Lately, ghostwriters have gotten a bad rap..similar to that of snake oil salesmen of the early 1900’s.
The majority of ghostwriters are good, hard-working writers that just want a fair pay for their efforts.
The reality is also that at least 15-30% of ghostwriters (my rough estimate) are ripping you off blind by submitting stolen content to you as original. Your reputation is highly at risk.
Here’s how you can hold your ghostwriter accountable:
First, setup the expectations that you will not tolerate under any circumstance any non-original works from your ghost writer. This means that he or she must understand that they will not get paid for sending any articles that have any complex sentences that were written by anyone else. Tell them fair use doctrine doesn’t even apply here because you want 100% original content from the mind of your ghostwriter based on the topic, length, etc. guidelines that you’ve outlined for the job.
Second, review what you’re asking for vs. what you’re paying for. After a few hours of talking with various levels of ghostwriters — you should begin to get a good feel for whether or not ‘it’s too good to be true’. Cheap ghostwriters are (this is common sense) more likely to cut corners and should be more suspect than higher priced ghostwriters.
Third, check references. Ask to see testimonials that you can then quickly verify.
Fourth, Trust No One. Not even your precious expensive ghostwriter with multiple positive references. You must subject 100% of what they submitted to your own tests.
A simple test to check for originality:
Take 3 random complex sentences within the works submitted and do exact match searches in Google, Yahoo and MSN’s search engines. You should not be able to find any results when you do these searches. If you do, confront your ghostwriter and don’t use the works.
You can also use service providers that help you protect against plagiarism: http://copyscape.com/
Fifth: If I had a dime for every article marketer that got busted for sending in non-original works, said: ‘but I hired the ghostwriter from Elance.” That’s a clue. The large brokerage places are a poor source of quality ghostwriters.
If you’re looking for a ghostwriter, post your request here:
(I’m sure someone will get back to you, if not multiple replies)…but again, trust no one and check everything.
Summary: Your reputation is at risk, and your pocketbook too as you will be held accountable for the works that you purchase. Check everything with complex exact match searches and a healthy dose of paranoia will help guide you through these waters.
If you are an author or article marketer and have any other tips or suggestions on how to keep your ghostwriter honest, please post a comment to this blog entry. Thanks! :-)