GHOST WRITER FOR HIRE: HELP WRITING YOUR BOOK
A ghostwriter for hire, I often find clients are concerned that their book doesn’t sound as if someone else wrote it. I explain that a skilled ghostwriter will capture their voice.
When I ghostwrite, I fuss over transition words (would that client say “then too” or “moreover”?), adjectives, sentence structure, first- versus second- or third-person, and the rhythms of a person’s spoken voice. I read samples of their past writing and talk to them about what they liked or didn’t like about their voice in those samples. I listen to them speak, and I read transcripts of interviews they have done.
I have no defensiveness when a client tweaks my writing. In fact, I encourage them to tell me, “I wouldn’t use that word” (oops, my bad!) or “I wouldn’t say it quite that way; there’s a nuance I have to explain to you.” I remember one client telling me years ago, “I am gentle with my readers because they have a great deal of embarrassment about their situations, so I never say ‘You should’ or start a sentence with ‘Don’t.’” That was helpful feedback that I kept in mind through the rest of the writing process.
Who is your audience? How would you like them to perceive you? Your voice in your book should reflect the relationship you want to create between you, the writer, and your reader. It is not simply about what you want to say. As a developmental editor, I’ve been known to point out places in an author’s book where I think his tone is a little off and needs to be altered. I know some people think that if you write books using your own voice, you can’t successfully switch over to writing in someone else’s voice. This simply isn’t true. It’s really a matter of setting aside your ego and tuning in to the other person’s energy, personality, and styles of speaking and writing.
One of the advantages of having me ghostwrite their books, my clients have discovered, is that when they are suddenly asked to write something short-form on a deadline, I can jump in easily to do it for them, not just because I know their ideas and material but because I know how they like to sound on the page or screen. For a busy professional running workshops and seminars, having a ghostwriter available can be an incredible asset even after the book is written. Jumping in to that role when you don’t know a person and his voice well is much harder, I am sure!
P.S. One of my hats is ghostwriting, and I just made a little promotional video about this service. (For those of you thinking of creating videos of your own to promote your work, I made this using iMovie software, stock photographs, and royalty free music, for under $20: check out www.FootageFirm.com for music and video clips, and www.istockphoto.com and www.bigstockphoto.com for photographs. I began with a script, looked for photographs to illustrate my core ideas, and found appropriate music from my collection.).
P.P.S. If you’re interest in not only writing a book and getting it published but also in making it discoverable, you might want to check out my vision plan service for authors seeking a clear vision of how they will meet their goal of becoming a published author.
Nancy Peske is a ghostwriter, developmental editor, and book publishing consultant who has done editorial work on books including bestsellers and award-winners for over 30 years.
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