There are 450,000 teachers in the UK, 236,000 doctors and 142,000 solicitors. There are also 55,000 authors.
The teachers are overworked, the doctors are under huge pressure and the solicitors probably suffer in ways we can’t really imagine or sympathise with. But they do all get paid.
The authors don’t.
Of those 55,000 authors whose books are published each year, just 6,000 manage to scrape together a living wage.
So if you want to be an author, to see your books in Waterstones and up there on Amazon, to influence the way people think and live their lives, I’ve got a tip for you.
Get a job.
Get a job, get an income to pay the bills and keep your family going – and be an author part-time.
A YouGov survey a couple of years ago found that being an author was the most desirable job in Britain. Nearly 60% of those asked said they’d like to write for a living. That’s extraordinary. Even allowing for people’s romantic delusions and their tendency to overestimate their own skills and ability to come up with ideas that others would want to read about, that implies that there’s a vast number of books out there waiting to be written. And some of them – a tiny minority, perhaps, but still many thousands – really ought to see the light of day.
That’s where we come in. I’m not saying that United Ghostwriters is a charity – we occasionally like to eat and pay our bills, too. But this amazing loose-knit collective of 13 top UK ghostwriters has the power to make a lot of those dreams come true.
We can take your personal story of survival and triumph over disaster, your new ideas about how to run a business or start a charity or your revelations about a career in music or politics or education and work with you to turn the raw material into the book you’ve always wanted to write.
We can help you knock your ideas into shape so they can be pitched to mainstream publishers, and then go on, if you can get a deal, to produce a world-class manuscript.
If you choose the self-publishing route (usually at least a year faster to market than going with a traditional publishing house), we can help you get the best out of designers, editors, typesetters, proofreaders, printers and distributors, so that your book is every bit as professional as the others alongside it on the shelves.
Within our little band, every individual is a much-published author in his or her own right. Several of our writers have ghosted books up there in this week’s bestseller charts. We have people with experience in investment banking and B2B marketing, psychology and start-ups, counselling and lecturing, IP, PR and TV. We have successful novelists and screenwriters, one fluent Spanish speaker and several ghosts who have lived and worked around the world, in the US, Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Wherever you’re from, and whatever your field of expertise, you’ll find there’s a United Ghostwriters member who understands what you need to say and can help you say it, in your own voice.
So don’t give up the day job. Just go to www.unitedghostwriters.co.uk and you’ll find the right person to get that book out of your head and onto the shelves.
Ian Shircore is currently working on a book about Clive James’s poetry, So Brightly at the Last, to be published early in 2018.