Hiring The Writer That Is Best For You

April 16, 2019

Let’s face it, there are a lot of writers out there vying for your work. So, how do know how to hire the best writer for you without getting completely overwhelmed by the massive number of writer websites you can find online? This article is going to help guide you through all of the grey matter and onto a path of clarity to know what to look for, what to ask, and how to hire a professional writer you can trust to get your project done.


A Professional Writer Will Have A Website

In the last two weeks I’ve had meetings with two separate clients who have contacted me for help with book projects involving ghostwriting and editing work. Both of the clients had ‘writers’ write book related projects for them but they fell short at completing them and wanted me to continue on where the last writer left off. When I read through the material for the projects, it became clear to me very quickly that neither project was well-written, let alone intriguing or something that would ever even have a chance of getting published. When I inquired as to who wrote the copy for them, I was not surprised to hear that both parties had found people who advertised on a flyer and on the library bulletin board and both were marketing themselves as experienced writers. Why would these clients hire these writers? Well, automatically you would assume that they were inexpensive which is usually the case with writers like this, however, in one case, the unsuspecting client paid $6,000 to have a 300-page mess of words written for them. Unfortunately, the clients first language is not English and, sadly for them, I feel the writer took advantage of this and did not spend the time needed to accurately incorporate the client’s story onto the paper to produce the copy the client had in mind. Anyway, this is a very long story to point out that if you are going to hire a writer, they should have a website! A serious writer is going to have a website so potential clients can learn about them and their qualifications, as well as read something they have written. Now, many writers, including myself, do a lot of ghostwriting work which cannot be put on a website, but even these writers need a website so they can showcase their writing through whatever sample articles or blog posts they write so people can see their work. So, look for a writer that has a website. Even if you find their flyer in the café down the street, ask to see their website, if they don’t have one, you really have to wonder how serious they are and how seriously they will take your project. 

Check Their Qualifications

You don’t have to have a university education or degree in English to write great copy, however, looking for someone with these qualifications helps to narrow down the long list of writers you will find on the internet. Some degree of formal training goes a long way when it comes to being able to effectively write for the intention of the project. Finding the right words is one thing, accurately transforming them into fabulous copy is another. So, if someone has gone through years of university writing essays and other word and idea heavy material, chances are they will be able to write what you need them too. Keep in mind that there are some writers who are just naturally talented, but, for the sake of time as you delve through the arduous task of looking for a writer, weed out the ones without a degree unless they have exceptional samples of writing that makes a degree irrelevant. That being said, just because someone has a degree doesn’t matter either, it’s more of a weeding out process, you still need to read samples of their work and interview them accordingly.

Writers Should Communicate Efficiently And Effectively

Great, so now you have found a writer with a website, they have some education in writing, you’ve read some of their samples, you have emailed or telephoned them to speak about hiring them, and now you are waiting, waiting, and still waiting. Writers should be pretty good at communication, albeit, some of us are a bit introverted, however, our world is words so we better know how to use them in order to serve our clients and do well in our businesses. If you contact a writer and don’t hear back from them within 24 hours, forget it, if they are not interested in picking up their messages to get new business, they will not be that keen on being efficient with you when they actually have your business. Contact a potential writer that you like via their website email and also contact them by telephone, give them 24 hours to respond, and if you don’t hear from them, move on!

Interviewing Your Potential Writer

Finally, an enthusiastic writer has returned your message and is speaking with you on the telephone about your project. While a lot of your correspondence with Your Own Writer (had to sneak that in there) will be via email as you send copy back and forth, the initial meeting should be on the telephone. It’s important that you hear the writers voice to see if you will be able to communicate your needs to them and if the writer is able to pick up on your requests and enthusiastically talk about the project to a degree where they understand your needs. You can really only tell if someone is suitable for the job by hearing their tone, speech, and if they are interested in you project as you talk to them over the phone. If they can express back to you how they can help you achieve the desired outcome that’s great. If there is dead silence on the other end of the phone and you are having to ask them too many questions without a peep from them, then there’s a problem. You need someone who is taking advantage of this informative moment of being able to extract what it is you need so that they can transform that into rich and productive content. If they are non-responsive and not engaged with you about your project, either they have just dropped dead or just not interested enough to write compelling copy for you. The great writer will throw in an idea or two, offer suggestions, and, most of all, they will listen and express their interest in an enthusiastic way for your new venture.

After you have found a writer you believe can complete your project for you, there are a couple of details that are imperative to the success of the work. First, you need to ask them the timeline in which they will be able to work with you. Ideally, ask them how long they think the projected work will take and ensure that is in line with what you need. If you agree on the timeline of the project, ask if they could send you an email outlining the project details. You need to do this to ensure you are on the same page with regards to the required copy. 

Ready To Hire Your Own Writer

You’ve received an email from the writer outlining the project and the copy that’s needed and it looks good to you.  Great, it looks like you’re ready to hire Your Own Writer (😊) Although it varies among professional writers, typically, there will be a required deposit of 50% of the work total prior to work getting started. Now, if the writer proposes an hourly rate rather than a project total, they may also project what half of the cost would be based on the hourly rate and ask for 50% of that. Personally, unless the project is fluid and likely to change along the way, I quote a project total and request 50% of the total when the work is under way. Typically, I won’t ask for the 50% deposit right away, I will start the work, send some copy for their review to ensure they like it, then request the 50% deposit to continue on with the writing. This way the client can feel secure that I’m good at what I do, efficient, and reliable to complete the job once receiving the deposit. Because most client-writer relationships develop on the phone and online, you rarely meet, therefore, some degree of trust is needed. Sending some work prior to the required deposit is a nice way to make you, the client, feel comfortable in paying the 50% deposit. 

Working With Your Own Writer

The best thing to mention when you are working with your writer is to be as clear and precise as you can about what it is that you want. If you have some notes or have written down some ideas about the copy you want for your project, it’s a great idea to pass that along to your writer so they can understand where your head is at. The more precise you are in your needs, the better the writer can transform that into great copy. If you find yourself unclear, uncertain, and wishy washy about what you want, the writer will have to write copy, edit copy, write copy, edit copy, – you get my point -. If you get the first draft or, for example, a website page back from the writer, thoughtfully read it, make any changes you feel are necessary and then articulate to your writer what you liked and didn’t like so they can get the second draft perfect. At the beginning of the project there may be a bit of back and forth, however, the clearer you express your wishes and intentions of the copy from the beginning, the better the writer will be able to produce their best first draft possible. If the project changes along the way due to changes you make in the overall plan of the site or project, you may expect that the writer will want to speak with you about the original quote. This happens sometimes, especially if the overall project goals and concepts were not clear from the beginning.

Your Project Is Complete

Your writer has sent you the final copy for your project and the job is complete. You are happy with the contribution of the writer and satisfied with the investment you have made in hiring a professional writer. You pay your final 50% and start to reap the benefits of well written copy in an increase in phone calls, inquiries, and business overall. A nice thing to do for your writer is to write a testimonial out for them to post on their website as this helps future clients see if others were happy with their work. Some writers do a lot of ghostwriting which makes it difficult to get testimonials, so, if you’re happy with the writer and the work they did and comfortable writing a testimonial, please do so as this helps a lot on a writer’s website.

Watch for my next blog post coming soon on the topic of how much to pay for great copy.

Your Spine Will Thank You