4 Tips for Working With a Children's Book Ghostwriter

So, you've decided to hire a ghostwriter for your children's book project. This is an exciting step in the process of creating your book, but it can also be a bit daunting. After all, you're trusting someone else to help bring your vision to life. But don't worry! Working with a ghostwriter doesn't have to be complicated or scary. 

A specialized ghostwriter for children’s book projects will be able to help with many aspects of your book, from tailoring your content to your target age range, to crafting text that leaps off the page and captures young readers’ imaginations.

Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your experience working with a children's book ghostwriter.

1. Define the Scope of the Project

You don't necessarily need to have a detailed outline for your book before starting to work with an experienced ghostwriter, but you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. 

Creating a project description to share prior to interviewing potential ghostwriters will improve your chances of connecting with the right person for your project, and put that person on track to deliver the best possible result.

Your project description should revolve around the following questions. Share your answers before meeting with prospective ghostwriters to give them a chance to think through how they would approach your project.

  • What is the book about? - What’s the basic storyline? Are there core themes or ideas you want to include? Who are your main characters?
  • Who is the target audience? - Think about the age range and reading level of your prospective audience.
  • What kind of structure should the book have? - Roughly how many words and pages are you aiming for? Will the book be illustrated? 
  • What tone do you want to set? - Will it be poetic, whimsical, matter-of-fact, or silly?
  • What is the overarching message you want to communicate? - Is this book about teaching a lesson? Or is it meant simply to be an exciting story that inspires children to enjoy reading?
  • What is your personal motivation for writing the book? - Do you want to write a memoir for your children and grandchildren? Or are you looking to create a fun, educational book for kids? 

If you can’t yet fully answer all of these questions, that’s fine! An experienced children’s book ghostwriter can help you with brainstorming and ideation in addition to execution. 

If they’ve written books for your target audience before, they may also have advice on how to make your topic, structure, and characters resonate with those readers.

2. Give the Ghostwriter Some Creative Freedom

Writing for children is a complex task that requires a delicate balance of creativity and understanding of child development. 

If you've done your research and found a specialized ghostwriter for children’s book projects, then it's important to allow them to do their job. The book should stem from your vision, but try not to be too prescriptive in your direction to the ghostwriter. 

If you have a clear idea of what you want, provide a brief outline to the ghostwriter along with some reference materials. Then, trust that they will be able to capture your vision and create a wonderful story for children. 

You may encounter disagreements along the way, but remember that you've chosen this children’s book ghostwriter for their expertise. If they make suggestions that you're unsure about, consider where they might be coming from.

It's also important to keep in mind that the story may evolve as it's being written, and that's okay!

3. Be Available for Questions and Feedback

Writing a book with another person takes a level of mind-melding that is only possible with strong communication. Your ghostwriter will have questions along the way about your criteria, goals, and preferences, and it's important that you be available to provide answers and give feedback on their work. 

Your busy schedule may well be one of the reasons you chose to work with a ghostwriter in the first place, but if you’re serious about creating a quality book that represents your vision, you’ll need to make time for the partnership.

From the beginning, you should establish a clear line of communication with your ghostwriter and make sure they understand how best to reach you, whether it's via email, phone, or Skype.

You may prefer to schedule regular check-in calls or meetings to ensure that the project is on track. Whatever you do, make sure you're responsive to your ghostwriter's needs; otherwise, the project will almost certainly stall.

4. Be Clear About Your Budget

Money is always a tricky subject, but it's important to be upfront about your budget for the project from the start. This will help the ghostwriter know what to expect and avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.

In your first conversation with your ghostwriter candidate, be sure to ask about their rates. Some charge by the hour, while others may ask for a flat fee for the entire project. Be sure to get an estimate in writing before proceeding. 

Quality ghostwriting services don’t tend to come cheap. If you’re experiencing “sticker shock” after seeing quotes from ghostwriters, you might be considering looking for a writer who is just starting out and may be willing to work for less. 

Of course, going this route carries certain risks–a junior ghostwriter may need more time and support to get you the result you want, and will not be able to advise you in the same depth as an experienced ghostwriter for children’s book projects.

Be sure to do your research, consider your needs, and never sacrifice quality for price. Would you rather publish an okay book now, or save for a few years and invest in a collaborator who can really take things to the next level?

In Summary

Working with a children's book ghostwriter can be a great way to get the help you need to bring your vision to life. By asking the right questions and staying open-minded and communicative, you’ll be on track for a smooth and successful collaboration.

Finally, remember that at the end of the day, you know your book better than anyone else. If something doesn't feel right, trust your gut and speak up. After all, it's your name on the cover!

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