A ghost WRITER, that is.
I was a corporate speechwriter in a past work life, so writing books for others was a smooth and logical transition for me. Why? I’d become adept at writing in voices besides my own.
But even if you haven’t written speeches or scripts, you can do it. All you need is skill, a collaborative spirit, an open mind, and a good ear. Oh…and an assignment.
Need more encouragement?
Here are five good reasons to become a ghost:
1. People with good book IDEAS outnumber good writers at least ten to one (no hard data here, just a gut feeling based on dozens–possibly hundreds–of conversations with prospective “authors”), and the world is full of subject matter experts who can’t write to save their intelligent souls. This translates to potential job security for you, a person who CAN write.
2. Good writers write to learn. As John McPhee has said, “the fresh eye is a distinct asset.” Ghostwriting for a subject matter expert in a genre outside your own will broaden your experience and personal knowledge, which may expand the market for your own work.
3. Publishers don’t care who writes the book. They just want it to be written so they can package, market and sell it. Publishers keep lists of “can-do” writers, women and men who have proven to deliver the goods. If you make it onto one or more of these lists, you can celebrate Reason 1 above.
4. Writing a book for/with a subject matter expert automatically gives you a partner in the process. Your collaborator may not have your writing chops, but they WILL have passion for the subject AND getting the work to market. One improves the final product, and the other drives the process to completion.
5. Finally, learning the structure and process of producing a book manuscript–and how the publishing world operates–while writing for someone else will absolutely help you when you pitch your own book projects.
That said, your work needs to be good…but that’s a given for ALL of your writing.