Friday, July 22, 2011

Some Thoughts for Those Considering a Ghostwriter

By Sarah Moore
I have the opportunity to wear many different creative hats as a team member with Writers in the Sky. I write articles and blog posts, edit manuscripts, develop marketing ideas, and proofread novels that are just a few steps away from becoming published books. Also among the challenging and exciting tasks that I get to fulfill regularly are those of a ghostwriter. I love instances in which I get to sit down with a person who has an amazing idea, and probably has heard something to the effect of "you really need to put that in a book" from friends and family for years, but simply does not have the time or perhaps the writing expertise to bring the vision to life.

If you have thought about hiring a ghostwriter to help your book idea become a reality, I would like to offer you a few thoughts that will be helpful to know before you even begin the process.

First, this is your book and should be crafted using your voice. I have many conversations with my ghostwriting clients to get to know who they are and what perspective they wish to share with a reading audience and also ask them for any material they have already developed (lectures, articles, journals) that could be useful in my writing. If you hire a ghostwriter and find yourself getting lost in the process and even pushed aside as the writer begins to control the message, it is time to have a conversation about your working relationship.

Second, get ready for a fluid process. While I enter into a contract with a client having an estimated completion date and cost in mind, I cannot give definite figures at the outset. I see your manuscript as a living and breathing entity that likely will change as we progress. You may realize more people you want to interview for content or decide to take a particular chapter in a new direction. If you want the book to be the best possible product, you have to let this evolution happen. At the same time, of course, your ghostwriter should never charge a fee that seems completely unrelated to the initial estimate and always should account for how her time was spent for every dollar received.

Finally, communicate with your ghostwriter. With my clients, I like to have a constant back and forth dialogue about the developing book. While my client is reviewing and editing a chapter I just submitted to him, I am at work writing the next one. This continual dialogue results in a better product. If you wait until five chapters have been written to offer any feedback to your ghostwriter, there is the potential for a lot of time and energy being spent before discovering that the two of you are not following the same line of thought at all.

Do you have an idea that you just know would make a great book? If so, I would love to talk with you about it and see how I might be able to help. Please contact me at or (615) 423-2467 and let's spend some time brainstorming and seeing if maybe we just might make great partners in making your thoughts a published book!

Sarah Moore has nearly a decade of experience in higher education administration, having worked at University of Maryland, Boston University, and Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to her administrative responsibilities, she taught research and writing courses at these institutions. Sarah also taught high school government and history for several years, and always included a strong emphasis on writing in her students' assignments. Sarah was raised just outside of Washington, D.C., but has called Nashville home for nearly eight years and enjoys life there with her two young children.

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