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    How to hire a Ghostwriter?

    Where Does A Freelance Ghostwriter Fit Into The Content Puzzle?

    Putting out your brand’s narrative or voice - if you are a public figure; is essential for gaining evangelists. But not everyone has the time or ability to reminisce their thoughts into words. This is where a ghostwriter comes into the picture.

    A ghostwriter can write books, songs, blog posts, newsletters, speeches, and more under someone else’s name. They grant their client full ownership of their work.

    Where can you find a Ghostwriter? Generally, ghostwriters have to keep most of their work confidential as they are not recognized as authors after handing over their work. So while we agree it’s a bit challenging to find a good ghostwriter, it’s not impossible.

    If you are looking to hire a ghostwriter, this blog will guide you on how to hire a ghostwriter:

    Before looking at anything, first, you must understand that money is not the only thing at play here; it’s the reputation. There’s a lot to consider while hiring a ghostwriter — their experience, personality, boundaries, workflow, and process.

    You can maybe afford the best writer, but if your work style and tone of voice don’t align with the writer’s thoughts, you’re not going to be happy with the outcome.

    To start with, here are a few things you need some clarity on:

    • What exactly are you looking to achieve through this piece of content?
    • Do you need the voice to reflect your personal brand?
    • Do you need someone well-acquainted with your niche?
    • What type of working style suits you more: detail-oriented or idea-oriented?
    • What is your budget and timeline?

    Once you get clarity on the above things, finding the right fit for the job becomes easier.

    Criteria To Judge A Freelance Ghostwriter

    Ghostwriters are more than just writers. Their work requires adapting the client's voice, helping in editing, doing research, formulating, proofreading, outlining, interviewing, and constantly making changes according to the client's requirements.

    They also have to maintain the originality of the work. So let's look at some essential criteria to judge a ghostwriter:

    1. Education

    As ghostwriters work in diverse fields, there is no one specific education per se. But most have a degree in journalism, literature, or related areas.

    So while looking out for the educational background of the ghostwriter, make sure the fundamentals are strong.

    They must have a command over their language. But apart from that, it is important if they have experience in the same field in which you want them to work.

    For example, a chemical company should prefer a ghostwriter with a background in chemical engineering or working in the chemical field. The more the writer has authority over the topic, the smoother the process becomes.

    2. Past Work

    As most of the work of a ghostwriter is not sharable under NDA, make sure you ask for relevant writing samples. Judging them on their past work is important but considering them on the examples relevant to your work is even better. Here there is a need to read between the lines and evaluate the writer. While deciding, try to find answers to the below questions:

    • Does the work seem well-researched?
    • Does the work sound original?
    • Does the writer have a command of the language?
    • Does the writer have the tone of voice that you are looking for?
    • Does the writing have clarity of thought and precision?
    • What is your budget and timeline?

    3. References

    Apart from looking at their education, skills, and existing work, the next best thing is to ask for references. As everything a ghostwriter does depends on whether the client is happy, the feedback and reviews from their past clients speak a lot about the writer's credibility. Check the reviews on their portfolio.

    4. Personality

    Your writer doesn't have to be the life of the party, but there are a few things to check in the writer's personality.

    Does the ghostwriter know how to ask questions? Is the writer curious? Does he/she have his voice? Do they sound intelligent? Are they bored or interested? Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Do you feel respected and understood? Do you feel heard?

    You will be spending a lot of time with the person. It is vital that you find the right personality and that you get along with the writer. To create good work, your ghostwriter has to be genuinely interested and as passionate about the project as you are.

    5. Integrity & Professionalism

    Professionals have a busy life, but they have to be responsible in terms of their communication and integrity. They have to be available for you.

    A less experienced writer with integrity is much better than a professional writer with none. They should be trustworthy and reliable. If they put you high and dry, they are not worth the time.

    Final Expected Deliverables

    While deciding on a candidate for the job, asking them about the final expected deliverables is essential. Here we have listed some standard outputs.

    • A simple, easy-to-read letter of agreement - By outlining the terms of your arrangement or deal, a written agreement helps you protect your legal rights and know your responsibilities.
    • A clear scope of work (SOW) should include the glossary, goals, and objective of the agreement, the timeline of the project, the number of permissible drafts and edits, 3rd party edits, and the final product with clarity on measurable outcomes (for e.g. the number of pages).
    • Accessibility & Follow-Ups - Your ghostwriter needs to be available without lengthy waits. Although, don't expect them to be willing to discuss plots, directions or details at 11 at night, unless they're night owls or have no boundaries.
    • Expiration Dates - This should include receiving the first draft, review, and return time. If you are setting multiple rounds, also have those timelines in this.
    • Original file Sources - Ensure to take ownership of the google folder if you have worked on the cloud.

    Expected Timeline

    How much time will the ghostwriter take to achieve the expected outcome?

    Make sure there is a clear division of work between you and your writer. If the division is vague, it will be much more time-consuming to complete the project.

    Understand whether the committed timeline is for the draft or the final outcome. Other than the size of the final product, the timeline of the project can vary depending on a few key factors:

    • Size and scope of work
    • Who is putting together the outline or a draft?
    • How much research and interviews are needed?
    • Time taken in editing, feedback, and revisions
    • Proofreading

    Just to give you an idea, a book written by a ghostwriter can take a minimum of 12 weeks and go up to 30 weeks, depending on the depth of the work.

    While judging a ghostwriter, be aware of the common pitfalls. By knowing the mistakes of other people, you can save yourself from a lot of future trouble.

    Questions To Ask While Hiring A Freelance Ghostwriter

    Here are some questions to discuss, which can help you be on the same page:

    • What outcome will we look to achieve?
    • What will be the voice and style of the work?
    • What will be the editing process and structure?
    • When, how, and how many changes are allowed?
    • Milestones and deadlines?
    • Do they work with a contract? If yes, do they have a sample contract available you can read through? What happens if the contract gets canceled?
    • What deliverables can you expect?
    • What do they need from you to get started?
    • What is their process for learning your voice?

    These are some of the many questions you can ask to know a lot more about the writer and everything else.

    Common Pitfalls While Hiring A Freelance Ghostwriter

    Here are some common pitfalls that people make while choosing and working with a ghostwriter.

    1. Choosing a ghostwriter instead of a writer. Ghostwriters have to do a lot more than just write. They have to put their ego at the door, as they are writing on behalf of someone else, and they have to be open to a lot of feedback. While a writer is just a writer, a ghostwriter is a writer, researcher, interviewer, communicator, and much more.

    2. Hiring a ghostwriter without meeting them face-to-face. While taking an interview, see the body language of the ghostwriter to understand them better.

    3. Falling for the cheap price trap. If a ghostwriter is available at a cheap rate, there is a reason for that. Good quality, reliable and talented ghostwriters will not come cheap. That doesn't mean you pay an exorbitant amount of money. Finding balance is important here.

    To assess the writer well and not fall into pitfalls, asking the right questions is a very important part of the process. We have tried to compile questions that can help you choose the right fit for you.

    How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Freelance Ghostwriter?

    Rates can vary due to many factors, including expertise and experience, location, and market trends. A good ghostwriter will not come cheap. Since they get no referral work out of his/her contribution. This needs to be reflected in the price.

    Also, since they can’t juggle as easily between projects while working with you, this may mean missed opportunities for them. A good ghostwriter knows this.

    Mostly they will quote for a set rate per either:

    • Word
    • Hour
    • Chapter/Manuscript-Oriented
    • Project

    Every 10,000 words cost will land somewhere in the ballpark of $15000-20000. Depending on the intensity of the pieces.

    Ghostwriters' charges are also dependent on the experience they have in the field. An amateur ghostwriter who has around 1 year of experience will charge a lot less than someone with around 5 years of experience or who has more than 5 years of experience will charge a lot more. Let’s look at the approximate charges of ghostwriters:

    Freelance ghostwriters in general charge $35-$100/hr depending on their experience.

    | Sample Ghostwriting Fees

    Blog Post/Content Article$2/word - $4/word
    Manuscript (1000 words)$2500 - $5000
    Speech - Per Word$3/word - $5/word
    Speech - Per Word$3/word - $5/word
    Speech - Per Word$3/word - $5/word

    Before giving the whole project to any ghostwriter, ask them to write a small sample for your project and you will understand whether you have chosen the right one or not.

    There is also a clear relationship between experience and rates, with most beginner and intermediate writers charging less than experienced ones.

    So, here is the guide to help you answer - “How to hire a freelance ghostwriter?”

    Do share this article with someone who is looking for a guide to hiring a ghostwriter. Feel free to ask any questions or doubts in the comment. If you are looking for a ghostwriter, check out Refrens to find the right fit for your next project.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Is ghostwriting ethical?

    Yes, ghostwriting is simply helping you put together your thoughts in a clear, engaging way. The ideas are 100% yours – all a ghostwriter does is help you get it on the page.

    I don’t want people to know that I hired a ghostwriter, how can I ensure that?

    Most of our ghostwriting contracts include a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

    Can ghostwriters create custom illustrations or infographics?

    No, most ghostwriters don’t offer these services inhouse. You can hire an illustrator to do the needful.

    How long does it take for a ghostwriter to write a book?

    A full-length book typically takes between 6 and 12 months.