Have you ever considered writing a book? Could a book about you or your business have a positive impact on sales? So, what's stopping you? The most common reason (excuse?) I hear is, "I don't have the time, I'll get to it someday." Or there's always, "I just can't get my thoughts on paper," and, "I am not a writer." I suppose the reasons are endless, but so may be the list of benefits.
"Authoring a book can establish you as a thought leader in your industry, as well as generate exposure for your brand--a book can be a powerful business card," says Kevin Anderson, CEO and editor-in-chief of Kevin Anderson & Associates, a mid-sized ghostwriting firm in New York City. "It establishes credibility and increases your marketability."
Brand strategist and author David Marshall can attest to the success a book can bring to a business. "When I first accepted the CEO position of a Canadian charity, I could not get in front of the people I needed to be in front of. So, I hired a writer and co-wrote Beyond Charity--How to Increase Profit Through Innovative Strategic Partnership. Suddenly, people were listening." The book gave Marshall the power to get past the gatekeepers and engage with business owners, entrepreneurs, senior directors, and managers all over the country and abroad. "In fact," Marshall adds, "they were calling me for a coffee after reading my book!"
Many entrepreneurs and business executives--along with countless other busy professionals--hire writers to help them write their book, just as Marshall did. Sometimes credit is shared as a co-authorship, but people who hire a ghostwriter are typically listed as the sole author of their book. "A client who hires a ghostwriter is still the author of their thoughts and ideas--it is still their book," says Anderson.
Why not consider a ghostwriter to get your story out there? You'll be in excellent company. Hillary Rodham Clinton, John F. Kennedy (who won a Pulitzer prize for his book Profiles in Courage), Sheryl Sandberg, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and James Patterson are only a few of the best-selling authors who have utilized cowriters and ghostwriters.
Are you ready? Is now the time to give voice to the book inside of you? Anderson provided me with these facts and suggestions to help you select a ghostwriter that is just right for you.
Choose a reputable firm.
Many of the companies and individuals you'll find online are merely the middle person; they outsource your project to inexpensive, possibly inexperienced writers who have not been vetted or ever had a book published. Ask to interview several writers and if the possibility of meeting them exists, do so.
Exercise due diligence.
Make sure you can see the firm's client list and ask for verifiable testimonials. This may be tricky for some firms since they protect the confidentiality of their clients, but every firm should have a few names to offer. Look up the books that the firm has worked on and, if possible, speak to one or two of their clients.
Choose for compatibility.
Discuss your project with the writer or writers the firm matches you with before moving forward. Synergy is important. A really good ghostwriter will adapt to your style and tone. They will understand your vision even if their belief systems differ. Ask the writer for writing samples that demonstrate their versatility and an example of something they've written that's similar to your topic.
Make sure revisions are included.
If a ghostwriter is writing material for you, they should revise it until it is your book. You should have full authority to decide exactly what you're going to get in the final product. You may want the book written in small pieces so you can revise it as you go along.
Ask about policies on switching writers.
While most ghostwriters will adapt to your tone and style, sometimes two people simply cannot work well together. If, after multiple revisions and honest effort, you find that you need a new writer, a top-tier ghostwriting firm will offer this to you at no additional cost.
Get a time estimate.
While the length of time it takes to write a book greatly depends on you, you'll want to make sure your writer isn't overloaded with other projects. It can take five to nine months to finish a full-length book, but if your ghostwriter's workload isn't overseen by an effective project manager, it could go on for years.
If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Professional book-writing services are not inexpensive--developing a book takes considerable time and requires a high level of expertise. There are also many layers to the book-writing process, such as planning, outlining, writing, editing, proofreading, typesetting, formatting, and navigating the publishing process. The cost to hire an established and reputable ghostwriting firm can range between $20,000 to $90,000 for a full-length book. This price varies depending on the caliber of the firm's writers and the amount of work required for the project, but be wary of any "professional writer" offering rock-bottom prices.
If a book about your story, message, or innovative business concept could be valuable to your readers (or your business), don't let your excuses or false assumptions about ghostwriting stop you from moving forward. "There are so many books out there just waiting to be written--that deserve to be written. It is somewhat of a tragedy when a person with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom is unable to share it with others because they don't have the time or skills," says Anderson.