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SPQ 074: Ghostwriting – How Do You Find Quality Writers for Kindle Books?

Written by Steve Scott on April 24, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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The Question

Tobias asks: I’m looking for quality ebook writers. I’m looking to outsource the writing of some Kindle books, and I’m having a hard time finding people who produce quality. I’ve been primarily using Odesk, and my experience so far is that they are writing the ebooks, but the English is not as good as the writers’ resumes and our conversations would imply. I’m frustrated with that. How do you acquire quality ebook writers to write your Kindle books, if you are using any?

Biggest Takeaway

Steve’s Answer

Hiring a writer is not necessarily Steve’s recommended strategy for self-publishing. He hires writers for other aspects of his business, but to create the content, he uses other writers very sparingly.

The best self-published content usually comes from your own personal experience. There are a lot of Kindle gurus who claim you can hire someone to write a book for 100 or $200. That’s complete nonsense. If you want to hire a quality writer, you need to be prepared to pay for it.

A lot of the outsourced content on Amazon is filler junk that doesn’t really dive into a problem. However, Steve does believe you can find good writers. You probably won’t find superstar writers on Elance or Odesk. There are some exceptions, but it’s hard to find them.

Steve has outsourced content for his blog and resource sections for his books, so he has two strategies you can use.

One strategy is outlining. This is Steve’s most successful strategy as far as getting high-quality content written for him. Map out your book like you were going to write it yourself. Figure out what you want to say, where you want to say it, and how you want to say it. Create an extensive outline and hire someone to flesh out your outline and make it a readable book.

When you outline your book thoroughly, you can usually find a writer to write a great piece of content from your notes. Be specific about what you want and how you want it presented.

The second option is to outsource the entire process. This is a more scalable way to run your business, but it’s harder to manage because you have to make sure you’re dealing with top-quality writers.

If you’re looking to do this, Steve recommends hiring an editor to review the content. Your goal is to find and hire people who have specific knowledge in your topic area. There are a lot of places to find talent like this.

ProBlogger is a place where a lot of bloggers hang out. Another way to find a good writer is to do a search for [niche] blog or [niche] blogger to find people who are already writing about your topic. Check social media to find people who are talking about your niche.

You want to look for a native English speaker. There are a lot of really good non-native speakers, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but you should look for someone who is extremely comfortable with writing in English.

You also need to work with a writer who is engaging. Their writing should draw people in and explain concepts thoroughly.

Find someone who is “hungry.” This might be someone who blogs about a topic and isn’t really making any money from their blog. If you find someone like this, try to negotiate a deal to have them write books for you.

Steve recommends the hire fast, fire fast rule. Pay someone for a small job and see how they respond. If the content isn’t good, don’t work with them.

Steve suggests doing a “human split test.” You hire three or four people to write a 400- or 500-word article. He compares writers based on speed, communication, quality of work, and attention to detail. If you provided instructions, did they follow instructions and produce the work you want?

You should have standard operating procedures (SOPs) for content you would find acceptable. Provide examples of content you like and let the writer know what you prefer as far as paragraph length and writing style.

You can pay anywhere from 3 cents per word to 10 cents per word. High-level writers may charge 15 to 25 cents per word. Steve recommends hiring someone based on quality instead of budget. You don’t necessarily want to go with the cheapest person out there.

Perrin Carrell has a great article at Niche Pursuits. It explains how he finds great writers and works with them.

Key Takeaways

SPQ 074: Ghostwriting – How Do You Find Quality Writers for Kindle Books? from Steve Scott

Resources and Links

ProBlogger Job Board: Find a freelancer to write content or flesh out your book outlines

How to Manage Writers Effectively: Learn how to manage freelance writers in a way that gives you a good return on your investment

Kindle Publishing Checklist: Get a free copy of Steve’s 46-step checklist for publishing Kindle books

  • Hi Steve,

    As a guy who helped ghost write a book – and who’s releasing one soon with a co-author – you want to really, really know the guy or gal well before moving forward with them. Outlining the book, sharing your vision and being upfront about the writing tone works nicely. I’d already worked with this individual for years so doing a book, or ghostwriting it, was a breeze because I knew what to expect, and I knew what to write. But if you’re going into this one cold, get to know the guy or gal well, through research, before hiring them.

    As a book ghostwriter and as the guy who publishes Kindle books once weekly, I feel that unless you want ZERO percent to do with the process, write the book 😉 You’ll see the greatest success in the long run because nobody can tell your stories like you can and nobody can recount your personal experiences like you can.

    Thanks Steve!

    Tweeting and Pinning from Bali.

    Ryan

    • Definitely correct on all of this. I have NEVER had an experience where the ghostwriting has been a 100% passive part of my business. Even high quality articles and content require some level of revision and tweaking.

      But it does sound like you have a good arrangement happening with your co-author. This isn’t the easiest thing to pull off.

  • Franki Kidd

    It’s Friday evening and I’m enjoying listening to these quick podcast episodes.

    Before the night is over – perhaps – I’ll have listened to each and every one, which means you’ll have to create more content,

    Regarding ghostwriting:

    I’ve written, co-written and ghostwritten hundreds of books for clients through online sites and independently. The books I’ve written have become hot new releases and best sellers in their respective categories.

    I agree with Steve’s fire fast rule and it goes both ways.

    Clients can fire you and or you can fire them, thankfully I deliver quality work and
    have never been fired.

  • Mila French

    This is a USA based Company that provides quality Ghostwriting Services at great prices. On their website you can get a free 200 word sample of your writing project.
    http://www.selectghostwriters.com

  • Chloe Skupnick

    Finding ghostwriters is REALLY hard…finding ones who can do it quickly and for a great price is even harder. This site uses only English speaking authors and they guarantee the eBook being finished in one week. Their prices are GREAT, too which is weird. Idk how it works but bookproservices.com seems to really know what they’re doing.

  • Everly Muyalde

    Hello guys!!! you want to try kindle books? you dont pay too much money for the writers for their Rkindle books and if you get a 100% original custom book written by a professional American writer just for only $27!!!GRAB YOURS NOW!!! you must click this link
    http://www.ozki.org/37 try now!!!