A year of ghostwriting

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I made a good living as a ghostwriter in 2018. Is that who I am now? When I stopped working for a company and became independent three years ago, a prominent ghostwriting agency reached out to me. I told the owner, “I do not ghostwrite books for others.” But to keep an open mind, I … Continued

Donald Trump, “The Art of the Deal,” and the ethics of ghostwriting

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The New Yorker just published a fascinating article, “Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All,” revealing what really happened when Tony Schwartz ghostwrote The Art of the Deal for Donald Trump. Schwartz says, “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” … Continued

The 31 million ways to ghost write a book

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“What’s your process for ghostwriting a book?” This is a simple question with 31 million possible answers. It all depends on how the author (client) and the ghost writer plan to work together. Here’s a set of questions that the writer and the author/client should agree on before you get started. These apply to nonfiction … Continued

The client cascade

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In January of 2020, nearly two years ago, I got an email from an executive at a large streaming entertainment company. Would I consider conducting a business writing workshop for the company? Sure, I said. He asked for details and references. I sent the prospect — let’s call him Oliver — my one-page writeup for … Continued

What to expect from Donald Trump’s next book

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I believe Donald Trump’s next book will come out in 2022, will move the needle on his election, and will generate tens of millions of dollars for him. A New York Times newsletter sent today explains how political books continue to sell on both sides of the political divide. Conservatives now have their own publishers, … Continued

What it means if I ask to share book revenue with you

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I charge what I’m worth. Whether it’s a book proposal, book editing, or ghostwriting, I figure out how much work it will take, multiply by my hourly rate, and price accordingly. My price is fixed. I don’t charge by the hour, I charge by the job. If you propose to pay me out of your … Continued

Must a ghostwriter adopt the author’s voice?

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If you are a ghostwriting a book, must it reflect the voice of the author for whom you’re writing it? I first encountered this question in a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) conference talk by Blythe Campbell. Blythe speaks and writes eloquently about how public relations professionals need to listen to and understand their … Continued

The two crucial questions every ghostwriter must ask

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Ghostwriting is full of potential pitfalls. Asking two questions can help you avoid them and get your pricing and process right. What you will read in this post is based on my own experience ghostwriting two nonfiction books and many proposals, and from war stories from other ghostwriters. The two questions you must answer before … Continued