Many an opinion abounds about what the job of a ghostwriter is. From over twenty years of experience, and becoming a bestselling ghostwriter and developmental editor, this is what I think a super awesome ghost is…and isn’t.
1. The Best Ghostwriter has the belief that her client’s book is her client’s book. She has no rights to determine the content, the layout, or how it gets published. Each story is unique to each client. Every story is exclusively the client’s. Sure, it is proper for the ghost to suggest, advise, and guide. But the last and final word is the client’s. Ghostwriting is a service that provides a party with exceptional writing according to the client’s wishes. I might add that the suggestions, advice, and guidance from your ghost is based on years of success and expertise. So it would be to your advantage to listen and seriously consider her opinions. However, the final decision is always yours.
2. Trust is an Absolute. Stories must often contain some pretty personal information for the manuscript to be successfully published. If the story doesn’t sing with a style and content that keeps readers turning pages, even unable to put down the book until the final sentence, then it’s not going to provide you with good sales. Everything you reveal to the ghost should always be kept in the strictest confidence. Yes, the ‘revealings’ will be printed, but only if you approve. A ghost never, ever talks about the things that are discussed between you with any third party without your permission. Trust also includes that you have confidence in her ability to write the book you envision in your voice, your style, and exactly the way you want it. Ghosts often become a very close friend and confidante to you. I have made many life-long friendships with some of my clients. And it is very fulfilling, as well as an honor, to forge such trusting, intimate relationships that give birth to stories the world is itching to read.
3. A Ghostwriter Worth Her Salt – and your money – will know how to write your title so that it flows with a rhythm that captures your readers’ attention and never lets go. Flow is what makes or breaks a manuscript. Traditional publishers turn down titles not because of grammar and punctuation mistakes. No! It is due to a lack of flow and the story doesn’t keep the reader reading. That’s it! Readers plunk down their hard earned cash with the expectation to be entertained. And the ghost understands this.
4. Your Professional Ghost will know and understand marketing. Any book has a potential of at least three different marketing categories. She has to know how to do this, and where to find the particular categories with the sub-heads and catalog numbers that go with it. This information goes in the proposal and with the final draft to the publisher. If she doesn’t know what the heck I’m talking about – thank her very much and move on to someone who does understand. This goes for self-publishing too. Marketing is everything.
That’s my take on the four most important qualities of an awesome ghostwriter. Your story is like a baby – valuable and important to you. So search well, my friends.