WORKING WITH A GHOSTWRITER: How Do I Select a Ghostwriter?

How Do I Select A GhostwriterFinding a book ghostwriter is easy, but finding the right one can be difficult. You’re going to trust this person with your ideas/story and a fair chunk of money, so it’s important to make the right choice. Here are some questions to consider:

Should I select a ghostwriter who lives nearby?

Location may be important if you’ll be working with the ghostwriter in person on a daily or weekly basis. But if the plan is to communicate via phone calls, email and/or Skype, it doesn’t matter where the ghostwriter is located. Indeed, we’ve ghosted books for authors who lived across the country.

Do I need a book ghostwriter who specializes in my topic?

A good ghostwriter is an expert in the art of turning your ideas and/or experiences into a polished manuscript. He or she does not have to be an expert in your particular topic, unless it is very specialized. A good ghostwriter, for example, can turn your ideas on physics into an interesting book on physics for the layperson – but probably not a book designed for physicists.

Good ghostwriters excel at learning on the fly – and because they are not Ph. Ds in the field, they will present your ideas at a level the average person can understand. They may also bring a fresh perspective to your topic.

That said, many book ghostwriters specialize in certain genres, such as business books, health books, memoirs, biographies or inspirational books. Often they have an affinity for a particular genre and may have built a reputation in that area. Conversely, they may not feel comfortable handling topics in certain other fields.

How do I gauge a ghostwriter’s experience?

This can be tricky for much of a ghostwriter’s work is, by nature, done in secret. Even if a ghostwriter wants to tell you about all of her books, her contracts may prohibit her from doing so. However, most ghosts have at least a few ghostwritten books they can discuss, and frequently have also written books under their own names that they can show you.

Is it okay if the ghostwriter hasn’t written a book before?

Suppose you like a ghostwriter who has a lot of experience in writing articles and creating website material in the exact style you’re looking for – but has never written a book. Is it worth taking a chance?

That’s a difficult question. Although articles and books are similar in that they present a fully fleshed-out idea or tell a story with a beginning, middle and end, articles are short and books are long. Some ghostwriters write excellent articles running up to a 1,000 or even 5,000 words, but have difficulty sustaining the arguments or storyline, not to mention the interest, in books that run 60,000 to 100,000 words or more.

All things being equal, selecting a ghostwriter who has already successfully ghosted several books is the wisest approach.

Is the ghostwriter’s style important?

Some book ghostwriters have a distinct writing style they use over and over again. Others are chameleons adept at capturing your personality and style and converting both into words. Which to choose will depend on your goals. If, for example, you’re writing a health book, you may not care if the writing style is yours; in fact, you may prefer the proven style a ghostwriter has employed before. On the other hand, if you’re writing a memoir, you may wish to work with a chameleon who can capture your voice.

What’s the most important factor in selecting a book ghostwriter?

Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few ghostwriters with the requisite experience and skill, the most important factor is personality. How well do you “click” with that person? Will you feel comfortable spending time (in person or on the phone) with him or her? Do you feel you can rely on the ghost to present your ideas or tell your story?

We at Taylor-Fox can help you create your business book, health book, memoir, biography, inspirational book or other book and get it ready for publication. We’ve helped scores of people achieve their goals, and some of their books have landed on bestseller lists. Let us help you! Call us at 818-562-7721.

About Nadine Taylor, M.S., R.D.

Nadine Taylor, a Registered Dietitian, is an experienced writer who has authored or co-authored several books in the health and memoir genres. Her memoirs include Diana & Dodi: A Love Story, and her health books include Green Tea: The Natural Secret to a Healthier Life, Runaway Eating, Natural Menopause Remedies, Arthritis For Dummies and 25 Natural Ways To Relieve PMS. She has also ghostwritten numerous books in various genres.