How exactly can a person in need find a ghostwriter? Isn’t it somewhat akin to finding someone in the Witness Protection Program? As far as discovering exactly who wrote what, yes it can be as difficult, as ethical ghostwriters do not reveal their work. However, unlike those in the Witness Protection Program, ghostwriters can and do advertise and discuss their occupation, so you will be able to find ghostwriters:
Just like the website you are on, ghostwriters DO have websites—as well as names and faces!—and are certainly allowed to talk about their experiences as a ghostwriter . . . leaving out the part about their actual work
Recommendations are a great way to find a ghost, except that many people will be hesitant to reveal that they actually utilize a ghostwriter themselves. For some reason, employing a ghostwriter has a certain stigma attached, whereas employing a graphic designer or other professional does not. For that reason, personal recommendations may be few and far between.
A web search—while not as reliable as a personal recommendation—may yield more results than asking friends, so once you locate potential ghostwriters on the web, you will want to be prepared to ask appropriate questions, as they are not coming from a personal recommendation. There is a list of questions if you click here What Should I Ask a Prospective Ghostwriter.
In addition to gathering facts, you will want to rely upon your own comfort level when looking for a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is a very personal hire, and so your intuition will play as big a role in the selection as the “correct” answers to your questions. Both are vital, but be sure that you and your potential ghost get along well, and that this is a person that you feel you can trust and enjoy working with. For an author/ghostwriter relationship to work at its optimal best, the author needs to feel comfortable enough to reveal even more information and insights that may be used in the book or manuscript itself, and then trusting enough to be able to ‘strike’ certain things from the final product. Whether the author is revealing difficult facts to the ghostwriter or simply feels vulnerable having someone else write in their place, comfort and trust are key for a successful relationship.
Once you have narrowed the field—or perhaps even found just one but you are happy with your inner radar—request a writing sample in your subject area or genre. While no ghostwriter should be expected to nail such a sample at the first attempt—as this is a process and not a one-shot deal—you certainly want to feel that your potential ghost can take directives well as far as altering the sample to your needs. It is also a learning experience for you in verbalizing what exactly you are looking for if you don’t see it at first in the sample. Good communication for both parties is a signal of future success.
Finally, if you find a ghostwriter you are happy with, hold on with two hands and don’t let go! You will want to use your ghost as much as possible, as a ghostwriter who works well with you is a treasure you won’t want to lose.