So You Want to Write a Book…but not Really

chapter one

So, you’re hanging out with a colleague at lunch and chatting about the latest headlines when it hits you. The world wavers, you feel a little faint, your heart pounds rapidly and your head feels two sizes too large. You just had a great idea for a book.

Your idea is so perfect, so revolutionary, that you can’t believe no one else has done it before. It’s an idea that will fill a gap that readers didn’t even know existed. It’s a topic so visionary that it threatens to put novelty back into novels.

There’s just one catch; there’s no way you’re going to be able to write it yourself.

First of all, you’re far too busy and you don’t quite see yourself asking your boss for a sabbatical in order to write the next great American novel. Writing a book takes time – lots of time – along with dedication, patience, persistence, and a boat load of talent. In fact, it takes a certain skill set to fill a blank screen with words that flow, transition, burst with imagery, and reel the reader in. But there’s no need to give up the dream, even with these obstacles in your way.

Why? Because you can hire a ghostwriter to write your book for you.

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but many novels and books, from popular ones to more obscure titles, were actually put together by book writers for hire, especially with self-publishing so easy and affordable to do these days. Instead of thinking about the creation of a novel having to take place from one rainy day to the next while writing away in the attic of an old farmhouse, think of the novel as a team effort. You come up with the amazing concept and structure for the book, while your book writers for hire fill in the scaffolding with words.

In this situation, you essentially become the catalyst for the creative process. Your inspiration gets the ball rolling, while your ghostwriting team fortifies and builds on this momentum. If this kind of setup is something that perks your interest, you need to keep a number of things in mind.

First of all, you need to make sure that you’ve got all the necessary ghostwriting paperwork signed and in order. If things work out great and your book makes believers out of skeptics and fans out of critics, you’ll want to prevent your ghostwriter(s) from muddying the waters.

Do this by making sure that your writer agrees to keep the arrangement and any sensitive information learned completely confidential. Ensure that the expected milestones and output are clear, as well as the payment structure and relevant due dates. Also lock in the fact that you will have the sole copyright to the written work produced. In fact, the ideal thing to do is forge a constructive relationship with a lawyer who has experience in writing these kinds of contracts.

Many things will follow from a well-written contract. For example, you will be able to develop a better work flow with your book writers for hire, since both parties have a clear grasp of expected outcomes and deadlines. Just keep on referring back to your written agreement and then elaborate as you go.

Also, consider the advice offered by Mary Ellen Slayter in her article “5 Tips for Working with a Ghostwriter”. Slayter advises people to give examples of the kind of output they would be happy with to make sure that both parties are on the same page. She also notes that it’s important to specify the breadth and scope of the roles the parties will play. Will your ghostwriter also perform a bulk of the research, for instance? Or is that something you plan to do yourself? Finally, she advises people to keep the workflow organized by using an outline and to consistently provide sufficient feedback for their ghostwriter.

Jennifer B is a freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom. The former allows her to be the latter and keep her sanity by engaging in the creative process everyday.


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