Many aspiring authors seek ghostwriting information — the low down, the process, the hurdles. Yes, it’s an intense journey. Whether the ghostwriting project involves fiction or nonfiction, the process has a timeline, deliverables and a budget, as well as a deep level of commitment and attention to detail.
It’s worth noting that I am a ghostwriter, sometimes referred to as a “ghost.” I am in no way, shape or form the author. You are the author and get all credit. It’s your story, and I capture it.
In other words, I ghostwrite under your name as a work-for-hire, independent contractor. You retain 100% ownership in the book, and I’m not mentioned (unless I’m credited as an editor).
That’s the beauty of ghostwriting — the collaboration produces a new literary work written in your voice and chronicling your story, with me as your scribe.
Important Ghostwriting Information
If hired, I provide a ghostwriting and non-disclosure agreement (NDA). I have seen, sadly, some predatory practices and very good ideas can and do get hijacked. Every ghostwriter should offer an NDA upfront before discussions begin. This protects your intellectual property and ensures your concept is secure and our collaboration is private.
The ghostwriting information we exchange should establish timeline, deliverables, scope, price, etc. There may be a back-and-forth as terms are negotiated. Often attorneys get involved, especially when high-profile authors are involved from the realm of sports teams, large corporations, or family dynasties.
Because ghostwriting is so personal and collaborative, it helps when there is trust and chemistry. I tell author clients, “You can share everything. No holds barred. All the ghostwriting information I receive from you is completely confidential. The project is safeguarded under the terms of the NDA. And don’t worry, we’ll relay the details appropriately in the book.”
One author client told me,
“I feel like I’m talking to a priest. I really can tell you anything!”
Ghostwriting Process — Nonfiction
I compile your nonfiction manuscript based on your premise and the assets you provide (phone interviews, documents, background information, outlines, ideas, etc.) Often heavy research is required — newspaper articles, interviews with key people who were involved in your backstory, fact-checking dates and timelines, and ensuring the elements are verifiable.
This careful process is especially valuable when writing memoirs, biographies and autobiographies, but also corporate history. Legacy books, too, require a degree of research. These types of books are not not written for the general public, but for family members. The purpose is to chronicle ancestry and the lives and times of distant relatives for posterity. It educates younger generations about days gone by and informs them of their heritage before precious memories are lost to time.
It’s a tragedy when wonderful snippets of history are lost forever. The world is poorer for not having eye-witness accounts, imaginative scenarios and powerful backstories playing out on bookshelves and Amazon!
Some people have wanted to write a book their whole lives, but never managed to accomplish the feat before it was too late. If only they had trusted a ghostwriter with their story! Their unique and wonderful narrative could have been launched into the world — a gift to this generation and the next.
Ghostwriting Process — Fiction
Ghostwriting fiction is a whole different animal. Often brainstorming and prewriting is involved — conceptualizing, looping, listing and researching. Sometimes I storyboard. This may sound like a lengthy process, but it’s not. I’ve been ghostwriting for more than thirty-five years and have a tried-and-true method that produces results, detailed below.
For fiction novels, I visualize the “what if’s” of setting, mood, conflict, pacing, and use of literary elements as a story arc blooms. This is true for characterization as well — it’s so good to love and admire and fear and loathe the protagonist and antagonist(s) before ever placing them in the action. In other words, we should be inside their heads and know them like family or old flames or enemies so their presence isn’t wasted and each scene propels the narrative.
I might use Venn diagrams to find all possible relations between characters, place, time, action, perils, near misses, ongoing plot, subplots, plot twists, etc. Heavy outlining puts real weight on the bone. Some of my grad coursework included scriptwriting and adapting books to film — a great skill — and I keep this in mind when deciding what goes where, who does what, and who says what. The chapters become very much like scenes. I bet your favorite novels play out like movies as you read them, and I think this is particularly important as I ghostwrite thrillers, whodunnits, mysteries, romances, science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy — all comprised of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Need more ghostwriting information? Inquire today!
These stories matter — your story matters. Let’s write it! Yes, it might seem intimidating. Yes, it’s an adventure. Yes, it’s a six-month endeavor (sometimes longer). But I’ll be with you every step of the way, answering every question and collaborating to produce a wonderful manuscript.
I’ve put together some blog posts to help describe the process. Feel free to check out these links for more ghostwriting information:
- Ghostwriting Tips
- A Ghostwriting Project
- Florida Ghostwriting Project
- Houston Ghostwriting Project
Doesn’t it make sense to have a professional ghostwriter develop your manuscript? Contact me today and let’s make it happen! There is no better time to write your book.