How to Work with a Ghostwriter

Work with a ghostwriter to produce a best sellerYou’ve decided to hire a ghostwriter. Great! Now, you’re probably wondering what steps you can take to prepare for the process ahead of you. Although I always recommend that you take these starting steps once you have hired your writer, I know that some of you might be eager to begin now. I understand that desire. Prepared notes can be helpful when you do begin to work with a ghostwriter.

Organize your written material

If this is a project you’ve had in mind for years, your notes might be all over the place. Perhaps you have diary pages, recipes from Grandmother Tilly, newspaper clippings from your childhood, and many more valuable items tucked away in the corners of your home or laptop.

Usually people have a mixture of hard copies and computer files. As a first step, decide which format you prefer and put all the documents in one place. It will be easier to send them to your ghostwriter that way.

Photographs are always very helpful when writing a memoir. Collect them all and scan them onto your hard drive so it will be easy to email them to your writer. It goes without saying that you should never mail the original photographs to anyone.

Create a list of incidents

If you’re writing a novel or penning a memoir, it helps to create a master list of events that will appear in your book. Don’t go into details, but rather just give each incident a title, such as “My fifth birthday party.” As you make your list, don’t edit. Just keep adding to it.

Keep in mind that some experiences can be broken into smaller incidents. For instance, a person’s wedding isn’t usually a singular event. You might break it down further into the rehearsal dinner, the bachelorette party, getting ready for the ceremony, the ceremony, and many more parts.

When you’re breaking down your story into its parts, consider all the separate incidents that will help you accurately tell your story. Then, when you begin to work with a ghostwriter, this help as she begins to outline your book.

Create a cast of characters

work with a ghostwriter to create compelling charactersWhen writing a memoir or novel, you’ll have a number of characters in your book. To help create three-dimensional personalities, it helps to write short biographies for each. Describe what they look like, what they enjoy doing, their vocation, etc.

For your memoir you’ll write down the existing personalities for the people in your life. For your novel, each main character should follow a captivating path of growth or decline throughout the story. In a lot of the stories that I tell there is a positive change, where the protagonist transforms throughout the book. Sometimes he or she will become a hero by the end. Conversely, some novels portray a negative transformation, where the character goes from being good to being evil.

Consider each character and work to build his or her personality the way you wish it to develop. It’s fun! You get to stock your book with people you create.


If you’re anything like me, you’re probably chomping at the bit to do something to forward your dream of writing a book. I get it. These are a few things you can do to prepare to work with a ghostwriter. Enjoy the process!

If you’d like some tips about how to hire a ghostwriter, please check out: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter.




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