Easing the task of looking for a ghostwriter
One client told me he had thought that finding a ghostwriter would be very easy. All he had to do was go online and search for…
“looking for a ghostwriter”
“find a ghostwriter for my book”
…or something similar and voila! He’d get his answers. Unfortunately, this particular “voila” produces way too many results to be useful.
Googling “looking for a ghostwriter”
I Googled “looking for a ghostwriter” just now and got 456,000 results, plus ads. “Find a ghostwriter for my book” produced 2,390,000 results.
The possibilities are endless. There are freelance ghostwriters, ghostwriting firms, places like Reedsy.com where you can put your project up for bidding, SEO firms that also offer ghostwriting, writers associations, articles on ghostwriting, videos by ghostwriters on YouTube, and more. You can even find my YouTube presentation on Writing A Great Non-Fiction Book Proposal.
Looking for a ghostwriter can leave you overwhelmed by the possibilities! Here are eight things you can do to make your searching more efficient and effective. Be sure to read tip number eight, which just might be the most important of the bunch!
1. Focus your search
Rather than sorting through this humongous informational haystack, narrow your search by doing the following:
- Add a word or phrase describing the type of work you’d like to create, as in “looking for a book ghostwriter” or “find an article ghostwriter.”
- Add a word or phrase describing the genre, as in “looking for a business book ghostwriter” or “find a political book ghostwriter.”
- Add a word or phrase relating to the experience level you’re looking for, such as “looking for a bestselling memoir ghostwriter” or “find an experienced art book ghostwriter.”
- If you’d like to find a ghostwriter who lives nearby, add the name of your city or state, as in “looking for experienced memoir ghostwriter Los Angeles, California.”
You can refine your search even further by using negative keywords to screen out those ghostwriters you don’t want to bother with. To do so, go to the Google Advanced Search Page, where you can 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” 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, or by region, should you wish to work with one close to you.
But remember, Googling isn’t the only way to find a ghostwriter for your book. Here are several more.
2. Look at other books
Check the author credit on books you like or 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 chance that person is a ghostwriter.
If you identify a likely candidate, you can probably find the writer on line. Failing that, contact the publisher and ask for contact information for that writer.
3. 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, 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.
4. Contact literary agencies
Contact a literary agency and ask for recommendations. Most agencies have contacts with ghostwriters, and at least one, 2M Communications, specializes in ghostwriters and editors.
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.”
6. Post an ad
A quick way to find a ghostwriter is to post an ad on Guru.com or another website 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.
7. 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, and ask to speak with a professor who is familiar with the writing students and their levels of ability.
So now you’ve got some names…
That’s the mechanical part of the “finding a ghostwriter” process.
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 upper-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—and 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.
8. Find a ghostwriter—a top one
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. You’ll have to do a little more digging.
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 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? 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!
Looking for a ghostwriter is a process
But it’s doable! And when you find just the right ghostwriter, you know it was worth the effort.
And if you’d like to learn more about the ghostwriting process, see my “What Is a Professional Ghostwriter?” page.
If you’d like help writing your book…
Contact ghostwriters Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor. Use the contact form on this page to send us a message, or call us at 818-917-5362.