How to Hire a Ghost Writer

So, you’ve decided that you need a book to add to your professional arsenal. It could be an add-on for your coaching package, a giveaway for workshops or a door-opener for speaking opportunities. Good for you!! The next step for most would-be authors is…blind linear panic! Staring at a blank computer screen can actually cause vapor lock, or at least something that feels very similar!

Whether you feel intimidated, overwhelmed or are just too busy – hiring a Ghostwriter (which doesn’t actually mean you cannot write) may be the answer to get your book from your head and onto the printed page. So, how do you know if you have the right ghost writer?

Here are 5 tips to hiring the RIGHT Ghostwriter:

  1. Meet the candidates.By phone or in person, you need to determine if your personalities mesh. Is he buttoned up and get down to business? Is she more relaxed and casual? What works for you? And, bottom line, is she listening? If all a writer does is talk about themselves, how in the world are they ever going to hear you?
  2. Ask how they work.Do they want you to provide notes and materials they’ll review? Do they want to interview you and ask questions? A ghostwriter who interviews you – and records that – will often do a better job of writing in your voice. That’s because they’ll have your voice, your words and your phrasing, so the end product will sound just like you wrote it yourself.
  3. Have the money talk.Expect to invest in this…a professional writer is going to listen to you for hours, talk about you, write about you and in the end, provide you with a book you get to put your name to. The bid could be anywhere from $2500-$10,000 for a basic non-fiction book. Factors include book length, the time frame, and the amount of research and writing is needed.
  4. Expect a timeline.When you talk to them about ‘how they work’ find out if they’re willing to give you a timeline (schedule). Sure, life happens, and things can get delayed (on their end or yours), but you need a ballpark idea of how long of a project you’re starting. And, a good timeline should include how much time you have to give them feedback on each submission.
  5. Read some samples. You might have thought this should come first, but with ghostwriting that’s not always possible. They may not be able to provide work by previous clients if there are confidentiality agreements in place. If you’re focusing on non-fiction business and how-to books, most writers can give you something. However, few folks who’ve published their memoirs want people to know someone else actually wrote it. So, ask for what you can review and do that.
  6. Bonus Tip – Go with your gut. If you go through all the steps above and it’s down to two ghost writers, check in with your instincts. Who do you think is going to be the easiest or most fun to work with? Because, regardless of how long it takes and how much it costs, you should enjoy the process!

Now, go find your ghostwriter and get to writing! If you find you’d like more information on the process of working with a ghostwriter, email me at I’d love to help you tell your story!