Ghostwriters from the Inside Out
About the writing samples themselves, chances are that the writer will not have
“just” what you are asking him or her to do, as a sample. What you are looking
for in a sample is a sense of the person’s skills and style.
Ask these questions when you review writing samples:
• Does the writing make sense?
• Does the writing get the point across?
• Does the level of vocabulary in the writing match your style, preferences?
• Are there obvious mistakes in the writing?
• Does the writing style, tone, pacing, organization, “feel” and quality
match the subject matter and intended audience or purpose?
• Are the intended audience or purpose obvious?
Also don’t be afraid to ask for specific context for the sample, which can make all
the difference in whether it reads well or doesn’t read well at all. Who was it for?
We once saw a proposal document that was as dry as burned toast. When we
asked what it was for – it was the introduction to a proposal that was accepted,
for about $10 million! Since we wanted a proposal writer, the fact that it worked
was far important than whether it was fun reading for a lay person.
Most writers will have some sort of references, but we’re cynical enough to
suggest you rely more on the writing you see and your own “gut” about the
person than on any references unless the references are people you already know
and trust. We would say the same in a fulltime hiring situation.
If a ghostwriter or for that matter any potential vendor or employee had no
references at all we’d be a little nervous, but we also have found that some of the
worst contractors we’ve ever seen have great references, and some of the best can
have very few.
When it comes to judging personality – just Use the Force! As you would in any
© Copyright 2006 by Michael Rasmussen and Jason Tarasi - All Rights Reserved.