Before you click over to pick up your copy, check out our Q&A with the book's author, ghostwriter Graciela Sholander.
What’s your ghostwriting background? How did you land your first ghosting jobs?
I’ve been a freelance writer for over 20 years. This is a second career for me; I started as an engineer, but after my kids were born I left engineering to become an at-home mom, and that’s when my writing career began to emerge. To date I’ve ghostwritten 24 books. When I first started ghostwriting I was unfamiliar with the term. I was living in Albuquerque and had just completed an article about a local psychic for a regional women’s magazine. The psychic was impressed with my work and referred me to one of her clients, a recovering alcoholic who wanted her life story captured in a book she could share with other women struggling with addiction. That book ended up inspiring quite a few people, and the project was a rewarding one. I soon signed up with guru.com (which was in its early days) and landed my next ghostwriting jobs thanks to that site.
What attracts you to ghostwriting?
I love so many aspects of ghostwriting. It’s exciting to meet new people who are experts in their fields or have a compelling story to tell, and then help them get that story in writing. It’s fun to watch a book take shape, from maybe a handful of notes to a complete, full-length tome. I also enjoy capturing the client’s voice and crafting something that sounds like them. I really enjoy serving as the missing link, so to speak, a bridge between a brilliant person’s ideas and his or her audience.
What are some challenges an aspiring ghostwriter might face?
As with any field, the biggest question for newcomers is, “Where do I start?” While there are plenty of people who desperately need help with writing their books and articles, an aspiring ghostwriter may not know how to go about finding these potential clients. I always advise creating an online presence, as all writers benefit from having some form of online portfolio. Another challenge new ghostwriters might face is transitioning from writing short pieces, like articles and blog posts, to longer works, like books and ebooks. In this case, I recommend treating a book like a series of articles in order to get a handle on the project and estimate how long it will take and how much it will cost.
Were there any surprises during your research for this book?
I began writing Where Are the Ghostwriting Jobs? in 2011, and when I became busy with a number of other projects I put it aside. When I went back to complete it in late 2013, I was surprised by how many sites and businesses I was planning to include had disappeared. So the places listed in my guide are the ones with true staying power!
Do you see ghostwriting as an expanding market these days?
I do. I’ve been watching this business for 20 years, and during that time it has grown by leaps and bounds. The beauty of ghostwriting is that there are so many sectors that utilize it; it’s not just about celebrity biographies. Businesses hire ghosts to create newsletters, website content, case studies, white papers, speeches, and more. Info marketers hire ghosts to write ebooks. Nowadays we even have ghost bloggers and tweeters! As the internet continues to create additional writing opportunities, ghostwriting will expand into these new arenas.
What are the most common kinds of ghostwriting work available?
Memoirs continue to be among the most popular, mainly because so many people of all ages have fascinating life stories they’d like to share with the world. A variation on the memoir is what I call the “expert book”: a doctor, an attorney, a movie industry insider, or an entrepreneur (to name a few examples) has developed a special technique or strategy and now wants to publish a book about it, so he or she seeks the services of a ghostwriter. I also often see people seeking a ghostwriter’s help with a first novel or screenplay. In addition, many information sites rely on ghostwriting. Years ago, I wrote medical articles for a health website. The site’s parent company assigned these articles with very specific instructions and had physicians review them for accuracy, but the writing was done by ghosts.
Can you reveal a tip or two from the book?
Absolutely! One tip is to take confidentiality requests very seriously. If your client does not want to reveal that his book was ghostwritten, you must abide by that. That means you can’t reveal the author’s name, the book title, or any other specific details about the project you’re working on. Confidentiality is a very important factor in the ghostwriting equation. The ghostwriter’s reward is not fame or recognition; it’s steady income and a fulfilling job. A second tip I’d like to share is this: avoid clients who demand perfection but are not willing to compensate you fairly. Ghostwriting is a collaborative process. Give it your absolute best, but be sure your client respects you and your services enough to pay you fairly.
Dream It Do It: Inspiring Stories of Dreams Come True, she had the privilege of interviewing Bill Nye the Science Guy and astronaut Eileen Collins, among other inspiring individuals. As a ghostwriter, she’s completed 24 manuscripts as well as dozens of articles. She has also worked as an engineer, a marketer, proofreader, copywriter, editor, content provider, and translator.