Ghostwriting Books

Everyone has a book idea in them. However, not everyone can be an author.

You might be an expert in your subject, but aren’t a great writer.

Or you might be an excellent writer, but don’t have the time (or desire) to sit down and crank out a book.

That’s where ghostwriters come in! Ghostwriters take the bulk of the writing work off your plate so you can publish the book that’s burning up inside of you!

The Ghostwriting Process I Use

I use a process some people call a “hybrid” ghostwriting process. I interview you, record the calls, have the calls transcribed, and use that content as a foundation for the book. You can’t just string together interview material into a book—spoken material needs to “converted” to the written word. The material needs to be cleaned up and shaped. I will also need to add connective material to make a cohesive book. This is where my writing and editing skills come into play.

I like this method because I’m not trying to emulate your voice; I now have your voice and your words captured in the content. The book will sound like you, because it IS YOU.

This method also helps writers who have started writing their own book, but have gotten stuck.

What Does This Process Look Like?

  1. We have some Strategy Sessions where we figure out the “why” of your book, your intended audience, and your book’s “hook.”
  2. We create the outline and book structure.
  3. We do a series of phone calls, about 1.5 hours each, where we work through the topics we’ve decided upon in the outline. We can usually get through a chapter in one to two calls. If we’re REALLY in the zone and want to keep going after 1.5 hours, we can, but in my experience 1.5 is just the right amount of talking before we both run out of steam.
  4. The recorded calls get transcribed. 
  5. I clean up the transcriptions and shape the material into your book, adding connective material where necessary.
  6. I send you the introduction (if the book has one) and the first chapter for a “voice and tone” review. This is the most worrisome moment for a ghostwriter client: reading the first few chapters. They want to know that the book sounds like them (spoiler: it will!).
  7. Once you approve the voice and tone (which should be easy, because it’s YOU), then we’ll continue on with the rest of the chapters.
  8. After all the calls have been completed and I have all the material from the outline, I’ll shape the material for the book. When I get all the material in front of me, I may want to move some things around, or change an angle on something to improve it, based on new information. And chances are new material came up in the interview that wasn’t in the original outline.
  9. Once I’ve completed the book, it’s off to you for review.
  10. Once I have your review notes, I’ll update the book.
  11. The book is done!

Genres and Subjects I Work On

I only do nonfiction ghostwriting projects, and I’ll choose which projects to take on.
Genres and subjects I like to work with are:

  • Prescriptive nonfiction (how-to information, or knowledge-sharing content)
  • Technology (AI, Web 3.0, cryptocurrency, etc.)
  • Science (especially hormones, the microbiome and brain science)
  • Alternative medicine (functional medicine, psychedelics for healing, etc.)
  • Woo (the paranormal, parallel universe, time travel stuff)
  • Humorous books
  • Books that represent a business’s services (coaching methods, philosophies, etc.)
  • Business memoirs, especially from women

I’m open to projects that I haven’t listed (as long as they’re not on the next list). I’m continually surprised and pleased by people’s inventive book ideas.

Topics I don’t work on:

  • Trauma memoirs (I have excellent people to refer you to for these though)
  • Sports memoirs
  • Diet books
  • Christian books
  • Book projects that are straight up racist, misogynistic, or based on other offensive topics will be rejected with extreme prejudice.

NOTE: If your book project isn’t on the “offensive” list and I turn it down, don’t take it personally. For example, if I’ve just worked on a bunch of self-help books and you approach me with a self-help book, I may turn it down because I want to take a break from that genre (and I’ll usually tell you this). However, sometimes I’ll turn a book project down because it doesn’t resonate with me. And trust me, you’d rather work with someone who is EXCITED about helping you birth your book! If I turn you down, whenever possible, I’ll try to refer you to a colleague (if I happen to know one who is in your desired genre).

FAQ

Absolutely not. That would be a disjointed book* that wouldn’t read very smoothly.

I use the interviews as a foundation for the book and to capture your unique voice, but I use my writing skills to shape the material into a cohesive book with a narrative structure. Also, someone’s speech is different than the written word, so I need to smooth that out where needed.

*If you want to see what a disjointed book reads like, look at Debbie Harry’s autobiography. While it was fun to read her 80s stories, I had to put it down after a chapter or two, because it was clear it just a bunch of interview fodder. So disappointing.

The cost of developing and writing a manuscript will depend on things like:

  • the desired length of the book
  • the genre/subject matter (more technical material may be charged a higher fee)
  • how much extra research is needed

A ballpark rate is $1 a word. Let’s say you’re looking to write a memoir of 55,000 words with no extra research. I might charge in the range of $50K. This cost will be broken up into multiple payments, with a 40% non-refundable* deposit required to book my time for the next six months.
(*The deposit is non-refundable if you back out of the project before the second milestone. If for some reason I have to back out of the project before the second milestone, I will give you a refund, less the fee for any work I’ve completed.)

Yes, this is a lot of money. You can pay less for a ghostwriter, but chances are they’re not going to be very good.

Yes, the cost of a ghostwriting project is a big chunk of change to spend on an unknown quantity (me).

You can check out samples of my writing. To get a peek into the process, you can hire me for a Strategy Session about your book, where we’ll discuss the things I mentioned previously: the audience for your book, what your book can do for you, and the hook for your book. That call will give you a chance to see how my mind works, how I ask questions, and how we generally vibe together. Well, even if you don’t need to do the Strategy Session, I’ll want to talk to you on the phone to find out more about your project, and see if we vibe together.

In either case, after we chat, if we both want to move forward with the book, then we can discuss the proposed schedule, payments, and sign a contract.

Nope! All you need to start is your idea for a book and your commitment to the process. I’ll work with you to nail down:

  • The “why” of your book
  • The best audience
  • The best “hook” for your book
  • the outline we’ll work from

Of course if you have material already written (blog posts, course content, etc.) we can review it together to see if we can use any of it in your book.

That’s up to you and your availability. The biggest blocks to getting the writing portion of the book completed are getting the author (you) to schedule (and show up for) calls, and review the manuscript and give feedback.

Assuming you commit to one to two calls a week, a ballpark estimate for completing a book of 55,000 to 75,000 words is six months, and that’s the amount of time you’ll be booking me for. Note that this time does not include things like cover design, book layout, or proofreading.

I find a good rhythm is two calls a week. It’s best to not let more than two weeks elapse between calls. When more time elapses between calls, we lose momentum, and then we have to reload our brains with the subject matter, and try to remember what we talked about on the previous call(s).

The hard part is getting the call on your schedule. Then all you have to do is talk, and answer my questions. Easy peasy!