The Authorless Ghost

Something happened to me about a week ago that totally turned what I thought I knew about ghostwriting on its ear.

I’ve been kind of frustrated lately, because I’ve been doing so much copywriting and not a lot of ghostwriting. Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for the work, and, at one time in my life, I wanted to be a copywriter more than anything.

The fast pace and energy of copywriting is still appealing to me, but there’s something about getting to really sink into a project as a ghostwriter that makes it my preferred type of writing these days.

So I got this assignment the other from an ad agency I work with, on a piece of business I’ve been working on for a few years now. They asked me to write a content strategy for this company, which is in the process of overhauling its global Web site.

I didn’t really think too much about it, until I got the kickoff materials, which included a draft of the project. To my amazement, it looked like a book. There was a table of contents, chapters, everything! I really started to get excited, and the project has lived up to every expectation I’ve ever had about ghostwriting.

It involves doing research. It requires organizing large chunks of information. I have to find its voice. However, it really isn’t a book at all. There’s no author. There’s no ISBN number. No one will be buying it on Amazon.com using a Ghostwrite Pro affiliate link (hint, hint). No one will be reading from it at Celebrity Autobiography (which, by the way, your humble bloggers will be going to this November).

But this content strategy does have an audience, and it has value to that audience. And for me, it’s opening up a whole new channel through which I can apply my ghostwriting skills: Internal corporate communications.

I’m sure there are lots of big companies out there who could use internal “books” about all kinds of strategic business topics, from Web content strategies to training manuals. They may not be bestsellers, but they’re great ways for us ghostwriters to practice our craft.

[Photo by Gillian Maniscalco]