How to Find the Right Ghostwriter for Your Memoir

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Talk With a Ghostwriter

Finding the right ghostwriter is important no matter what kind of book you want to publish, but it’s especially important when you’re planning to release a memoir. After all, this is your life story, so you need to make sure you click with the person writing it. You need someone who you feel comfortable opening up to, who can easily tap into your thought process and emulate your voice, and who’s familiar with all the fields they need to know to write your story well.

To help you navigate the ghostwriting world, we offer five tips for finding the right writer for your memoir. At its core, ghostwriting is a collaborative effort. Yes, the ghostwriter does all the writing, but you’re the one providing all the material and guiding the overall process, so use these tips to find someone you feel excited to work with.

Want to know more about the ghostwriting process? Book a free memoir consultation and learn how we can help write your story.

Tips for finding the right ghostwriter

1. Look for someone you connect with

Our top tip—and we can’t stress this enough—is to find someone you connect with. Ghostwriting is a collaboration, and the two of you will be a team. You’ll work closely together discussing the book and going over revisions, so find someone you can establish a rapport with.

There are a number of reasons why this is important. Obviously, you don’t want there to be any friction when you’re working so closely with someone, but there’s also a psychological aspect: you’re discussing your innermost thoughts and feelings with a stranger. You want a ghostwriter who makes you feel at ease so you can comfortably share the information you want to include in your book. If the two of you are on the same wavelength, it’ll also be easier for the ghostwriter to get into your head and write the story from your perspective.

2. Look for someone who understands your goals

The right ghostwriter for your memoir should understand your vision and what you want to convey. After an initial meeting, if you don’t feel the two of you are on the same wavelength, this is an indication you might not work well together. Ask yourself whether you trust a prospective ghostwriter to produce the book you want before you sign a contract with them.

Before you start looking for a ghostwriter, however, you first need to understand what your goals are. If you don’t have a clear vision for your memoir, there’s no way your ghostwriter will, either. Take the time to determine what you want the finished book to look like, what message you want to share with the world, and who your target readers are before you sit down with a ghost. 

3. Be comfortable with the contract

If you find someone you deem to be the perfect writer for your memoir, it’s tempting to jump in with both feet, but be sure to read the contract thoroughly, as you would any other contract. The ghostwriting process is complex, with many different factors coming into play, and overlooking something could be catastrophic for you.

All details should be in writing, such as whether the ghostwriter gets writing credit, whether there is a confidentiality agreement, what the milestones and deadlines are, how many rounds of revision there will be, what the fee is, and how payment is to be made. Be sure to include a clause that forbids the ghostwriter to subcontract work, as some dodgy ghostwriters have been known to do. The contract should also outline what the final product will look like, including the estimated word count.

We can’t provide any legal advice, so contact a lawyer with whatever contract questions you have.

4. Look for someone with experience

Obviously, the ghostwriter you hire should have experience writing books, and it’s even better if they have experience with memoirs as they’ll have an understanding of the genre. While you can hire a novice writer for less money, remember that you get what you pay for. Knowledge of the market, understanding of narrative structures, and the ability to write compelling paragraphs require skill, which only comes with practice. In today’s oversaturated book market, subpar writing stands no chance with readers.

However, it’s not enough to find a ghostwriter with experience—make sure that you read samples of their work and that you like it. Obtaining samples can be tricky because ghostwriters usually sign NDAs and can’t share information about their previous ghostwriting projects, but chances are they have at least something published under their own name. 

5. Look for someone who writes like you

If you have the writing skills but not the time to pen your memoir, choose a ghostwriter whose writing style is similar to yours. If you don’t write, pick one whose writing style mirrors the way you talk. Whether the tone is casual, formal, humorous, or pensive, your memoir should reflect you. A skilled ghostwriter knows how to adjust their writing to match a client’s voice, but the closer their own style is to yours, the better they’ll be at mirroring your voice. 

The final word on the matter: comfort

When partnering with a ghostwriter, it all boils down to comfort. You should feel comfortable working with this person, comfortable with the timeline and the contract, and comfortable in the knowledge that they know what they’re doing. If you don’t feel that way putting your life story in their hands, find someone else. There’s no shortage of great ghostwriters out there, so don’t settle for anyone you’re not comfortable with.

Ready to get that memoir started? Reach out to our ghostwriting team and let our seasoned professionals do the heavy lifting for you!

Talk With a Ghostwriter