A ghostwriter writes your book or blog, but you get all the credit. Sounds pretty good, does’t it? Of course, you’ll pay for the service, which is why it can be a good deal for the ghostwriter too.
Your ghostwriter takes your creative ideas and turns them into the book (or other product) you would have written if you’d had the time, the inclination or the skill. You’ve got the idea, the story, the dream you recognize should be turned into a book.
Working closely with you I turn that idea into great writing – writing that fulfills and even exceeds your reader’s need to be informed, moved, entertained and excited.
Here’s what one satisfied customer of mine said:
Over a five week period of time I would meet with Anne once a week. Each week she would give us her writing based on the conversation we had the previous week. Each week I marveled at her result. The only thing I could think of saying was, ”did you write that or did I? That was exactly what I wanted to say”; and she said it better than I could have said it. THANK YOU!!!”
The Knowledge University
What kind of relationship is ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is an oddly intimate relationship. Your ghost has to be able to get in your head enough so the final words sound as if you’d written them. A good ghostwriter leaves their own personality behind and steps, in a way, into yours.
How can I trust a ghostwriter?
Good ghostwriters are good at keeping secrets, including the fact that they wrote your book, blog, article, etc. They should offer, or at least be willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Here’s a sample of the one I use, which can be amended to suit you.
How do I get the information from my head to the ghostwriter’s?
There are all sorts of ways for you to get the information needed to the ghost, including:
- If you’ve given a class, the class notes can be a good place to start. If there’s a recording that can be transcribed into text.
- The ghost interviews you either by phone (the most efficient) or face-to-face to get the information.
- You write (or maybe already have written) rough drafts of all or most of the information that the ghost takes and works with.
- You’re written the whole manuscript, but it needs fixing. This is often called book doctoring and isn’t quite ghostwriting.
Or some combination of these and other methods.
What can I expect from you?
My process to help you get your book written starts with four tasks:
- A Visioning – tailored for you, aimed at helping both ground you in your book and open you up to larger possibilities.
- A 10 word purpose for your book – which I will help you write. This keeps us both on track when things get wonky, and gives us a way to get back to real progress. Also helps with marketing.
- Defining the ideal reader(s) because if you write for everyone you write for no one. Also helps with marketing.
- a list of 10-20 things that must be included in the book – a way to sneak up on what you’re actually writing about.
- I will, up to a point, try to help you work through blocks you have – I’m not a counselor, but I do have a ton of life experience.
- I will tell the truth about my perception of what you are trying to do and the way you think you want to do it.
- I will bring my best efforts to your project and tell you the truth all the way through.
Other important stuff
- I have a few book designers, cover designers and copy editors on tap and sometimes an agent I will share with them.
- I also warn them in the beginning they will need a copy editor and that isn’t me.
- I have two books I insist you read – Peter Bowerman’s Well-Fed Self-Publisher (you can read my review here) and Guy Kawasaki ‘s APE – Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur (that’s an affiliate link – if you use it to buy I’ll get a commission.) – these two will disabuse you of many myths about writing a book.
What can I expect from a ghostwriter?
There are several things you can expect from your ghostwriter, inculding:
- Guidance through the book writing process.
- Help in making the trade publisher / self-publish decision.
- Of course, the writing.
What will I have to actually do?
Although you are hiring someone to do the writing for you, you need to participate if the project is to be completed successfully. Such participation probably includes:
- Regular attendance at meetings with your ghost – on the phone (the most efficient), or face-to-face or a combination.
- Timely return of manuscript drafts with edits and comments. This is probably the most time consuming from your point of view. But it is up to you to correct errors of fact and of tone and to make sure the whole book reflects what you want it to reflect.
- The ability to pay the ghostwriter. Unless you’ve already got a publisher lined up for your story it’s unfair to expect a ghostwriter to work on only the hope that the book will make money. There may be rare exceptions to this ‘rule,’ but they are indeed rare.
You may also be asked to pay someone to transcribe tape recordings, pay for final proofreading or copy editing (both you and your ghost will be too close to the project to do a truly excellent job of proofreading,) and if you’re self-publishing, to provide cover design and even interior book design if you want something fancy.
I’m often asked
I’m often asked:
Will you take a percentage of the profits in lieu of payment?
No, not unless you already have a contract with a publisher and can pay me a good portion of the advance. I might consider it under those circumstances.
Do you have contacts with agents and/or publishers?
No, well, almost no. I’ll give you a good book and I’ll give you the best information I have about how you might sell it.
Which do you prefer, trade publishing or self-publishing?
It depends. Self-publishing has become legitimate, but to earn serious money requires serious work. Read my review of Peter Bowerman’s Well-Fed Self-Publisher and buy the book. It’s got the best overview of both trade and self-publishing I know.
Is it really okay to call or email you about my book?
Yes! In fact contacting me only makes sense. I don’t bite, promise. Let’s see if it seems we might work well together. If we do we can take the next step; if we don’t I’ll see if I can recommend someone else.
I’ve Got Questions
As well you should. Hiring a ghostwriter can seem daunting, but I’m pretty easy to talk with, either by phone or email. Contact me and we’ll find out if I’m the right person; if I’m not I’ll try to point you in the right direction.