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Tips For finding and working with a ghostwriter

Everyone has a unique story to tell, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to tell it.

A ghostwriter takes someone else’s thoughts or ideas and turns them into written words, usually staying anonymous on the final, published product. There are ghostwriters for just about everything, including articles, technical manuals, and even memoirs.

Stories are the backbone of most family history. They make up much of the conversation around the kitchen table. They’re brought up at weddings, at births, and at funerals. We learn who we are by the lives of those who came before us. We identify ourselves as the Millers clan, the Jones clan, the Smith clan. Working with a ghostwriter can help you preserve this unique history for present and future generations.

Oftentimes, family stories are even more important than the physical objects that get passed down from generation to generation. When you hire a ghostwriter to tell your story, you’re able to pass down both. But, where to start?

How to Find a Ghostwriter

While the internet possesses a wealth of options, sometimes the sheer number can feel overwhelming. Just about anyone can claim the ability to tell someone else’s stories. In reality, ghostwriting requires a particular skill set even within writing itself. Just because someone is a good fiction writer doesn’t mean they would make a good ghostwriter. In fact, even a memoirist isn’t automatically able to tell others’ stories.

Perform a Focused Search

There are a few things you can do to narrow down your search options for working with a ghostwriter. Asking for recommendations from those you know is a great way to start. You can also search profiles on LinkedIn, or check out pages or groups on Facebook. It can also be beneficial to check out ghostwriting companies. These companies have a number of ghostwriters on hand who have passed screening and training, and they have successful books under their belt. Such companies also have a hand in the project from beginning to end, so you’re not left to micromanage or guess which step should come next.

Find a Ghostwriter Whose Style You Like

A good ghostwriter should be able to impersonate you while also possessing a personal writing style you admire. Ghostwriters can’t always say who their clients are, due to non-disclosure agreements. However, most can show you examples of their work in other forms. If you find a ghostwriter you like but can’t find an example of their voice, you can always ask for a paid sample on a particular topic.

Make a Personal Connection

One of the most important aspects of a quality collaboration is trust. You will no doubt be sharing very personal information when you hire a ghostwriter. For this reason, it is imperative that you are comfortable with him or her. Speaking in person, over the phone, or on Skype can help you determine your level of comfort. Using these methods for the interviews is also a good idea. Story Terrace has ghostwriters who conduct interviews in the comfort of the customer’s home. Teresa Samuel says of working with her ghostwriter: "Sara really took the time to help me to find the structure in the story of my life.” Many times, some of the most important nuggets in a book come out of conversations that digressed from the main question, and these are more easily obtained in face-to-face interactions.

Collaborate on the Scope and Process

Before any work takes place, you and the ghostwriter should be clear on what type of book you want to write and how it will be written. You don’t need to know your exact themes, because the ghostwriter often comes to these on their own off the interview notes. But you will want to know your intended audience. Are you creating the book for your family? For marketing purposes? For yourself? Once this has been determined, make a plan for the next steps. Most ghostwriters will provide some combination of handing over a rough outline for approval, writing a first draft for approval, and then writing a third or final draft for completion.

Use an Editor and/or Designer

Working with a ghostwriter is just one of the steps to creating a finished project. Your book will also need to be looked over by an experienced editor. The format of the book, and the placement of pictures, etc., will be the job of a designer. Lastly, you need someone to print the book. These added necessities are another benefit of going with a ghostwriting company. Most companies, like Story Terrace, have staff on hand who each play their part in the final product. It is like buying in bulk instead of paying for each item individually.

Whether you want to tell your own story or help a family member tell theirs, there are individuals and organizations out there who can make this wish come to life. Imagine your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews having ready access to your life’s journey. The text and any pictures you include can be right there within the pages, ready to be opened at any and all times. Your voice will stay with those you love, and your stories will be told your way. As Peter Handke says, “ If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”

If you’re ready to start working with a ghostwriter or just want more information, sign up for the Story Terrace newsletter or contact us for a free consultation.


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