People write me all the time asking for help to complete their books. Sometimes they need a ghostwriter, but sometimes they just need a consultant to troubleshoot a problem. Whether you’re penning a business book, crafting a novel, or sharing your life story in a memoir, the process requires dedication, skill, and a keen understanding of effective storytelling. If you need help, hire a writing consultant, Let’s explore the three main categories of books and see how I could possibly help you.
Hire a Writing Consultant for your Business Book
Writing a business book involves more than just sharing information. It can’t just be a series of facts. Yawn. No, there is a strategic approach to engage and educate your target audience (and yes, you need to determine who your readers will be). A writing consultant can provide invaluable insights to ensure your book achieves your objectives.
A writing consultant can help you brainstorm and develop compelling content that aligns with your business goals while keeping your readers entertained. I recently worked with a client who wanted to focus on the details of a system he’d developed. Definitely, this is the crux of the book, but I worked with him to uncover humorous anecdotes and stories that helped illustrate his ideas. I can tell you when I read nonfiction, I learn best when the author shares personal stories. And I remember those stories decades later.
Clarity and Conciseness
Business books thrive on clarity and conciseness. A writing consultant can refine your language, ensuring that complex ideas are communicated straightforwardly. This isn’t to say that you should also work to lessen the word count. Sometimes the right choice is to pick a wordier explanation. It all comes down to communication. What will communicate to your reader?
One thing I always coach my clients to do is avoid using technical jargon. Even if you think your reader might know the terms, others might not. For instance, if your book is geared toward chefs, don’t assume they all know the techniques you know (and their fancy French names). It’s better to define terms than to leave your reader struggling to find answers.
Crafting a well-structured business book is crucial for maintaining reader interest. A writing consultant can create a seamless flow of information, which is integral in helping your reader understand the material. If the flow is off, it will be a confusing text. For instance, never say “I’ll explain that in a future chapter.” Explanations should be immediate.
Hire a Consultant for Your Novel
Novel writing is an art form that requires a unique set of skills. Whether you’re a first-time novelist or a seasoned storyteller, a writing consultant can provide valuable support to bring your novel to life.
As a consultant of many years, I always start with the outline. “But, Laura, I didn’t create an outline.” Well, that’s probably the problem. It’s not to say that you can’t write “by the seat of your pants,” as some writers love to do. You can, but if you run into a roadblock, a brick wall, or a cliff of doom, you do need to revisit the structure.
If you don’t have an outline, don’t worry. I’ll teach you how to create one. With any novel, you need to follow the three-act structure and hit certain “beats” (plot elements) to pen a successful book.
The structure of your novel is the framework that holds the story together. One would hire a writing consultant to guide that framework. Honestly, it isn’t complicated. You just need experienced and friendly help.
Creating relatable and memorable characters is at the heart of any great novel. A writing consultant can help you develop characters that resonate with readers. For many clients, I like to start with the background history and biography of the character. Think of it like an interview. Sit down with your characters one by one in a corner of your mind and ask questions.
Next, develop dialogue for them. They shouldn’t all sound alike. Think of your friends. Do they each speak in the same way? I doubt it. If you’re not sure, start really noticing the way they put a sentence together. I also find it helpful to eavesdrop on conversations just to pick up dialogue pointers. In addition, reading novels helps a lot. Notice how the authors help you understand their characters better through dialogue.
Whether you’re writing a romance, mystery, or science fiction novel, a writing consultant with genre-specific expertise can provide valuable insights into conventions and expectations, helping you navigate the nuances of your chosen genre.
It’s always a good idea to read a few novels in your genre to get ideas for how popular authors write. There are hundreds of genres and subgenres, so look for books within your niche area. For instance, if you’re writing science fiction, determine the subgenre (like First Contact or Space Opera) and find books within that area.
Hire a Writing Consultant for Your Memoir
Memoirs are deeply personal, requiring a delicate balance between authenticity and storytelling finesse. A writing consultant can be your guide in navigating this balance, ensuring that your memoir resonates with readers. Over half the books I’ve ghostwritten fall into the memoir genre. Why? I think it is because the material is often too close to home for the author. However, if you’d like to tackle your memoir on your own, but know you need help, hire a writing consultant to get you through the tough bits. It’s very helpful to have a supportive consultant by your side through the process.
It might surprise you that a memoir follows the rules of fiction. Therefore, crafting a compelling narrative structure is essential when penning your life story. People often hire me as a writing consultant to assist them in writing the outline. One can’t simply list out one’s memories in order and call it a book. Again, the three-act structure must come into play.
I enjoy helping authors organize their life events in a way that creates a cohesive and engaging story, drawing readers into their experiences.
Voice and Tone
When writing a memoir, you must find a written voice and create a tone and be consistent with both. If you’re unsure how to accomplish these goals, it’s time to hire a writing consultant!
When working with a client, I can be as hands-on or off as you like. I charge $145 per hour to consult or have a variety of packages to help you complete your book.
Your written voice will be different from your spoken one, although there is some overlap. Together we can determine what your new voice will be. Of course, if you have already established a written voice, I can help you maintain that through your memoir.
A memoir must always delve into your life in a personal way. The author should share their emotions authentically with the reader. How do you do that? It’s all about being true to you. I can help you create the words to express yourself. Additionally, it’s worth noting that you don’t need to share all your intimate details. You get to choose which stories to tell.
As a writing consultant, I help authors take a step back and reflect on the events of their lives. I can provide insights into how to present your experiences in a way that is both meaningful and relatable to your audience.
How a Writing Consultant Can Help at Any Phase
When you hire a writing consultant, know that you can ask them to provide support at any phase of your writing project. Some people come to me with the plea, “Laura, I have no idea where to start!” Others have a decent first draft but know it needs help. Then some manuscripts and clients fall in between.
Early Planning and Brainstorming
I just received an email from an author who wrote, “I need help writing my novel and could use advice on some plot points.” Yes, I can do that! Early planning is essential if you’d like your book to make sense. Now you may be thinking, “This is my book, so wouldn’t it be cheating to hire a writing consultant to give me ideas?” It isn’t. Think of it more as hiring a writing partner. The ideas will still be yours, but the consultant will guide you in the right direction.
If you find yourself 89 pages into your 300-page manuscript and feel like something is wrong, it’s a good idea to hire a writing consultant. Otherwise, you’ll continue forward and waste a lot of time heading down the wrong path. Or you’ll hit the dreaded writer’s block because there’s a problem with the story’s structure.
Often when I analyze a manuscript and talk to my client, any structural problems will pop out quickly. Having been a ghostwriter for twenty years, I’ve written over 40 books. Structuring a story comes naturally and I can see the issues easily. I can offer suggestions and help you course-correct and move forward.
Conclusion: Your Book, Your Success
If you hire a writing consultant, you aren’t just investing in your book, you are investing in becoming a better writer. Whether you’re writing a business book, a novel, or a memoir, a consultant will arm you with many tools that will help you become a successful author. From refining your story structure to ensuring clarity and engaging your target audience, the benefits of collaboration with a writing consultant are vast.