What is a ghostwriter?

ghostwriterA ghostwriter can be simply defined as a professional writer who  is paid to write your book or your paper or your article, or blog posts and almost anything else you might think of etc.

Now, before you shout ‘that’s unfair’ or something similar, consider that ghostwriters have been around since humans started committing words to paper and maybe even before that. Most of the books that are written by famous people have actually been written by a ghostwriter. The main reason is the famous person simply doesn’t have the time to write for extended periods of time. There are tons of examples from presidents, politicians, top sales people, preachers, cooks and chefs… the list goes on. Some of them are capable writers, others are not, and most of them simply don’t want to take the time to write at this point in their lives.

How I work as a ghostwriter

People usually learn that I’m a talented ghostwriter when someone refers them to me or they stumble into this website. They get in touch, these days by text as well as by email or a phone call. We do an initial info gathering interview at no cost to you.

First contact and conversation about ghostwriting

Generally I schedule a phone call with the prospective author, setting aside about an hour for us to have a conversation about their goals and needs. I want to know what’s motivating them to hire a writer, and what, if anything they know about working with a ghostwriter. I also need to know if their topic is something I can work with and to get a sense we can work effectively together, or not.

I’ve also learned over time I can’t work well with every person or every topic. If, for example, during an exploratory phone call the caller can’t settle down and answer some questions I’ll politely move on. Or if they want to write on a topic that runs counter to my own personal values, I’ll usually explain and try to get them pointed in the right direction.

One of my goals to leave each person I talk with in a better position than when they first came to me. At a minimum I’ll suggest some books they can read that will inform them about the process.

The money discussion

Once I think we can work together I’ll open the topic of my fees. A typical book runs between 30,000 to 60,000 words.  I typically charge between $35,000 to $65,000 per book. This is usually paid over the time it takes to write the book, often a year or more. A variation on this theme is to write a book proposal that the author can circulate to either agents or publishers in hopes of landing a contract with an advance. I do write a specific proposal for any book or proposal I’d like to take on.

A proposal from me about the ghostwriting project

When we’re in agreement, I write a specific proposal for that author and their book or other project. This covers everything from copyright issues, through how we’ll work together and how I’m to be paid. Any issues that occur before we actually start working on the project can hopefully be worked out in advance.

The actual work of getting it written

Of course nothing much can happen until the author gets at least some of the information from their head into mine.  If the author has anything written or has a webinar or other content source, I might start there. If not, we begin with scheduling a series of phone calls. The initial call or two is when we do a visioning and finalize the ten word purpose of the book and establish the working table of contents. From there we can set up a schedule that includes me writing and submitting my work to the author and the author reading and commenting on what’s right and what needs to be changed.

Authors are often surprised at how much time they have to spend on the manuscript to help get it right. It’s not as much time as the actual writing takes, but the author must read each chapter, make comments if the book is to truly represent them.

Once the book is finished, or close to finalized, the author must decide if they want to self-publish or find a trade publisher. Anne has expertise in both areas and is happy to help the author come to the right decision for them.

Of course, there’s more to getting your book written by a ghostwriter. This essay will, however,  give you an overview which should help you even if you decide to hire someone else or not write a book at all.

Let’s have a conversation,

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