This post originally appeared on Ghostwriting Plus.
I have ghostwritten over 25 books for a number of clients, including doctors, lawyers, and motivational speakers. Today I want to share with you three effective ways you can collaborate with your client.
1. Rewrite a Raw Manuscript
These days, this is my favorite way to ghostwrite a book. If your client has written most or all of her manuscript, you’re in a great position to help her reach the next level. She’s written down her ideas. Now it’s your turn to do your magic.
Starting with what she’s put together, rework it to produce the most engaging, professional product possible. Hack away! Create new chapter titles and section headers. Rewrite to your heart’s content. Remove redundancies. Expand points. Add anecdotes and examples to support her points.
Keep the main messages, and make sure your client’s voice comes through. But use your own savvy to rework the manuscript, transforming it from amateurish to a highly professional work of art, with every sentence a joy to read.
2. Write a Manuscript from Interviews
At the other end of the spectrum is the client who has written nothing and has a million ideas floating in his head. He’s brilliant, and his ideas are worth sharing with readers, but as soon as he tries writing anything down, he loses them. He’s an eloquent speaker, not a writer.
In this case, schedule a series of interviews. They can be conducted in person, by phone, or through Skype. I interview clients by phone, and since I’m a fast typist I go ahead and type what they say, creating a written record in real time. This saves me the expense and extra step of having an audio interview transcribed. Then as I piece together a manuscript from scratch, I simply copy and paste sections from the written record, rewriting and expanding them as needed.
By the way, in this case it’s a good idea to charge separately for the interviews. I typically charge clients a per-page rate for ghostwriting plus a per-hour rate for phone interviews.
3. Piece Together What You’ve Been Given and Gather More
In this approach, the client has some material to give you. For example, she might hand you 19 pages she’s written with rough ideas for her book, plus five articles published about her in different magazines, and two YouTube videos of her being interviewed on the subject you’ll be ghostwriting about.
Your job is to take this hodgepodge and incorporate it into a new work. In addition, you’ll need to figure out what’s missing and schedule a few interviews to gather more information.
Since I enjoy writing a hundred times more than I enjoy talking, I try to conduct email interviews whenever possible. This won’t work for clients who love to talk and hate to write. It does tend to work for very busy professionals, though, since they can sit down and address your emailed questions at their leisure.
When I conduct email interviews, I do not charge extra. I charge only a per-page fee for ghostwriting the manuscript.