By Jori Hamilton
The main author of a novel is usually the one that gets the most credit and attention. But, what most people don’t realize is that that one author on the front cover of the book may not be the only one involved.
It can take authors an average of 4-8 months to complete a book, and they require a lot of help during that time to get it ready for publication. They’ll work with editors, of course. But, some authors even work with ghostwriters to chip away at sections when they’re dealing with a large writing project.
If you’re about to tackle a large writing project and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
You also don’t have to complete the project on your own.
Consider hiring a ghostwriter for your next big project, especially if it’s something that can be broken down into smaller parts. If you’re not sure how to get started or you’ve never worked with a ghostwriting team before, we’ve got you covered.
When to Hire a Ghostwriter
The first question you should ask yourself before bringing anyone in on your project is whether you really need/want someone else to write for you.
Some people hire ghostwriters because they have great ideas but aren’t sure how to mold them into a cohesive story. Most ghostwriters are seasoned freelancers who know how to bring words to life. But, if you consider yourself an author already, you’re probably not worried about putting your ideas on paper.
So, before you decide to work with a ghostwriter, consider some of the pros and cons. The benefits include:
- They can help you meet deadlines faster
- They’re used to working within certain timelines
- They can help with revisions
- They’re skilled in capturing your voice and vision
Ghostwriters can work with all different types of publications for PR companies, politicians, influencers, and more. When hiring a ghostwriter, take a look at their portfolio to see some of their work. That makes it easy to compare their style to your own until you find the right fit.
What to Look For
The assumption in hiring a ghostwriter is that they’ll know exactly what to do. Their job is to make your writing job easier. But, as with any other career, not all writers are created equally.
Looking at portfolios is a great place to start, but it’s only a glimpse into what you might be getting with a freelancer. Someone could be a great writer but lacking in other areas of importance, including getting things done on time or being flexible with direction.
When you’re trying to hire a ghostwriter, you’ll be more likely to find the right person by following a few simple steps:
- Define your project goals
- Search reputable websites and job boards for freelance writers
- Assess their skills
- Determine whether they understand your style
- Be clear about your expectations
- Discuss project details
The more you talk to a potential ghostwriter, the easier it will be to determine if they’re a good fit. A ghostwriter should be someone you can trust, or you might run the risk of things like plagiarism or missed deadlines that end up costing you your reputation. Don’t be afraid to get to know someone you’re considering on a more personal level. You’ll be working together closely, even if it’s completely remote. Trust and connection are both hugely important.
Starting From Scratch
Working with a ghostwriter you can trust, and someone who understands your voice can feel like capturing lightning in a bottle.
With that in mind, don’t limit yourself to only seeking out seasoned professionals. While it can be a risk to work with a “fresh” writer, it can also end up being very rewarding. Everyone has to start somewhere, and just because a ghostwriter is green doesn’t mean they won’t be the right person for your project.
If you do decide to work with a relatively new writer or someone going through a career transition into writing, you have the unique opportunity to coach and “teach” them as you go. That gives you the chance to shape their writing style into something that works well with your own. By developing a coaching plan for them and helping them “start from scratch”, you’re not only giving someone their big break, but you could end up developing a strong writing partnership that lasts for more than just one large project.
It can be difficult to give up full control of a writing project, especially when you’re passionate about it. But, working with a team of people–including a ghostwriter–can make the entire process easier on you, so you won’t lose steam and burn out. In the end, you’ll likely come out with a better publication, and something you can still feel good about. So, do your research, take your time, and consider hiring a ghostwriter for your next large project. You might be surprised at how much more you can accomplish when you do.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to freelance writing, business productivity, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.