I’ve been curious about the idea of being a ghostwriter for years – the name implies someone mysterious and hidden in the shadows. The reality of ghostwriting isn’t like that, and probably not as dramatic as Robert Harris made out in his novel The Ghost, but it is clearly very interesting and rewarding.
The expert in the field is Andrew Crofts, who has co-authored or ghosted something like 60 books, so his how-to guide seemed a good place to start. He explains the technical aspects, such as producing a synopsis and a chapter breakdown before you start. Then he talks about the writing process itself, including creating believable dialogue and an authentic voice for the author.
When we think of ghosting these days, we imagine pneumatic models or 20-something reality show contestants, cashing in on their 15 minutes of fame. While this is an area which will continue to be popular, it’s not likely to be the sort of book most people will be looking to write.
Crofts gives examples of “ordinary” people who have had amazing experiences, memoirs of business magnates and even writing family histories. He says that often these people approach the ghostwriter, rather than the other way round. They may not create best-sellers, but they are able to preserve their story for posterity, which is just as important.
I think there’s another sector here, one which didn’t exist when Crofts last updated his book in 2004, and that’s eBooks. What he talks about is finding a story compelling enough to persuade a publisher to invest time and money to promote it.
Nowadays, people are creating their own eager audiences via the web, becoming an expert in their field and sharing their knowledge. They are keen to expand their offering, but don’t have the time to write a book. And this is where a ghostwriting service comes in.
The ghostwriter can work with the expert to create an eBook which is available as an instant download, addressing a need and generating income. Improvements in print on demand services means that physical copies of the book can be produced quickly and cheaply and shipped anywhere in the world.
I believe that this will be the way forward. More people are seeking to share information with a wider audience, and can’t keep up with demand if they want to continue building their business as well as producing meaningful books.
If you’d like to know more about writing your memoirs, click here.