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Since you are reading this, you probably want to hire a freelance writer. So, whether you want someone to write a book for you or someone to help you keep up with your blog, the decision to hire a freelance writer is not a light one.

Here is the thing….Freelance writers come in many shapes and sizes and the key is finding one that fits your needs when you hire a freelance writer.

As a freelance writer and someone who has employed freelance writers, I can attest to the massive number of writers out there. Sometimes it can be tough to pick the right one. The goodness is…over the years, I have developed a fool-proof system that really helps narrow it down and I am going to share it with you!

Step One: Brainstorm

Freelance writers are skilled writers who create written work for a living. But they are not mind readers! You must provide very clear direction and let your freelance writer know what you want.

Before you hire a freelance writer, you must lay a few things out:

  • What is your book or article about? What is the genre?
  • What style do you want it written in? Can you find examples for your freelance writer to follow?
  • What topics must be covered?
  • When do you need the work completed?
  • How much are you willing to pay?
  • What kind of communication do you want to use? Some people prefer chat, while others like to Skype, and others like to speak over the phone.
  • What format will you be publishing this work in? Be sure to specify formatting instructions, as an ebook will be different from a print book and a blog post will be different from a magazine article.

There are a few things to bear in mind when you hire a freelance writer. The first is that a good, qualified writer has an established portfolio of work that is free of errors; writers who can’t provide a portfolio probably aren’t qualified.

The second is that good work does not come cheaply and expect to spend a few hundred dollars or more on your project.

Finally, you should probably seek a writer whose native language is the language you want your piece written in. While there are some writers whose fluency is astounding, most non-native speakers cannot write as well in a language as native speakers. For natural-sounding writing with fewer errors, seek someone who is fluent or (ideally) native.

 Step Two: Find Writers

I have found that the Internet is a great place to hire a freelance writer. I generally use Upwork, but you can also try sites like Guru and Freelancer. Create an account and post what you are looking for in your written piece with great detail.

The Internet is pretty saturated with writers, so you can expect many applications to your job. Fortunately, it is easy to sift through those applications using three rounds.

Step Three: Cull Through Applicants When you Want to Hire a Freelance Writer

In my first round, I reject the applications of writers who don’t follow my instructions, who submit proposals full of errors, or who don’t send samples. You can tell the writers who didn’t read your job post because their proposals will mention nothing about what you said in it. You want a writer who follows instructions, so weed out the ones who don’t do that.

Then I perform another round, where I read proposals in more detail. I pick out the writers who write well and who seemed to have read my job post.

In my final round, I read the samples these writers sent with their proposals. A good portfolio of well-written work is key to any writer and based on these samples, I can pick the most talented ones who have experience in the kind of writing I’m looking for.

Step Four: Interviewing

By the end of my third round, I usually have about three applicants that I’m genuinely interested in. I then schedule video or phone interviews with these writers.

The first interview is critical. You can automatically reject the applicants who don’t show up for the interview or who are late.

Next, you can ask lots of questions to find out what the freelance writer can offer you if you hire him or her. Here are some key questions:

  • What is your scope of work? Do you edit, format, and design the layout?
  • What experience do you have in this subject?
  • How do you prefer to communicate?
  • How often can you send updates?
  • When do you think you can complete this writing?
  • How much will you charge for this job?

Step Five: Hire a Freelance Writer

I recommend that you go with your gut and the writer who seems like the best fit usually is. Listen to yourself and make a decision based on what you think is best.

 Step Six: The Collaboration

When you hire a freelance writer, you are entering a collaboration. This person is your employee and needs your direction. You must make yourself available to answer questions and edit the work as the writer creates it.

Try to set a schedule so that you are available at certain times to speak with your freelance writer and be as clear and specific as you can.

You should also consider using an integrated document software or application, like Google docs or Dropbox. These applications allow you to see what your writer is writing and make comments or suggestions. You can also add things that you want to see in your piece.

Step Seven: The Contract…When You Hire a Freelance Writer

When you hire a freelance writer, you must put a written contract in place that you both sign. This contract should outline the work the writer is to perform, the amount you will pay the writer, the deadline, and expected communication. Keep in mind it should also outline any other important information.

You should also specify if your freelance writer is going to receive credit for what he or she writes. Some authors want to credit their writers, while others want ghostwriters who don’t receive credit at all. You and the writer must agree on these terms.


When you hire a freelance writer, you are adding someone to your team who can create written work that your readers will love for a fee.

  • Be sure to carefully comb through applicants to find a freelance writer who fits your vision.
  • Offer lots of guidance and discussion and communicate well.
  • Always have a contract in place.

With a freelance writer on your team, you can get high-quality writing to elevate your writing dream team.

The bonus…Hiring the right writer will make your work stellar.

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Wendy Van de Poll is a twelve-time best-selling author on Amazon. She is a sought out freelance writer and writing coach who helps writers develop and write their books and blogs. She works with authors on all aspects of self-publishing. The genre’s she writes in are pet loss, children’s picture books, human-animal bond, and cozy mysteries. You can reach her to talk about your new project. You can also visit Wendy at Center for Pet Loss Grief.