I am going to presume couple of things. First: You have decided to find a ghostwriter for your book or memoir. Second: You have a budget and you are prepared to pay for the work.
I. It’s not unlike getting married. You are looking for that just right guy or gal and as Sherlock says, “the game is afoot.” So you have your periscope up and you are checking out the scene. It’s choosing a partner; you had better have everything in sync when you do the uplink because you are going to have to resonate with each other for many months, even up to a year. In other words, you need to like each other personally. A lot.
II. Make it known that you have a list of questions you would like to have answered. Get right down the nitty gritty and find out how much it is going to cost. You can tell right away if you are dealing with professionals for there will be no doubt in their mind how much money will be required to do the project because they know what they are worth and will not compromise just to get the work. If they are hungry, or trying to please you, chances are that they may not be as professional as their hype suggests. You can tell by their confidence and how they set the fee if they are really good. Get the money sorted out quickly—high and low, so you can see if you can afford it.
Just remember, “you don’t know what expensive is until you hire a non professional.”
III. Move on to credentials. These are the testimonials, which you could read in their websites, and their writing backgrounds. There should be samples you can read to determine the skill and style of your candidate.
IV. Be sure that you agree on the subject matter of your project, and if the ghost is competent to write it. For example, if all of the work done by the ghost is in the area of sports, what are the odds of there being competence to write your book on opera. The communication could reveal that while he or she is totally absorbed in golf, there may be an avid interest opera. You cannot pre-judge. It may be this is the perfect ghostwriter for you. So number one above plays a strong part.
Ghosts listen to every idea that is presented; even silly, crazy and totally impractical schemes. So make sure he or she fully duplicates your concept and listen through any BS that this ghost can write it your way. Remember it is your book, your idea, and you want it your way. However, the ghost may have a fantastic idea that will improve or modify your original concept that will fit in perfectly.
V. Before committing, ask the ghost to write a 300 or so word initial chapter of your book. Remember you are dealing with a professional. If he or she is willing to supply you with some work, you must pay for it. Don’t expect something free. You are surveying a prospective partner, and you want to start out right and demonstrate that you want to be fair, and if the ghost is competent he or she will knock it out for you and expect the exchange to be appropriate.
This exercise is no different than choosing a mate. But, different from many marital pairings, try not to be blind as many are who march down the aisle. Be analytical, for you can demand and get a sample of the truth by requiring a bit of work from your potential ghost, whereas in choosing a life-mate, any sample you may get in the euphoric initial stages may not be what you will get when the fire burns out. Just pay a few bucks and you get the truth. If the ghost is real, and professional, you will be promptly accommodated.