Ghostwriting Your Book: The Process
As your ghostwriter, it is my job to make the process easy for you.
You provide the vision; I will make it work.
Tell me your ideas, opinions, commentary, and anecdotes. You can write a little, or a lot, or nothing at all. I can write your entire book by interviewing you on the phone and using your answers as the book’s content. Many ghostwritten books are created this way.
If there are gaps in your knowledge I can do research to fill those gaps, or I can interview other people and combine their knowledge with yours. And I will custom-tailor the entire process of ghostwriting your book to fit inside the holes in your busy schedule.
No matter how overwhelming the project may seem, I can guide it to a successful conclusion.
Your book can become real.
How to Start
Starting is easy.
Just phone me. Or email me and tell me what day and time would be convenient for me to phone you.
On the phone I’ll be happy to answer all your questions. We will discuss your ideas for your book, your vision of its place in your future, your motivation for writing it, who you think your audience will be, and in what ways you hope it will change your life for the better.
If you are like others I have helped, you will probably ask me how the publishing industry works, what agents and publishers are looking for, the process I will use in ghostwriting your book, and your book's best path forward in becoming published.
As I answer your questions, you will quietly evaluate me to see what kind of person I am. Do I seem friendly, organized, flexible, eager to help you, and most importantly, am I knowledgeable about the publishing industry?
Your ghostwriter needs to be more than just a great writer. You need a publishing insider. Someone who knows what goes on behind publishing’s closed doors where the decisions are made. By knowing what agents and publishers are looking for—and what annoys them from amateurs—I can craft you book to fit neatly and comfortably into their world. I can’t guarantee they will buy your book, but I can guarantee they will give it the serious consideration that it deserves.
Before You Hire Me You Should Understand Your Options
Several paths forward are available to you. These depend on what kind of book you envision—fiction or nonfiction—and on how much of a manuscript you have already created.
Options for Nonfiction With a Manuscript
If your book is to be nonfiction, and you’ve already created a manuscript, there are three paths you can choose for me to follow:
1) Have me restructure and rewrite your manuscript into a viable book.
2) Have me create a book proposal for your manuscript.
3) Have me perform an Analysis & Recommendation Report.
A book proposal is a highly specialized collection of documents that has become standardized in the publishing industry. It has only one goal: to create desire in a literary agent to represent your book, or in a publisher to buy it. Virtually all nonfiction books are sold using a book proposal, and the book need not be completed before sending the book proposal out. A part of every book proposal is a set of sample chapters. These are usually the book's first two or three chapters.
If you have me write the entire book, I will write the book proposal as part of the process, and include it in the negotiated fee. Your book will need one, so there is no need to contract for it separately.
For an Analysis & Recommendation Report, I will read your entire manuscript and create a three or four page report detailing what is wonderful about it, and what needs improvement. It is a road map that explains how to improve the manuscript so that literary agents and publishers will give it serious consideration. (Note: Hiring me to do an A&R does not obligate you to hire me to do anything more for your book.) A&Rs are done for a flat fee of $750.00.
Options for Nonfiction Without a Manuscript
If your book will be nonfiction but you do not have a manuscript, there are two paths you can choose for me to follow: I can write your entire book and book proposal, or just the book proposal.
Remember, a nonfiction book proposal can be sent to agents and editors before the book is written. And books are often sold based on the book proposal alone—again, before the book is written. If you are fully committed to writing your book about a specific topic, then hiring me to do the entire book will save you money in the end. But if you are more flexible, or even uncertain, about what topic you want your book to cover, then starting with only a book proposal is perfectly reasonable.
Options for a Novel
If your book is to be a novel, your choices are fewer.
This is because literary agents and publishers will not buy a novel until after it is completely written and polished to a high gloss. Novels are sold using a "Submission," which is a completely different highly specialized collection of documents with only one goal: to get an agent or publisher to ask to read the entire manuscript—which had better be ready right now or they will not be happy.
If you have written a manuscript for a novel, you can have me rework the entire manuscript and then write a submission, or you can have me perform an Analysis & Recommendation for your manuscript. There is no reason to bother writing a submission until after the novel is complete.
If you have no manuscript for your novel—if, for example, you have a collection of ideas and notes—the only thing you can hire me to do is write the entire manuscript.
Meeting in Person is an Option, But Not Needed
I’ve written over a hundred magazine articles and only met face-to-face with three of my editors. Not because they wanted to tell me what to write next, but because we just happened to bump into one another at conventions.
For most clients, phone calls and emails are enough, but some want a visual connection. The common alternative is video conferencing. It is easy and costs nothing using Skype or Google+ (though it does require a high speed internet connection and a webcam). I can walk you through it step-by-step on the phone if you wish to use this.
Some clients, however, feel it is important that they meet their ghostwriter in person. If you feel this way, I will happily fly anywhere in the U.S.A. (at your expense for travel, hotel, and meals) and spend as many days as needed talking with you and interviewing you, as well as interviewing anyone else who should be in your book.
After You Hire Me The Fun Really Starts
That’s when I begin making your dream real.
If you do not have a manuscript I will immediately begin gathering and organizing the information that will become your book. This gathering of information varies based on what kind of book you want to create.
Autobiographies and memoirs are mostly composed of what you tell me when I interview you, but are better when supplemented with a good bit of what others say when I interview them, and just a small amount of research. If you wish, you can contribute some of your own writings such as from a diary or journal, though it’s not necessary.
Novels are often composed of what you have already written, but they don’t have to be. They can be done from interviews too. And while their characters and events are all made up, they require research in order to sound plausible.
Most ghostwritten books in America, however, are nonfiction. These include: how-to, business, self-help, inspirational, instructional, general interest, and more.
For many types of nonfiction books, your input, while valuable, can be surprisingly optional. This is because these books rely more heavily on research, which I can do alone. In rare cases ghostwritten books have been created with no more input from the client than the book’s general subject, its title, and a one-page list of chapter topics. Most clients, however, prefer more control over the book that will bear their name. How much you choose to participate—or have time to spare for it—is up to you.
Some clients, and maybe this includes you, have already gathered a huge collection of their thoughts, ideas, and opinions that can be transformed into a book. If you have given numerous lectures or speeches, publicly or to business gatherings, then recordings of them can be dissected, reorganized, and rewritten to create your book. If you have written articles or essays on a topic, or if you are a prolific blogger or podcaster, all your passionately produced content is potential source material for your book.
How much of the information in a book comes directly from the mind of the client can differ greatly. In your case, it will be based on how much you wish to say about the topic, how knowledgeable you are, how passionately you feel about it, or even how strongly you disagree with other authors who have written what they think.
The truth is there are many ways your book can become real. My job is to tailor the process to suit your life, your schedule, and your vision of what you wish your book to become.
Let’s Do It
My goal is to make the creation of your book easy and comfortable for you.
During the project I will provide you with much more than just writing. Like a wilderness scout in the backwoods, I will guide you through the process. I will help organize your thoughts and information, offer solutions you may not have considered, and then manage the project from beginning to end to your complete satisfaction.
If you are ready to begin, contact me today. I’m always happy to talk.