When people approach me about ghostwriting their books, they inevitably ask, “How do you work?” or “What’s your writing process?”
In most cases what they really mean is, how does ghostwriting work?
The answer is simple: It depends on your needs and the kind of person you are.
Which of these types sounds most like you?
The “You Do It” Type
You want to give the ghostwriter your basic idea, plus perhaps an article or two on the topic, and then leave, not returning until the manuscript is complete. You do not want to do anything more than read the final manuscript to make sure you approve of what the ghost wrote.
The “I’ll Finish It When You’re Done” Type
You are interested in participating during the planning stages of the book, but not at all during the writing. Once the manuscript is complete, however, you want to read everything carefully and make changes, add case studies or other small sections, suggest quotes or studies to include, and so on. You are definitely into tweaking the fully-written manuscript to make it your own.
The “Let’s Work Together” Type
You want to work on the book, but you’re happy to leave the heavy-duty writing to the ghost. That said, you like the idea of talking with the ghost on the phone or in person, typing or dictating passages on your own, and passing drafts of the chapters back and forth, correcting, adding and deleting material with each pass.
The “Guide Me Through It” Type
You are more heavily involved in the writing than the “Let’s Work Together” type. In fact, you prefer to write much of the manuscript yourself, relying on the ghost to help you structure the overall book and individual chapters, make sure you stay on track, smooth out poorly written passages, create a modest portion of the text, and otherwise ensure that you come up with a clear, compelling book.
The “I Did It, You Fix It” Type
You have already written a complete manuscript on your own, but recognize that it is not of publishable quality. Or perhaps it’s well-written, but too technical or complex for the popular market. You want the ghostwriter to break it down into its constituent parts, eliminate what’s unnecessary or repetitive, reassemble what remains in a more structurally sound and/or reader-friendly manner, indicate or add what’s missing, smooth out the writing, and otherwise polish your manuscript.
If you’re thinking of hiring a professional ghostwriter…
… instead of asking yourself “how does ghostwriting work,” ask yourself, “What type of client am I?” Then hire a ghost who works well with your type.
Some ghostwriters are comfortable working with all types, but others are not, so be sure to ask before signing on the dotted line.
How does ghostwriting work? It depends on you.