Decisions, decisions . . .
For many prospective authors, choosing whether or not to work with a ghostwriter is a simple one. Saving time and effort, plus being able to feel confident in the quality of the end product, make hiring a ghostwriter a no-brainer.
But for you, this decision might be a dilemma. How will the experience of writing your own book be different to that of working with a quality ghostwriter? What can you expect? And what are the pros and cons?
To help you, I’ve taken the four key elements which make a difference between writing your own book and having one ghosted for you. Then you can work out where you stand.
The time factor
The obvious one. Writing a book takes time, and is the number one reason why hundreds of books each year stay partially completed on hard drives or in their authors’ heads. Even if the space-time continuum were to be interrupted and an extra week a month added to the calendar, this would probably get filled with other tasks. Somehow, the book just never gets finished.
It goes without saying that working with a ghostwriter frees up many hours of an author’s time; a few hours of interviews and some scheduled slots for reading and commenting on the manuscript are all that’s needed from you. Whether saving this time is ‘worth it’ is up to you, but it’s undeniably a major difference in the experience of writing a book and having one ghosted for you.
Writing a book also takes up a considerable amount of brain power. You have to work out what your book’s about, who it’s for, and what you want to say in it. You also need to structure it so it makes sense for your readers. When you work with a ghostwriter this is their job, but if you’re writing your book yourself these problems are yours to solve alone.
Of course, even a ghostwritten book needs input from its author – it’s your name on the cover, after all. And giving some thought to your book’s content can also benefit you in other ways. You might gain clarity over the way you structure your business, or see an insight into your personality that you’d never have had if you hadn’t spent time considering your memoir. But there’s a difference between talking your ideas through and writing about them in detail yourself.
Some would-be authors say they couldn’t feel the same sense of satisfaction were they not to write their book themselves. Others that they get their fulfilment from other areas of their business or life, and that penning a book isn’t an essential part of that.
From my experience, once an author has their book in their hands the excitement and joy comes from the recognition they get and the things they can achieve with it, rather than from the experience of doing the writing. Which would it be for you?
The thorny one.
There’s no doubt that hiring a ghostwriter costs more than writing your book yourself. On the other hand, if you were to hire a ghostwriter, how much money could you make in the hours you didn’t spend writing it? What could you achieve? Launch a new programme, carry out several paid speaking engagements, or work with some extra clients? To say nothing of the fact that your book will probably be finished more quickly – and therefore be working for you sooner – if you’re not chained to your keyboard.
Even if your book isn’t for your business or reputation, but is for personal reasons, it might be that you’re happy to spend the money. Every book is an investment, and some of that investment is financial.
On the other hand, splashing the cash is always a matter of personal choice. We all have our own notion of what makes something worth buying. It depends on how we value our time, and how much we want to ensure a quality, and timely, end result.
Time, mindspace, satisfaction, and money: the four elements to consider if you’re not sure whether to hire a ghostwriter for your book. If you’d like to explore this further, drop us a line on our contact form and we can help you decide.