The Importance of Outlining

The process of ghostwriting a book is a long and complicated one. Even for a veteran writer, each new project begins with trepidation. In our business and preparation, it’s easy to forget that for many of our clients, this is their first time working on a book project. If the feeling of being overwhelmed affects us as writers, imagine how it makes our clients feel!

I’ve found that one of the best things you can do to center both you and your client throughout the book writing period is to put in the right effort, time, and energy into the book outline. Continue reading “The Importance of Outlining”

Association of Ghostwriters

Do an search on Marcia Layton Turner and you’ll find 19 books written or co-written by Turner between 1993 and 2009. She’s also an accomplished magazine writer who’s been published in Business Week, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Health, Parenting and others. On Monday, June 7 of this year, she launched the Association for Ghostwriters. I spoke with Turner on the phone last week (she lives In New York; I’m in Arizona) and in addition to the inherent joys of swapping stories with a fellow ghost, I learned quite a bit about the association.

Continue reading “Association of Ghostwriters”

Five Ways to Successfully Capture Your Author’s Voice

Perhaps the most daunting task of a ghostwriter is nailing your client’s voice. The ability to become a literary chameleon is what separates the great ghostwriters from the rest.

There’s no formula to being a great mimic. Capturing a client’s personality and idioms requires careful study and a great ear. You must be able to pick up little details, phrases, and pacing that other people blissfully ignore in day-to-day interactions.

When I talk to clients, their #1 concern is often the subject of voice (well…after money). They’re concerned those who know them best will be able to tell they didn’t write the work—and rightfully so.

Part of making the sell to a potential client is being able to on one hand assure them you’ll sufficiently represent the core of who they are in your writing and on the other hand calm their fears that people will see through it all. The reality is that people aren’t good readers, and with a few well-placed phrases and idioms, they’ll buy the illusion of authorship.

But the fact that most people can’t tell an author has hired a ghostwriter doesn’t mean we can produce sup-par work and skimp on the work required to nail a client’s voice.

Here are five simple methods I employ with clients in order to successfully morph my writing style to fit their personality. Continue reading “Five Ways to Successfully Capture Your Author’s Voice”

7 Interview Techniques to Keep Your Author Talking

I was excited about the assignment. I had flown in to my destination late at night, and tossed and turned all night in anticipation of meeting the subject of the business book I was hired to ghost.

Not as well-rested as I would have liked to have been but running on adrenaline, I got ready and went down to the hotel lobby to meet my author for the first time.

We got through all the “How was your flight?” small talk and ordered breakfast, so it was time for me to get out the digital recorder and ask the first of many questions during my two-day visit.

“Fire away!” he said.

I can’t remember the specific question I asked first, but I do remember the answer: “Yes.”

Then silence. Continue reading “7 Interview Techniques to Keep Your Author Talking”