4 questions to ask before hiring a ghostwriter
Make sure you hire wisely by asking these questions
Ghostwriters are specialized freelance writing professionals who help authors to write texts that will ultimately be published under their own name.
Who is a ghostwriter? Why do they ghostwrite?
A surprisingly diverse group of people call themselves by the title. Here are some of them.
You can hire ghostwriters to write:
- Your social media posts
- Your upcoming bestseller
- A blog for your business
- Your next keynote address
As the demand for communication and inbound marketing increases, so too does the demand for ghostwriters. So with more service providers stepping into the fray, it’s important to choose wisely.
Where once ghostwriters were those rare writers who specialized in helping produce books for their clients, today ghostwriters — whether they go by that title or not — can be found working in communication departments and PR agencies around the world.
Here are some questions that can help ensure that you find the best fit.
Will you be putting my work in your portfolio?
Like any kind of freelance writer, ghostwriters periodically need to show off their work in order to attract and sign on more clients.
As a ghostwriting client you may be eager to ensure that the ghostwriting relationship stays as anonymous as possible.
There’s no harm in asking your prospective ghostwriter how he/she intends portfolio-ing the work done for you.
Look out for causes about this in the contract you end up signing (you’re using a contract, right?). If they are absent, then consider asking about it.
Have you written about my industry before?
While some would argue that it’s difficult to become a bode fine expert as a freelance writer (and remember, ghostwriters are just specialized freelance writers) it’s certainly possible to accrue a significant degree of expertise on a topic as a freelance writer by frequently writing about it.
I would argue that prior exposure to an industry shouldn’t be a prerequisite when hiring a ghostwriter.
But if a ghostwriter hasn’t written about your industry before, it would certainly help if they were at least professionally interested in it.
Why does this matter?
It’s a lot harder to write about something that you’re not interested in — trust me! I therefore think that the level of interest a writer has in what your company does, or your narrative, is something of a cornerstone for producing compelling and effective writing.
Before hiring a ghostwriter, ask whether they have worked in your space before or what they know about it.
What’s your writing process like?
Every writer has his or her preferred means of working with a client. I constantly get asked about my “process” and this is usually what clients are trying to find out.
So many times, in fact, that I put together a video just to try address this question before it gets asked the next time!
Some writers — like this one — aren’t so fond of random phone calls but work really well with email and scheduled Zoom calls.
Others positively love random phone calls and take them at all hours of the day and weekend.
It’s probably fair to say that no two writers are identical in terms of how they like to work with clients.
It definitely helps to work with somebody who’s in sync with your working style. So spend a little bit of time with your prospective ghostwriter finding out how they work to assess whether it’s something that you could work with.
How do I brief you?
Working with a writer is a two way tango.
The writer needs to have time in his/her schedule available to give adequate care and attention to your projects.
And you need to be organized enough to get the writer what he/she needs to do a good job!
A key part of working with many creatives — including writers — is knowing how to get a superlative brief off to them. This is the set of instructions that will guide the creative process.
My guide to effective brief-writing is above and I recommend that prospective clients take at least a cursory glance over it because — to be blunt — I’ve probably seen as many bad briefs as great ones in my time writing.
Finding the best freelance writing resource for your project is as much as art as it is a science but asking the above questions should help direct your search.
If you’re interested in working with a freelance ghostwriting specialist, then check out my writing website at DSRGhostwriting.com which details the type of projects that I work on.