There’s a prevailing myth that only celebrities and political icons hire ghostwriters. Well, that just isn’t true. We are actually contracted by many different kinds of authors. My clients have held various professions, and each client had their own goal. Their goal became mine, as I helped them complete their book project.
Having written over four dozen books for a variety of authors, I can tell you that no two projects are alike. So who hires a ghostwriter? Well, I’ve found they usually fit into one of five categories.
Business people hire ghostwriters
Entrepreneurs and industry leaders often hire professional writers to establish that they are the expert in their field. In addition, they often wish to author a book in order to strengthen their brand. It boosts their credibility to a new level. A book with their name on the cover will get them noticed, and it will help them expand their business.
Interestingly enough, selling their book is only one profit center for a business owner. I’ve found that most entrepreneurs write books to expand their clientele. For some, one new client means thousands in profit, so ten new clients can recoup the cost of their ghostwriter.
After talking to many busy executives and entrepreneurs, I’ve learned they usually don’t have the time to sit and write a book without a score of interruptions. Also, the average business owner is usually unfamiliar with the book writing process; it takes years of practice to hone that skill. Most don’t have the time to develop that expertise.
Someone with a niche market
If someone has a particular expertise, they might hire me to write a thorough how-to book, so that they can help others flourish in that field. Someone who began their life in poverty, and who now owns a half dozen thriving businesses and is worth tens of millions of dollars should really tell her story so that others might follow in her footsteps.
Or, if someone has a particular ability or skill set, he really should share that information with others. Maybe you’ve learned a new approach to gardening or have discovered new photography techniques. It would be a shame if that information were to be lost forever. I enjoy helping clients share details on how to start a variety of businesses.
Family historians hire ghostwriters
Most families have at least one person who is in charge of the collective memories of the family. They are the ones you can go to when you’re trying to sort out the family tree. They are the person who remembers all the details of the stories that are told from generation to generation.
Family historians often come to me when they wish to preserve their family history on a permanent basis. Some choose to share these events with the world, while others simply want to let their grandchildren know how life was back in their day. I love to help families preserve their unique stories.
I think this category surprises people the most. “You mean people hire ghostwriters to write their novels?”
Why, yes, they do!
Over the last twenty years, I’ve been hired to write sci-fi, drama, fantasy, action-adventure, etc. Most of my clients started with a nugget of an idea and needed help fleshing out the story. Some clients approached me with a rough outline and the biographies of a few characters worked out, but didn’t know how to tie everything together. A few clients have a hundred pages written, but the story doesn’t seem to flow. They each recognized that they needed to hire help to see their vision come alive.
When someone has a partially written story (or a completed first draft) but knows there is something not working, I always coach them to review their outline. If they don’t have one, I help them create one from the existing material. With a good detailed outline in place, the problems with the plot become clear.
The most common request I receive as a ghostwriter is to write a person’s life story. Clients wish to share their memories in a riveting, engaging way. I must say, I love writing a memoir, as it often has the qualities of multiple genres. A memoir is most like a novel, in that follows all the same rules of literature (you must adhere to the three-act structure, develop your characters, create entertaining and realistic dialogue, etc.). It also often features a businessperson’s successful actions, which share their niche market advice. And many memoirs succeed in preserving the family memories.
Some memoirs are partially fictionalized for a variety of reasons. That’s OK as long as the underlying story is still accurate. It’s always fine to add some embellishments or change a few details. When authors hire ghostwriters to assist them, it is really their job to make the story a thrilling read, capturing the readers’ attention from the get-go.
Many different kinds of people hire me to write books for them. I’ve worked with retired people, business icons, medical professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs, and many others. They all want to either tell their story or share their expertise. It is my honor to assist them.
If you’d like to read up on the subject, please pick up my book Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter.