Before I get into the tips to working with a ghostwriter, let me explain what a ghostwriter is. A ghostwriter is simply a ‘writer for hire’ who will write your children’s book, article, website content, or other type of content you need to create and market your book.
S/he’ll take your idea, your notes, your outline, or your draft and turn it into a publishable story. A story that you’ll be proud to put your name on. And, if she knows the ropes, she’ll give you advice on what to do after the book is written.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the 10 tips to working with one.
1. Research ghostwriters before jumping on board with one.
Do a Google search for ‘children’s ghostwriters’ and see how s/he ranks in the search engines.
2. Visit the website of the person you’re interested in working with.
How does it look? Does the site quickly convey that it’s about writing for children? Is it neat and easy to navigate (get from page to page)?
A couple of other things to check for on the website is whether or not it’s current. Check the blog and see if it’s posted to on a regular basis.
You’ll also want to check out the testimonials page. Are there clients who are recommending and/or praising the ghostwriter?
The website is important. I’ve had clients base their decision to hire me just by visiting my website.
3. What about qualifications?
Does the writer’s About Page let you know that s/he is qualified?
One side note here: While some ghostwriters may have lots of their own books published, I for one have so many clients I don’t have the time to keep up with my own books. I have two published and a children’s picture book series in contract. I’ve been wanting to write a sequel to Walking Through Walls (a middle-grade fantasy adventure), but just don’t have the time.
So, when looking at this particular qualification, keep this in mind for whoever you’re thinking of going with.
Look at the groups their associated with or have memberships to. Look at any other distinguishable events or awards.
4. Make sure the ghostwriter is accessible.
When you’re on the writer’s website, make sure there is an email address and phone number, so you can easily communicate.
5. Does s/he offer a free consultation?
Some people want that personalized experience – not just an email. I’ve had clients who simply wanted to hear my voice to make sure it was a real person they were dealing with. I’ve even had a couple of people who wanted a Skype consultation. But, aside from this, if you like, ask for a free consultation to discuss your project.
Most ghostwriters will be happy to talk with you about your project. Just please keep in mind that they may keep it short, maybe 10-15 minutes. So, have your questions ready before the phone call. And, have a clear idea of what you want.
6. Not a talker? Then contact the writer by email.
Send the ghostwriter a brief, but clear email on what you’d like and how s/he can help you.
7. The NDA (nondisclosure agreement).
The NDA is simply a confidentiality agreement. It protects your idea. The writer states that s/he will not use your idea for any purpose or reason.
If you’re dealing with a reputable ghostwriter this isn’t really necessary – professional ghostwriters would never disclose any information you divulge. But, for peace-of-mind, ask for one if you’d feel better.
Regarding my clients, I’d say half want one and the other half could care less.
8. About a Freelance Writing Agreement.
Most freelance writers, if not all, have a standard freelance writing agreement for their clients. It is tweaked for each individual project for those particulars, but the basic information is the same.
The agreement may include:
• Terms: What the client wants done and what the writer will do.
• The relationship of the parties.
• The time frame for the completion of the project.
• An NDA.
• Termination information.
9. Does the ghostwriter offer payment options?
This is important. Most writers will offer payment options and scheduling.
For example: For picture books, I have a three-payment schedule. For chapter books and middle-grade, the number of payments depends on the length of the book and time frame involved.
10. Is the ghostwriter easy to work with?
This you won’t really know until you start working with one. But, often the testimonials will give you an indication of how they work.
But, even before you hire one, you can have some indication by:
• Did s/he answer all your questions?
• Did s/he get back to you promptly?
• Is s/he friendly and approachable?
• Does s/he sound knowledgeable?
Sometimes, just speaking with someone can let you know if s/he is the ghostwriter you’d like to work with.
11. Yep – a bonus tip.
Find out who’ll actually be writing your book. Does the site farm out their writing projects or use subcontractors? Is it a staff of writers? This is not to say the latter is bad, but it’s good to know who you’ll be working with.
So, there you have it,
10 11 tips to getting started with a children’s ghostwriter. I hope it’s helpful in choosing one that you’ll feel comfortable with.
If you’re thinking of hiring a children’s ghostwriter and have questions or would like to schedule a free 5-10 minute consultation to discuss your project, give me a call at 347—834—6700.
Or, shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice—@gmail.com
I look forward to hearing from you.