Ghostwriting is a select (and expensive!) service that I provide. It involves writing as you but may also look like pair writing or co-writing. Read on to learn more.
Click a link to jump to a section that interests you:
- What is ghostwriting?
- Who is this ghostwriting service for?
- What this service includes
- What this service does NOT include
- Worried about defamation?
- Book a free consultation to discuss your project.
What is ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is a process of writing a book that is your book, but written by someone else. You are the author, but the ghostwriter is your hands.
Unlike copywriting, which is when you pay someone to write for you, a ghostwriter writes as you. There are some very interesting and nuanced intellectual property boundaries around such an engagement. But for all that it is also very common.
Some famous ghostwritten books
You may have heard of one or more of the following titles. All of them were ghostwritten (or ‘co-written’, which is a polite way of saying the same thing):
- Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal
- Jack Welch: Straight from the Gut
- Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity
- Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness
- Meg Whiteman, The Power of Many
Who is this ghostwriting service for?
My ghostwriting service is for:
- business books
- politically and socially challenging books, especially memoir
- oral histories
You can pitch me on fiction and kids books. I’ll see how I feel about the project when you pitch me.
- history of your business
- knowledge capture from your staff
- thought leadership ghostwriting for your key directors
- Communities (chiefly oral histories)
- sports teams
What this service includes
This service typically includes deep dive research: Interviews, document research, factual research.
Individuals ought to be prepared to allow me to read letters, diaries, journals, and to see mementos, as well as to dig up photographs and family histories. You must also be willing to introduce me to significant others who may help me to understand your story. (And they must be willing to participate!).
Businesses and communities must also be prepared to spend time with me. Ghostwriting is a collaborative process. Abdication does not work.
Unless you agree to a fully collaborative co-writing relationship, I will define the story arc, the character set and will draft the story. Be prepared for me to do that without your consultation.
You will see the second draft, not the first one. As Stephen King says, write the first draft with the door closed and the second draft with the door open.
How long does it take?
Be prepared for your ghostwriting engagement to take 12-18 months from kick-off to first read of the story. If you are unavailable, if life or illness or other things intervene, it can take much, much longer.
What this service does NOT include
This service does not include:
- pitching publishers
- organising publication
- publishing guidance
- book design, illustration, or covers
- market research.
Learn more about what ghostwriting is not by reading this post.
Worried about defamation?
DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer and thus cannot give you legal advice. If you are worried about defamation, always seek the advice of a lawyer. Who cares if they’re expensive: It’s worse to end up in trouble!
Beyond the disclaimer, it’s important to understand that defamation is about hurt feelings. If the people in your story are dead, they can’t have hurt feelings any more. Neither can their family members have hurt feelings on their behalf. If the people in your story are not dead, then you have to tread carefully.
There are many ways to get around issues of defamation. You might:
- combine characters into a different character
- rename people
- fictionalise your story
… or you might choose to just suck up the risk.
If your story relates to a settled legal matter, then provided you stay within the boundaries of the judgement you might be ok.
In all cases, I strongly advise my clients to seek legal advice. It is better to have a conversation with a lawyer to understand the risks than to avoid it and hope it doesn’t happen. Hope is not a plan, as they say!
Fees for ghostwriting
Fees for ghostwriting begin at $20,000 (AUD).
Co-writing, where I take more of an editorial role (and you substantially write the book) begin at $12,000. Contact me for details.
Book a free consultation to discuss your project.
If you’d like me to work on your project, you must make yourself available for an initial conversation. Note that bookings are always held on weekends, and will run for a maximum of 60 minutes. Beyond an hour, fees apply.