How to Find a Ghost Writer for a Book


Ghost writers are professional writers usually hired by editors via publishing houses to work with a high-profile author -- typically a celebrity who has no time to write her own memoir or book. Ghost writers often are tasked with writing memoirs, autobiographies, magazine articles, Web content and even screenplays. Finding a reputable ghost writer requires first and foremost exercising caution and common sense.

  • Post an ad in high-profile publications such as The New Yorker, Time Out New York or The Atlantic. Also post the ad online on websites such as Mediobistro or even Craigslist. Give a brief synopsis of the project and include contact information and compensation details.

  • Network on Facebook and Twitter. Utilize these social networking sites to their fullest potential. For example, if you work for a publishing house that is looking to hire a ghost writer, check to see if the publishing house has media presence on Facebook and Twitter and post your solicitation for a ghost writer in both sites. Draw attention to your need for a ghost writer. If you are working on your own, that is, you are not affiliated with a corporation via which you would be hiring the ghost writer, then use your personal account. Consider starting a Fan Page on Facebook for the project and post your need for a ghost writer on it.

  • Remember the organizations that offer ghost-writing services. Do some research and find reputable companies. Talk with your contacts to see whether they have ever worked with any of these organizations. Contact a couple of organizations and ask them how they pick their ghost writers and what experience they have.

  • Interview a large pool of ghost writers who answer your solicitation so you can narrow them down to a select few that meet your needs, both for the writing project and compensation needs. Meet them in person and ask them to bring you samples of their work to review.

  • Check references! A ghost writer may be a talented writer and give you the quality you desire for the right price, but be unreliable about deadlines and miss them. Consider using someone different if you find out someone you like misses his deadlines. Weed out unreliable candidates early in the process to avoid headaches afterward.

  • Draft a contract that spells out clearly and precisely what the ghost writer's responsibilities are and what you expect from her and the final project. Include her payment schedule, spelling out how much she will earn total for the project and how that payment will be broken up. List the specific amounts and the approximate dates she will receive payment. For example, if the ghost writer will get $10,000 to write a book, she might get $5,000 on signing (on the day you and she sign the contract) and the balance on delivery of the final and complete manuscript. Consider asking a lawyer to review the contract before you both sign it.

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