3/25/09

Ghostwriter Needed

I have had an idea for a book for a while. I am in no way shape or form a writer. (I may have butchered that whole sentence) Anyway, I need someone LDS because this idea would make very little sense to anyone else. I have about 70 pages of stuff that I would like someone to lightly go through and tell me if the idea has any merit. I know if would need major gramatical overhaul but that would be later on. I just need an opinion. I would, of course, be willing to pay for the time it would take you to do so. I am not looking for a freebie.

If you could e-mail me back if you are the person I am looking for and if so what the cost would be to help me out.

I am also wondering how I protect myself from someone looking over my idea and taking it for their own. How does that work?


I've already responded to this writer. LDS Publisher does not do ghostwriting. However, I know that some of my readers do. Please feel free to post contact information in the comments if you're interested in helping this writer.

Some tips for hiring a ghostwriter:
  • Ask to see their past work and ask them for references. Read what they've done before. Contact their previous clients to see if they were satisfied. Ask specific questions, such as how much editing had to be done after the ghostwriter was finished? Did they meet their deadline? Would you hire them again?
  • If they check out, I recommend giving them one chapter to see if you like what they do before you hire them for the whole job.
  • Some ghostwriters charge by the hour, others by the page. If they charge by the hour, having them do one chapter will give you a way to estimate the cost of the entire project. If they charge by the page, having them do a chapter will let you see if they put in a lot of extra fluff to boost their fees.
Protecting yourself:
  • Copyright goes into effect as soon as your put your first word down. Keep notes of when you started your project and when significant milestones and/or research was done.
  • Professional ghostwriters are not going to steal you project. That's why you check them out thoroughly before you show them your notes. If there's anything shady about them, go with someone else.
  • Keep dated copies of your notes. Let your friends and family see them and document the dates so that if something does happen and you end up in a lawsuit, you have people who can testify that you were working on these projects before you hired the ghostwriter.
  • Get a dated contract from the ghostwriter. Again, this will help you if you go to court.

2 comments:

Jonathan Langford said...

My only comment would be that at least part of what you (the one who emailed with the request) want is something you wouldn't get from a ghostwriter.

As far as telling you whether your idea has any merit: that's something only a publisher can say, ultimately--unless you're self-publishing. Short of that, what you want are people who read the kind of thing you're trying to write, who can let you know if what you have in mind sounds interesting to them. That's rather different from a ghostwriter, who (as I understand it) is someone who can work with you to craft the book, but doesn't take any responsibility for marketing or publishing it.

A lot depends on what kind of book this is. If it's a nonfiction informational book, then the idea (and your expertise in the area) are pretty important. If it's fiction, then the skill of the writer is probably more important than the "idea"--and so you won't know whether it's publishable until you have a draft in hand. Even at that point, it may be more the work of the ghostwriter than your own.

I haven't worked as a ghostwriter as such, though I do informational writing for hire. If your book falls into that category, feel free to contact me at jonathan@motleyvision.org. Just keep in mind that while I CAN probably tell you if what you have could become the starting-point for a well-written informational book, I CAN'T tell you if there will be a market for it or not.

hhusted said...

As a ghostwriter, I have created many books for clients. Some of them were bios, some were nonfiction books, while some involved fiction. I can write your book for you, but I cannot dictate if your idea has marketability. It is up to the publisher and market to decide if the idea has merit.

If you wish to contact me for more information about what I can do for you, please send email to husted@creatingwords.com. I'll do what I can to help you.