‘I’ve been looking for a ghostwriter for so long . . .’
I hear that a lot. When people get in touch about their stories, they have often taken an extremely convoluted path to get to me. They may have found me in the acknowledgments page of a book they’ve read, or through my website, or through LinkedIn or Twitter, or even just a Google search – but that’s the easy part.
It’s so much harder to write that email, or make that call. There are plenty of sleepless nights and many worries over whether it is the right thing. If you have a story to tell, and you’d like someone to help you tell it, the process of contacting that as-yet-unknown writer and summarising your entire life in one call, can be terrifying. Even if your idea is business-related, or a lifestyle book, or anything other than a memoir, there is often still a feeling that you must ‘pitch’ yourself to the person who is receiving your call or message.
At the end of that first chat, there is usually – hopefully! – relief, but I wish I could send out a list of pointers to remember before people do get in touch, because maybe, just maybe, it would take away some of the stress.
There are three main things I would want to say to anyone who is desperately seeking a ghostwriter:
1 I’m genuinely interested in what you have to say. Personally, I find it a tremendous privilege to be in this job (how I even found it in the first place probably needs a blog post to itself), and I love to hear people’s stories. You’re not ‘bothering’ me, you’re certainly not boring me (I have heard those comments so many times) – you’re trusting me, and that isn’t something to be dismissed or taken lightly.
2 This job may very well be about writing, but it’s as much about people – about making them feel listened to, helping them get their story or idea across, making sure their words are told in the best possible way to get as many people to listen. The first step is just a chat – nothing more, and if you think of it that way, you might find it all a bit less overwhelming.
3 Don’t feel you have to decide straight away – take your time, speak to as many ghosts as you like, trust your instinct. You will be working with this person very closely and I believe that good books become better books if you get on with each other.
Making the decision to contact a ghostwriter is a huge step – but if you think of how long you’ve been wanting to do this, or how much you want the world to hear what you have to say, it really is the start of a fantastic journey. If you can approach it knowing that you are in control of the process, and that your ghost will help you along the way, then, hopefully, it will become one of the most satisfying things you have ever done. I’m always happy to answer anything, I never think that any questions are silly, and I am here to give advice whenever I can. So, pick up the phone or send that email – I love to tell wonderful stories, and you might be just what I’m looking for . . .
Linda Watson-Brown is the ghostwriter behind many bestsellers. Her most recent book is ‘Letters to Sarah’ with Sara Payne, a Sunday Times bestseller after only one week of sales. Her next book is ‘Please, Let Me Go’ by Caitlin Spencer, to be published on August 24 2017.