Tips for Collaborative Writing Projects

Recently, I’ve been collaborating on the writing of a business book, and it’s given me a great insight into what ghostwriting clients want. It’s also made me think of some ways to make the process easier for all involved.

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  1. Know your topic: this might sound obvious, but the clearer you are on what you’re going to write about, the better than the end result. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to know enough to give the reader something useful. You need to be confident that you have a lot of information and can actually fill a book.
  1. Know how long you want your book to be: do you want to produce a thick handbook or a slim how-to guide? It’s worth bearing in mind that for an A5 size book with 120 pages, you’ll need around 50,000 words. That’s quite a lot! If you’ve got a lot of knowledge to share, that might be doable, but you might consider writing a series of shorter volumes instead. Not only is this easier to produce, but it means that you can have your first book ready to go sooner.Collaborating with your writing
  1. Plan it out: you can sit down with the ghostwriter to do this, but it’s important to have a rough framework before you start the writing process. The introduction and conclusion will probably be easier to write once you’ve completed the rest of the book, but take time to map out what subjects to cover and in which section, and make sure it will flow properly.
  1. Have source material ready, or be able to signpost the ghostwriter appropriately: If you’ve got the background research already completed, that makes the writing process a lot quicker, even if it’s rough notes or reference books. If you want to include original interviews, give the ghost as many contact details as you can. If the ghost is going to interview you, the two of you should sit down and plan the questions together.
  1. Agree realistic deadlines: You will have a final date by which you want the book completed, which is good, because it means you and your collaborator have a goal to work towards. However, remember that writing will be time-consuming for both of you, and sometimes things can happen to slow the process down.You may be waiting for an interviewee to agree to a meeting, or be waiting for permission to quote someone else’s work. Where you can, build a little bit of time into your plan to allow for any hold-ups, and you’ll be a lot less stressed if anything does go wrong.

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