You’re excited. You have a great idea for a book; you know what you want to say, you can picture the cover, you ran the idea past your friend/colleague/partner and they loved it.
You can almost smell that scent of newly-printed pages and see the cover on the table in the bookshop…
And that’s where the fantasy ends. Because to get to that glorious moment when you hold your published book in your hand, you’ve got to write it. And that takes a lot of time, thought, effort and creativity, when actually, your life is already overfilled and you really don’t fancy getting up at 4am to fit in a couple of hours of writing.
Maybe the idea has been hanging around for a few months, or a few years – and while you know you still want to do it, you can’t imagine how you’re ever going to manage it. So what’s the next step? How do you turn a great idea into a successful book?
You contact a ghostwriter.
Suddenly there’s someone who you can talk to about your ideas, who understands what you want to do and who knows how to do it. A professional ghostwriter will bring reassurance, expertise and so much more to the table.
You need to like and trust your ghostwriter, because you’re going to be working together for a while. You need to feel that they get you, and get what your book is all about. But once you find the right person, working with a ghost makes sense in so many ways. And you won’t be alone. Well over half of non-fiction books on sale today are the result of collaborations between the name on the cover and a ghostwriter. Which means it’s a tried and tested route to success.
Here are some of the things you can expect a top ghostwriter to do:
- Talk through your ideas and understand what it is you want to say and achieve
- Help you to establish the book’s themes
- Agree with you the right length, depending on the kind of book it is and the market you want it for
- Interview you in depth to establish the material for the book
- Ask the right questions, bringing experience and insight to the process and get the absolute best from you
- Carry out additional research and fact-checking
- Structure the book so that it flows, entertains and absorbs the reader
- Take on board your comments, thoughts and requests
- Help you with the extras – the index, acknowledgments, references and so on
- Advise you about how best to publish your book and give you information that will make the process simpler
A ghostwriter will be with you for the long-haul, seeing your book through to the end, whether that takes weeks or months. We’re on your side, but we’ll never take over – the book will always be yours, it will have your voice, your style and your final stamp of approval.
And with your book in capable hands, you can worry about everything else.
Caro Handley has ghostwritten and edited over 60 books, including four Sunday Times No 1 bestsellers.