When you hire a ghostwriter to help you with a project, it’s your name and reputation on the line. If you’ve never worked with a ghost before, you might think the most important thing is to find a good writer.
But most people who stay in business as professional writers can write competently, grammatically—even brilliantly. Just as not all great performers make great teachers, it takes more than good English or publishing credits to create a successful ghost/author relationship. You may find yourself having to choose between several candidates with impeccable credentials and solid references. Here are some criteria to help you choose the right ghost for you.
It may seem strange to put “compatibility” at the top of this list, but the relationship a ghostwriter has with a client—particularly when writing memoirs and autobiography—is an intimate one. Your ghost has to be able to get inside your head. That means spending a lot of time together. If you wouldn’t want to invite this person to dinner with your family, how do you think you’re going to make it through months of close collaboration?
It’s a good idea to meet with prospective ghostwriters in person before you make any hiring decisions. You can schedule the interview either after you look at writing samples and check references, or before. If you can’t meet in person, try to arrange a video chat. Services like Skype (www.skype.com) and Oovoo (www.oovoo.com) let you do this for free, as long as you have a webcam and a microphone.