My Ghost Writing Journey
It’s been more than 4 years I have been ghostwriting. It was a not-so-popular concept when I started and there weren’t many takers. It has changed surely. I have seen a big spike in number of clients who approach me for this. The challenge with ghostwriting however is that not all the clients need a ghostwriter. To understand this better, let me explain how I approach writing a book (Ghostwriting Service). I divide the whole process in 6 stages :
This is the core of your book and if you are planning to write a book, you should be extremely clear with this. The idea stage is all yours and a ghost writer can just help in polishing it or refining it better. The idea stage should clarify what this book is about, what it wants to achieve and whom does it address.
Once your idea is sorted, you need to get to the research. This is applicable for both fiction and non-fiction. The research helps you know exists in the market and what is the scope of your idea. At times, research is only revisiting your own experiences and learnings and jotting them down.
Planning and Plotting
Based on research and idea, you start structuring your work. In a way, you first create a broad index and then sub-divide it in further points or events and then detail them out to create chapter summaries. Here, you are also developing characters and doing many different exercises to get prepared.
Based on what you have achieved in last three stages, you start to write. Before that, one can experiment with writing styles, ways of narration and more to make sure you like what you are writing. At times, you must write random stuff endlessly to get comfortable with your own voice.
After writing, we start to edit based on feedback from the client or other stakeholders. This editing is to refine the book, not to correct grammar or spelling mistakes. That comes later - to be done by a third party editor contracted separately.
Publishing & Marketing
I guide you and connect with publishers who can be relevant for your book. Also attend initial meetings and write blurb, synopsis etc for the book. And, the classic question - will my book become a bestseller if you will write it? That’s your answer. Sales are linked more to marketing and less to writing. So I help and guide on how to market but that’s a question you need to ask yourself.
What can I do to help you?
I can either do your book from stage 1 to stage 7 or step in to do stage 2 and 3 or just advice you on step 4. Basically, I want to solve your problem and this will depend at who you are, what your project is and what are your set of capabilities and availability of time. To make it simpler, this is how I help you:
Or it can be a mix of any above 4. Commercials vary. For ghostwriting of an end to end project, I charge a fix cost. For others, I evaluate the scope of work and do a contract on the basis of number of hours and bill accordingly. You can email and we can discuss more.
As per my experience in the space of ghostwriting services, I would divide the my clients in these categories:
Become your ghost writer to write end-to-end
Implement all the stages and write this book for you and be with you till it gets published and you can feel it in your hands. Usually, it takes minimum 4-6 months to delivery any project.
Mentor you on how to write and support you in research
Share my own writing exercises, character development logbooks and other material I myself use. Create custom tasks for your project so that you can do research and planning and then guide you on writing within the timeline.
Just write while you give me material
You do all the research and dirty work of planning while I simply write and deliver it to you. Also edit based on feedbacks of course. In such cases, I usually receive sorted material to rewrite in a more effective way.
Just provide you feedback on writing
Help you write; criticise and appreciate. Remind you of timelines and tell you what to do and what not to do. Having a guide during writing is of great help since it paces up your work.
These are my favorite. They are usually doing business books, they can afford the services, have a lot of experience and insights and knows the value of a professional. There is so much to learn from them and everytime you finish a project, you feel you have done another degree in a subject the client was related to. It is difficult to work with them since they are not open to feedback and criticism and not habitual of someone else being in control. But when they start seeing how I am able to bring structure to their thoughts and convert in into something tangible, they start following the path. Projects with them take years and at times, they remain unfinished because of less availability of time for ghost writing and changing priorities.
The Self-help ones (High End Consultants and trainers)
These are the people with decades of experience in a particular domain. It can be health, nutrition, spiritual, confidence building, leadership, emotional wellbeing, relationships and so on. These are easier to do since the material is already there. The job is to convert it into a book which can be read and understood easily by them. Most of the clients in this category are doing this to build their own brand. They use the book as a PR tool and create success stories. It is interesting because there are always good take-aways for me and I develop a good relationship with such clients. So if you are someone planning to write a book like this, will be very happy to know your idea and what you are planning.
(Auto) Biographical – Fictional/Mixed
Rich people who have time and want to do something different. Mostly spouses of big family businesses who want to now go beyond partying, shopping and travelling and think that they must write a book on their life. Or perhaps take them as the protagonist and mix some fiction to add Masala. I like them too – as long as they listen. And as long as they stop making failed attempts to show that they are super-intelligent extraterrestrial beings stuck on planet earth. This is one category of people where I had both kind of experiences – amazingly well and when I wanted to stab them and myself. To be frank, the first reason you should not write an autobiography is because you want to write one. If you are important and your life has lessons that other must learn, some relevant person will do your biography. PS : I am not that relevant person.
I want to be Author
TThey just want to be author and write a fiction (in most probability a love story). They have no budgets. They think they are creative genius and that the author inside them has been struggling to come out. And hence, they decide to bury this author back and hire a ghost writer. Amazing. I can still live with this if they are willing to spend on it. And it is assumed that as soon as they get a ghostwriter on board, they will get a book written in the same style their favorite author writes. Wow! And did I mention that they think that their idea is groundbreaking? If you ask them feedback, you will hear the most vague things ever. Enough of rant – if you have an idea and you want to be an author, I am very happy to help and guide you how to write and weave stories. But not going to write for you and suffer.
Want to write genuine fiction but confused
These are well experienced corporate folks who were creative and could write but succumbed to the job and society. But now when they are more stable and they feel they should make their dreams true and tell the stories they wanted to tell, they try start writing and realise they cannot. Successful achievers can not take failures and hence they decide to find solution and discover ghost writing services and then they waste no time in dialling the number. I love speaking to them. They listen patiently and ask relevant questions and start sweating when they hear about the commercials (It is as much as their one or two months’ salaries). What I advice them is to contract me as a consultant or mentor and let me help them write.
And the last set of people (which I happen to like) who are confident that they can write but need help and support in terms of research, planning, feedback, editing and more. It is amazing to work with them since they are creative, imaginative and they challenge me to do better so that I can add value in what they are doing. Such people are phenomenal (Most of them are not Indians sadly). It is a creative journey with them and you are never bored. It is intellectually stimulating and there is a connection that you feel with the stories and the characters that are being created. I usually avoid the editing and proofreading assignments since I am terrible at it. What I like most in these kind of projects is planning, providing feedback on writing and how to make it more interesting and partially research.