Let's lift the veil
Ghostwriting is a mysterious world! But we’re lifting the veil and talking about the actual ins and outs of how to work with a ghostwriter to write a non-fiction book for your business. What does the writer do? What do you do? How do you work with a ghostwriter?
I’m Liz, the writer behind Green Goose Ghostwriting, where online entrepreneurs get help to write books that build their businesses.
A story about sloppy joes
If, like me, you’re not from North America, you might not know what a sloppy joe is. It’s ground beef in a tomato-y sauce, served on a hot dog bun. I think there are different variations, but when I first encountered a sloppy joe, it was with a hot dog bun.
It was nine years ago. I’d just started dating this cute Canadian guy (who is now my husband) and his parents would have me over for dinner all the time. One night my now mother-in-law made sloppy joes and, being the lovely family they are, they invited me to serve myself first. And I had no idea what to do!
I didn’t know if the beef went on the side, or directly on the bun, and there was cheese—I had no idea where that was supposed to go! And I was confused. And embarrassed to be the weird foreigner who didn’t even know how to put a sloppy joe together.
Now, that’s a bit of a silly example, but it reminds me of how you can feel a bit of an idiot when you don’t really know what the protocol is, what’s expected, or what the “normal way” of doing things is.
Don't worry if you feel like an idiot!
And I think that’s common when people start looking into working with a ghostwriter. They have a sense it could be helpful, but they don’t really know how it works, or what’s expected of them, or what the “normal way” of working with a ghostwriter is. So let’s clear that up.
There are three ways most people work with a ghostwriter.
1. You can have a ghostwriter rewrite your draft
If you’ve written a draft of a book and you look at it and think, This isn’t everything I want it to be, you can hire a ghostwriter to fix it for you. If you know your draft is a mess, and think an editor would have a hard time with it because it doesn’t even really make sense yet, then you can turn that rough draft over to a ghostwriter.
They'll spend time talking with you about what you want to achieve and why you don’t love it. Then they can rewrite the draft to turn it into the book you dreamed of.
2. You can have a ghostwriter create a draft from other content
This is probably more common than the first, and is ideal for those who have a lot of written or video content floating around in various forms. Here, you give the ghostwriter any content you already have, which could include:
- blog posts,
- course materials,
- videos, podcasts, or transcripts of you speaking,
- lead magnets,
- worksheets you use with clients, or
- anything else!
The ghostwriter will interview you and together you’ll work out an outline for the book. The ghostwriter will then go away and write the book, based on the content you’ve shared with them and the interviews.
3. You can have a ghostwriter interview you
This last option is great if you don’t have any written or video content to share, but can talk till the cows come home about your subject! You’ll sit down (in person or virtually) and have a series of interviews with your ghostwriter. They’ll record all the calls, take a ridiculous amount of notes, and write your book from those interviews.
What if you don’t fit neatly into one of these three categories?
Of course, you can combine these three tactics to varying degrees and it’s rarely an all or nothing situation. Most ghostwriters will work with you, wherever you’re at and whatever you’ve got to start with.
Do you have more questions about ghostwriting?
Stick your email address is the space below. You’ll get weekly emails from me where I’ll tackle more common questions about ghostwriting, and I’ll also send you cool stuff I come across about writing your non-fiction book.
And of course, if you have a burning question you want to chat about now, you can always click here to shoot me a message.