly but politely, what’s good and bad about the new ideas? Enthusiastically offer ideas for incorporating the good parts into the text? And do her ideas make sense?
If so, you may have found your ghostwriter!
Finding a ghostwriter is a process…
But it’s doable! And when you find just the right ghostwriter, you’ll know it was worth the effort.
And, as you’re searching for a ghostwriter, think about why you are writing your book, for knowing what drives you can help you find the right ghost. If you’re planning to write a book that includes your own story, think about what kind of book you might write, and spend some time gathering helpful materials.
And if you’d like to learn more about the ghostwriting process, see our “Working with a Professional Ghostwriter” page.
Now that you know how to find a ghostwriter…
…read up on how to hire a ghostwriter.
IF YOU’D LIKE HELP…
We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.
You can learn about our ghostwriting work and credentials on our Home Page.
Call us at 818-917-5362 or use the contact form below to send us a message. We’d love to talk to you about your exciting project!
Although based in Los Angeles, California, we often travel to work with our clients.