Hiring a Ghostwriter 2: Active Listening

Continuing our series on how to find the best ghostwriter for your project, we move on to our second criterion for success, Active Listening.

The ability to listen to you—and more, to understand you—is important in any consultant you hire. A ghostwriter’s job is to “channel” your ideas. That means paying attention, taking notes, making recordings, and accurately reflecting back what you say. A good listener will ask pertinent questions about your project during the interview process.

Make sure to ask prospective ghosts to write something that demonstrates this ability. If you already have a rough draft and want a rewrite, ask the writers you’ve interviewed to rewrite a short section (250-500 words of a long document). If you want a series of newsletters, ask for a sample introductory issue (or article)—again, short enough not to give the impression you’re trying to get the work done for free. And always ask them to sum up the project itself—what you want them to do, who your audience is, and what you want to accomplish—in a few paragraphs.

If you don’t think “That’s exactly what I meant, but more so,” when you read their responses, you may need to keep looking. Don’t worry too much yet about how well the writer captures your “voice,” though: that’s something it takes time to perfect.

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