What’s It Like to Be a Ghostwriter?

A good friend recently asked me, “Hey, Laura, what’s it like to be a ghostwriter? How does the world of ghostwriting work? How do clients find you?” I loved the questions. Thank you, David.

What is a ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters are simply writers who write for a client, but don’t receive any credit for their work. These ethereal creatures are rarely seen. We work hard so you look good.

Over the years, a lot of people have asked me if I mind that I don’t get a cover credit. No, I’m cool with it. Why? Because I love to write. I love being part of the process for another author. It is an honor for me.

Now, I am also an author, with my own published works, so I don’t crave seeing my name on the cover of a book. I’ve experienced that joy!

What’s it like to be a ghostwriter?

It’s exhilarating!

Truly. Each project I work on is a fresh new adventure. Sure, some themes are similar to others, but no two authors have the same experience or the same message. In addition, each author brings their own unique perspective to the project.

I’m the kind of person who gets very wrapped up in my projects. I am fully engaged and learn a lot about the subject matter so that I become an expert in that field for the year or two it takes me to finish the book.

What do ghostwriters write?

There are many kinds of ghostwriters. Some specialize in screenplays, while others only pen memoirs. A number write novels or only write niche-market how-to booklets. Then again, many focus on ghostwriting articles.

I’ve ghostwritten about thirty books. Some are short stories, while others are over 400 pages in length. Most are memoirs.

I look for content when choosing my next project. I only work on books with positive messages which will help the author’s readers in some meaningful way. I also look for clients I can work with and who can easily communicate their ideas to me.

There’s a special bond that forms between me and my clients; I can’t explain it, but it is apparent when it is there.

How do clients find me?

Before I had a website, clients would just find a way to reach out to me, usually through word of mouth or some bizarre and extraordinary set of circumstances. Honestly, the whole process seemed magical!

Nowadays, most of my clients come in through my blog articles. They search the internet looking for help and find my page. When my clients find my website, something resonates for them and they stop shopping around and contact me.

I try to answer most emails that come my way, even if I know the writer can’t afford me or the project isn’t a good fit for me. If I believe I can help the person, I’ll reply.

Flexibility is key

A good ghostwriter is flexible. We have to be, because we work with a slew of different personalities and creative voices. The style and feel of one book will be different from another. It has to have the voice and spirit of the author to be authentic.

The needs of my clients also vary. Some wish a book written very quickly, while others require a lot of time to collaborate. Each relationship I have with an author is unique and I work hard to make the process enjoyable for each person.

I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on what’s it like to be a ghostwriter. If you need help and wish to chat with me, please feel free to reach out to me! I’d love to help you write your book.

 

 

Tips For Writing A Memoir

I suspect that a number of you, my gentle readers, are thinking about writing a book. Am I right? Perhaps you want to share your life story. If so, here are some tips for writing a memoir:

Writing a memoir takes time

Photo by hannah grace on UnsplashWriting a book isn’t an overnight undertaking.

Although it might be possible to complete a book in a month or two, I urge you not to rush the process. Even if you have plenty of time, give yourself some breathing room.

Six to eight months is a good timeframe for completing a book. Set daily targets and hold yourself accountable to making them. Your memoir will be the better for it.

Character flaws are key

Even if you are a living hero, you’ll need to take a step back and look for a few non-optimum personality traits to share.

The reason for this is that the rest of us, your readers who have flaws, will never be able to relate to the story of a perfect superhero. Include the mistakes you’ve made in your life. Find a few lapses in judgment and delve into them. Anecdotes showing how you overcame barriers and errors will enhance your book.

Humor goes a long way

When an author can poke fun at his or her situation and enliven a story by bringing out its comical aspect, it makes for a more enjoyable and memorable read. While it is best not to make fun of others in your book, there are still plenty of other ways to include humor.

For instance, funny dialogue snippets lighten the mood nicely. There might also be times when you can uncover an absurd moment then expand on it. Don’t be afraid to shine a spotlight on certain aspects of your life that might make others laugh out loud.

Write and write and write

If you’re writing a memoir yourself, you’ll need to write on a regular basis.

Don’t expect to make much progress if you only type a few pages on the weekends. Great writers write every day. It keeps ideas flowing and the creative pump primed.

Feel free to embellish the details

No one expects you to remember every single little detail of your life perfectly.

For example, can you recall what you had for breakfast on October 20th, 1974? If you’re writing a breakfast scene and want to put Eggs Benedict on the table, go ahead. Your readers will accept it.

The situation is similar with dialogue. If you are writing about an important conversation, your readers don’t care about the exact words spoken. They just want to know the gist of the conversation.

The truth is, even if you have a photographic memory, you will want to change up the words a bit to improve the flow of the story. However, never invent fictitious and unflattering words for a real person you’re mentioning by name. He or she might not appreciate your creativity.

Be honest

Although you’re delving into the viewpoint of one character, you, you need to have the ability to pull back from your perspective.

Be objective.

This might mean that you don’t come out the winner in every argument. And, please don’t resent me for saying so, but you might turn out to be wrong on occasion. It happens! Remember, flawless characters aren’t very believable.

One of my biggest tips for writing a memoir is to be truthful with your readers. It’s possible that they might learn a lesson and avoid making the same mistakes you did. Wouldn’t it be good to know that your book changed the life of just one person?

Read other memoirs

Photo by Lê Tân on UnsplashI read a quote today that I loved. It said:

“Reading and writing cannot be separated. Reading is breathing in. Writing is breathing out.” (I wish I knew who wrote it.)

Writing a memoir is difficult if you’ve never read one by another writer. Reading a lot will help you learn about what works and what doesn’t.

With these tips for writing a memoir, you are ready. Now start writing. Continue to write. Then write some more until your first draft is completed.

Don’t edit, just write.

Enjoy the experience.

Personally, I love ghostwriting memoirs because I get to meet new people and help them share their life stories with others. While doing so, they usually remember new details about their lives that they’d forgotten for decades. And, in the end, they always learn a lot, as do their readers. The process is so rewarding!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How To Write A Nonfiction Book

Why Should I Hire a Ghostwriter?

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

Understanding Characters

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Ask a Ghostwriter: Organizing and Outlining a Memoir

Dear Friendly Ghostwriter, I want to write my life story. I’ve been working on my memoir for seven years, but haven’t made much progress. I know what I want to write about, but I can’t seem to get my thoughts on paper. Help! – Emma V.

Dear Emma V.,

Honestly, I think the problem might be simpler than you think. Consider outlining your memoir. Working from a jumbled mess of notes can be daunting for many.

Now, some writers feel that outlining takes all the joy out of the process. One friend once told me, “If I were to outline the entire book, what would be the point in writing it? I know exactly what will happen!” Although I understood what he meant, I couldn’t disagree more.

Outlining saves time

As a writer, I enjoy creating the mile markers first and then filling in the details. I prefer knowing where I’m starting and where I’m going. It puts me in the driver’s seat.

Before I commit to days of writing, I want to know where I’m heading. I mean, if wrote thousands of words, which veered off a cliff, I’d have to toss it. That is frustrating to anyone.

Bottom line, if you’re stuck and unable to write, please consider writing a good, strong, detailed outline.

Outlining a memoir

If you’re writing a memoir (or fiction), tackle each individual incident. It’s important to work out:

  • Who is in the scene
  • Where it takes place
  • When it happened
  • What happened (briefly)
  • What is the purpose of the scene.

The last point is the most important aspect for this exercise by far. After all, if the scene has no purpose, you shouldn’t waste your time writing it. It will just land on the editing room floor at the end of the project.

Your outline should be purpose driven. Every scene must propel your story forward. Each incident must have a reason for being there, something that fits in with the flow of the book.

Outlining a how-to book

If you’re writing a how-to book, your outline will be very different. I’d suggest that you create a table of contents, with bullet points for subheads. I often write a little paragraph describing the proposed text under each segment.

I’d love to hear from fellow writers. What do you think? Do you use an outline? Please post your thoughts in the comments below.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Easy Tips For Writing Your Book

Do You Want To Write A Book About Your Life?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

How To Write A Nonfiction Book

Options for Hiring a Ghostwriter

Do you have a story to tell, but don’t have the time or expertise to write a book? Perhaps it is time to consider hiring a ghostwriter. Many authors do.

Your first step will be to interview several writers, so you can get quotes for your project. Take your time and get to know the ghostwriter before you sign the contract.

It’s good to remember that you have options. Discuss these with your ghostwriter and determine the best path for you.

There are a few ways to go:

Write a proposal

Do you have a nonfiction book (memoir or how-to book) concept that is very marketable? Would you prefer to have a publishing contract? Then your best bet is to write a proposal. In addition, when the idea is strong enough and you have an excellent marketing plan, you might be eligible to receive a healthy advance.

You can find examples and how-to articles on how to write a proposal online, but keep in mind that a publisher will be looking for certain components. If your proposal is poorly written or violates the basic rules, it will be rejected automatically.

If this is an unfamiliar arena for you, hiring a ghostwriter to write your proposal is your best bet. It typically costs about $10,000 and will include all the requirements, including two chapters of your book.

Self-publish

If you know that you can market your own book, self-publishing offers a lot of advantages. Many busy authors hire ghostwriters to write their books for them.

Expect to spend anywhere from $25,000 – $80,000 on your book. The price will depend on the ghostwriter’s experience, ability, and the size of the project.

You may get quotes that are below $10,000 and that might sound very tempting. However, a book written for such a low price tag will most likely not meet with your expectations. It will draw poor reviews, which is the kiss of death for a new author.

Write the book yourself and hire an editor

If you realize that you don’t have the budget needed for hiring a ghostwriter, you will need to buckle down and write it yourself. This is a reasonable option for people who are able to write.

If you need help, consider hiring a mentor to help you through the basics. A good writing coach can guide you through the steps and help you avoid basic errors.

For those authors writing a memoir or novel, I would also highly recommend that you pick up and read Digital Ink. Available on Amazon for just a few dollars, it will give you many important tips on how to write your book. Read it cover to cover.

Once you have finished your final draft, you will need to find and hire an editor to help you polish and correct any errors or inconsistencies. This service will cost a few thousand dollars.

Whatever option you pick, whatever path you take, understand that you will need to market your own book. You’ll need to have your own blog and be acquainted with all the basic social media sites. That’s a must for any author.

Writing your first book is a big step! If you are hiring a ghostwriter, make sure that you’ve explored your options and you have selected the right path for you. If you need help sorting through your choices, feel free to email me. I’m here to help!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Do you want to write a book about your life?

Do you need help writing a book?

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?

How To Write A Book Proposal

Tips to Find Your Memoir Theme

Brave Knight

Photo by Henry Hustava on Unsplash

Writing a memoir requires the skill sets and virtues of a knight.

The author needs unparalleled bravery and must possess an honest and true heart. He or she has to show humility and be generous to the others mentioned in the book, even when they don’t deserve it.

But how do you find the theme of the tale you want to tell?

Start with the end to find your memoir theme

A good memoir takes the reader on a journey of the courageous hero (you). Your path should lead to growth or accomplishment of a goal (if it doesn’t, please rethink writing the book). This growth or accomplishment will point you in the direction of your memoir theme.

While the spoils of war, the victories, are the focus of your memoir, lessons will be learned along the way. Keep in mind, that means your mistakes will be exposed for all to see. But in the end, you should be the conquering hero.

And the reader will be by your side, sharing in your victory.

For instance, if you are a successful businessperson and wish to share your story, your theme might be how you slayed your personal demons that threatened to hold you back in order to rise up in the business world. I’ve written quite a few memoirs with this message.

Or perhaps you survived a life-threatening illness. In that case, your memoir theme would be centered around the successful life changes that guided you to health.

So, look carefully at your story. Where did you win? What did you do to get there? That’s where you’ll find your theme.

Summarize the book in one or two sentences

When you complete your book, you’ll often be asked “What’s your story about?” It’s good to tackle this question right at the start. When you first sit down to write out an answer, it might take you a few hundred words to summarize your 50,000-word book. That’s normal.

Remove the extraneous words and explanations and work to pare the description down to a single line or two. Thoroughly examine what your story is about. I know. It isn’t easy, but you have to edit it down.

This description will come in handy when you need an “elevator pitch” later. For instance, I’m writing a book about my experiences roadschooling three children. My pitch would be:

This is a travel memoir plus roadschooling how-to book which chronicles my adventure on the road after trading in my 2,500 square-foot home for a 36-foot RV.

Are you interested in reading my story?

Step back and look at the big picture

It can be hard, when you review your life, to find a theme. After all, it was your life and it can be hard to be objective. That’s probably why a lot of people reach out to me to help them ghostwrite their memoirs. It’s often tough to do on your own.

If you’re writing your book yourself, try telling someone who doesn’t know your story about your memoir idea. This may help you sort it out because they’ll probably ask questions and make comments. Note these. If you are not ready to share your story quite yet, try stepping back and asking yourself questions you think your reader would ask about your story.

“Why did you make that choice?”

“What was your mindset when you traveled that path?”

“What would you do differently now that you know what you know today?”

These kinds of questions can help you formulate a good memoir theme, because your answers are really the successful solutions you developed. They brought you to the place you are today!

Your readers may be able to resolve their issues and be victorious in whatever battles they are fighting when they follow in your brave footsteps and apply your successful solutions. That’s the beauty of a good theme. You, the fearless knight, can really inspire and help others.

Please feel free to email me if you need a little help! To learn more about successful memoir themes, please check out my article on the subject.

Should I Hire A Ghostwriter?

Are you searching the web asking yourself, “Should I hire a ghostwriter?”

You’re not alone.

I can tell you, it isn’t always the right decision.

“Wow, did she just say that?”

I know, it’s strange to hear that from a professional writer trying to earn a living, right? I may be looking for my next client, but I like to be honest. Not everyone who writes me for help actually needs a ghostwriter.

Making a decision

To determine whether or not you need a ghostwriter, here are a few questions you might ask yourself:

  • Am I able to write the book on my own?
  • Do I have the budget to hire a professional writer?
  • What are my goals for my book?

If you have the ability to write the book on your own, and you have the time to do so, that’s probably what you should do. However, you will need to budget money for a few good editors. Your book might need a major overhaul, especially if it is your first one. Not to worry—that’s normal.

Having acknowledged that some of my clients could write a book on their own, why would they hire me? Because they just don’t have the time to do so. They’re too busy being successful in their chosen field.

Budgeting for a ghostwriter

If you know you need to hire a writer, you must budget $50,000 – $75,000 for the project. Do not expect a professional writer to work for a “share of the profits.” This isn’t realistic. Professional writers need to be paid upfront for their work. You can offer to give them a percentage of the profits from the sales as an added bonus. This is a wise plan, as the writer will be more invested and might help you with marketing and sales if they are profiting on the back end.

It is important to determine your goals for your book project before you start. If you want a bestselling book, you will need to invest in a bestselling author. If you want to create a little 99 cent eBook, you won’t need to spend as much on the ghostwriter.

Remember, you get what you pay for—even with a writer.

Recouping your investment

For many authors, spending $50,000 on a book makes sense because their professional reputation is on the line. Ask yourself, will my business expand if I publish my book? If each sale you make has a hefty price tag attached, it will be easy for you to recoup your investment in a good, professional ghostwriter.

After all, if your goal is to have a professional book with your name on it, you need to build your brand’s reputation in the right direction!

When you’re asking yourself, “Should I hire a ghostwriter?” you need to evaluate your goals and resources. Please feel free to email me anytime if you’d like help weighing your options!

If you’ve wondered whether you should hire a local ghostwriter? Click here for my article on the subject!

 

Should I Write My Memoir?

writing a memoirBeing a ghostwriter, quite a few people have asked, “Should I write my memoir?” They often share their ideas and dreams with me about writing a book. I enjoy helping people fulfill their ambitions and complete their lifelong goals.

Many people who want to share their life story really aren’t sure how to go about starting.

Does that sound familiar?

If so, here are a few questions to consider:

What makes a good memoir?

This is a question many people fail to ask themselves. A book that seeks revenge or shares a horrific upbringing as its theme isn’t a book that should be written. Only write your book if you would still be proud of it in five years.

Here are some elements to think about as you consider writing a memoir, whether it’s for posterity or for all to read:

Will my book uplift others? Really, at the end of the day, you want to create a book that will inspire others toward greatness. You want to encourage them to live their lives to the fullest, and learn from your experiences.

Do I have an interesting story to tell? A story is made up a series of incidents tied together by an overall theme. These incidents flow on a path, which follows a message and purpose. If you really only have an anecdote, even if it is hilarious, moving, or powerful, it isn’t enough for a book. It could make a good short story though!

Is my story unique? If you have a powerful viewpoint and a story with lots of action, you have the makings of a riveting book. But it’s equally important that the author has done something which would intrigue and educate the reader. Adventures are fun, but when it comes to memoir readers expect to take something positive away from your life experiences. They want to learn from your example.

Should I self-publish?

If you’re a celebrity or have been the topic of a strong news story recently, you might be able to write a good proposal, find an agent and get a good contract with a publisher. Otherwise, it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that you will land a decent publishing contract. And keep in mind that this process takes time and can be difficult. In addition, if you’re a first time author, don’t expect to get an advance. Most likely you’ll receive a 10% royalty, which will only kick in once the book starts selling and that could be years later.

In this day and age, especially with the advent of eBooks, you can do very well as a self-published author. You’ll have to learn a little about the industry, but if you can pull together a marketing plan, you can sell your book on Amazon.com and other popular retailers.

Should I hire a ghostwriter to write my memoir?

The answer really boils down to time, money, and skill. Writing a book on your own takes time and skill, but will save you a lot of money. Hiring a ghostwriter will alleviate your concerns over time and skill, but will cost you money upfront.

These are the top questions I receive from readers and clients specifically regarding writing memoirs. I’d really encourage you to explore your goals in writing a book. If your purpose is to help others, you will probably do well.

If you have a question that I haven’t covered here, please feel free to email me! I’d love to help you. If you’d like to learn more about pricing, please check out my article on the subject.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Questions for a Ghostwriter

Seven Tips For Writing A Great Memoir

It’s Good Business to Write a Book

Four Different Ghostwriting Methods

Write Great Dialogue

lossless-page1-671px-Two_people_talking.tiffHave you ever read dialogue that doesn’t sound real? It stands out like a blooming weed in a garden of tulips. The reader’s attention will suddenly ripped from the story and will shift onto the awkwardness of the passage.  It really isn’t hard to write great dialogue. You don’t need a master’s degree; it just requires a little practice and study.

Read books to write great dialogue

When you read a book which captivates you, go back over the scenes you liked best and observe how the author conveyed his or her message. Look for style points that you might be able to use.

Pay particular attention to the words that are used. Are all the thoughts completely spelled out, or are there short cuts?

Some new writers might wonder about contractions. As a child, I was taught that one never used them in formal writing. Later, I learned that isn’t always true.

Sure there are times when a character might shout, “I will not do that!” If you read that line out loud, you’ll probably find yourself punching each word individually. I…Will…Not…Do…That! However, most of the time, in a normal (not yelling) conversation, the character would use a contraction. “I won’t do that!” It is more casual. And that’s often the right way to go.

Delete the boring stuff

In real life, we sometimes carry on very mundane conversations.

“Hi!”

“Hi!”

“How are you?”

“Good. And you?”

This sort of dialogue is terribly boring for a book. No one wants to read it.

Alfred Hitchcock once said, “Drama is life with the dull parts cut out of it.”

As a writer, you must be creative and work out how you can get your point across, forward the story, develop your characters, all while trimming the humdrum.

Watch the dialogue tags

When I was starting out as a writer, I loved to use any alternative to “he said” I could think of: “She argued” or “He pontificated” or “She moaned” (you get the idea). I went way overboard and it became terribly distracting for my poor readers. It’s much better to stick with the bland “he said.”

If you have two characters in a scene, you can skip most of the tags. Just pop them in as needed.

“Last night was rough,” Jane said.

Mary nodded. “You’re telling me. I’m sore all over.”

“Think we’ll be called in again tonight?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“It’s Tuesday,” Mary said. “Nobody wants to see us wrestle on a Tuesday.”

Read your dialogue out loud

When you complete your book, leave it alone for a few days to a week before you edit. Give yourself time away from the piece.

Now, read your dialogue out loud.

Bad dialogue pops out beautifully when you do this.

Here’s a rule of thumb: if the words don’t slide off your tongue easily, your character will trip over them, too. As will your reader.

Note: If you’re bored as you read through the dialogue, you need to edit. Don’t worry, that’s normal! Even though you wrote your book, you should be just as enthralled as your readers. When it flows and you get sucked into the story, you know you have a winner.

Write great dialogue by eavesdropping

I know it sounds weird, but if you eavesdrop on the conversations of strangers, it will assist you to write great dialogue.

Really listen. How do people naturally chat? What slang do they use? Take notes. Observe them. It’s very instructive.

Keep in mind that slang and pop culture references will date your piece. This can be helpful.

“Groovy, Daddy-o…” would put us in a different era than “Gag me with a spoon.”

“Wassup?” was huge in the 90’s, whereas the term “newbie” really only came into popularity this century.

I’m always learning about the ways people put together words. I find it fascinating.

Like your characters, even the evil ones

If you don’t like a character in your book, at least to some extent, they probably won’t be authentic.

Robert De Niro said in an interview that he must really like every character he plays; even the evil ones. He has to be able to relate to them in some way in order to get the audience on board.

Evil people don’t think they’re evil. They have purpose and drive, just like anyone else. Their purpose is just more disturbing.

If you want to write great dialogue for a bad guy, make sure you keep it real. You have to really understand and get his or her viewpoint. Think and talk as they would. Otherwise, your character won’t be believable.

If you need help to with dialogue, email me and we’ll sort it out. Dialogue driven stories tend to be my favorites.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Easy Tips For Writing Your Book

Do You Want To Write A Book About Your Life?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

How To Write A Nonfiction Book

How to Write a Book Proposal

If you’ve written a nonfiction book and wish to pursue traditional publishing, your first step will be to write a book proposal. This is a hefty document that explains to an agent or publisher why your book is worth a glance. It’s basically a business plan for your book to help it get accepted by an agent or publisher.

What a book proposal needs to contain

Book proposals vary in length, usually running ten to twenty pages (without sample chapters). I’ve seen proposals that push 100 pages when the chapters are included.

Publishers and agents will expect your proposal to contain these standard elements:

  • An Overview: This is a summary of your book and is usually a couple of pages in length. This comes first in the proposal but should probably be written last.
  • Target Audience: This is a description of your readership. Who did you write your book for? Be specific, not general.
  • Author’s Bio: This piece needs to be slanted to the prospective agent or publisher, telling them why you are the best author for your book. Although you can’t just copy various bios you’ve written prior to this, you can use them as a starting point.
  • Comparative Titles: You will need to compare your book to several other titles that relate to your subject, explaining why your approach is different. Here you’ll establish a need in the market for your book.
  • Marketing Plan: This is the most crucial part of your proposal. Here you must tell the agent or publisher what you plan to bring to the table when it comes to marketing and promoting your book.
  • Table of Contents: Include the outline of chapters for your book, along with a brief summary of each.
  • Sample Chapters: Include two or three chapters to show the agent or publisher your writing style and voice. Show off your best chapters here.

Tips on how to write a book proposal

Tip #1: Your marketing plan is more important than the quality of the writing.

Oh no! Really?

Unfortunately, yes. Of course, a poorly written manuscript won’t sell copies, but neither will an unknown author without credentials. Publishers want to see a market for your book along with some kind of promise that you’ll help sell copies. A well-developed blog and a YouTube channel with subscribers is a good starting place.

Tip #2: Discuss how the book will help your readers

While it is important to share the concepts of your book in your proposal, the agent or publisher is really only interested in your book’s content as it relates to the interests of your potential readers:

“Should I really spend twenty bucks on this book?”

“What will I get out of it?”

“Why should I pick this up and read it?”

You need to address these concerns.

Tip #3: You might need to submit a completed manuscript

Although it’s very possible that you can write an incredible proposal and receive a contract from a publisher, first-time authors often need to complete the manuscript before they will be taken seriously. This is especially true if you’re writing a memoir. Any agent or publisher taking on a new writer is taking a chance, so they often want to see the finished product before committing to it.

Tip #4: Write about what you’ve done, not what you plan to do

If you don’t have a strong social media platform, it might be tempting to propose things you’ll do in the future. Don’t tell your prospective agent or publisher that you’ll create a blog one day. Create the blog before you submit the proposal! Guest blog NOW then reference those sites in your proposal.

Tip #5: Read the submission guidelines carefully

This tip is the most important. If you write a brilliant proposal, but don’t bother to read what the agent or publisher needs to see, it will be rejected without a glance. While many agents ask for the same thing, some will ask for only segments of your proposal. Read over the guidelines carefully and follow their directions to a T. Of course, it goes without saying that you need to rid your book proposal of all grammatical and spelling errors. The document needs to sing!

 

This is in no way a comprehensive discussion about how to write a book proposal. My purpose here is simply to get you started, give you a few tips, and, hopefully, make the process a little less painful.

If you’d like to read more articles about marketing your book, here are a few suggestions:

Guerrilla Marketing for a First-Time Author

You Must Market Your Own Book

Will my book sell?

 

 

How to Write a Prescriptive Nonfiction Book

Prescriptive nonfiction is basically a how-to book that gives someone direction or information on a subject. It does not tell a story. Instead, it helps readers understand about an area of life. Readers wishing to improve a skill or educate themselves on a topic would reach for a prescriptive nonfiction book.

Should you write a prescriptive nonfiction book?

To answer that question, I’d like to ask a few more:

  • Have you developed a niche area of expertise?
  • Do you have specialized knowledge in a particular field?
  • Is your way of doing things better than the norm?
  • Would someone be able to do a task better and more efficiently by using your method?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you should consider writing a prescriptive nonfiction book to share your knowledge with others.

Define your terms

Being an expert in your niche area, you probably are fluent in the language of the field. Remember, though, that your reader is probably a novice. Can you think of a time when you were surrounded by people speaking a language you didn’t know? If so, you probably felt left out. That’s not an enjoyable experience.

To prevent that in your book, make sure to define all the industry terms you use. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that people will be impressed with your liberal sprinkling of hard-to-understand technical words throughout the manuscript. The goal is to teach; the goal is to be understood. Keep it simple, so that everyone can understand.

Start with an outline

Start with an outline. Get the key principles out of your head and onto paper. I like to bullet-point the important topics, only jotting down a few notes at this stage. This outline will later form the table of contents of your prescriptive nonfiction book.

Next, take each important point and expand on it. Don’t write out the entire chapter now, but rather, express your thoughts in a few paragraphs of prose. Create further bullet points which will serve as your subheadings.

Add personal stories 

While your readers have picked up your prescriptive nonfiction book to learn more about a subject, they still want to be entertained. No one enjoys dry text.

Your readers will want to hear your stories and anecdotes that complement the lessons. When you’re outlining, add a few lines to jog your memory about these stories. 

Include practical exercises

Very few people can absorb information without trying it out. Add in a few practical exercises for your readers. It’s a good idea to get people out of the mode of just reading and put them into action. Make the assignments simple and easy to follow. The goal should be that they can accomplish a task and feel they can do it again and again. The last thing you want to do is frustrate your reader.

Starting your first draft

When you have your detailed outline worked out, start on one chapter. This can be any chapter; you don’t need to start at the beginning of your book. I suggest starting with your favorite section, one you know very well. You’ll gain confidence that way.

Continue to write each chapter, in any order that you like. You might find it helpful to start at the beginning, now that you’ve gotten your feet wet.

Don’t edit as you write. Just let the words flow onto the pages.

As you progress through your first draft, you’ll most likely think of other things to include in other parts of your book. Simply add them into the detailed outline; don’t stop midway to write that new segment. Finish the chapter that you’re on.

Final steps

When you complete your first draft, review it all and make sure it flows. Take out any repetitions.

If you are self-publishing, your prescriptive nonfiction book can really be any length. Having said that, be sure to cover your topic thoroughly. When you’re done, I highly recommend that you hire an editor to polish your manuscript and fix any typos.

Please understand that every writer needs an editor. We all make errors, which are hard for us to see because we’re too close to the piece.

Share your knowledge in your niche area of expertise with others. You’ll feel great when people write in to thank you! And if you need some help writing your book, please email me. I’d love to help you write your prescriptive nonfiction book.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Seven Tips For Writing A Great Memoir

Why Should I Hire a Ghostwriter?

A Ghostwriter’s Fee: How Do They Charge?

Working With A Ghostwriter – What Steps Should You Take?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?