Ghostwriters vary in skill, IQ, and Emotional Intelligence just as much as any employee or contractor. Some are brilliant writers but a pain to deal with. Some communicate beautifully but can’t write very well. Then there are ghostwriters who have little writing or personal skills, but they’re really inexpensive. You get what you pay for. I’m not the least expensive, nor am I the most expensive. However, I do possess both writing and social skills, and I communicate well verbally and in texts and emails. That said, there are several steps to Hiring a Ghostwriter:

Interview at least three ghostwriters, but preferably five, for at least 15-30 minutes. Use online freelancer websites like Upwork and Fiverr filters to shortlist candidates based on their experience, ratings, and writing style. Or, ask your friends for referrals — especially if they have written a book.

Create a shortlist based on your interviews. Your interview should be by phone, Zoom, Skype or another method to ensure you’re working with an English-speaking writer if your book will be in English and if you want a native English speaker.


Communicate Your Expectations: If you need a non-disclosure agreement signed before talking with the ghostwriter, get a non-disclosure agreement signed before talking with them. Then, tell them exactly what you expect. Some of the things you want may include but aren’t limited to:

  • How often will you update me on the progress of my book/project?
  • Do you use Google Docs so I can see the progress in real-time?
  • May I call you with questions? How often?
  • How do you want to be paid? Do you require a deposit or half payment upfront, balance on completion, or the entire amount upfront?
  • Can you send me a copy of your contract? If they tell you they “don’t use contracts” or “trust you,” keep looking. Without a contract, you won’t have any recourse if they take your money and leave.
  • How long will the book take?
  • Do you prefer texting, the phone, or email to communicate?
  • What experience do you have with ______, (your topic)

In general, steer clear of anyone who claims to “be the best” or promises things “too good to be true.”  The personality, as much as the writing history, is just as important. Do they try to rush you off the call/interview? Are they more focused on your budget and payment than your book idea and other questions? Pay attention to their demeanor and attitude. If they’re rude or dismissive in an interview – they’ll be worse once hired.


Length of time Ghostwriting: Ask them how long they’ve been ghostwriting, their past writing history, and about any current projects they’re working on. Many ghostwriters may have a history as journalists or other formal writing jobs but have just ventured into ghostwriting. I’ve been a ghostwriter for 15 years and was a journalist for 23 years prior to that. You want to know their writing experience. If they’re new to ghostwriting, you may have to work through some challenges as you both figure it out. Try to get someone with at least five books under their belt. 

Briefly define your book/project: Start by describing your Book’s topic and any timelines, how much information you already have (if any), and the status of your book at the time. This may be, “I’m just thinking about a book,” to “I’ve written a rough draft,” or “I’ve collected all the files I want to use but haven’t done anything with them yet.”

Set Your Budget: Be clear on what you can afford, as this will influence the level of expertise you can access. Be suspicious of any ghostwriter who claims to be able to produce a high-quality book for a low investment on your part. Chances are they’ll use AI or third-world writers to create your book.

Ask how they incorporate AI (Artificial Intelligence): Nearly 100% of writers use AI either for research or to write first drafts. Amazon/KDP will ask how much is AI written when you upload your book, and many sites will reject AI-written books due to plagiarism and copyright issues. Look for ghostwriters who use AI for research or who rewrite sections of content from AI.

Ask to See Work Samples: Request writing samples to gauge a ghostwriter’s proficiency and compatibility with your vision. Just because a writer doesn’t have a work product (things they’ve written) in your field doesn’t mean they can’t write for you. This doesn’t mean if they haven’t written in technical fields or medical or legal fields, you want them to write your technical book, etc. But generally, a skilled writer can write about a variety of topics — especially if they have a journalism background. 

Short-List Test: Once you’ve identified one or more ghostwriters you’d like to work with, have each one write a chapter, blog post, or introduction to the book (Pay them for the work) so you can see if you (1) like their style (2) see how well they follow directions or listen to your description (3) how timely a manner they respond to your deadline.

HIRED! From the results and interview, take time to consider the best responses and whom you feel most comfortable working with, then select your writer, or keep looking if you’re not enthused about the selection. Negotiate a rate, sign a contract, and pay any deposit or monies required.