You’d like to find a ghostwriter. But how do you do so in the most efficient and effective manner? This article will look at finding a ghostwriter, and give tips for working with the one you hire.
I Googled “how to find a ghostwriter” just now and got 4,760,000 results, plus ads. Searching for “find a ghostwriter for my book” produced 2,610,000 results. As you can see, the haystack is huge.
Here are ten things you can do to make your search more efficient and effective.
Be sure to scroll way down and read step number ten, which just might be the most important of the bunch!
#1 – Start with a focused search
Rather than sorting through the humongous informational haystack produced by unfocused googling, narrow your search by doing the following:
• Add a word or phrase describing the type of work you’d like to create. For example, “find a book ghostwriter” or “looking for an article ghostwriter.”
• Add a word or phrase describing the genre, as in “find a business book ghostwriter,” or “find a political book ghostwriter,” or “looking for a ghostwriter for my story.”
• Add a word or phrase relating to the experience level you’re looking for. Try “looking for a 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 professional memoir ghostwriter in Los Angeles, California.” Or even “looking for a ghostwriter near me.”
#2 – Do an advanced Google search
Refine your search even further by using negative keywords to screen out those ghostwriters you don’t want.
To do so, go to the Google Advanced Search Page. 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 most likely will 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 – Look at other books
Check the author credit on books you like. You can also check books in the same genre as the one you’d like to write.
If it says “with” or “and” before one of the names, there’s a good chance that person is a ghostwriter. Also check the acknowledgments to see if anyone is thanked for “editing.” Ghostwriters are often called “editors” to disguise their contributions.
If you identify a likely candidate, you can probably find the writer online. Failing that, contact the publisher and ask for contact information for that writer.
#4 – Check with writers’ organizations
A great way to find a ghostwriter is to contact a writers’ association, or check its website to see if they publish a list of ghostwriters.
There are many general and specialized writers’ associations. They include the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Horror Writers Association, the National Writers Union, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
#5 – Contact literary agencies
Ask literary agencies for recommendations.
Most agencies have contacts with ghostwriters, and at least one, 2M Communications, specializes in ghostwriters and editors.
#6 – Investigate writing groups
LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networking sites have groups of writers. Look for groups designed for experienced professional writers, not aspiring authors.
Contact the group moderators and explain that you are looking for a ghostwriter for your book.
Be specific. Don’t just say “I’m looking for a ghostwriter for my book.”
Instead, say, “I’d like to find a ghostwriter for an autobiography.” Or, “I’m looking for a ghostwriter for a history book,” or something similar.
#7 – Ask your author friends
If a friend or colleague has written a book, ask if he or she used a ghostwriter.
If you’re worried this might offend someone who wouldn’t want to admit to using a ghostwriter, ask if he or she used an “editor.”
#8 – Post an ad
A quick way to find a ghostwriter is to 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 amongst numerous ghostwriters and contact them to see if they’re a good match for you and your project.
#9 – Check with your local university
This is a long shot, but if you’re on a budget, you might consider looking for 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 who is familiar with the writing students and their ability levels.
#10 – Wait for the best ghostwriter
The first nine steps are the mechanical part of finding a ghostwriter. But how do you find a top ghostwriter? And just what is a top ghostwriter? What makes certain ghosts rise above the rest?
Finding the best ghostwriter for your book 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 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 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 in the book? And do her ideas make sense?
If so, you may have found your ghostwriter!
Looking for 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.
IF YOU’D LIKE HELP WRITING YOUR BOOK…
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 book project!
Although based in Los Angeles, California, we often travel to work with our clients.