Not All Ghostwriters Are Scary

Putting All Experts At An Equal Footing

Let’s face it, not everyone is a fantastic wordsmith. Ghostwriters offer a stepping stone for people with a high level of expertise and limited writing skills a chance to share their knowledge with the world. It might be the one and only way some experts with a limited amount of writing experience can share their expertise with a wide ranging audience.

The process of hiring a ghostwriter and trusting them to obey all legal and ethical guidelines can be a scary experience. Before you hire a ghostwriter to write anything for you, here’s a set of tips to make the experience less scary and help you avoid getting taken for a ride:

  • Hiring Process – When you’re looking for a ghostwriter, treat it like you’re hiring them for a job. You need to be able to trust a ghostwriter completely and hold them to the highest standards of quality. Ask questions. Find out how much experience they have. Ask to see writing samples. Don’t settle for anyone that doesn’t meet your expectations.
     
  • You Get What You Pay For – To get the best articles, you have to be willing to pay enough for them. Sure, you might be able to find a ghostwriter charging a dollar or two per article, but you’re going to get what you pay for. Try to pin down exactly what the service is going to be worth to you and go from there.
     
  • 100% Exclusive Rights – It’s really important to make sure you have 100% exclusive rights to any articles someone else writes for you. If it’s not part of your agreement, you won’t know for sure if those same articles are being sold to others as well.
     
  • Account Access – Don’t give your account information to the ghostwriter. You need to be in complete control of your account and be able to review every single article before submission to make sure they meet your expectations.
     
  • Advanced Search – Part of your review of their work should include an Advanced Search of each article to check that they are 100% original. To do this:
     
    1. Go to the advanced search.
    2. Copy a random two sentence chunk from the article to your clipboard.
    3. Paste the sentences into the field “Find web pages that have this exact wording or phrase.”
    4. Click the Advanced Search button.
    5. Review any sites that come up as a match.
    6. Repeat this process several times with other random sections.

    If any sites turn up in the search, it means the article was found elsewhere. If so, it’s time to start looking for a new ghostwriter.

  • “One Strike” Rule – If your ghostwriter breaks your trust – even once – fire them and look for someone new. There are no second chances. As a ghostwriter, they’re representing you. Don’t let someone represent you if you don’t trust them.

Have any of your own tips you use when searching for a ghostwriter? Feel free to post a comment.

32 Comments »


1
paban writes:

Well, nice article. Keep it up!

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 8:57 AM

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2
Tamas Sziladi writes:

I have read every post in the last months but this is the best one. I like this tipp because it is not only suggesting how you should optimize an article or make a link but gives a great help about the “outside world”. This can be very important if someone gets to the point to make writing as a business and not only for fun.

Thanks for it

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 10:10 AM

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Zoraya writes:

Tamas:

If you think this is the best among the recent posts, you have not read everything. What do you mean by: I like this “tipp” because it is not only suggesting how you should optimize an article or make a link but gives a great help about the “outside world”.

This is not about optimization, this is about the life of a ghost writer and the “must be” perspective of those who hires them.

But it lacks one thing ? a ghostwriter is a paid partner, someone who carries the other side of the pole, someone who takes a piece of an expert’s brain and nurture it to make it think like one.

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Zoraya writes:

Correction:
But it lacks one thing – a ghostwriter is a paid partner, someone who carries the other side of the pole, someone who takes a piece of an expert’s brain and nurture it to make it think like one.

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Tamas Sziladi writes:

Yes Zoraya,
for me it really was the most interesting. Not because I would like to use one (I would not pay to do it because I am better off doing myself) but I have heard many times mentioning it but never really read a well written article about the topic. So I enjoyed the different statements about the topic.

Different people different interests :-)

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BusyWriter writes:

Tamas, I think you may be responding to the wrong post. This is about hiring a ghostwriter, not optimizing an article. However, I do agree that it is an excellent post!

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3
Nick Kellingley writes:

It’s worth re-iterating that you get what you pay for, a quick scan of some of the more prolific members here who got busted down to basic or basic plus clearly indicates cheap ghostwriting at its worst.

Great content often requires research and understanding around a wider background – $1 per article doesn’t even buy you enough time for someone competent to switch on their PC.

By and large freelancers have to earn well from their work – because so much of their time canvassing for business and doing all the other admin is unpaid.

Many of the jobs out there for article writers make me laugh – let’s say someone good can create an article every 10 minutes (and that’s a push unless it’s a subject they know inside out) and upload in a couple of minutes. That’s a maximum of $5 an hour at $1 an article – they’d earn more working in a fast food joint, where they’d throw in a free uniform, lunch and occasionally some overtime too.

If you quantify promotions for your business as being as valuable as a cheap cheeseburger – you’ll pay for it in the end. It shows a lack of respect for your audience who should be your customers in the end.

I’d also suggest that unless you find that rare someone who has mutli-disciplinary skills and a great rate of adaption to a new industry, that you hire someone with a good understanding of your business space and client groups.

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 10:32 AM

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Lisa Mason writes:

Completely agree, Nick.

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4
CKing writes:

I am interested in how you go about finding a ghost writer? Or how do you offer your writing skills to become one?

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM

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5
Tomas writes:

To add a more specific suggestion to what’s mentioned in general terms, you should consider it essential to obtain a “Work For Hire” agreement signed by the ghostwriter to avoid any misunderstandings or future claims–innocent or not so innocent–as they may be.

Just type “Work for hire agreement” into Google and several free and downloadable will pop up.

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 12:52 PM

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Nick Kellingley writes:

Note to many; “work for hire” is only recognised in some legal jurisdictions. In many EU countries the contract is worthless.

For example in the UK you can either buy a discrete number of articles or pay by the hour. But either way you must ensure that the writer is recieving at least the legal minimum wage. Even if your contract is with a company entity and not an individual.

When contracting it’s always worth taking local legal advice as to what is the best structure for your area. You can then re-use that contract as often as you need, reducing the cost per user in the long-term.

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6
David writes:

$5/article? Seriously? Most of those need translation to even understand what they say…and even then they don’t have a meaning, they don’t have a point, they don’t have a focus.

$50 really should be the floor for a one-off article, although if you are planning to have a lot of articles written on a similar theme, you can probably negotiate a bulk discount without sacrificing quality.

That said, EzineArticles.com allows “articles” of as little as 400 words (Can anything under 500 words really be called an “article”), so if you want to play lowest-common-denominator, you might be able to lower the fee that way, too, without sacrificing quality.

Which brings us to the big missing element I would like to add to Penny’s post. Do you ask someone to “Write about levitation”? Or do you ask them to “Write about how levitation works magic on one’s stress levels by the end of the day and here are the three tips to make it most beneficial”?

Any writer – even a good writer – can fill up 450 words of rubbish to meet your word count. But only a good writer can put your message across – assuming you have given him a message to get across.

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 4:09 PM

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Zoraya writes:

“$5/article? Seriously? Most of those need translation to even understand what they say…and even then they don’t have a meaning, they don’t have a point, they don’t have a focus.

Which brings us to the big missing element I would like to add to Penny’s post. Do you ask someone to “Write about levitation”? Or do you ask them to “Write about how levitation works magic on one’s stress levels by the end of the day and here are the three tips to make it most beneficial”?

Any writer – even a good writer – can fill up 450 words of rubbish to meet your word count. But only a good writer can put your message across – assuming you have given him a message to get across.”

– Exactly. If anyone wants quality, quantify it.

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Nick Kellingley writes:

Generally I agree, though it’s worth understanding what the overall objective is. Some of my clients are looking to corner the market in specific google searches, others are looking for more generic non-specialist coverage (which is a whole lot more work).

Once I’ve got that understood as a professional freelancer I’ll know whether I should be churning out pieces on “levitation and how to cure stress” or “levitation and how to reduce the crime rate in your area” (not as daft as it sounds – yogic flyers believe this works, I don’t but they do) or a mixture of many themes.

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7
Dan writes:

I’m really interested in finding some good “ghostwriters” .. have been trying to find one for a while with out too much
luck (not searching for 1$ articles :) ) .. if anybody interested pls let me know ..
Thank you

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 5:02 PM

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If you are serious about hiring a ghostwriter with experience, please contact me.

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8
Lisa Mason writes:

I support this message.

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 9:23 PM

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9
Jon writes:

It’s true, you get what you pay for and the cheaper the article is, the more editing you have to do. Well it’s not the fault of the writers themselves because we have the choice at the very beginning. Either to choose an expensive well written article or a cheap “needs overhaul editing” article.

I am not generalizing everything because there are those who really writes well but charges cheaply. But in the long run, as soon as these kinds of writers develop experience and learns the market and competition, soon they will be charging the real price for their articles.

And as a writer myself, let’s uphold the true value and price of a well written article.

Comment provided April 20, 2011 at 11:01 PM

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10
Small Box writes:

I always thought that writing something newsworthy in 400 words is a lot more challenging than if you have pages and pages. You have to keep the audience’s attention which is not always easy.
I like the “One Strike” Rule. I did not know of the google advance search which is a great feature. Thank you!

Comment provided April 21, 2011 at 2:10 AM

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11
Azuma writes:

I never knew of this advance search, thanks for these tips.

Comment provided April 21, 2011 at 3:03 AM

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12
Rajesh Rao writes:

Hi,

I read the whole article and was near to crying. the reason I say this is although the heading suggested that ghost writers are not bad, the body suggested that ghost writers are ghosts first and writers afterward, so exorcise them.

I would suggest that you should look at both the sides of the coin before coming to a conclusion. I have been at the receiving end of being a ghost writer. People can take you for a ride since your name is nowhere in the article. So, insist on being paid as soon as your article is submitted (not after it is published)

Comment provided April 21, 2011 at 3:12 AM

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13
Jean Kearsley writes:

There’s another “missing element” in Penny’s post, exemplified by her comment re “When you’re looking for a ghostwriter, treat it like you’re hiring them for a job”, as well as several of the comments posted by other members…all, presumably, capable of writing for publication at the drop of a drop of ink.

I think there are probably lots of people out there who have expertise to share and a business to promote, but who are not “fantastic wordsmiths.” The optimal solution for many of them, though, might lie somewhere between the extremes of finally learning how to SpellCheck and employing ghostwriters. I’m talking about using editors and/or proofreaders to correct and polish your output, not create it in toto. Whether you hire a professional feelancer, or enlist the unpaid but enthusiastic aid of the most annally perfectionistic ex-English major you know, this might be your ideal middle ground.

Comment provided April 21, 2011 at 12:42 PM

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14
Elizabeth Todd writes:

One point that seems to me to be missing in this conversation is that, regardless of how much you pay for an article, the end result will only be as good as the instructions that you’ve given. A really good ghost-writer, and hence the more expensive one, will usually take the time to ask questions about the objectives of an article if the instructions received are not clear.

It is possible to get good articles written for as little as $2 per 100 words. This can be sourced from the Philippines via sites such as craigslist. But, regardless of the location and English skills of the ghost-writer, to get good results a very clear outline of the theme, audience and objectives has to be provided for each article.

Comment provided April 22, 2011 at 9:37 PM

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15
Tony Smith writes:

I’m new to this article writing and I’m surprised EzineArticles would even allow ghost writers. EzineArticles is such a quality article site. I would of thought there would be enforcements in place to make sure every article is written by the submitter. I guess this is America where everything has a price!

Comment provided April 25, 2011 at 11:41 PM

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16
Chris Kahler writes:

It is because I started off online ghostwriting and not focusing on myself that the start of my blog was a ghost town…

So, I understand what EzineArticles is getting at with this post. It’s not all about hiring a ghost writer for posting on this directory… ghost writers are great for any part of internet business.

And, as a ghost writer I know they aren’t scary at all, I mean I’m not. You can look at this post with two viewpoints… try reverse engineering the idea, and instead of HIRING a ghost writer, try becoming one.

Ultimately what EzineArticles want out of their community is for them to do more writing in general. If that means becoming a ghostwriter for motivation to create a more efficient writing schedule and the resulting habits that will accompany that schedule, then EzineArticles will definitely speak on the topic.

The idea indirectly helps them not from others submitting posts that are ghostwritten (in the end as long as the post is quality written it doesn’t matter) but rather from the installment of positive writing habits in general as well as the presentation of new ideas by thinking outside of the box for the intended message :)

Comment provided April 27, 2011 at 6:32 PM

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17
elizabeth (bet) writes:

CKing, Craig DeSourcy and Tiffany Dow have an excellent ghostwriting course.

Dan, I am a ghostwriter and love it, but it depends on the topic how successful your results will be.

Comment provided May 6, 2011 at 2:29 AM

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18
Paul Diprizito writes:

I agree with Chris

Comment provided July 8, 2011 at 3:49 PM

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19
Barbara C. writes:

The Opening article that preceded “Not All Ghost Writers Are Scary,” was pretty basic for a writer. All ghost writers are not scary, they’re scarce, if you’re looking for someone who is honest & has integrity.How about you?

Comment provided August 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM

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20
Iskandar writes:

I am interested in how to finding a ghost writer? a ghostwriter is a paid partner, someone who carries the other side of the pole, someone who takes a piece of an expert’s brain and nurture it to make it think like one.

Comment provided September 9, 2011 at 6:21 PM

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21
Richard writes:

I have been using freelance services online for years, (programmers, graphic designers, writers, etc.) and my favorite site to hire from is oDesk by far.

Comment provided December 9, 2011 at 8:38 PM

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22

Perhaps one way to “vet” ghostwriters is to seek out those who have had their own work published by a major publishing house. The publisher has done most of the qualifying for the client.

Comment provided April 30, 2012 at 2:51 PM

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23
Craig Smith writes:

It is just like any other creative endeavor. Sometimes people have an idea but don’t know how to implement it into 3-demsionality. This is where the creative, or ghost writer comes into play.

Comment provided July 6, 2012 at 8:06 PM

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