Hiring a professional ghostwriter is challenging. You have so many options, so many writers begging for your work. But you don’t want to work with an amateur, do you? If you’re like most people, you want your story in experienced hands. You want a writer with professionalism, someone who takes pride in their writing. You want your story in the hands of a wordsmith who can make your personality, character, with all your greatness and certitude, injury and healing, vision and passion, come alive on the page. You want to be vulnerable, but you don’t want to look like a fool. You want a book that represents you. But you don’t want mere words. You want your fire, your experience, whether traumatic or victorious, to sound authentic. You want brilliant ideas to shape your story, and you want elegant writing. You can’t hire a Faulkner or a Hemmingway, but you can hire a writer who loves books, knows writing, and has the ideas you need to write a best-selling memoir. Why not?
I’m not Jesus. I can’t turn water into wine. But I can turn your words into a narrative that carries your voice. Voice is the sine qua non of all top memoirs. It’s that essential ingredient, the glue that holds all the other elements of the narrative in place. Whether your book is a personal memoir or a business memoir, voice matters.
Voice is the spirit in the machine. Voice is the undertow in the ocean breakers, compelling the swimmer into deeper waters. Voice perks our ears to someone who can’t be ignored. Or to someone who must be ignored. Voice transforms the colorless sky into a purpled twilight.
Why not expect more than mere words on a page? You can get software now to translate your words into a Word document. But a machine can’t capture your voice. It will never be able to capture your voice until it can empathize. When that happens, we’re all out of work.
So what is this voice I’m talking about?
- It’s your passion without the sentimentality.
- It’s the images in your head.
- It’s your experiences that show your character and emotions.
- It’s the unique way, the special way, you see the world.
- It’s your attitude, your convictions, your will to live.
Choose a Professional Ghostwriter who is up to the challenge of writing your life
This is why ghostwriting is so challenging. Picking the right ghostwriter who will capture more than the words that come out of your mouth takes a special talent.
Distilling a lifetime of experiences down to a meaningful narrative is one of the most difficult tasks facing a memoir writer. One writer compared writing about one’s life to distilling a field of corn down into a shot glass.
That image is useful because it implies several things: Writing your story is a process that takes time. It’s during this process of distilling down to the elemental truth of your story that your voice emerges, strong but vulnerable, honest but not foolish (unless the narrative calls for it).
I’ve spent my professional writing career listening to clients and figuring out the deeper meaning of their stories and then getting their story down on paper. One of my return clients said about my technique:
“John is an empathetic man with a fantastic ability to articulate thoughts
and emotional processes on paper.”
CEO, Chapman House Recovery, Inc.
Yes, I believe that the key to capturing and creating your literary voice is empathy. The ability to understand your emotional life and to articulate it. That’s how I do it. That’s my process. I have no reservations about calling myself a professional ghostwriter.
If you are looking for someone to help you get your story fashioned into a compelling read, give me a call. I will give you a free evaluation of your story and assessment of what I can do to help you reach your publishing goals.
Call me for a free evaluation.
My Five-Step Process for Writing a Memoir
My five-step process takes you from start to finish in eight months.
Listening and Learning
This is where I’m learning about you and your ideas. During our first month together, we talk through your story. I record every session and make a transcript that lays the foundation for the narrative. We’ll spend six to eight hours a week together–over the phone or in person.
Your story will be given the care and attention to detail that it deserves.
We all have governing scenes from our past that have deep emotional memories attached to them. These scenes may come up slowly or rise quickly through layers of memory as we talk through your story.
Often in conversing with my clients, new insights into past events are gained . These become critical to developing your story. That’s why I spend a lot of time with my clients, recording every conversation, going over the stories and conversations in detail before I begin writing.
Drafting and Revising
Your book will now come to you in chapters. Here is where you will spend time reading it, making notes on the manuscript, and returning the pages for my revision.
One concern I often hear about using a ghostwriter is “Will it sound like me?” Hopefully, it won’t, at least not the spoken you. Most of us have a spoken voice that differs from our writing voice. If you’ve never written a book before, then a written voice needs to be developed.
But it will be your words, your ideas, your humor, and your vocabulary, for the most part.
Remember, what sounds interesting in speech typically won’t sound good on paper, so there has to be some shaping of the words, the ideas, the sentences to establish a voice that’s authentic to you. This is where my interviewing skills come into play—to dig deep into the story and the meaning behind the events.
When we’re done it won’t be my voice, neither will it be the spoken you, rather the literary you. One that is true to your energy and vocabulary and personality.
Peter Petre did this with Alan Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence. If you’ve ever heard the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve speak he’s often obtuse. His language is usually riddled with financial jargon that sounds foreign to the average listener.
Petre took his ideas and words and shaped them into extremely readable prose . You can hear Greenspan’s voice for certain, but you can understand clearly what he means even when he’s speaking about the most complex economic mechanisms.
Sometimes a voice comes through in vocabulary; sometimes in the cadence of the speech.
You can read this in Jimmy Connors’ memoir, The Outsider. When Connors played tennis he had a pugilistic flair to his game. Reading the first page of his memoir brings that same aggressive staccato energy to bear. It’s him all right behind those words. I can feel the energy in the short sentences like he’s trying to punch me in the face with them.
Voice is a complex nuance to any written work, and I work hard to find yours. It’s a combination of sentence length, vocabulary, emotion, personality, and magic. You’ll see.
A Professional Ghostwriter Knows How to Structure Your Memoir
Most memoirs are organized around a sequential series of events that move through conflict to some deeper problem, ultimately leading to some resolution. But there’s more. A memoir can also be organized around themes or both sequential events combined with themes.
Mary Karr in her famous memoir, The Liars’ Club, did this so adroitly. (Her book was not ghostwritten. If you write as beautifully as she did, you certainly don’t need me.) She organized her narrative simultaneously by themes and a sequence of events.
While she moved through her life from age five to college, each chapter is deepened emotionally by the development of her father’s drinking buddies and their penchant for telling tall tales. Hence the “Liars’ Club” of the title foreshadows the final scene where the ultimate lie unfolds.
It’s not what we’re expecting, but it has been hinted at, so we’re not surprised. The theme has been so carefully developed that we’re ready for it, and we know by now it’s not a tall tale.
During this structuring phase we’ll decide on the different narrative devices we can use to tell your story. This is part of the process of developing an outline with chapter summaries.
For instance in Drew Barrymore’s, Little Girl Lost, the writer used both first and third person point of view within each chapter. This dual narrative allowed the ghostwriter to dive into her family’s past that bore directly on Drew’s decisions and the situation in the present. This created empathy for Drew and suspense over what would become of her.
We’ll also identify the essential conflicts and the crisis of each chapter. Chapters progress through conflict that somehow changes the value (emotion or state of mind or situation) of the author. This builds interest because the reader will want to know more.
This change in value creates the character arcs every good story possesses. Changes should result from something you did or was done to you. Another way of thinking of this is that all change and growth comes through the decisions and events in the author’s life. This gives you new insights into what matters to you—a business breakthrough, professional achievement, relationships, sobriety—whatever you are striving for.
I’ll incorporate all of these elements into the outline that gives direction to writing a memoir. It will serve as a guide, not a rulebook, as the story unfolds.
Revising and Copy Editing
At last, you will receive a completed manuscript. You will read it one more time in its entirety, make comments on it, and then send it back.
After I’ve made the last round of revisions, I will send it to a copy editor. I work with a professional copy editor to smooth out the prose and to proofread the text. A pair of fresh eyes will tighten it and give it the final polish. That’s what makes it publication ready.
After the book is copyedited, I make corrections and send it back to you for a final review.
My clients are happy because I deliver a book they can be proud of, one that demands to be read. Once we have completed writing your memoir, we can consider the publishing options. Writing a memoir is difficult enough, that’s why I make the publishing options easy to understand.
While the book is in copyediting, I’ll help you sift through the publishing options. There are a wide variety of self-publishing options available and if you decide to self-publish your book, I’ll be happy to assist in evaluating your options and make a fully informed decision that works for you.
Traditional Publishing Option
If you seek to publish using a traditional publisher, you will need a professional Book Proposal. Most literary agents will not consider your book without receiving a Book Proposal. For an additional fee, I can write a Book Proposal that will get your project immediate attention.
If you are looking for a professional ghostwriter to help you write a memoir, I will assist you in every step of the submission process to literary agents.
Call me for a free evaluation .
Directory of Professional Book Coaches and Ghostwriters
We have recently expanded our Resources section to provide website visitors with more valuable publishing industry information and contacts. The Book Coaches and Ghostwriters page is new and will be updated frequently. If you are a book coach or ghostwriter and would like to submit your information for consideration, please use this form .
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Professional Book Coaches
Amanda Page – As founder of Bold Types, LLC, I work with writers and service professionals to bring their best writing out of hiding. I’m a writer + professional coach and instructor who can help you blast through the blocks keeping you from writing the book (or other project) you’ve dreamed of writing. I’ll pull you out of the quicksand and onto firm ground. I’ll support you through idea development, project structure, the writing process and publishing concerns. We’ll reveal your genius to the world via your writing. You’ve kept it to yourself for too long. Complimentary sample session. Find me at http://bold-types.com .
Andrea Hurst – THE FIRST FIFTY is a way of getting through initial submission hurdle and onto the serious reading pile of agents and editors. Our evaluators have extensive acquisition experience, many with major New York publishing houses, and prominent literary agencies. This is an effective and affordable way for you to get the guidance you need to make your crucial introductory material into a winner. Get more details on book coaching services with Andrea Hurst .
Beth Barany – Specializing in creativity coaching for writers. Are you looking to see if your manuscript is ready for publication? Beth offers a Manuscript Critique Service to evaluate your manuscripts readiness. Do you need help writing your critique letter and searching out agents and editors? The Submission Consultation may be right for you. Get more details on book coaching services with Beth Barany .
Dawn Josephson – Dawn is also known as the Master Writing Coach™. Whether you need a ghostwriter to turn your ideas into a book or a writing coach to guide you through a writing roadblock, Dawn Josephson is the one to call. Since 1998, Dawn has been helping non-fiction authors, speakers, and business leaders use their ideas and written materials to enhance their credibility, positioning, and profits. Let Dawn show you how to create an irresistible book, article, or marketing piece that positions you as the expert. Get more details on book coaching services with Dawn Josephson.
Lisa Tener – National book writing coach and author Lisa Tener specializes in helping entrepreneurs, therapists, doctors, coaches, speakers and other shape their expertise, ideas and unique gifts into a book that attracts ideal clients, speaking gigs, other opportunities and makes a difference in the world. She offers private book coaching as well as teleseminars and self-study courses to write a great book in 8 weeks. She has appeared on ABC World News with Peter Jennings and PBS-TV. Her clients have been featured on Oprah, CBS Early Show, Good Morning America and more. Lisa serves on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s publishing course. Get more details on book coaching services with Lisa Tener.
Bobbi Linkemer – Bobbi is a book coach, ghostwriter, editor, and the author of 16 books under her own name. She has been a professional writer for more than 40 years, a magazine editor, marketing manager, and head of employee communications for major corporations. In her role as a book-writing coach she helps clients and students write, publish, and promote their nonfiction books. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals who want to enhance their credibility or build their businesses. Get more details on book coaching services with Bobbi Linkemer.
Melody Bussey – I work with those who have experienced that delightful condition called “stuck”. Maybe you’ve gotten most of your book completed, but now you can’t figure out where to go from here. I can help. Or possibly you’ve finished your book but it’s just not quite ready for prime time and agents have been so ‘kind’ as to point this out. I can help. Book published but languishing in the trunk of your car? I can help. For more information about what I can do to assist you in meeting your goals, feel free to browse the website: www.melodybussey.com . Free consultation.
Diane Eble is known as “ Your Book Publishing Coach ” who offers sound coaching and advice, particularly on navigating the sometimes rocky waters of the current publishing climate. She has nearly 33 years of publishing experience as an author of 11 published books and hundreds of online and offline articles, editor of dozens of books (fiction and nonfiction), virtual book tour interviewer, and marketing consultant. She is the president of Words to Profit, and was the editor and publishing coach for the now international best-selling book, The Healing Code . As a Certified Healing Codes Coach/Practitioner , she also helps authors and other creative people heal the blocks to success that may be holding them back. Find her numerous resources for authors at http://wordstoprofit.com and http://yourbookpublishingcoach.com.
Linda C. Anderson, Writing on the Run Book Coach, offers encouragement, support, and advice to help authors successfully write, publish, market, and promote their books. Linda has over twenty-five years of professional experience as an author, playwright, screenwriter, publicist, and media coach. She is the author of fifteen nonfiction books, many of which have become bestsellers. Her work has been featured in national media such as USA Today, NPR, and the Washington Post, among others. Her book about animal rescue won the American Society of Journalists & Authors Outstanding Book Award in 2007. Since 1998, Linda has been a writing instructor at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. She specializes in teaching inspirational writing and has won a Loft Outstanding Teacher Award. Her website was listed as a Writer’s Digest Top 100 Websites for Writers. She offers coaching for nonfiction books and book proposals. For selected authors she also does editing, collaboration, or ghostwriting. Her extensive interactions with agents, editors, publicists, and writers make her an ideal coach for authors who want to shape material into exciting, fresh, and marketable presentations that evolve from idea stage to publication in an organized and time-efficient manner. http://writingontherun.com/bookcoach.html
Judy Cullins – Master Bookcoach Judy Cullins helps non-fiction authors write and sell a book readers will love with her 9 Pre-Marketing Selling Points and her Fast Writing Chapter Blueprint Strategies. She’s published 14 books to help authors including “Write Your eBook or Other Short Book–Fast” and “LinkedIn Book Marketing: 8 Best Tactics.” You may contact her at Skills Unlimited Publishing at (619) 466-0622, or via email at [email protected] .
Fred Ford – I am a ghost-writer and a success coach specializing in coaching writers and entrepreneurs who want to write a book. I am happy to provide references upon request. [email protected]
Teresa Funke, the That Book Inside You Coach, offers one-on-one and group coaching to clients who wish to produce a book for publication or pleasure. Teresa has helped dozens of clients write and publish fiction and nonfiction books, short stories, essays, and articles; launch websites and blogs; complete synopses and book proposals; acquire literary agents; self-publish their books; and brainstorm creative marketing plans to promote their projects. Teresa coaches writers of all levels and genres, except picture books and poetry. If you’re looking for someone who will give you honest and encouraging consultations and critiques and real-world advice, Teresa is the coach for you! She is the author of six novels for children and adults and over 100 articles, essays, and short stories; she was the onscreen host of The Write Series and is now an Expert Guide for Children’s Book Insider; she owns and operates Teresa Funke & Company and Victory House Press and much more. Better than anyone, Teresa knows the challenges faced by modern authors in a rapidly changing industry. Her goal is to help you avoid those easy-to-make mistakes that will cost you time, money, and credibility in a complicated publishing world. To read testimonials or learn more, visit www.teresafunke.com/coaching
Carol Abrahamson — I am one of the few publishing industry insiders and business book coaches/experts who has the broad business experience necessary to help executives, entrepreneurs, experts and professionals create a book that will generate strong 6- and 7-figure results for their business — results that go way beyond book sales. Through my experience with hundreds of companies in dozens of industries (plus an MBA), I know how to make a book create specific results for most types of businesses, how much time and dollars certain growth goals take to materialize and which desired results require intermediate milestones to occur first. Through my company Executive Authors, I strategically advise, guide, coach, consult, plan, project-manage and build the service provider team for my clients’ books, all while I architect/create a powerful book-business synergy. I not only help shape a book so it generates a client’s desired business results, I also suggest changes to their business so it works together with their book toward those same goals. As one of the very first executives anywhere to write a book to build their business and brand (in the 1980s), my first book brought my one-person business over $2 million in consulting revenues and more than 100 new clients within several years — and I’ve written 15 more books about my expertise and business since my first job in the industry at McGraw-Hill. www.ExecutiveAuthors.com
Kim Pearson – Kim is an author, ghostwriter, writing coach, and the owner of Primary Sources, www.primary-sources.com , a writing service that helps others become authors of polished, professional, and compelling books and blogs. She has authored 6 books of her own, including award-winning Making History: how to remember, record, interpret and share the events of your life; and Dog Park Diary. She has ghostwritten more than 35 non-fiction books and memoirs, telling the stories of a wide variety of people and covering a broad range of topics. Her program “Living as a Ghost” teaches others the fine art of ghostwriting.
Erica Levy Klein – Specializing in thought leadership books for CEOs, thought leaders and businesses of all sizes and global locations, Erica Levy Klein has been an award-winning business and celebrity ghostwriter and speechwriter for more than 15 years. In addition to being the author of six books for Random House and Wiley (please see Erica Levy Klein on www.amazon.com ), Erica has served as a Ghostwriter and Executive Editor for books and corporate histories developed for Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, AIG and other global financial, technology and management consulting firms, including those headquartered in New York, London, LA and the Silicon Valley. She travels globally to serve her clients and also does thought leadership coaching and training through her Thought Leadership 101TM program.
Her thought leadership ghostwriting and content marketing credentials can be viewed on her LinkedIn profile, www.linkedin.com/in/ericalevyklein and via her website, www.ThoughtLeadershipWriter.com . Her professional ghostwriting fees range from $160K-175K depending on project length and complexity. You can contact Erica directly at (201) 876-9067.
Karen Cioffiis a professional ghostwriter specializing in the business and health arenas, but is also interested in self-help and coaching genres. She is also a published author, and a member of the International Association of Professional Ghostwriters and the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors. Along with this she is an editor with 4RV Publishing. You can find out more about Karen at: http://dkvwriting4u.com
Sherry L. Granader is a Sports Nutritionist, Writer, Ghostwriter and Speaker. She is known for sharing her knowledge and expertise with audiences everywhere about eating to live longer and how to achieve optimum health and vitality through good nutrition and supplementation. She has ghostwritten 10 books in the past year for Natural Medicine Doctors including 2 healthy weight loss cookbooks on her own. Her articles have been published in “FIRST”, “Woman’s Day” and “Better Homes and Gardens” national magazines. For more information on Sherry, please visit: www.sgtotalhealth.com or www.sgfit.com or call her on her direct line at 517.899.1451.
Thomas Hauck – For both first-time and experienced authors, Thomas Hauck offers a wide variety of literary services including ghostwriting, editing, and proofreading. Tom Hauck has ghostwritten or edited dozens of published books and ebooks, many of which are Amazon category bestsellers. Topics include memoirs, business books, finance, self-help books, and fiction. It’s all about reaching your audience with your story. Contact me today to find out how I can help you create a book that will proudly carry your name. For more information visit www.thomashauck.net .
Lynda Forman graduated from the University of Toledo with an Honors B.A. in Writing. Since 2005, she has been a full-time writer, writing and ghostwriting for a diverse assortment of local and international companies and individuals. One project in 2008 led her to Berlin, Germany, where she interviewed a client for two weeks for a ghostwriting project. In addition, she has also written and edited eBooks, books, children’s stories, press releases, sales pages, SEO text, websites, magazine articles, etc. Her work has been featured in Problem Solved Daily, Small Farmer’s Journal, CNN and other media outlets. Website: www.lyndaforman.com Twitter: @lyndaforman Facebook: www.facebook.com/lyndaformandotcom
Rich Mintzer is an author, ghostwriter, web content writer. His business, Your Book Your Way, is a new ghostwriting service designed to help entrepreneurs and individuals tell their personal or business stories in book form. www.richmintzer.com e-mail at [email protected]
Josh and Juliana Weiss-Roessler offer ghostwriting services for novels, children’s stories, non-fiction books, screenplays, blogs, and more at an affordable rate. Their writing has won numerous awards, including 1st place in Creative Screenwriting’s AAA Contest and placement in NBC’s prestigious writing program. They pride themselves in helping their clients to organize their ideas and create a completed manuscript that is ready for publishing. WeissRoessler.com
JD Moore – “I help good people write great books!” A professionally trained and certified ghostwriter, JD specializes and takes pride in maintaining the uniqueness of your author voice. She offers services for all levels of writers including: Manuscript Analysis, Book Proposals, Editing, Ghostwriting, and Author Coaching. Her mission: “To bring out the literary and professional best in my author clients, allowing them to shine and pursue their goals with confidence.” www.moorethanjustwords.com
Don Vasicek – The Zen of Writing combines words and direct intuitive insight that takes your writing where you want it to go. We specialize in ghostwriting, novels, non-fiction books, e-books, articles, and screenplays. http://www.donvasicek.com
Leslie Pepper – For nearly two decades, I’ve been writing, editing and publishing compelling content in a variety of formats. I’ve been published in dozens of publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, Woman’s Day, Parade, More, Family Circle, Redbook, Parenting and Parents, among many others. I was the monthly health columnist for Marie Claire magazine and the Editor-in-Chief of aWoman’s Day special-interest publication, Health for Women. My corporate work includes feature stories, brochures, web sites and videos. I am also an accomplished ghostwriter, having collaborated on several parenting and fitness books. lesliepepper.com .
Ashley Cisneros – Ashley Cisneros, Inc. offers high-quality communications services including article writing and editing. Ashley leverages a diverse communications career as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, copy editor, technical writer, marketing manager and public relations professional. Please visit AshleyCisneros.com for more information.
Michele Matrisciani – A former publishing executive for trade nonfiction houses, I now collaborate, develop, coach, and ghostwrite memoir, biography, business self-help, health and fitness, inspirational how-to, music, parenting, fashion, and highly illustrated books. I recently completed books for Hay House and HarperCollins, as well as The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson, which boasts rave reviews on Amazon. I am currently working with The Jim Henson Company on The Jim Henson Opus, but am seeking additional work as the project winds down. BookChic.net
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