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Looking for a Ghostwriter? Here are the ONLY Questions that matter. (And they're not the ones you think.)

 

April 17, 2024

 

If you're interviewing ghostwriters, you've probably got a long list of important questions to ask them to make sure you find the perfect one. How many bestsellers have you written? Are you familiar with my subject matter? Do you know any agents? etc.

Besides finding out the basics—i.e. cost, time, are they literate?—don't waste your time with that list. You'll find out a lot more about a writer's intelligence, empathy, and expertise by letting THEM lead the conversation. Since this is exactly how working together will go, you'll immediately get a feel for how well they listen and whether or not they will be invested enough in the project's success.

Here are some questions that a ghost should be asking you about your book project right off the bat.

 

  1. Who is your reader and what impact do you want to have on them? Asking this means the ghostwriter understands that your book is a product geared toward a particular market. They are concerned with the value your book will bring to that market because they want your book to thrive in it.

  2. What books in your genre have you enjoyed reading in the past? Asking this means the ghostwriter wants to get to know your tastes and preferences right away so they can incorporate them into the book. They're already envisioning what your thoughts will look like on the page.

  3. What are your publishing plans for your book? Asking this means they know the difference between what goes into a traditionally-published book versus what goes into a self-published book. These differences include word count, messaging, and how up to date your information needs to be due to a difference in lead times. They also might be wondering whether you'll need a book proposal if you plan on shopping your manuscript to agents. All of this means your ghostwriter knows the lay of the land and how to help you navigate it.

  4. What kind of marketing plans do you have for your book? Asking this means the ghostwriter cares about your book beyond getting paid for a finished manuscript. They want to help you think through a plan so that after you've given birth the baby doesn't end up abandoned or neglected. This shows they have heart. They also know that a publisher will want to know the answer to this question too. This shows they have savvy.

  5. How much time do you have to devote to interviews and draft reviews? Asking this means the ghostwriter is thinking like a project manager, which they are. They are concerned with deadlines and the flow of your working relationship because they are a team player who knows how to get the job done.

In my opinion, these the only questions that matter in a ghostwriter interview. (Oh yeah, and the literacy thing, just ask to see a couple of writing samples if you're concerned.)

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