You have your project firmly in mind, you’ve decided you might need a ghostwriter, and Google has led you as far as the United Ghostwriters page. Ulp – there’s thirteen of them! How will you know which one to pick?
You can always ask. There’s a contact form on our site. Fire off your query, and one or more of us will get back to you if we think we might be the one you need.
Or, you can approach any of us direct. We each have a brief biography describing what we’re good at. We come from a whole range of backgrounds and between us we have experience of writing business books, how-tos, manuals, histories, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs and novels in different genres … You can base your choice on that, and even if we don’t think we would be a good fit with your project then – with your permission – we will pass your message on to the others.
Either way, this is the point to give us the first inkling of what you have in mind.
A contact that is unlikely to work would be:
“I have a story that will blow your socks off! Get in touch to hear more.”
(Or, even worse, “Go to [this URL] to find out more.” You’re trying to interest us, and making us do the work?)
Much more likely to work:
“I want to tell my life story. I was on the last kindertransport out of Berlin in 1939. I grew up in the UK, and spent my National Service fighting the Mau Mau in Kenya. After being demobbed I became a founder member and lead guitar of legendary R&B outfit the Sox Pickles. In our tour of Eastern Europe we were famously the first western pop group to perform a gig in the presence of Marshal Tito …”
All right, your project might not be quite that fascinating, and you might not be talking about writing a life story, but you may get the idea: give us a clue. Describe the project and give us enough information so that we can see how your requirements mesh with our own interests and experience. It helps ensure that the one of us you eventually pick will be able to deliver the best job for you.
Once you’ve picked a likely ghost, you can make each other’s acquaintance properly. You are now at the most important stage of the business: managing expectations. Ultimately there are two boxes that you must be able to tick:
- [ ] Will I enjoy working with this ghost?
- [ ] Can this ghost deliver what I require?
And – full disclosure – we will be making a similar assessment of you. It’s not just a case of being simpatico, though that is important: if either of us gets a mental image of pulling teeth then it’s probably best we don’t proceed.
You both need to be comfortable with each other’s methods. You probably have your own system, so you need to make sure your ghost is happy to work with this, or will bend to accommodate, as they will have their own preferences too. It’s a partnership. You play to your strengths, the ghost plays to theirs, and each side respects this in the other.
To know that your ghost can deliver what you require, you need to know what that is yourself: what you want, what you want it for, and when you want it by. Do you want to get it professionally published? Have you already put out feelers to publishers and gauged interest? If you’ve managed to get a nibble, are they aware a ghostwriter is involved? Have they already given you a deadline? Or, if you’re thinking of self-publishing, do you also want us to handle that? Any project needs an adequate briefing, and your ghost can’t read your mind. These are things your ghost will need to know.
They will also need to know what exactly you will be supplying them with in the way of source material: do you have notes? An existing draft? Are you starting from scratch? Will they need to interview you to get your thoughts recorded? Will they need to conduct extra research?
Nothing here is a dealbreaker – every project is different – but you both need to get this straight as soon as possible. It avoids disappointment and falling out, it lets you both schedule it in to your particular diaries, and it lets your ghost quote you a realistic fee and payment schedule that covers the work they will be doing.
If at the end of all this you can tick both those boxes then you have probably found your ghost. If there’s any doubt, it’s probably best to move on – or, perhaps, adjust your requirements.
But it all starts with that initial approach, so head for the contact form and get contacting.