Four Considerations Before Hiring a Ghostwriter By Sallie W. Boyles A ghostwriter uses the information his or her client provides to compose a professional manuscript for a fee. Then the client, or other party, is credited as the author of the work. Depending on the contract, the actual writer might not be mentioned at all. If you’re thinking of working with a ghostwriter, you should first understand the factors that underscore a win-win agreement—one that will serve you and your writer each step of the way: No two writers are the same. If you hired two different photographers for the same wedding, they might capture similar images of equal beauty, but you’d see variations in style, and most likely favor one album over the other. Similarly, each writer is unique in terms of writing style, insights, and persona. Take time to review work samples, check references, and understand how the writer operates for your utmost peace of mind and satisfaction. A writer’s value is relative. A burger and fries from a drive-through might satisfy your hunger just as well as a prime rib dinner from the finest eatery in the city, but the respective prices and your experiences would be vastly different. A writer’s level of experience, the marketplace, services included, and project scope are all factors of fees. Proceed with an agreement only if you are satisfied with the predetermined value of the final product. A writer’s word is not enough. Even when you hire a professional who operates with integrity, disagreements can arise without a written agreement. A ghostwriting contract should cover all relevant points pertaining to the responsibilities of all parities. The more specific you are upfront—addressing the scope of the project, deadlines, fees, payment schedules, author credits, etc.—the more likely you are to receive the service and product you anticipated throughout. Writers use pens and PCs—not crystal balls. If a writer promises to make you rich, famous, Oprah’s featured guest, the person is either too emotionally caught up in your project or simply willing to say anything to win the assignment. While enthusiasm and confidence are desirable, so is candor. Your writer should pledge only to contribute the expert insights, talent and skills necessary to deliver a professionally written manuscript that may open doors. For more information, please contact Sallie W. Boyles, Write Lady, Inc., www.writelady.com.