We’ve finally reached the last post of my ghostwriting series. I want to thank you all for reading along; I hope you got something of value out of it.
I’d like to close the series with a few extra tips to help your own ghostwriting efforts.
The four final tips aren't part of any unifying theme other than, here be some good things you should know. Consider how they might help your business or your process, and apply them as (and if) you see fit.
1. Be your client’s best voice.
It’s never just about imitating your client’s voice—it’s about developing it into his or her best voice. Books are formal beasts, and while language evolves and styles adjust to accept more informal work, there is a certain layer of formality that still needs to be there to make the book look professional and polished. It's up to you to make it so.
2. Consider adding other services.
If you want to increase your value to the consumer, consider adding related services to the ghostwriting you do. For example, I partner with a proofreader so that my clients get their books professionally proofread by another set of eyes before they publish them. You can also offer formatting, uploading to various sales channels, writing related blog posts, offering marketing plans, arranging blog tours and more. Make sure you charge appropriately and give your clients some à la carte options so they can better fit your service into their budget.
3. Remember to hold the reigns.
It’s easy for a person who doesn’t write books for a living to want to go too far. In a memoir, they may want to focus on details that don’t move the story forward or add anything of emotional value. For a business book, they may want to reinvent the wheel and waste time explaining topics that their target readers likely already know. It’s up to you to be the authority on how a book should be and to keep your client in check.
4. Be kind.
No, this isn’t a public service announcement about returning VHS tapes (I really hope some of you guys get this one). Your clients are sharing some pretty personal stuff with you—even when you write about seemingly impersonal topics. They are sharing their enthusiasm, ideas, and creativity when they hire you to be their ghostwriter. Be as gentle and kind with these things as you would want someone to be with you if the situation were reversed. Sure you may need to be firm and you may have to keep them focused, but find a way to smooth out your communication edges and treat your clients with the respect they deserve.
Fellow ghosties—feel free to share your tips below!