Just about twelve years ago I made a major transition, and closed the midtown Manhattan offices of my Public Relations firm. Through running a sizeable business and the day to day drama of dealing with my staff’s personal issues, I had essentially become everyone’s Jewish mother. As a result I could not do as much actual writing as I would have loved to do. When I took this leap of faith I made two critical decisions. First, by transitioning to ghostwriting I could do what I love: use my writing skills to help people become successful authors, then help them get published, then use my public relations skills to promote their book.
The second decision: I would not be bound by what others charged, but would instead charge what I thought I was worth. From the outset my fees were considerably higher than some other writers, though perhaps less than other. In any case, given my many years of experience as an award-winning, in-demand writer (for magazine articles, speeches, blogs, brochures and other promotional material), I thought my asking prices were justified.
I thought the Rabbi was kidding.
“You want to introduce me to a 98-year-old who wants to date?”
“No,” he said, “I want to introduce you to a 98-year-old who would be open to getting remarried!”
“Won’t his adult children object?”
“Not at all. They want him to be happy. In fact, his son came to ask me if I knew anyone exceptional.” Read more
Look, you do not have to write a book. You can live your entire professional life (and personal life too of course) without a book to your name, and the sky will not fall. All I can tell you is that being able to add “author” to your list of accomplishments, being able to mail or email a copy of your book to people you want to work with or impress, and also being able to give out or sell your book at events (which your book more likely helped you book!) can move your business or professional reputation from good to great.
If you counter that fewer people are reading, that they are buying fewer books, that they are getting their information and entertainment from television, from cable, from social media, and especially directly from their electronic devices, you’ll get no argument from me. None of that takes away from my opening points: your book is the ultimate marketing tool. It opens doors. It establishes you as an expert, an author-ity. Even if the target CEO or client just reads the front cover and turns it over to read the back cover–with its (hopefully) explosive lift quote and positive blurbs–you will have made an impact. Whether they skim it or read your book word for word they will see you differently.
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.
What’s a would-be author to do? Does he or she just Google “ghostwriter” or “book collaborator” or similar soundbites? Sure. As in all things, a personal introduction is best. But just as the family or friends blind date has gone the way of the dinosaur, (as Match.com and eHarmony.com, Tinder and other online dating sites demonstrate) more people are entrusting their books to strangers they meet online hopefully researching them well, and hoping for the best.