As the saying goes, "It’s better to be safe than sorry," and this certainly applies when you are considering hiring a ghostwriter. In fact, it’s important to get as many answers as possible before you hire someone to write your material to avoid regrets later down the road. After all, there are so many different types of ghostwriters out there who specialize in everything from nonfiction to fiction to technical writing to marketing copywriting – how do you know who to choose?
1) Does the ghostwriter know about the subject matter?
Before hiring a ghostwriter, it’s crucial that you know they are experienced and knowledgeable about your subject matter. It's wise to do some deep research on the topic's background yourself beforehand. Once you find someone who has done multiple projects like yours, ask questions so you can make an informed decision.
Once you’ve found someone experienced, they should know what content to focus on and why. After explaining your goals and subject matter in detail, ask them what information they’ll need from you. They may need detailed outlines or background research, depending on your project. Be sure that you are clear and concise with your questions so that any suggestions can be implemented correctly. This way you can make sure that whatever is created reflects your knowledge of the subject matter.
2) How many projects does the ghostwriter currently have?
If a writer is taken up with other projects, it means that you could have to wait for their completion before your project can begin. If your deadline is tight, you'll want a ghostwriter who has some flexibility when it comes to scheduling new projects.
Also, keep in mind that if there's an issue or question that arises during your project, you'll want someone who can answer promptly – which means they need to be in roughly the same time zone as you. Someone on the opposite side of the globe may have regular business hours that won't sync up with yours if something goes wrong or requires clarification.
3) What is the ghostwriter's process for learning your voice?
Sometimes, working with a ghostwriter can be a bit like therapy. A writer needs time with you to understand your unique voice and what you're hoping to communicate through a project. If you're going to trust someone else with your words, they must know who you are and how best to present your ideas. How does he or she do that? This is one question worth asking before hiring a ghostwriter because their process will vary from person to person. You want someone who will take as much time as necessary so that when they write in your voice, it's authentic to you!
4) Does the ghostwriter have a sample contract you can read through?
A sample contract will give you an idea of what exactly you are agreeing to, including if there are any clauses you have questions about or would like altered. For example, does your ghostwriter require payment in full before beginning work on your project? If so, is that standard for them or something they added into their contract? Do they include things like rights and re-writes in their contracts, as well? The more thorough and detailed information about their professional services you have at hand up front, the better prepared you will be when it comes time to sign the contract. A sample contract will help make sure that the dotted line is dotted in all the right places.
5) How does the ghostwriter prefer communication and how often?
Although there is no specific formula for communication, ideally you want to be able to reach your ghostwriter by phone and email. The more lines of communication you have open with your ghostwriter, in most cases, the better. While it might seem unnecessary or like an added expense, having an extra way or two to get in touch with your ghostwriter can make all the difference when they are far away or not in front of their computer. Of course, some don’t mind only communicating via email or text message and that works just as well as any other method of communication so long as it works for both parties involved. It is important that whatever method is used it’s consistent though so don’t hesitate in asking questions on whether different methods work better than others.
BONUS TIP: Don't ask about costs during the interview
The cost of hiring a ghostwriter is something you should discuss before you accept an offer but after the initial interview. If they tell you their rates during your initial conversation, chances are you will use another ghostwriting service that is less expensive and if they don’t tell you their rates then they likely aren’t confident enough in their work or haven’t been doing it long enough and are just looking for any client they can get. Asking about the price after making an agreement for a second conversation is the best policy. Actually, that is commonly the agenda for another meeting with a ghostwriter.
Secondary questions can be asked later
Even after you’ve asked the questions above, there are still more you should consider. For example, it’s best to hire a ghostwriter who also has experience in your field. Asking whether they have experience with your industry is an important way to avoid paying for something that isn’t guaranteed to be helpful. You should also ask about their credentials and proofreading process (many can show you samples of their work). And don’t forget about legal issues – find out how well they know copyrights and trademarks, since both can be implicated when hiring a ghostwriter. Also, understand that there should be a few conversations before deciding to hire. Get all the facts first!
Asking questions is an integral component of any decision, especially when it comes to hiring a ghostwrite. Don't just assume you know everything there is to know about what constitutes a good ghostwriting project and how that can affect your business - take the time to consider all points before moving forward.
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