A Common Question
It’s a simple question, but it helps to start here when explaining “ghostwriting” to a new client. Sometimes they know a little, sometimes they know a lot, and sometimes they know nothing.
Let’s start with the basics then…
If you’re busy, but still need a book written, then hire a ghostwriter.
If you need help navigating the publishing industry, then hire a ghostwriter. A good one.
If you would like a more involved confidante in the writing process than just an editor or a proofreader, then hire a ghostwriter.
If you fall into more than one of the previous categories, then hire a ghostwriter.
And I’ll say it again— hire a good one.
Ghostwriters, by definition, do the writing for the author of the book. Hence, a ghostwriting service or a professional ghostwriting company do this for a range of clients in a particular genre or niche. Mine is primarily focused on career coaches and executive consultants.
The many permutations of how much the ghostwriter actually writes could take a long time to lay out and explain. I’ll keep it simple then- from my experience as a certified ghostwriter, I’m acting more like a middle-man between the author’s mind and the page. They tell me what they want to say and explain it all out for me. Sometimes they have to explain it twice and use small words, but when I get it, I start working on how to convey that message in their voice and tone.
I use anywhere from 80 to 95% of the original material they provide. That 5 to 20% is me editing, moving things around, maybe suggesting they use this word and not that one, and keeping the narrative clean. I go back and forth a lot on which words to use, the right tone, etc. You can imagine that this can’t be done quickly. Then again, if you want it done right, it will not be done quickly.
The process of ghostwriting is long and laborious. But I’m one of those weird people who enjoys sitting at a computer and figuring out the right words. Then again, can you blame me? I grew up helping my dad count elk on Saturday mornings. Some of that “weird” was passed on to me. Luckily, however, it doesn’t involve elk.
Back to the main topic now…
When I take on the writing and editing of a manuscript, I’m freeing up the author’s time to take care of other things. Writing a book is great, it is a fun process, and when you’re done you have a real sense of accomplishment. It takes a lot of time and energy to do it though. That is why ghostwriting is so appealing to those who want to write a book, but don’t have the time, the knowledge of the publishing industry, or the confidence in their writing skills to do it.
There are more reasons, yet those seem to be the ones I hear most often.
Listen to my Chirp on the subject as well.
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