Get Started Writing a Book

Give It Up to the Ghost!

Do you have an area of expertise or a life story to tell? Do you truly want to write a book but something keeps getting in the way? That something, typically, can be time, or money, or perhaps an inability to wordsmith your way to a compelling telling of your tale. My advice: stop stalling! Like most things in life, you only have to “do it alone” if you choose to.

Some people do actually sit down and write that book themselves, be it a memoir, novel, play, poetry, short stories, young adult/children’s book or business book. Maybe they write to help enhance their reputation and raise their rates, or for anything else that they deem makes it worthy of their precious time and hard-earned money. However, others find another way to accomplish their objective of becoming an author: they seek out the very best collaborator, whether by asking other authors for references, or doing online research and researching till they find the right kind of writer who they believe will best serve their needs.

That person you find might be someone with whom you can share a co-author credit, one who works for back-end book sales or royalties only, sharing the risk, and the rewards. Alternatively, it might be someone who gets a “with” in front of their name or no credit at all. That person might or might not get paid, and they may or may not get some split of any publisher advance or royalty payments from book sales. Make no mistake: writing is an intense andexpensive undertaking because of the work and time involved. The ultimate ghost is an invisible “midwife” who pulls your story out of you and writes it both with and for you. You tell your story to your collaborator, and he or she wordsmiths it so that it is as well-expressed and powerfully effective as it deserves to be, in your voice and with your own words.

But how does the would-be author find that special someone? Let me caution you that not all ghostwriters are created equal. And no, it’s not just a question of talent/no talent. Lots of professional writers can ace their own book or other writing projects, but getting inside another person, being able to write in that voice, and being able to express your client’s ideas and feelings rather than one’s own requires a special kind of talent.

You want a writer who can feel your joy and pain, get under your skin and help you tell your story to the world. With my long experience, I can tell you that writing a standout book today is not easy, and getting attention for it is equally hard in this crowded and highly competitive landscape. Really great books are actually few and far-between, and one often doesn’t achieve even the most richly deserved recognition without a lot of intelligent promotion. Nonetheless, the rewards for the person becoming an author for the first time can be remarkable.

If you understand that it’s a numbers game as well as a matter of creativity and talent, and you invest some time in your search for a perfect candidate, there will be a ghostwriter or editor out there who’s right for you, at the right fit, the right price or the right arrangement, and with the ability to help you successfully ‘birth’ your book.

Good luck! If you need some advice, just holler.

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