Your book is complete. You’ve finished the final chapter, poured yourself a cup of coffee (or something stronger), and closed down your laptop with a satisfied sigh. But maybe there’s something missing. When you read other people’s books they often have a ‘Foreword’ at the beginning. Does yours need one, too? In case you’re wondering, a foreword is an introduction to your book. It comes before your first chapter and is written by someone who admires your work. It sets the scene, ‘bigging up’ your book for your readers before they dive in. Think of it as a more in-depth
Many years of journalist training, coupled with a modicum of propriety, make me wary of spelling out the following in full. But when it comes to the purpose of your first chapter, a little emphasis may be required. Here goes then: it is to make the reader give a f*£<. Even after ghosting 60-plus books, I approach the first chapter of each one with mixed feelings. I am excited, since it generally indicates that I have enough interviews under my belt with the named author to finally get started at doing what I do best: writing. I also feel dread.
In his excellent piece for this blog last week (‘You can’t avoid ethical questions’, 26 January 2021), my UG colleague, Philip Whiteley looked at the very interesting question of whether we as ghostwriters sometimes find ourselves turning down a writing opportunity, which otherwise ticks every box, because we feel it would sit uneasily with our consciences to go ahead with it. Philip’s article led me to reflect on the (very few) occasions I’ve decided against working with a client because I’ve felt that my involvement in their project would be morally questionable in my own terms. Even though providing a
One of the questions on the United Ghostwriters tweetchat on 20 January was whether a ghostwriter would ever turn down a project for which they were qualified, had the availability, and the fee was good. In other words, are there issues of principle that would prevent you from taking on a project? So far in my ghostwriting career, I have been fortunate to have clients who I consider to be honest in the story they tell, and justified in telling it. On occasion, I have turned down offers to work on a book that promises to reveal the secrets of
‘So, what’s it all about, this ghostwriting business, then?’ I was at a party (remember those) when someone asked this, predictably followed by, ‘I suppose you write ghost stories?’ Cue much laughter. ‘Well,’ I smiled sweetly. ‘Actually, sometimes we do.’ I had just written a book for a psychic and there were plenty of ghosts in it. ‘But mostly we don’t.’ Ghostwriting is a much misunderstood and occasionally maligned profession, so perhaps it’s time to explain what it is that we’re actually all about. We ghostwriters love to immerse ourselves in different worlds, paranormal or otherwise. It’s part of the