Writing Academy, Memoirs, Novels, Short Stories, Book Proposals

New York City Writing Coach

Gay Walley

Why a ghostwriter and how to pick one?

There is no question that with self-publishing getting cheaper and Amazon able to sell any book, more and more people see themselves writing books. In many businesses, people brand themselves with a book – this is our philosophy and what we offer – told in a narrative voice. There are a million stories in the naked city and it seems people want them out there. Sometimes people want books about their lives for future generations. Sometimes people want a book to set the record straight on an event that was never understood correctly. Sometimes people want a book to bring to life someone in their life whom they believe is worthy of being known forever.
But not everyone has the time, temperament or ability to write a book. It takes enormous concentration, an almost nerd-like specificity, and certain tricks of the trade – story telling, dialogue, knowing what to put in and what to leave out to make the book riveting.
So many people hire a ghostwriter who write the book for them under your name. It’s much faster than writing it yourself, getting frustrated, and finding out sitting down at a desk continually bores you. It’s just not your thing. No harm done. Writers make very little money and we can use the work. But how do you choose a ghost writer?
There are a few traits to look for and ensure in your writing hand:
• Pick someone who has published books. Reason? We know how to write. Don’t pick your cousin because he or show knows you well. Choose a proven writer.
• Pick someone whom you like talking to. Because that’s what you’re going to be doing. Telling your story over and over, answering questions, going back and forth. Digging deeper into scenes and reasons for the scenes.
• Don’t choose an egotist. You will often not agree with how they portrayed characters or events because the writer wasn’t there, and the writer has to be open and willing to making your changes.
• Find someone who is empathic. A story is as good as its honesty and pain and you have to work with someone who feels for you and is willing to open that up in a story. In other words, the writer has to make emotional connections that you might not have made yet. Together you are exploring the depth of your story and that makes the book better and the process that much more engaging.
• Definitely choose someone who is timely and organized or you will go mad. If the writer says he or she will give you chapter one on Tuesday, you know they will. They will work out an outline at the beginning that you both can work to. They constantly have the whole story in their mind and are working to it.
• I recommend someone who is a bit of a dramatist and knows both how to build tension in a story but also how to capture your voice. This is YOUR story, not the writer’s and it has to sound like you. The writer brings the right words, the right narrative line, may add in depth, but it is your story and your name on the book. It’s got to sound like you.
Writing a book, with or without someone else, is a transformative experience and there is a wonderful feeling of having a book in your own name. You will heal your own wounds in the writing, you will re-experience that which was seminal in your life. People will know you in a different way and you will be in the river of literature. It’s a great idea to do it. And there are always great writers out there to help you.
For more information on this subject, feel free to go to www.gaywalley.com