If you have ever wondered, “Should I hire a ghostwriter”, part of the unknown is often how it works. What’s involved? The implication associated with ‘ghostwriting’ is always that someone, usually someone hidden from view, (hence ‘ghost’), does all the writing and therefore all the work. And whilst it is almost certainly true that the ghostwriter will do the lion’s share of the writing, it is not true that they do all the work.
There may be ghostwriters out there who are happy to be given a topic and told to go away and write a book on that topic. I’m not one of them. The process for me is very much a collaboration. It is the deliberate joining forces of two people with unique skill sets to create something that neither one could have created alone.
My clients are always subject experts. They have a ton of knowledge and expertise in their field and they have something useful to share with the world but they are also very busy. Most of the people I collaborate with are business leaders, coaches or consultant who are running successful businesses. As a result, their aspirations of becoming an author languish on their New Year’s Resolution list indefinitely. My skill set is writing books. So far, I’ve written 82 on subjects as diverse as leadership, parenting, personality profiling, sales, big data, AI, innovation and investing. I can write on anything – but only if the author is an expert in that subject.
The tragic irony of authorship is that those who genuinely have something useful and valuable to share in a book, often don’t write it because they are too busy doing that thing. And the people who have the time to write a book, don’t have the material that matters so they simply regurgitating tired ideas and other people’s thinking. Ghostwriting is a crucial service that can address that irony.
As for the actual process it focuses around a series of interviews which are recorded. Let’s say you are a subject expert and you really want to write a book. You may have started… 50 times, you may have 104 separate files of information and ideas. But still no book. Someone suggests a ghostwriter. Initially you think that might be cheating although you are not sure why. No one thinks twice about hiring a designer to create a logo or new branding so why is hiring a ghostwriter any different? If we don’t have the time, inclination or skill to do something, the smart move is to outsource it. And that goes for writing as much as anything else.
Say, you find me. First, we would have a chat about your book and you would tell me what you want to cover. (I’m always happy to sign an NDA before this chat if required). From that early discussion I can usually come up with some type of structure if you don’t already know what that might be. This is the chapter outline and what is likely to be covered in each one. To give you a better sense of what I might do with your material I write a couple of thousand words as a sample. And if you like that then we crack on. Our collaboration involves you preparing for interviews so that you can talk me through that you want each chapter to cover. I ask questions and you may also send me any supporting information, videos of presentations or audio files – whatever is easiest for you.
From those interactions and any additional material, I write your book. You must be engaged and ready to answer questions or point me to research resources and you must make yourself available for an ongoing interview. Hiring a ghostwriter is not a free pass – you will have to noodle on your material and be able to articulate your ideas and concepts clearly to me. Oh, and you have to read the book and give feedback and edits so that we can finalise the manuscript. The time frame between, “Wow I love this sample” to “OMG I’m finally an author” is usually about three months. And you are the author. The manuscript you hold in your hands is yours. All I did was get it out of your head and put it on the page. So, if you’ve ever wondered, “should I hire a ghostwriter?” The answer is “Yes”, why not. Or if you are still unsure get in touch and let’s just have an informal chat.