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How to Find a Ghostwriter for Your Book


Publishing experts estimate that ghostwriters have written at least 50% of bestselling nonfiction books.

firewire publishing how to find a ghostwriter man reading a piece of paper

Publishing experts estimate that ghostwriters have written at least 50% of bestselling nonfiction books, and in some categories, ghostwriters have had a hand in 90% of them. So, you are not alone if you want to find a ghostwriter for your nonfiction book. As you begin your search, becoming familiar with how to find a ghostwriter for your book will help you be successful in your search.

What Is a Ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter is a professional writer or editor who writes books or articles, but does not usually receive “authorship” credit for them. Instead, the individual who hired them place their name on the byline as the author.

Ghostwriters are paid for their services according to a pre-arranged agreement or book contract.

You might raise your eyebrows at this, but ghostwriting is legal and mutually beneficial for both the author and the ghostwriter. The ghostwriter receives payment for their experience and work, and the client produces a professional literary work under their name, helping them further their personal and business aspirations.

When you shop at the local or online bookstore, you’ll notice that the retailer separates books into several categories. Similarly, some ghostwriters have expertise and knowledge in specific industries that will make them a better candidate than another. Matching the best writer to your book project is essential.

Some writers excel in writing autobiographies, while others prefer to write about self-help, business, or finance. Authors must consider the stylistic characteristics of each ghostwriter candidate.

For example, self-help books usually have a more comforting writing tone, while educational books benefit from having a technical slant.

Before searching for a ghostwriter, there are a few things you need to nail down.

ghostwriter writing with pen on paper black and white

Complete Prep Work First

Finding ghostwriters requires a fairly involved hiring process that can include interviews, reviewing samples of their work, and discussing pay and contract terms. You’ll judge each candidate and they will evaluate the overall project fit. Because of this, authors who start the process prepared with a vision in mind, will be more successful in finding a ghostwriter.

Interview Candidates

During the interview, candidates will have questions for you, and of course, you will want to learn more about them. Try to solidify your project’s main bullet points beforehand, such as budget, timeline, and tone. 

As you explore your overall goal and vision for the book and determine some of the overarching details, the type of ghostwriter you need to hire will become more clear. 

The right candidate will be able to stay authenticate to your unique tone, as well as be able to implement correct industry jargon. Of course, if you’re planning to write about a newer industry or a specific innovative idea or concept, it may be difficult to expect your writer to have an extensive background in that subject. But, that’s where you come in. You don’t necessarily need an expert on your specific subject. The right candidate will agree to research it before writing or tap into your ideas and commentary.

As you explore your overall goal and vision for the book and determine some of the overarching details, the type of ghostwriter you need to hire will become more clear.

You might need them to turn one-on-one interviews into text or conduct new interviews with other experts to assemble the correct information for the book. Making sure that your ghostwriter or editor has the soft skills necessary to interacting and interview others and most especially yourself. Ensuring that you both get along from a personality perspective is an important part of the vetting process.

After all, you’re going to be working with them for a substantial amount of time (months or years) and will need them to communicate effectively throughout the whole project, or the writing could stall.


During the prep stage, figure out your budget for the whole book, including editing, designing, and any publishing or publicity you are going to hire out. Depending on a ghostwriter’s expertise, schedule, and pricing structure, they might charge by the word, by the hour, or by the project. 

Usually, ghostwriters who have worked on bestselling titles or celebrity names can command higher fees. This can contribute to a wide range of how much ghostwriting can cost. Some writers may charge $30,000 - $50,000 for a book. While others may range from $100,000 - $150,000, or even more. At Firewire, our professional ghostwriting services are both affordable and top-quality, giving you the best of both worlds.

Expect candidates to inquire about the pay and have a ready answer for them. It takes several weeks or months to complete high-quality books and some writers might require a deposit and milestone payments as they turn in chapters or revision rounds.


Next, double-check that the writer is available for the entire duration of the project. Usually, ghostwriters are working on multiple books at once, and making sure that they are committed to completing the project within the agreed timeline is important to your book’s success.

Typically, a writer will complete a full draft of the manuscript, after many hours of research, writing, and interviewing. It’s likely you will have already talked many hours together at this point, discussing tone, chapter order, book outlines, etc. At this point, you will be able to review the manuscript and work with your ghostwriter on flow, order, word choice, and overall content. This process can be involved and may take many months of back and forth.

Some ghostwriters will only provide one round of edits and expect the book then to be handed off to a developmental editor or other professional book editing services partner. Others may agree to do most of the book writing and editing process themselves. Be sure to have these details ironed out before you agree to move forward.

Is Hiring a Ghostwriter Legal?

As previously mentioned, it’s definitely legal to hire a ghostwriter. But each contract may differ in the expected project length, how many revisions are included, when payments are to be remitted, and whether or not their name will appear on the cover or attribution page.

For example, some writers receive flat payments and royalties. Others only receive flat fees. 

Having a formal contract that both you and the ghostwriter agrees to ensures that the everyone is on the same legal groundwork, even before you start. This prevents confusion during and after the project’s completion, especially with regards to copyright or royalties.

Now, let’s discuss how to find the right ghostwriter for your project.

man in glasses with hand on chin, thinking deeply

Best Places to Find a Ghostwriter

Ghostwriters fall into the freelancing labor bracket, and since 2008, it has boomed. One survey showed that writers made up 80% of freelancers. Since Silicon Valley built the technological structure that supports many freelancers, running an online search will help you find your ideal writer.

As we know, the internet is a black hole of information. So, where exactly should you look?

Here are a few of the most effective options:


Google returns the best and most searched for results when users use specific targeted keywords. For example, you can type “best ghostwriters” or “find ghostwriters” into the search bar, and Google will return several pages of results. It might narrow them down based on your location.

You’ll be able to quickly see a list of profiles, companies, websites, and links to local or international ghostwriters and agencies.

Since you completed prep work before reaching this step, you can enter keywords that describe your project, such as:

  • “Autobiography ghostwriter”
  • “Self-help book ghostwriter”
  • “Business book ghostwriter”
  • “ghostwriter for CEO book”

The results will then become more tailored to your needs. Seasoned professionals have uploaded digital portfolios showcasing their talents and contact information and you should be able to review some samples or see a collection of other books they’ve contributed to.

Although, you’ll find that some can’t talk much about the books they’ve written because of NDA clauses they’ve signed or other agreements with past authors. This can be one of the most difficult challenges in the finding and vetting process. How to know if they are good at what they do, if you can’t see any past work?

This is where referrals can be very effective.


Because many books in the nonfiction space are written entirely by a ghostwriter or in collaboration with one, you can look throughout your network and ask for referrals for editors or writers. Successful writers and business people will want to help others achieve what they have achieved. Receiving a referral from a friend or colleague will go a long way in finding a ghostwriter for your book.

An effective way to do this is to look at recent books in your industry and see if their book cover notes “Author Name with Author Name” or “Author Name and Author Name.” It’s not always the case, but usually this indicates that there was possibly an editorial collaboration between the two authors—and the second name is likely an editor or ghostwriter, who would be great person to reach out to and start a conversation.


Linkedin has quickly become a platform that professionals use to connect and find job opportunities. Before you start browsing on Linkedin, ensure that you have an active profile on the platform. Otherwise, the site will not let you view the profiles.

Next, compile a list of ghostwriters after a quick search and set aside time to message them with a personal note. The best Linkedin profiles list past projects that will give you an idea of where their specialties lie and who else they know or have worked with. These can indicate their expertise or what other books they’ve worked on.

Freelancer Platforms

Freelancer platforms are another excellent resource for individuals seeking ghostwriters. Some of the common ones are Upwork and Reedsy. If you’re nervous about hiring a ghostwriter and the legal burden of putting together a contract, an online freelancer platform could be a good fit. After finding, vetting, and selecting a ghostwriter, the platform doubles as an intermediary that bills, collects, and processes payments.

Therefore, the platforms simplify the hiring, payment, and obtaining of your book manuscript. If disputes arise, the platform acts as the mediator in many cases.

Consult with Agencies

Ghostwriters come in many different varieties. They have a wide levels of expertise, including beginner, intermediate, and expert. It’s possible to find candidates with specific investigative journalism background, or interviewing skills to help you assemble the correct research and content. 

You will find that agencies officially represent many veteran ghostwriters. If you decide to go this route, you’ll need consult directly with the writers’ agents in order to determine fit and negotiate the contract. 

If you don’t have a particular type of candidate in mind, a writing agency can go through their rosters and suggest a ghostwriter that closely matches the needs of your book project. This can help you skip a big part of the vetting process. Be warned, some of these agencies can take advantage of an author’s desire to “set it and forget it,” thinking that if they hire a ghostwriter, they won’t have do any of the work after that point. You want to find an agency and ghostwriter that is willing to work with you on your book and help communicate your ideas, experiences, and expertise in a compelling way. Writing an excellent book with an expert’s help will ultimately pay off in the long run and will help you publish a book you can be proud of.

Writing an excellent book with an expert’s help will ultimately pay off in the long run and will help you publish a book you can be proud of.


The process of how to find a ghostwriter has several steps but it’s possible to find someone who can help you create a better book. Authors who complete the necessary prep work make the process more efficient since they have a clear picture of the book project before they begin, and the type of writer they would like to hire. At that point, finding the right candidate simply requires you to pick the best match.

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