How to Work with a Ghostwriter


Work with a ghostwriter to produce a best sellerYou’ve had trouble completing your book. It’s been years and you’re still “working on it.” Waking up one day, you decide enough is enough. It’s time to work with a ghostwriter.


Now with that decision behind you, you might wonder what steps you can take to prepare. Although I always recommend that you take these starting steps after you hire a ghostwriter, I know that some of you might be eager to begin immediately. I understand that desire.

Let’s explore some actions you can take right now.

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.

Now is a good time to put all these files in one place. This process always takes a little longer than you’d think.

Create a list of incidents

Create a list of incidents to work with a ghostwriterIf 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 preparatory work will help as she begins to outline your book. With a good incident list in place, I have a good starting place to interview my client.

Create a cast of characters

work with a ghostwriter to create compelling charactersWhen writing a memoir or novel, you’ll have several 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 of the people in your life. Consider who they are to you and how these characters will help you tell your story.

In addition, you can begin to think about the main characters’ individual journeys through your story. Do they improve their lot in life or are they destined to repeat their errors, taking a downward spiral into chaos?

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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