--WHERE TO FIND GREAT WRITERS--
When you hire for a writer for your ebook, what you are doing is enlisting the services of a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is a writer who publishes under someone else's name, with the consent of both parties.
Traditionally, ghostwriters have been and are still today hired by celebrities to write autobiographies when the celebrities are not talented writers. Ghostwriters also sometimes create works for well-known authors, such as Tom Clancy. This practice is done for business reasons, because the author's name alone will sell the books, no matter who actually wrote them.
Ghostwriters may also write for book series' that don't actually have a real-person author. An example of a series written this way is the Hardy Boys series you may remember from your youth. The Hardy Boys cover author, Franklin W. Dixon, does not actually exist. Many romance novel series' have also been created in this way, where the author name on the cover represents any number or variety of commissioned writers.
With the advent of the Internet and ebooks, today, ghostwriters also write ebooks. When you outsource your ebook to a ghostwriter, you are giving them the job of creating the words in your ebook in exchange for a fee. You still get to put your own author name on the finished product. Ultimately you will own the copyright, and you can sell the ebook as many times as you like. If it sounds like a pretty nice arrangement, it is. It's all completely legal and commonly done. And you do not have to be a celebrity or Tom Clancy to hire one.
Great things about ghostwriters
Just because a ghostwriter does the writing does not mean that you do not deserve to be the credited author. You will be the originator of the idea, and provide direction to the ghostwriter, so that the written material reflects what you want it to say. You may also create a pen name for yourself if you wish your real name to remain anonymous to casual readers.
Once you hand off the reins to a ghostwriter to prepare an ebook for you, you may never go back and try to write one yourself ever again. A ghostwriter can do so many things for you, from researching to editing. And any writer knows that the process of writing and polishing a book or an ebook takes a significant amount of time. Much more than most readers will ever know. Start-to-finish writing is a large task best left to those who love their jobs, who are willing to spend the time writing and re-writing incessantly until things are just right, and who has talent and experience in the craft.
What they can do
You can outsource more than just rote writing to a ghostwriter. In fact, ghostwriters can be hired to research your topic fully on the Internet or elsewhere. They can then translate your or their research into organized sections and create palatable, conversational paragraphs for your readers. They can interview people that you designate or that they seek out for the ebook.
They can separate the ebook-worthy material from non-ebook-worthy material for inclusion with an eye on what readers are interested in and what you have hired them to write about. In other words, good ghostwriters will stay on the topic as they write and not veer off into irrelevant tangents. It's actually an art form in itself to be able to insert quips and images that are designed to hold a reader's interest while quickly and smoothly getting back
on track to deliver the information promised by the title and table of contents.
Speaking of the table of contents, an experienced ghostwriter can review rough notes from you and propose a title and table of contents. Ghostwriters can start from notes, organize the material into an outline, generate a table of contents, research and add filling text, make boring information flow like an entertaining conversation, and more. They can basically start with whatever you've got to start with and get you from there to a completed ebook.
If you have already tried your hand at preparing an ebook, a ghostwriter can whip your existing draft ebook into sell-able shape. She can review the content, make suggestions, do necessary research, add new sections, repair grammar, or revise any not-quite-perfect portions of the ebook. In fact, it has been known to happen sometimes that one ghostwriter will be hired to edit another ghostwriter's work. This may be done in a case where you are not satisfied with the result from the first ghostwriter, or can also be done if you just want to polish your product - going on the two heads are better than one philosophy.
She can use a writing style and language that is appropriate for the book. Should it be in first person like this ebook is? Or perhaps it would work better in third person like many reference books are written. Should it be written from a female or male perspective? Ghostwriters will accommodate your preferences, and if you don't know your preferences, ghostwriters can help you make those decisions.
She can put the ebook into the format that you choose. If you want your pages to appear the size of regular notebook paper (about 8inches by 11 inches), then the writer can prepare the manuscript to fit. If you like large margins, where the text appears in-between in a narrower column, the ghostwriter can do that. Narrow column ebooks are popular, and easy on the
eyes. If you like a blank page preceding chapters, ask for that. For items such as page dimensions, font, and layout, she can make recommendations. She can also, in most cases, provide you the electronic file type that you prefer (MS Word, WordPerfect, Adobe Acrobat, Internet html, or other), or make suggestions to you on format.
Finally, good ghostwriters can write quickly. Ghostwriters cannot perform miracles, but it's not unheard of to get an ebook done in 30 days when you need it fast. Depending on your need and schedule, you can usually find some who will work even more quickly. It's nice to allow six weeks, but not necessary.
You can sit back while your ebook is being written
All you need to do is give the ghostwriter the information and he can get straight to work. You may provide any level of detail on your title or topic, your notions (if any) on how the topic should be covered, and any other relevant information. Most of the communication can take place by email, and that keeps things pretty simple and also well-documented. You may, if you prefer, talk by phone or use regular mail. It's not common or necessary to meet face to face with your writer to get her rolling on your project. This is because ebooks tend to be on tighter schedules and lower budgets than ghostwritten bookstore books. It will save time, money, and any confusion, if you try to use email and the Internet as your primary tools to communicate with your writer.
Ghostwriters are invaluable resources. Time is money, and you want to spend your time elsewhere (marketing, thinking of new ideas, relaxing at the beach), ghostwriting is definitely the way to go. The general advantages are that outsourcing the actual writing of the book is not too expensive, commonly done (it's legal and writers are available to provide the service), and you can direct your energy somewhere else while the book is being
written. In the end you'll still own the written words, and can do whatever you want with them. Indeed you can even edit and revise them yourself! Next, I'll talk about finding those available ebook ghostwriters and touch also on pricing.
Where ghostwriters lurk
You can find ghostwriters the hard way or the easy way. The hard way is to locate writing or authoring organizations in cities around the globe, and interview writers until you find one that you believe is qualified to write your book.
The easy way to find a ghostwriter is to go to an Internet site where ghostwriters are hanging out, ready to respond to classified ads. You place an ad for your project, and you wait for bids to come in. Two large sites with gobs of ghostwriter of traffic are Elance and Guru.
A third way is to contact ghostwriting companies directly.
Of the avenues available, I recommend going through one of the large sites that have high ghostwriter traffic. Sometimes these types of sites are called freelancer databases, ghostwriter banks, freelancer job banks, or similar.
Get ghostwriters competing for your ebook
The two large online freelancer databases where ghostwriters lurk that I mentioned above, Elance and Guru, operate in essentially the same way. Basically, you post an ad and wait for responses. You choose a writer from the list of responders, agree on a schedule and fee, and then move on and do something else until your ebook arrives to you in your email inbox.
Both sites maintain catalogs of people who provide freelance services. The Elance catalog has over 50,000 people listed. Some of the people in the catalog, or bank, provide software programming or other service. Not
everyone in the bank is a ghostwriter. So when you get to the site, you'll need to navigate to the area that applies to ebooks and ghostwriting. Although this may take you a few minutes at first, the site is easily navigable once you get your bearings. Let's walk through Elance.
Go to . From the home page, scroll down to the menu along the bottom of the page, and click on "Marketplace." From the marketplace page, look to the left hand side of the screen, and from that menu, click on "Writing & Translation." If the site organization has changed slightly since this writing, just use common sense and navigate around until you find the ebook projects database. Basically, you are looking for the area where you can advertise that you want to outsource an ebook to a ghostwriter. Click around until you get there. To make things easier on future visits, when you find ebook outsourcing services, add that URL to your Internet browser's favorites list.
Tip: Writers are referred to as "service providers" on Elance. This phrase is not to be confused with an Internet service provider (ISP) or the service of the Elance web site itself. On Guru, writers are referred to as "registered professionals."
In Elance's writing marketplace, browse through others' ads to see how they are finding ghostwriters, and roughly what the projects are paying. With a quick browse you can see how ads are written and which ghostwriters have responded, and additional details about the advertisers and the ghostwriter responder.
Placing ads is free as of this writing. The ghostwriters are the ones who pay to review the ads. Isn't that nice? You will need to "subscribe" however, and get some of your information into the database in order to advertise. This is only fair so that responders know what they are
responding to and so that there is trust that payment will be made when the job is completed.
I recommend that you subscribe right away, so that the processing can take place while you're getting your other pre-work done (selecting a topic for your ebook and creating your ad for posting).
Once you place an ad, writers will begin to post online bids for your project. They may offer to write your ebook for less money than the maximum pay you stated in your ad, or they may offer to write the ebook more quickly than you've stated you require. Basically, they start a friendly competition (usually friendly) to get your business. Lots of them will be appealing. That's because it's a buyers market - good news for you.
Each responder will provide some background information along with their offer. There will be navigable links you can click on to review their history with Elance, their portfolio, and ratings given by some of their clients. Unsubscribed web surfers will not have access to all the detail that you do on the ghostwriters. Likewise, casual surfers will not have access to all of your ad's details either. From the bids you get, you read up on the materials available and make a selection.
Once you've awarded the project to a writer, you'll work up an agreement between you and the writer, and arrange payment through Elance. There are agreement templates you can use on the site, and there are recommended methods of paying also. You may want to browse through some of this information early on regarding scheduling and payment, even before you place your ad, to make sure you understand the "fine print." There's nothing terrible there that I know of, but read it all anyway because it's the smart thing to do.
Payment can be made before the writing starts, after the writing is completed, or half before and half after the writing is completed. When you do pay, a percentage will be taken by Elance. This fee is currently less than $10.