One of the main ways I make my living is through ghostwriting, and I love it. I get to write about topics I'd never write about otherwise, meet fascinating people, and enter the minds of those fascinating people. Sort of like writing fiction, only not.
What is Ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is when I write the book for you but your name appears on the book. As far as the world knows, you are the author of the book. If I'm lucky, you might thank me in the acknowledgments . But even that is not really necessary. Some big-time ghostwriters even get a "with" credit, as in "by famous person with ghostwriter." But not usually.
Who Uses Ghostwriters?
A better question might be, who doesn't use a ghostwriter? Generally, ghostwriters are employed for non-fiction projects, though many a novel has been ghostwritten (you can read a post I wrote about that here.) Many of the best-selling business and self-help books are ghostwritten, as are those by politicians and celebrities.
Not only famous people hire ghostwriters. People in all walks of life who are too busy to write a book or simply feel they don't have a way with word hire ghostwriters. Working with a ghostwriter can be an efficient way of getting your book to print.
Why Do I Need a Book?
You may not have dreams of bestseller status, but you do need a book. Why? Here are some reasons:
- A book lends your career immediate status and prestige. No matter what profession you are in, having a book to show for yourself gives you credibility.
- If you do any public speaking, or aspire to, you need a book because many speaking bureaus will not book you unless you have one.
- A book offers a potential additional income stream. You may choose to sell it on the internet or as a back-of-the-room product. If you are providing useful content on your website or blog, people will want to buy a book to read more. If you are giving inspiring lectures, people will want to read more. Give them what they want--a book.
- A book offers you a chance to spread your message in a different channel. Make no mistake, even iin this digital age, a book is still considered the ultimate authority.
What is The Ghostwriting Process?
People come to me when they have an idea for a book, have been struggling to write one for awhile, or need to get a product out fast, for any of the above reasons. Generally, the client will have a fair amount of material or notes on the project ready. If this is not the case, there may be quite a bit of upfront interviewing time required.
It is my job to take this material and shape it into a finished product that reflects the voice and style of the client. No two of the books that I ghostwrite will sound like the same author if I've done my job correctly. I assess the potential readers and what sort of style might be appropriate for them, also.
Every project differs, but basically I'll send the client constant updates of the the manuscript for him or her to edit and make changes on. I guarantee my work and I'm not happy until the client is happy.
How Long Does it Take?
The time frame varies. I've gotten books out in as short as a month, while some projects tend to take much longer.
How Much Does it Cost?
While I have a base fee, again, each project will vary in cost. It depends on how much material you have ready. Some books really only need a rewrite or edit, while others require a massive assembly of notes and research. Still others may need a lot of upfront interviewing time to pull the story out of the client, and this, of course, will cost more. Please, please, please don't assume that a ghostwriter will work for royalties only. We're professionals, too, folks, and we like to eat also. Royalties are more of an "if" than a "for certain" and if they do every manifest, it may not be for months or years in the future. Unless you can find a ghostwriter who needs experience and a credit to show, forget about asking us to work for royalties.
I'm Sold, What's My Next Step?