Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting requires writing talent and training, but also the ability to collaborate, listen carefully, and adopt the voice of the author. Do you have a story to tell but don’t know how to tell it? Do you have a folder full of notes that ought to be an article or a box full of papers that ought to be a book? I’ll help you. I’ll write the piece in your own voice, so that no one will know you had help. I have ghostwritten mystery novels, historical novels, romance novels, and a wide variety of short stories, memoirs, and nonfiction books on topics ranging from contemporary ethics to child abuse to travel and filmmaking.

The process usually starts with a long, thorough interview, either in person, over the phone, or through email or standard mail correspondence. The client author needs to tell me what he or she wants in the finished book or short piece—not only the story line, but also the tone and the message. I don’t start a ghostwriting project until I’m confident that the author and I have the same understanding of what’s going to happen, that we share the same goals and enthusiasm for the project. After the interview process, I write a detailed outline for the author to approve, full of plans for plot, character development, scene, message, tone, and style.

Once I have the author’s approval, I roll up my sleeves and start writing. I send the author installments of the ongoing manuscript, usually once or twice a month, accompanied by an invoice for the hours spent on that installment. The author sends those pages back to me, marked up with requests for changes. The author lets me know if I’m getting off track, and the author can call a halt to the arrangement at any point—although that hasn’t ever happened. (I hope it never will, because I usually get emotionally involved with my projects and fall in love with the characters I help create.)

Eventually the manuscript is written; a short piece might take weeks, and a full-length novel or memoir generally takes several months. After the project is completed and I have been paid for my work, all rights belong with the client author. And the author can count on my confidentiality. I do not give out any information about my contributions to any ghostwritten book or short piece, unless I’m asked to do so by the author.


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