Four Different Ghostwriting Methods

How do ghostwriters work? What is the ghostwriting process all about? I hear these questions a lot and would like to address them for you.

There are a variety of methods I use when helping someone write a book or a series of articles. I select the best method based on what the author needs and how much they have developed their ideas.

Method 1: Your ideas, my words

The most common request I get is to write a book based on a rough sketch or outline of a book concept. The author has ideas, but hasn’t had the time to form the words. After all, writing fifty thousand words is time consuming!

In this case, I take all the written material they’ve compiled and interview the client. Then I write based solely on that information. I will often supplement chapters with research data where needed as well.

Method 2: Your ideas, your words

This option is surprisingly rare. Most people who have never written a book don’t know how to structure their ideas or material into a complete manuscript. They also have trouble communicating their thoughts so that others can understand them. And while some are able to write, most don’t have the time, which is why they’ve come to me.

However, there are times when a client has found the time to write but will submit pages to me to be rewritten. I use their words but restructure the flow and fix any other issues the author has been struggling with.

Method 3: My ideas, my words

This option is also rare, but once in a while a client will give me a broad topic and a few scattered ideas, and asks me to provide all the rest of the material. I know it may sound strange, but if the topic is within my scope, I can write an entire book based on my knowledge. However, the book still belongs to the client – it’s their idea, they are the author.

In this case, I still interview the client to get personal knowledge or stories to add in. This is crucial in ensuring that the book is truly theirs.

Method 4: Researched ideas, my words

One common request I get from clients is to write a book or series of articles about a specific topic, often about which I know very little. Fortunately, it’s extremely easy to do research. You can learn about practically anything online using the Internet.

I like to ask my clients to provide websites they recommend, so that I follow their philosophy and can work from accurate data on their niche market. Once I have the starting point, it’s easy to navigate through the rest.


I have a lot of experience working with clients using these different methods. Some even use a variety of methods from one project to the next. Each manuscript has its own challenges, but in the end we always produce a good book that communicates well to others!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

It’s Good Business to Write a Book

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

What Do I Need to Start with a Ghostwriter?

What Is the Difference Between a Ghostwriter, an Editor, a Proofreader, and a Publisher?

Eight Reasons Why You Should Write a Book

Laura Sherman (96 Posts)

Laura Sherman, a.k.a. “Laura the Friendly Ghostwriter,” is a professional ghostwriter and author. She enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and is happiest when juggling multiple projects. She recently authored “Chess Is Child’s Play” to introduce the next generation to the game of kings and queens. As a parent of three, and one of the top 50 women chess players in the United States, Laura wrote this book to teach any parent to teach any child, of any age, to play chess.