How To Find A Ghost Writer For Your First Book

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As part of my online book publishing series, today I’m talking about why you might want to consider the services of a ghost writer.

Using a ghost writer can make the whole book publishing process a lot more accessible and less time consuming. Should you choose to hire a ghost writer, I’ve included tips for recruitment, such as where and how to advertise, and what sort of things to check with a writer before agreeing a contract.

If you’d rather read what I’m talking about (or perhaps you’re at work or somewhere you can’t easily watch), here’s a brief synopsis:

You’ve chosen a niche for your book, what’s next?

Once you’ve picked your niche and a provisional topic for your book, the next thing you need to do is get the book written. You have two options for this:

1. Write the book yourself

This is the cheapest option, and it may be the one you’re most comfortable with, however writing content isn’t for everyone.

PROS

  • Keeps your book creation costs down
  • You have complete control over the structure and flow of the book
  • Timing is completely in your hands

CONS

  • You will need to spend time writing the book, when your time could be spent working on other elements of the book creation process (or on another book)
  • You should get your book edited by someone else if you have written it, which means you’ll need to pay for an editor or find someone who will do this for you for free
  • You may not have the confidence, experience or language skills to write the book yourself

2. Use the services of a ghost writer, or ghost writing service

This is the option which I have always used so far. I like the speed with which a book can be created by using someone who has much better skills at research and writing than me. I also like having my time free to work on other things.

What is a Ghost Writer?

Simply put, a ghost writer is someone who will write book content for you, on a topic of your choosing. At the end of the content writing project the ghost writer is paid an agreed sum of money, for which all rights to the written content then belong to the person who hired and paid for the project.

What can you do with ghost written content?

Anything you like! The content is entirely yours, you have paid for it, and you can publish it under your name, under a pen name, change it…basically you can treat that content as if you wrote it yourself.

What will a ghost writer do?

A ghost writer will create written content on a subject of your choosing in return for a pre-determined fee. The amount you pay for a ghost writer is based on the number of words that they write and the amount of time it takes them to produce the content.

As part of the writing process, it’s also common place for ghost writers to do some research around the subject they are writing about. It’s important to choose a ghost writer who either has existing experience of, or a keen interest in learning about the topic of your choice.

Where can you find a ghost writer to work with?

There are many places you can find writers to work with, including sites which are dedicated only to providing ghost writing services.

Here are two sites which I have successfully used previously

  • Fiverr
    • Operates using a gig system, whereby you search for jobs or “gigs” which you want to purchase
  • Upwork
    • Operates using a job posting and candidate posting system
    • You can find ghost writers using 2 slightly different approaches


How to choose a Ghost Writer

1. Browse through gigs (if on Fiverr) or profiles (if on Upwork)

The kinds of things you should look out for are:

  • Language: check that their native language is the language you want the book written in
  • Ranking (eg star rating)
  • Experience level: how long have they been providing ghost writing services for? If it’s a new account this could be a red flag
  • Portfolio: what examples of previous work do they have? Does their style match what you are looking for?
  • Reviews: Have a look at what other people have said who’ve worked with this writer before. Don’t forget to check out any negative reviews
  • Price range: does this fit your budget?

2. Create your own job posting

If you’re using Upwork you can create your own job posting. The kinds of things you’d want to consider including in your job posting are:

  • Clear headline for your job
  • The desired length (number of words)
  • The desired time/duration of the project (eg how many days/weeks)
  • The price you are prepared to pay. If you have specified an approximate word count, then you would put a total amount for the project, if not you can quote the amount you are prepared to pay per word (or per 100 words). Upwork is in dollars, so remember to quote in USD!
  • State that you will want to do a video call with any applicants prior to hiring

Connecting with prospective ghost writers

As a general rule of thumb it’s best to use the messaging system of the website you are using. This is because all communications will be logged in your account and can be referred back to should there ever be any cause for dispute.

For video calls, Upwork does have a video facility, but the last time I used it I found it a bit flaky. I’d suggest using Zoom, Google hangouts or Skype.

Before you agree on a gig or contract, I would recommend trying to get on a video call if you can. Have some notes prepared in advance, to prompt you with your questions. You may want to consider:

  • Any questions you want to ask
  • Overview of the project and what you will need
  • How much you will be prepared to pay and for how many words/time duration

Once you’ve found a writer you’re happy to work with, you simply need to agree a contract with them. In Fiverr this will mean purchasing the gig (with any add-ons/packages you may have agreed), in Upwork this will mean starting a contract. In both cases the contract is held through the website that you use, so you don’t have to worry about creating your own contract.



This has been a brief introduction to the ghost writer recruitment process. The first time you opt to use a ghost writer it can feel a little strange, however, once you’ve done it once it will get easier on future occsaions. The key is to get clear on what you want from a ghost writer before you start to look for one. Then you can set expectations with any prospective candidates you speak with, to ensure that they understand what they would need to deliver throughout the project.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you if you have any experiences working with ghost writers, or if you have worked as a ghost writer yourself. In my next post I will be discussing how to work with your ghost writer to get the best results

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Do You Want To Get Started With Online Publishing?

I will be launching a program called #publishin8 later this year or early next year. Over the course of 8 weeks you will learn how to create and publish your very own book. If you’d like to find out more when this exciting program launches then sign-up here.


Previous & Next Posts

backward arrow for previous post   forward arrow for next post In my last post I talked about my income and profit for July.
  In my next post you can find out 20 random facts about me!

If this is the first post that you have read in my How To Publish Books series, you may also want to check out 5 things you need to get started with online publishing and how to pick a profitable book niche.


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