Write Your Novel: 5 Tips to Help You Prepare

Write your novel

You’ve been dreaming of penning a story and now have the time to write your novel. You sit down at your computer and stare at the blinking cursor on the blank screen. You know the story concept you want to write but have no idea how to start.

Instinctively, you know that “It was a dark and stormy night” probably isn’t the right beginning. But what is? To ensure that you communicate your concept effectively, you need to prepare to write your novel.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Outline your story idea before you write your novel

A budding writer recently asked me for advice. She was having trouble writing the ending for her book and was stuck. The problem was that she had set off without a plan and then found she’d written her character into a situation she couldn’t resolve. While some people feel that they can write a novel by just typing away with no preparation, that approach can be difficult and frustrating for a new writer.

It is true that magic is created when you’re engrossed in the writing process, but I find that it’s most effective to prepare to write your novel before letting your story flow from your fingertips. I find that when I am properly set up, the process is smoother because I have guideposts and mile markers to help me find my way.

Without a plan you might wind up in a ghost town

Writing without a plan is a bit like taking a road trip by just choosing a compass direction and taking off. It could be a brilliant choice, or you might drive for two hundred miles to discover a small town that doesn’t even have a motel. Sure, it can be an adventure, and I’m sure you’d get something out of it; but if you’d done a little research, you may have found a National Park two hundred miles in a different direction with glorious waterfalls and amazing views. Similarly, outlining before you write will save you from wasted time and words. It will save you from the disappointment of tossing thousands of words later.

There are many ways to outline. One way is to write a rough summary. It’s a bit like sketching the image before you apply paint to the canvas. Just summarize your story in a few pages. Don’t worry about grammar. Do be sure to include all major plot points.

One system for outlining

Another system I like to use involves a journalistic approach to each incident in the book. I like to jot down:

  • The title of the incident
  • The characters who will appear
  • When it took place
  • Where it happened
  • The purpose of this scene in the book

 

For instance, I might create an incident like so:

  • Title: First day of college
  • Who: Theon, George, and Mikey
  • When: Sept 5, 1983
  • Where: North Dorm of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA
  • Purpose: Introduce college setting and show Mikey living away from home for the first time.

Since the outline consists of notes from you to you, the form it takes really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that the method helps you to prepare to write your novel.

2. Shape your story

Shape your story with structure as you write your novel

Now that you have a list of incidents or a basic outline of the story, it’s time to shape it into a format that will work. If you’re not familiar with the three-act structure, it’s worth looking into. Once you understand it, review a few of your favorite books and movies and see how they incorporate the three acts into their story. Then consider how your story can fit into that structure.

In addition, it’s time to consider the arcs your characters will follow throughout the story. The main characters need to follow paths that make sense for your book. Although you might decide to work out the details of their journeys as you write your novel, you should have a rough idea of where they’re going and where they’ll end up before you start.

Conflict is a key element for any story. Throughout your book, your main characters should encounter many conflicts and difficulties along the way. These serve to raise the readers’ heart rates as they turn the pages or swipe forward. Suspense and mystery help keep readers interested.

As you take these factors into consideration, your outline or summary may need adjusting. That’s normal. At this phase, your story is a bit like clay that you can mold and squish into the shape you desire. After all, you’re the creator.

3. Get to know your main characters

A great story has strong, believable characters. As you prepare to write your novel, you can get a head start on creating characters that your readers will identify with and cheer for. Start by jotting down notes about your main character. If you feel stuck, imagine that you are interviewing him. Prepare questions ahead of time. It might help to start with a detailed physical description. Then write down basic information about him, such as:

  • Occupation
  • Marriage status
  • Number of children
  • Hobbies
  • Mannerisms

Create fun, realistic characters when you write a novel

After you have an idea of his basic attributes, you might delve into his ideology, general life philosophy, religious preferences, etc. Continue with this exercise until you feel you can answer any question about him with confidence. In other words, you know him inside out. Take the time to get to know each of your other characters in a similar way. When you know your main characters this thoroughly, many of the scenes will write themselves because you know how your people will act in any given circumstance.

If you still feel that your characters are disconnected strangers, imagine putting two characters into a room together. Set up the scene and watch how they interact. Take notes. Observe their mannerisms as well as their dialogue. Write it all down. You’ll learn a lot about them in this way.

Don’t worry about bit players in a scene. Although adding a few words of description can help set the scene, you don’t need to create a biography for the ballroom dancing instructor who appears only on page 39.

4. Build the world

If you’re writing a science fiction or fantasy story, you’ll need to spend some time building your world. This is a lot of fun! The laws of physics might not be the same, nor will the native plants and animals necessarily resemble those of Earth. Consider the history of the races that inhabit your world. What makes them distinctive?

One writing coach suggested to me that it helps to keep the setting somewhat familiar for the reader and change up only a few key things. If everything is completely different, it makes it hard for people to relate easily. They’ll get confused and put the book down. Also, you can wind up spending a lot of time explaining the nuances of the world, which can be boring and pull the reader out of the story.

world building is a key part of writing a bookAs you prepare to write your novel, think of all the aspects of the world that you will need the reader to understand. Sometimes it works to create intricate background stories that delve into the history of the society. Of course, it’s never a good idea to dump this data in a prologue or the first few chapters, as it clogs up the story with a lot of facts.

Some authors enjoy creating detailed maps of their worlds to orient the readers with the layout of the land. You’ll also sometimes find detailed genealogy tables for a family of characters in the book. There are many ways to build a world. Select the ones that work for you and your story.

5. Set yourself up for success

It’s easy to say that you want to write your novel. It’s another matter altogether to create a plan to actually do it. I’m reminded of the “Just Do It” motivational video that circulated a few years ago. There’s some truth in that statement. Sometimes you just need to bypass all the distractions that inevitably will crop up and decide that you’re going to complete your book. However, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success.

Find a comfortable spot to write your novel

find a good place to write your novelThis might be your bed or your dining room table. It might be a lawn chair in your back yard. Or it could be a bench at a nearby park. It helps to have a steady and established spot, where you know what to expect in the environment. Comfort is important. Make sure your seat is comfortable, giving you the back support you need.

Your space should be as free from distraction as possible. Definitely don’t put yourself at the center island of your kitchen when the children are all home and running around. You’ll get interrupted in multiple ways. Ideally you have a room where you can close the door (and maybe lock it).

Find your writing time

When I was younger, I did my best work at midnight. Honestly, I couldn’t think with doing anything meaningful before 10am. Nowadays, I like to write in the mornings. I have  three kids and find that I write the best before everyone gets up. 6am is a great time!

I recommend selecting the right time of day for you, then working consistently at that time every day. If you’re serious about writing a book, you’ll need to put in at least one hour. Remember, it takes a while to get into the groove, so giving yourself a 20-minute window will just be an exercise in frustration.

Set realistic targets

Some people might find it more productive to set a word-count writing target each week than a time goal. If you are a daydreamer by nature, time targets won’t help. After all, sitting in front of your laptop building castles in the air for thirty minutes isn’t going to help you write your novel.

So, how many words should you plan to write a day? That really depends on you. You can estimate that 250 words is about a page, so I’d encourage you to write a few pages each day. When I get going (and I’m well set up with an outline), I tend to max out at 5,000 words. After that, it becomes an unintelligible jumble of syllables.

Set a daily, a weekly, and a monthly target. Also, decide on a final deadline for your book. Then make those targets, or better yet, beat them!

 

Being a mother of three children, I’m a planner at heart. I believe that if you really want to write your novel, you need to properly prepare and follow through with the targets you establish. Set yourself up for success and don’t accept failure as an option. If you’re embarking on your first book and want a few tips, please check out my blog or write me for advice. I’m always happy to help!

If you’re interested in hiring a ghostwriter, please check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter.

How can I best help you?

    How to Find a Theme for Your Memoir

    What is your theme for a memoir?When most people sit down to write their life story, they usually don’t contemplate literary elements. After all, isn’t a memoir simply a series of events that happened in real life? While that’s true, you still need to follow the rules of writing. You must find a theme for your memoir. This theme is the fundamental idea that ties your story together.

    Over the years, I’ve discovered several approaches that might help you find your theme:

    Look for obstacles you have overcome

    Overcoming obstacles to win against all odds is a favorite theme in books and film. Most memoirs involve a triumphant victory over a major life hurdle. This makes for a great theme because the readers can root for you while identifying with the theme as it relates to their own life.

    Perhaps you battled a major illness and came out the other side healthy. Or maybe you had a particularly challenging childhood and found success through forgiveness. Through sharing your experiences and achievements, you can inspire others to take action and make changes in their lives for the better.

    Find lessons you’ve learned

    Your readers might identify with the life lessons you have learned along the road to success. As you write your memoir, you’ll probably reveal a few personal imperfections along the way. If these flaws resolve as your story unfolds, these could become a powerful theme for your memoir.

    For instance, one client of mine realized she’d been a little too trusting of unsavory characters and learned to stand on her own two feet by the end of her book. Other themes that might come from life lessons could include realizing that complacency won’t help you achieve your goals or that sometimes you need to face evil head-on to survive.

    Summarize your story in a few lines

    Ask what is the story about to find your memoir themeA writing mentor once advised me to answer the question What is my story about? before beginning the outlining phase. This direction was incredibly helpful to me as a budding writer because it pointed me in the direction of a good theme for my book.

    This question should always be answered in a few lines, like an elevator pitch. Keep it short and sweet. From this, you can often glean your theme. For instance, if your pitch is about how you managed to escape a suppressive government, your theme might be how perseverance overcomes all odds.

    I find that when I drill down to the core of the meaning of the book, I can find a theme easily.

    Ask for help

    If you’re too close to the story, it can be hard to pick out the theme on your own. In that case, you might try sharing your history with others and get their feedback. Getting that outside perspective can be invaluable to finding the unifying idea.

    In addition, you might discover a few truths that you hadn’t uncovered before. I remember working with an elderly client who had become a successful entrepreneur. After a few in-depth interviews with me, he realized that the teacher he’d idolized as a child was, in fact, a serpent in disguise, denigrating and abusing his students. As we continued to talk, we discovered other destructive people who had caused him difficulties throughout his life. These conversations brought out a powerful theme for his memoir.

     

    Finding a theme for your memoir doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply look for the universal ideas and takeaways you want you reader to receive. Once you have a theme for your memoir, you might just find that the words flow effortlessly as you share your life story with your readers.

    If you’re interested in hiring a ghostwriter, check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter.

    How May I Help You?

      Your Story Is Important

      Your story is important. Write your book!

      I believe that every person has at least one good book in them. That project might be an exciting life story, a memoir, a fictional piece, or a family history. Over the last twenty years, I’ve helped dozens of clients share their incredible stories. Sharing your story is important to me.

      You might be surprised to learn that out of the nearly eight billion people on this blue-green planet only 44,000 are published authors. That means that only an infinitesimal percentage of people realize their dream of seeing their books in the hands of readers.

      Let’s see if we can improve that statistic!

      How to begin

      While there are many steps to writing a book, I’d say the first is the most important. Begin with a firm decision to write your book within a year. When this step is completed, you will need to muster the courage (yes, courage) to see your dream through to the end. Whatever you do, don’t allow the many distractions of the world to hinder your progress. Remember, your story is important.

      I find that it helps if you create a schedule that you can keep. Ideally, find a time each day to write. I also encourage you to find a calm, comfortable, and stable writing space where you won’t be interrupted.

      Information Gathering

      Research your book because your story is importantThe next step is a crucial one. Before you take off putting thousands of words on paper, you need to research your topic. Collecting data can take different forms depending upon your genre. Within your notes, include your purpose for writing your book as well as your intended readership.

      If you’re writing nonfiction, take copious notes as you research the various topics you plan to cover. This will avoid confusion and frustration later. Make sure to record your sources so you can refer to them later. Dig deep. You really can’t have too many notes for your book.

      For a memoir you’d want to consider the incidents that made up your past, as well as the details about the environments and characters that will fill your book.

      For a fictional work, your research would include details on any real-world historical accounts mentioned or real locations featured. If your book takes place on a completely unknown planet that has nothing to do with any of Earth’s logic, you need to build a new world. Check out my article on World Building to learn more.

      Note: When you are embarking on a writing adventure, it’s very important that you continue to read books you enjoy that are in the genre you wish to write. You can learn a lot by studying other people’s writing. It’s a bit like when you were just learning the how to speak: the more you listened, the more you got the hang of the language.

      Now Get Writing!

      Before you dive into writing, create a detailed outline. That way you won’t get lost, stray from your purpose, or forget any of the minor plot lines or incidents in your masterpiece. Your story is important. Keep on track.

      With the outline in hand, it’s time to start putting pen to paper or fingers to your keyboard. Focus on banging out a first draft. Follow your outline and your book should flow naturally.

      As you write, don’t edit. Just write. And write. And write. Keep the words flowing. I like to record the number of words that I write per day so I can do my best to beat the previous day’s word count. Yes, I’m a bit competitive.

       

      Once you have your first draft completed, you can begin to edit. Check out my detailed article on How to Edit Your Own Book for instruction on that phase. For now, pat yourself on the back for getting your first draft completed. Well done!

      If you’re interested in hiring a ghostwriter, check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter.

      Problems Writers Face and Their Solutions

      solutions to problems writers faceHave you been interested in completing a book that has been on the backburner for years? If you don’t do something differently, you’ll be in the same boat in 2035. You really need to fully examine the situation. While it is true that there are numerous problems writers face, the good news is there are good solutions.

      In this article, my goal is to help you complete the first draft of your novel or memoir. I’m not going to address the marketing problems or issues of rejection and criticism.

      Let’s get your book finished first.

      Over the last twenty years, hundreds of authors have written me sharing the main problems writers face. Here are my thoughts on what you can do if you have these challenges.

      I’m too busy to write

      Problem: You have a full time job or are an entrepreneur. You have a great idea for a story but just don’t have the time to write each day. How do you fit in the hundreds of hours you know it will take to complete your book?

      Solution: Well, there are two solutions. One is you just carve out the time and make it work. Reorganize your life to fit in an hour a day to write (this gives you time to get set up and end off). In order to accomplish this, many writers get up a little earlier each day. For me, mornings are an ideal time to write.

      The second solution is to hire someone to help you. You might hire a partner, consultant, or ghostwriter. Whichever option appeals to you, you will need to pay upfront for the help. No one can donate their time for a percentage of the profits from the sale of your book.

      If you’re interested in my help, please feel free to contact me and we’ll arrange for a consultation.

      No end in sight

      no end in sight, a problems writers faceProblem: You’ve been working on this book for years and there is no end in sight. When a writer can’t complete their first draft, the problem almost always is a faulty outline (or a lack of one). There is no roadmap and therefore the author often gets lost. Which way is true north?

      Solution: Stop writing the first draft and create a detailed outline. Structuring your story (or memoir) is key to success. If you need help hitting the beats (or elements) required for good storytelling, please feel free to contact me for a one-hour consultation.

      Need more time to research

      Problem: Research is an integral part of any novel or memoir. The authenticity of the piece is what will compel the reader forward, engrossing them in your story. However, some writers get lost in the research phase and never begin writing. That’s a huge problem.

      Solution: Recognize when you done enough research to properly build the world of your novel or memoir. Your next step is outlining and then you should begin writing your first draft. Understand that as you write, you will naturally continue to research. For me, researching continues through even the editing phase. So don’t feel you need to have all the research done before you begin to write.

      Shiny objects around you

      distractions writers faceProblem: When you sit down to write, it’s very easy to get distracted. Checking email, Facebook, news, etc. are all popular diversions available 24/7. In addition, interruptions from family members and calls from friends can make writing seem impossible. The hour you’ve set aside to write disappears quickly.

      Solution: Allow yourself uninterrupted writing time each day. Find a nook in your home or outside where no one will disturb you. Turn off your internet and cell phone. Without the distractions you should find yourself much more productive.

      Too many potholes

      Problem: You’ve written over 30,000 words, but don’t feel like continuing. You are more than halfway done, but just don’t feel that spark to write anymore. What happened? You’ve gotten off track and need to discover where you took an incorrect turn.

      Solution: If you have a good, detailed outline in hand, revisit it and make sure all your elements are there. Analyze it carefully to see if something doesn’t feel right about the storyline. Contact me if you need a sounding board. I can usually spot the problem within an hour consultation.

      If you don’t have an outline that’s the problem. Writing by the seat of your pants can be fun and thrilling, but one of the hazards inherent in this way of writing is that you can find yourself on a bumpy road that needs some major construction work to fill in potholes. The reason you don’t want to write anymore is probably because the story has a major flaw. Go back and put in the time to outline; the solution should pop into view. Be prepared to do some rewrites.

      I’m bored

      Problem: You’ve been writing your book for years and find the whole story line boring now. You wonder if anyone will actually want to read your book. Finding the time to finish the project gets harder and harder with each passing week or month.

      Solution: Get some feedback. It’s possible that your story (or the main characters within it) have flatlined. If you’d like my input, I’m happy to help. You can hire me on an hourly basis to review your story and give you feedback and advice.

      I just don’t feel like writing today

      being uninspired; problems writers faceProblem: Taking one day off from writing isn’t a red flag, but if you find that you feel uninspired to write day after day, that isn’t a good sign. As I’ve mentioned a few times, make sure you have a good roadmap before you start. However, if your outline is good, but you are uninspired, I have an idea for you.

      Solution: Some writers feel bored and uninspired if they know exactly where the story is going. They don’t feel like continuing because they know all the nuances of the piece. One trick to keep yourself engaged is to leave off at a cliffhanger after each writing session. Don’t conclude the scene but leave it for the next day. Yes, I stole this idea from Scheherazade, who stayed alive night after night by telling her husband parts of an exciting adventure, making sure to leave off before its conclusion. For me, this keeps the process exciting.

      I’m too tired to write

      Problem: You sit down to write but feel exhausted after the day’s events. The kids were screaming over who got the purple dish with the bunny or your boss asked you to stay late to do extra tasks because your coworker was out sick again. These are problems writers face every day and leave one feeling wholly uninterested in writing one’s book.

      Solution: Take the time to take care of yourself. A writer expends calories doing mental exercises like writing (about 60 – 100 calories per hour). You need to eat properly and get enough sleep, or you won’t write well. In addition, make sure you are getting physical exercise. Swimming, running, or even walking will help increase your energy, which will make you a better writer. For me, I love to take a two-mile walk each day. I listen to Audibles, which keeps me doubly inspired.

       

      If you find I’ve missed problems writers face, please feel free to write me. I’m here to help you. And if you’d like a consultation, please fill in the form below so that I can reach out and set up a time to assist you.

      How Can I Help You?

        Seven Steps to Avoid Writing Distractions

        Don't allow distractions from writing to get in your way

        Are you sitting in front of your computer or typewriter, wondering why the words won’t flow? Don’t allow writing distractions to stop you from completing you book.

        If you want to finish your project within a year, you must commit to spending a few hundred hours. That can take forever if you’re piecing together tiny increments of time, spread out over months. If you allow writing distractions to creep in, you’ll find that you will just spend your time reviewing, rather than make forward progress.

        To avoid writing distractions, here are a few tips that might help:

        Step 1: Turn off your Wi-Fi

        Unplugging from the internet will stop you from checking your email, social media feed, or what’s up with your favorite sports team every two minutes. Unless you need the internet to do research, there’s no reason to have your Wi-Fi on. It’s the number one cause of writing distractions for many. You aren’t alone.

        Now, if you need the internet for your word processing program, you can use an app like Freedom, which allows you to block various websites. Sometimes we all need a little help to avoid the temptation of distractions from writing.

        Step 2: Turn off your cell phone

        Cell phones and writing distractions go hand in hand

        When writing, you must give yourself a chunk of time when you won’t be disturbed. When I hear that familiar ping from my cell phone, politely letting me know I have a new text message, it is hard to ignore.

        A ghostwriting client needs me…

        A friend has something important to say…

        My brother has a cute meme to share…

        Remember back to the time before cell phones? We all somehow got along without a barrage of continual communication. Your friends can wait an hour or two while you write.

        My advice is to completely turn your cell phone off while you write. That way you’ll avoid many different forms of writing distractions.

        If you don’t, the temptation to check texts and voice messages might be too great. These interruptions make it difficult to complete a writing task. Even putting the phone on vibrate will interrupt your creative flow. 

        Step 3: Use the tools that are best for you

        You are an artist. There’s no doubt about that. Please don’t be pressured to conform to another writer’s methods. Write in a way that’s most comfortable and productive for you.

        I work best on my laptop using Word. I’ve known writers who prefer working on yellow legal pads, writing long hand. Some like the old fashion feel of a typewriter’s keyboard. 

        There is no “right way” to write.

        The only wrong way is not to write. Whatever works to produce words on a page is correct. 

        Step 4: Find a quiet writing spot

        Avoid distractions from writing

        It’s important that you discover a good, quiet, comfortable place to write. This might be in your car, in a coffee shop, a library, or a nook in your home. Or perhaps you prefer to sit propped up on your bed with lots of pillows for support.

        Find a spot where the distractions are limited. For instance, setting up in the middle of a busy kitchen probably won’t work well.  Likewise, if you walk into a bar where everyone shouts your name upon entry, that might not be the most distraction-free environment for your work.

        If you aren’t sure which spot is best, try different ones. Which locations produce the most number of quality words per hour? 

        Step 5: Eat well, sleep well, take care of yourself

        It’s hard to write well when you’re tired or hungry. Exhaustion and an empty stomach can cause powerful writing distractions. Get a good amount of sleep and eat regular nourishing meals. Keep in mind that while junk food will stop the grumbling in your tummy, it is liable to make you tired, which will result is poor writing. Side note: If you’re fasting, your characters are likely to discuss food more than they should.

        Bottom line, writing is hard work. Take care of yourself. Get a good seven or eight hours of sleep each night.

        It’s worth noting that you do burn calories when you write. Yes, mental activities consumes energy, about fifty calories per hour.

        You might also do some aerobic exercise before writing, as it gets the blood pumping. 

        You know what your body and mind needs! Take good care of yourself and you’ll write a better book.

        Step 6: Prepare ahead of time

        I find that I’m less distracted when I’m well prepared. When the research is completed and I know where I’m going, the words usually flow seamlessly.

        One trick that I’ve learned over the years is to end a writing session mid-scene, especially if I leave off at an exciting cliffhanger. This takes some discipline, as you will probably want to push through and just finish it, but leaving it to the next day will give you something to look forward to. That way, you’ll know exactly what to write, and can embark on the next day’s target with ease.

        If you get carried away and complete the passage, you can still set yourself up for the next day. Put your notes in order and write the first few lines before you end off.

        Step 7: Don’t edit as you write

        After coaching various writers on the craft, I’ve noticed that editing too early is actually a writing distraction. Writers start doubting their ability to write and often stop in the middle of their book. They never pick it back up again.

        While it is fine to review the previous day’s work, don’t fall into the trap of editing before you finish your first draft. I know that can be hard, but remember, you really need to just get words down on paper. As long as you have a good, detailed outline, you’re fine to continue to the completion of that initial draft.

        Editing midway can cause many problems and is usually a complete waste of time. Understand that when you finish your first draft, you’ll be in a different place. You’ll know a lot more about the story, the characters and the plot elements, so that you can do a proper edit. 

        Most writers will do at least some rewrites during the editing phase, so if you start reworking pieces before you complete the first draft, you’re just doubling your work. Just plow forward and plan to correct errors later.

        In conclusion

        Every writer is different and every writer has his or her own process. What works for you might not work for me, and that’s fine. Find the successful actions that help you be as productive as you can be. The best measure of success is progress.

        How many words did you write this week?

        If you need a little help from a ghostwriter, please feel free to email me. We can work together to create your book!

        If you could benefit from my consulting services, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I can assist you on an hourly basis and troubleshoot any problems you might be having.

        Please check out these additional articles and resources:

        Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter

        Memoir Themes

        How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?

        How Can I Help You?

          Want to Write a Book?

          Want to write a book? Start now!

          As the year progresses, I think about all the potential authors out there who want to write a book. After all, I know that many people long to see their story in print. It’s an ultimate objective for many.

          How are you coming along with your goal?

          As a ghostwriter, I see many people procrastinate when it comes to writing a book. There are many excellent-sounding reasons why their book projects get shoved to the back of the closet.

          What’s the result?

          The books never get written.

          If you have a strong idea for a book, it’s important to write your book NOW. Don’t wait. I can’t emphasize this enough.

          Why do I feel this way?

          Well, here are a few reasons.

          In a year you’ll still be thinking about writing a book.

          If you want to write, schedule it!Think about it.

          Looking into my virtual crystal ball I can see that you have been pondering this book for several years. If you wait and do nothing, several more will pass. Decades even.

          I receive emails on a regular basis from authors who are passionate about writing a book. Beyond any other goal, they want to write. However, they often tell me: “I’m not quite ready to start.”

          Now, I will try to stay in touch with these folks throughout the year, contacting them regularly. My purpose is to help them complete their project. Their reply is often the same.

          “Yes, I want to write a book, but I’m too busy. Now’s just not a good time.”

          The problem is that this business of life will never change. You will always be busy. And whenever “now” is will rarely be a perfect moment to start.

          So what’s the solution?

          Find a way to write your book despite all the difficulties. Yes, you probably have many balls in the air, which you’re currently juggling.

          Find the time anyway.

          You can do it.

          You got this!

          Someone else will write a book very similar to yours.

          People sometimes are very afraid that someone will steal their book idea. That doesn’t happen often and isn’t something to fear. However, other people can come up with a similar idea on their own. That’s not only possible, but likely given all the authors in the world.

          That exciting plot twist that you’ve never seen before will appear in the mind of another author. Or a memoir similar to the one you’ve wanted to share, which you know will become a bestseller, will grace Amazon’s top 10. A different writer will have beaten you to the punch.

          Don’t allow that to happen to you!

          You will continue to think about your unfulfilled goal.

          Girl is sad she isn't writingIf you are anything like me, failure doesn’t sit well. This really hits home when you know you haven’t really tried to do your best to make your dream happen.

          You will continue to spend time thinking and considering your book project, wondering what your book would have looked like on the shelves of your local bookstore. You may even come up with brilliant marketing strategies to sell it. It’s all wasted time and energy if you don’t actually take action and write your book.

          You may want to write a book, but that isn’t enough. You must actually take the steps required to complete the project.

          That nagging feeling won’t go away. Trust me, you won’t be satisfied until you have completed your manuscript.

          You will develop a very bad habit of not writing.

          Habits come in many forms. Some involve doing an action you know you shouldn’t do and some involve not doing anything when you know you need to accomplish a goal.

          Once you develop the habit of not writing, it can become increasingly difficult to write. If you stop and start a lot, that pattern also becomes familiar. It becomes comfortable to you not to write and becomes something you learn to expect and accept.

          Don’t start down that path.

          You know you need to write!

          In order to actually complete your book, you must overcome the additional hurdle of the bad habit that you’ve formed. Authors require discipline to write a full-length book. There are no exceptions. It requires hundreds of hours. You can’t write a book in a week.

          Honestly, some people hire me because I’m a relentless bulldog when it comes to completing projects! Just ask my clients. They hire me because they know by the end of the ghostwriting process, they will have a book in their hands.

          If you want to write a book this year, the trick is to steadily write. If you can’t afford a ghostwriter, you will need to set aside time each and every day to work on your project. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of excuses as to why you don’t have time, energy, or enough pencils. The dog ate your manuscript shouldn’t fly either.

          Develop good writing habits and you will complete your book. If you wish to hire me as your consultant, please email me. I’ll keep you accountable and together we will complete your book!

          Excuses will enter in and plague you.

          If you want to write, don't allow excuses to stop you.Oh, you’ll come up with all sorts of legitimate sounding reasons for why you can’t write one day or the next. “I’m tired.” “There’s a good show on TV.” They sound good and reasonable, but you can’t let that deter you.

          Here’s a tip from your friendly ghostwriter: Treat yourself as if you were your own client.

          Give yourself targets and deadlines and then meet them!

          And finally, writing should be a joy. If it isn’t, something is wrong. If you’ve hit writer’s block, reach out and schedule a one-hour consultation today. I’ll get you writing again!

          If writing is a chore, don’t continue a painful process; the manuscript won’t come out well. Your readers will feel your resentment pouring from the pages. Think of the advice more experience chefs give their protégés: You need to cook with love. Your diners will tell the difference. As an author you need to write from a place of joy. Your readers will thank you for it.

          So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading this article and start writing!

          Additional articles you might find helpful:

          Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter

          How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

          Help! I need help writing a book!

          Can I help you?

            Is Your Story Novel Worthy?

            Do you have a novel worthy concept?As you sit down to write a novel, you may become overwhelmed. It’s a lot of work and will take many hours. If this is your first novel, plan to spend hundreds of hours planning, researching, writing, and editing. If you find yourself in doubt as to whether your story is novel worthy, consider the elements of a good book and see if your concept measures up.

            A well fleshed-out protagonist

            To start, it makes sense to focus in on the hero of your story. After all you’ll be spending a lot of words sharing their journey throughout the book.

            Your protagonist should be relatable. That doesn’t mean they need to be likeable (but they often are). To make sure your hero is relatable, you need to do your homework and really get to know the main character inside out. Avoid stereotypes. For instance, not every woman loves to shop, and wealthy people aren’t always snobbish. The list goes on.

            It is wise to invest time creating a character profile. Start by jotting down the hero’s name, age, physical traits, occupation, marital status, etc. Then you can think of the creative, outside-the-box questions that will help you gain a better understanding of who this person really is.

            I recommend that you ask questions as if you were interviewing a live person. Some example probing questions might be:

            • What was your upbringing like?
            • What would you like to improve in your life?
            • What are your passions?
            • What is your five-year career goal?

            Don’t limit yourself

            Ask any questions and come up with the responses. Of course, you need to take notes. Review them and feel free to modify answers as new ones come in. Make sure the answers are consistent. The process is a bit like molding clay.

            Now, it’s important to know that you don’t have to fit in all these details into your novel. Most likely, that would make for a tedious read. Rather, you are simply trying to get to know your protagonist so that you can write about him with reality. For instance, if you know that your main character grew up in the lap of luxury, he would know his way around fine dining. Whereas a man who grew up in the foster system might not know what to do with the two extra forks at a five-star restaurant.

            When you do in-depth research on a character, you’ll discover that you can describe the way he dresses, holds himself, talks to others, and many other traits that will help you create a novel worthy story.

            A properly motivated main character

            properly motivated character is novel worthyWe all have reasons for what we do in life. There is often a common motivating force that drives our actions. Now that you understand them better, it’s time to dig a little deeper to see what makes them tick.

            With a solid purpose in mind, the reader can track with your protagonist’s journey and hopefully root for them to accomplish their goals.

            It’s also worth mentioning that the goals of your protagonist will probably change throughout the story. They might start out with the ambition to become wealthy and own a mansion or two, but by the end of the story, they realize that they need more than possessions in life to be happy. Or perhaps your lead character starts the novel wanting to hold on to a failing marriage, only to realize by the end that the thing she needed to gain was a sense of self-confidence and independence.

            Once you know what motivates your character, their scenes in your novel will align more fully and resonate with your reader.

            Loads and loads of conflict

            novel worthy concepts include conflictThe quantity and quality of conflict is key to determining whether your story is novel worthy.

            Think back to some of your favorite novels. Did things come easy for the protagonist? No. Never. It’s always an uphill battle. Otherwise, the story would be boring.

            Once you’ve identified the hero’s goal, you need to make it hard for them to reach it. And there should be some risk involved. Add in a lot of challenges and gnarly stakes. If your protagonist never has a problem, you don’t really have a story.

            Boy meets girl, boy gets girl is super boring and takes less than a page to write. However, boy meets girl, boy is separated from girl through a series of misunderstandings, tragedies, and misfortunes, could be a good story. Boy overcomes hurdles and battles, as well as internal fire-breathing dragons to win back the affections of girl. Great! Or boy meets girl, boy makes a series of mistakes and loses girl, and then boy turns his life around to fix his flaws and wins back the love of his life. That works.

            Conflict can come in many forms. It doesn’t mean your book needs hand-to-hand combat scenes or full-blown wars. Look over your life. Have you ever had opposition to your goals? Have you ever stood in your own way? Sometimes a person can be their own worst enemy. These are valid conflicts that we can all relate to.

            A good story is filled with conflict, hitting the protagonist with a seemingly never-ending series of one-two punches throughout your novel.

            A creative and unique angle

            Be creativeThe more I study storytelling the more I realize that many stories follow a familiar path. Although there isn’t a specific “formula” that applies to all novels, you do need to follow a structure that works. If you’re new to writing, check out the concept of the three-act structure. It will help guide you.

            One way to tell if your idea is novel worthy is to make sure you have a unique take on the story line you’re tackling. There are many ways to tell a classic tale.

            When working with children, I love to help them flex their creative muscles. Sometimes they are really into a book series and want to use those characters and plot ideas to write their own short story. That’s fine if they want to practice their writing chops by mimicking their favorite author. It isn’t plagiarism but it also wouldn’t qualify to be novel worthy. Even fan fiction includes unique stories with twists the reader hasn’t seen.

            When you’re plotting out your storyline, you can use some of the tried and true structures but try to infuse it with your own creativity. For instance, how many different “Cinderella” books or movies have you read or scene? How about the classic “Romeo and Juliet” tale? These are pretty easy to identify. We know the story, and often even know the ending, but it’s the unique angle that keeps us engaged throughout.

            Go forth and write!

            Once you have these elements down, it’s time to consider your outline. Figure out your beginning, middle and end of the novel worthy story and create the individual incidents that will make up your book. Armed with a detailed outline, write your first draft. Don’t pause to reread over and over, but forge ahead and get your first draft completed. Once done, now you can edit your book.

            If you need help at any stage of the writing process, please feel free to contact me. I enjoy consulting authors as they write their books, helping them conquer the various challenges they are sure to encounter.

            Need help?

              The Right Ghostwriter for You

              How to find the right ghostwriter for youHave you been trying to write a book for months, years, or decades? I can’t tell you how many people I hear from who are in this position. People reach out to me on a daily basis asking for help. They desperately want to complete their books, but can’t do it on their own. If you find yourself in this boat, it might be time to hire help. After all, if you haven’t found the hundreds of hours required to write a book in the last few years, chances are you won’t have the time today…or tomorrow. So how do you find the right ghostwriter for you? That’s the challenge I wish to tackle with you today.

              Research candidate ghostwriters

              You can easily determine whether a candidate writer can help you with your story by researching her. Any qualified professional ghostwriter will have a website with testimonials. You can also throw her name into a search engine and see what you find. It’s a good idea to verify how reputable she is by checking her out on Google.

              For instance, try typing “Laura Sherman Ghostwriter” into Google and see what you find. The first page will have various entries from my blog, but you’ll also see mentions of me from other professional writers.

              You can also type in various key words that interest you and see what pops up. If you search for subjects like “memoir themes,” “help writing a book,” or “ghostwriting contract,” you’ll find a variety of writers that show up (myself included). That’s because we blog and guest blog a lot about these topics and have experience in these fields.

              Now, it’s worth noting that a ghostwriter doesn’t need to rank well on Google to be a good match for you. However, a reputable ghostwriter should have some kind of web presence (other than social media).

              Nail down pricing

              Discover your budget to hire a ghostwriterWhen you begin searching for the right ghostwriter for you, there are different ways to narrow the field. I suggest that you determine your budget before you start interviewing. Some ghostwriters won’t post their rates, while others are upfront about their fees on their websites. If you can, ask for the rate before you begin the interview process. It will save you a lot of time and aggravation.

              For instance, if your budget is $5,000 for an average-sized book, I wouldn’t be a good candidate for you. I charge one dollar per word (or $50,000 for a 200-page book). No matter how much I fall in love with your project’s concept, I can’t take a 90% pay cut.

              If you have a small budget, I’d recommend that you scour one of the many freelancer websites to find someone within your price range. Just please be warned: you will get what you pay for.

              Professional ghostwriters usually charge somewhere between fifty cents and two dollars per word.

              Discover the ghostwriter’s preferred genre

              Select the right genre for your bookOnce you find a ghostwriter within your price range, you’ll need to make sure your story is one he or she can write. The genre should be within the ghostwriter’s wheelhouse. Writers often specialize. For instance, I write memoirs, business books and novels, but I will only take on projects that are uplifting, inspirational or educational. Other writers don’t have such constraints on topic, while some only write books in a specific genre. For instance, I’ve seen certain ghosts who only write romantic comedies, how-to books, or screenplays.

              The right ghostwriter for you will have prior experience writing a book similar to yours. So, if you’re writing a memoir, I wouldn’t recommend a writer who has only done scientific textbooks or who specializes in cookbooks.

              Read up on the ghostwriter to discover his or her area of expertise. If you have trouble finding this information online, simply ask the ghostwriter about their preferences in an email or during the initial conversation.

              Summarize your story for the ghostwriter

              A ghostwriter doesn’t need all the details of your story to determine if she is the right ghostwriter for you. The broad strokes are enough for her to make a decision. With this in mind, don’t download your entire story to the writer in the initial conversation. Instead, find a way to summarize it in a few paragraphs. I recommend that you prepare this before you contact a prospective ghostwriter.

              I can tell you that after twenty years in the industry, I can quickly determine if I can do justice to a client’s story.

              For example, here are two excerpts from recent requests:

              • “My husband of 25 years abandoned me and our children to take up with another woman. I want to write a book to get back at him and her.”
              • “I’m a successful real estate investor and businessman. I want to share my story of how I overcame various challenges to inspire others to follow their dreams.”

              Both wanted memoirs written, but each had a very different purpose. Since I specialize in uplifting stories, I knew I wasn’t the best ghostwriter for the first person and told her this immediately. However, the second project was well within my wheelhouse and I was chomping at the bit to start writing that book. I didn’t need all the details to be interested.

              Hire the right ghostwriter for you

              Find the right ghostwriter for youFollowing these guidelines, you can quickly narrow down the candidates who could potentially be the right ghostwriter for you. Once you’ve done this homework, set up a time to talk to the writer about your story. You want to be sure that you are able to communicate easily and that there is an immediate and budding chemistry between you two about the project. That’s important as this will be a long-term relationship.

              If you’re interested in learning more about how to find the right ghostwriter, check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter.

              And please feel free to email me anytime to learn more about my ghostwriting process.

              Show, Don’t Tell: What Does it Mean?

              Show don't tell when you write a bookThere are rules for writers. One of the more senior commandments in the writing profession is show, don’t tell. This can be a baffling concept to new writers. Please don’t allow a lack of understanding of this golden rule to stop you from completing your book.

              As with most new skills, show, don’t tell simply takes a little practice to master. With practice you’ll soon find yourself beginning to apply the rules almost instinctively. While honing this skill, I’d recommend that you read some of your favorite books over again and observe how the authors bring their stories to life by showing their readers various details. You’ll find there are many ways to accomplish this goal.

              The meaning of show, don’t tell

              Show, don’t tell simply means that you allow your readers to experience incidents through storytelling rather than overtly tell them what happened. Showing is often done through character development, in which you thoroughly share sensory details, action, and dialogue.

              The reason showing is so effective is that it puts your readers directly into the shoes of the main character and lets them to see things through his or her lens. It’s a much more immersive experience for the readers, allowing them to lose themselves in your book.

              An example

              In order to illustrate the difference between telling and showing, here are two passages:

              Terry had a fear of spiders.

              Or:

              As the spider crept along the tartan quilt, Terry’s body convulsed with an involuntary shudder. His heartbeat quickened as its eight legs inched toward his arm. Would that he could move it away, but none of his muscles would obey his silent plea for escape.

               

              Which version did you prefer? Did one make you feel the emotions along with Terry?

              Most people would agree that the second example plops the reader in the middle of the scene and adds layers to his terror. And it’s possible that the reader might experience a shudder of his own.

              Use dialogue to show feelings

              Characters express emotions through dialogueWhen attempting to show, don’t tell, dialogue can be a powerful tool for a writer. You can show emotions and reveal the deep relationships between characters in an engaging way. Body language also gives the readers insight into what’s going on.

              Keep in mind that people have various ways of communicating. Based on their past relationships, they will speak to each other in different ways. Consider how you speak to and interact with your grandmother. Now think about how you speak with and interact with your sibling or your best friend. Each relationship is very different, right? We all have different behavior codes for the variety of people in our lives who are important to us. Well, the same would apply to the characters in your book.

              It’s also worth mentioning that people aren’t cut-out duplicates of one another. We all have different traits that create our personalities. Examine all the people you know. Do they each speak in the same way? My guess is that they have slightly different accents, use different words to communicate ideas (probably with a variety of slang terms), and sometimes slip into half-sentences. Use these personal experiences when you write. It’s through your characters’ idiosyncratic ways of speaking that you can reveal their emotions, intentions and purposes.

              Sometimes I find it helpful to see the incidents of my story as scenes in a film. Screenwriters have to show what the characters are experiencing through their actions and dialogue. In a film you couldn’t say, “Joe was angry” unless you included a narrator in the script, which would be awkward. No, you’d need to show that he was angry.

              Same goes when writing a book.

              Example

              So, you could write:

              Sally decided to leave her husband of twenty years. When she confronted him about it, he became very angry.

              Or you could write:

              Sally stood at the doorway and studied her husband. “Joe?” she said as she fidgeted with the hem of her shirt.

              Joe crumpled the newspaper onto his lap with an exaggerated flourish. “Yes? What is it?”

              “I…” she faltered, then took a deep breath. “My bags are packed.”

              Joe glared at her. He grabbed his cane and slowly eased himself out of the chair to a standing position. “You’re really doing this?”

              She gave a quick nod. “Yes.”

              Sally watched as Joe’s face turned a familiar shade of purple. If he’d been a cartoon, steam would have been coming out of his ears right about then. She took an involuntary step backward.

              “Twenty years of my life wasted,” he said through gritted teeth. “Get out. And don’t bother to come back.”

              Avoid overusing adverbs

              show don't tell by not overusing adverbsWhy is it that we hear seasoned writers warn against using adverbs? After all, they are an important part of speech, modifying not only verbs, but adjectives and other adverbs. Pretty universal, right?

              Well, Stephen King wrote in his book On Writing:

              “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day…fifty the day after that…and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s—GASP!!—too late.”

              Dramatic? Yes. But that’s Stephen King’s signature style.

              So, is it wrong to use an adverb? Nah. Just don’t overuse them because they can become a crutch. After all, tossing in a ready-made adverb can be easier than investing the time to show the reader how a character feels. Maybe that’s why Mark Twain warned us that “Adverbs are the tool of the lazy writer.”

              An example

              “I wouldn’t if I were you,” Becky said condescendingly.

              Or:

              Becky folded her arms across her chest, her lips curled into a smug smile. “I wouldn’t if I were you.”

               

              There is no doubt about it, writing is a balancing act: You want to find your unique voice while obeying all the agreed-upon rules of the craft. If you’re new to writing, give yourself some time to develop your own style. Don’t worry too much about all the rules like show, don’t tell until you begin editing your own book. And remember, while it’s good to know the rules of writing, they aren’t intended to become a straitjacket. Keep writing and enjoy the process!

              If you’re looking to hire a ghostwriter, check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter on Amazon.

              My Ghostwriting Process From Start To Finish (VIDEO)

              My ghostwriting process in a nutshellIf you’re browsing the internet looking for a ghostwriter, you are probably curious about the process. What am I signing up for anyway? Through my blog I do my best to clarify all aspects of the ghostwriting (and writing) process so that this subject no longer is a mystery for authors looking for help. This particular article zeroes in on the steps I take when someone reaches out to me to write their book. I’ve been a ghostwriter for over twenty years, so I thought it made sense to share my ghostwriting process with you. That way there are no surprises.

              Pre-interview emails

              If you’re interested in hiring me as your ghostwriter, your first step will be to fill in my online form below. I will reply via email with a few questions to learn more about you and your project. We will need to discuss several key elements. Although each client is unique, there are various aspects of my ghostwriting process that hold true for any project.

              Here are some points you might address in your initial query:

              • The content of your book
              • The word count you desire
              • Your proposed budget
              • The deadline for the project

              When it comes to selecting a project to take on, you should know that I prefer to work on uplifting fictional stories, inspiring memoirs, or nonfiction material that will help others in some way. Though I would be lost writing a steamy romance novel, I do love writing a variety of fiction. Memoirs are my favorite genre. I’ve written dozens over the last two decades. I also really enjoy writing prescriptive (how-to) nonfiction. My ghostwriting process is essentially the same for any genre.

              After this email exchange, if I feel that I am able to become your ghostwriter, I will offer you a free 30-minute consultation. That initial phone call is important so that we can both be sure that we’d make a good writing team.

              Our initial interview

              What is a ghostwriter? Question mark.I recommend that you begin by writing down a list of questions you might have for our initial conversation. We can discuss these so that you have a better understanding of how things work. There are no strings attached. I’ll give you this time for free. Honestly, I want to help you whether you hire me or not.

              We will discuss your project in greater detail than we had in our email exchange. However, this isn’t the time to pour out all the details of the story to me. That will come later. Just summarize for now.

              I will also want to discuss your goals for this book. As a heads-up, if your primary objective is to make a lot of money, you’ll need a top-notch marketing plan. It’s tough to make a profit as a first-time author, but it helps if you have an existing avenue for selling a book. For instance, if you have a strong online presence, a large mailing list, and an existing store, you’re in a good position to sell your book. Amazon only works if you support your book with one or more of the above tools.

              Most of my clients aren’t interested in turning a profit; instead, they have a strong desire to simply publish a book within their lifetime. They have a powerful message they wish to share, and they feel they can do some good for others. Most aren’t looking to make money or recover their expenses. And some only wish to share their story with close friends and family.

              Your goals are important to me. Part of my ghostwriting process is to make your goals my own and to make sure they are met.

              Signing my contract

              Ghostwriting ContractI work on a first-come-first-serve basis. Once you and I have determined that I’m your ghostwriter, the next step will be for you to read over my contract, sign it, and send it back to me with the first payment.

              I structure the payments so that you pay the total fee in four installments, each due before the work is to be done. The four milestones are:

              1. The research and outlining phase
              2. The first half of the first draft
              3. The second half of the first draft
              4. The final draft

              You and I will determine the milestone deadlines. Each milestone usually takes me three months to complete. Depending on the project, sometimes the research and outlining phase might take a few more months.

              It is important to put all our agreements in writing before we start your book so that you and I are clear about the arrangement throughout the project.

              Researching your project

              When I begin to research your project, I like to collect most of the information in writing. Once I have a foundational understanding of your story, my ghostwriting process will include asking a lot of questions via email. Your answers will allow me to establish a written voice for you. I will also need to speak to you on the phone. By listening to your words and how you phrase things, I gain a deeper insight into how you use language.

              I realize that some clients are not confident in their writing ability. So if you are more comfortable chatting with me on the phone, I’ll adjust my ghostwriting process to meet your needs. Although I have my preferences, the client’s needs always trump that.

              It’s worth noting that I must also do my own independent research to gain the information needed to write your story. That’s an important part of my ghostwriting process. For instance, if you’re writing a memoir about your time in Hungary in the 50s, I would comb the internet for historical accounts of that time. Or if I’m writing about the ins and outs of running a chain of restaurants, I’d need to make sure I understand the subject well enough to portray it realistically and accurately.

              Outlining your book

              The path of a bookOnce I have most of the information needed, I’ll put together an outline for you. This will act as our roadmap for our project. The format of this outline varies from client to client, depending on the needs of the author. Some prefer that I summarize the story in a few pages, while others prefer a table of contents outline. Sometimes I use my own technique, where I delineate all the incidents that will form a novel or memoir. I’ve found this to be a workable system since any story is really a series of events.

              I feel strongly that the outlining phase is an integral part of my ghostwriting process and contributes greatly to the success of any project. Honestly, it would be a waste of your money if I were to move forward without your agreement as to how the book will be structured and what the precise content would be. I’m not one to drive down a remote road for many miles, unsure if I’m traveling in the correct direction.

              Writing the first draft

              Writing your first draft is the most time-consuming segment of my ghostwriting process. As mentioned earlier, I divide this phase into two milestones. That means, if you hire me to write a 200-page book (which is approximately 50,000 words), I’ll deliver 25,000 words to you for the second milestone, and the final 25,000 as the third.

              While some ghostwriters will only deliver the complete first half of the first draft at the end of that phase, I prefer to get feedback along the way. I wish to consult with you as I write to be sure that you approve of the pieces. This avoids unpleasant surprises.

              Editing your manuscript

              Proofreading is an important part of my ghostwriting processOnce I have completed the first draft, I will collect all your notes about what you like and don’t like. Then, after I incorporate your changes, I’ll work to polish the manuscript. This is an internal phase of my ghostwriting process, one that doesn’t involve you as much. I need to read over your book a few times, making adjustments to flow, continuity, and style with each read.

              Once I’m finished with my edits, I’ll hire an outside editor to do a comprehensive review. I feel strongly that objective eyes should always look at your book before I turn it in as a final draft.

              My editor will need at least four weeks with your book. Once I get the notes back from her, she and I will discuss various points. I’ll ask questions and sometimes debate a few issues. But I will make the final call.

              When I feel it is as perfect as it can be, I’ll submit the completed manuscript to you.

              Publishing

              Although I don’t publish, I do know people who can help you prepare your manuscript for self- publication or write a killer proposal to land an agent. I will refer you to them if you wish.

              Some people ask me if I have a secret backdoor to agents and publishers. I don’t. Anyone wishing to submit to an agent needs to apply through their official channels. There are no short cuts.

               

              Now, this is my ghostwriting process. Over the last twenty years, I’ve talked to a number of ghosts and have observed that each has a different way of handling the various steps of writing a book. Be sure to fully understand any ghostwriter’s process before you hire her. Ask questions and do some research to make sure the book you receive at the end of the undertaking fulfills all your goals.

              If you’re interested in hiring me, please request a quote and I’ll get back to you within the day.

              Check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter for more tips and advice on the subject.

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