Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Find a Great Ghostwriter

I don't believe I've covered this topic before, but it's an important one, especially for those folks who feel they're not quite up to writing their own book yet, but they have a great story that they feel inspired to get out.

Photo by: straitic, courtesy of Flickr
Such is the case with my ghostwriting clients. They have a story that can't wait, and whether the story is loosely based on their own life or on the life they wish they had, the story can be told through a ghostwriter that knows his/her stuff.

Here are some qualities to look for in a ghostwriter:

  • Make sure the ghostwriter understands the sort of book you are writing. If you are writing a Western, make sure the ghostwriter has written in the genre before, or at least that they have read enough books in the genre to capture the voice you want for your story.
  • Will you be signing a contract? A contract is important. Not only do you know what's expected of you, you know what the ghostwriter will do for you. Make sure you have a clear idea of what the service is going to cost you and make sure you read the fine print. A caveat that spells out a trial period is always a good idea.
  • Is the ghostwriter organized? When you set a date for a particular chapter or chapters to be finished does he/she keep to the schedule? If you find after a few chapters that the ghostwriter can't keep up with your expectations, this is the time to finish up the trial period and move on to a new ghostwriter.
  • After reading the first couple of chapters, is the ghostwriter's expertise what you expected? I have a caveat in my contract that gives the client the first two chapters at a certain price. After that, if they don't like my work, for any reason at all, they can bow out. 
  • Are you meeting with the ghostwriter on a fairly consistent basis? I meet with my clients every other week and we discuss the following two chapters. The meeting is typically about an hour. After the client gives me their ideas, I add my own, and make suggestions for improvement. In the end, however, the client has the last say on what they want, and a good ghostwriter will understand that.
A great ghostwriter not only writes well in the genre you need them to, they are great listeners. They write the book that you've envisioned--not the book they see in their mind's eye.

The bottom line? A good ghostwriter will know that it is ultimately, your book.


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