4 Ways to Get the Best Results From Your Ghostwriter: A Guide for CEOs
As a CEO or entrepreneur, you’re used to leading your team to get the best results, but working with a ghostwriter on a book or memoir can be a completely different experience. There might be certain standards, practices, or expectations in your industry that can’t necessarily be applied to others, particularly those of a creative nature. Creative industries—and creative workers—don’t necessarily have the same needs as business-oriented projects, which is why we’ve put together this quick guide to help you get the best results out of your collaboration with your ghostwriter. After all, ghostwriters are skilled professional writers who know how to tell just about any story in the most engaging way, but they can only work with what you give them. If you would like to learn more about ghostwriting, check out our ghostwriting services for CEOs and get your free consultation today.
1. Establish a clear action plan
Like in any other aspect of business, you need to set manageable goals and clearly communicate them to your ghostwriter before they begin the writing process. This usually starts with a conversation in which you establish timelines, guidelines, deadlines, and marketing and publishing strategies, as well as rules on anonymity, nondisclosure, and credits. Negotiate with your ghostwriter to establish conditions that are fair to both parties, keeping in mind that their creative needs may differ from what you’re used to in your industry. And if you can’t come to a mutual agreement that works for both of you, look for a new ghostwriter—there are plenty more out there.
Once you’ve set up a solid contract with your ghostwriter, the more technical aspects of the project must also be established, such as determining who your audience is, defining your voice and tone, and discussing the overall content and main ideas of your book. This is important both for the author and the ghostwriter, as it will help outline what the book will look like. The ghostwriter needs as much information as possible about your goals and target audience so that they can compile the book you want.
2. Be open with your ghostwriter during interviews
The second step is the interview, which will likely be the first of several. A professional ghostwriter will come prepared with questions to determine the most pertinent details and important elements of your story, help you choose the most compelling narratives and themes, and get the information they need to develop a manuscript outline. While it’s entirely your book and what to include is wholly your decision, your ghostwriter can draw on their expertise to help you shape your story into one primed for success in the publishing industry.
The information they gather during this interview will be essential to developing an outline and starting the actual writing, so it’s important for you to be open and trusting. If you close yourself off, the content will feel inauthentic and lack excitement. This is why it’s crucial to hire a ghostwriter you can get along with—it can be hard to open up to someone you don’t feel comfortable with.
3. Schedule regular check-ins with your ghostwriter
Because ghostwriting a book is a collaborative process between you and your ghostwriter, you need to be available for regular check-ins, supplementary interviews, and reviews, and be ready to give them feedback. Although they’re doing the writing, they’re basing their work on your ideas, experiences, and stories, which means you need to sign off on what they’re including and excluding from your book. You can also alter the direction or tone of passages and, crucially, clear up any misunderstandings they may have worked into the prose. Don’t be afraid to deliver constructive criticism—it’ll be your name on the cover, so you want to make sure you fully stand behind the content.
Although the frequency of calls and interviews should be discussed during your first meeting, you need to allow for some flexibility and spontaneity in case they need to run something urgent by you. Creativity doesn’t operate on a rigid schedule, so the ghostwriting process can sometimes be unpredictable. Basically, don’t just open yourself up to them but also be open to communicate with them on a regular basis. This may require rearranging your schedule on some days, but just remember that your book is an important investment in your career.
4. Let your ghostwriter’s creativity shine
Although this is your book, there’s a reason you hired a professional writer, so it’s important to remember to let their creativity shine. Your ghostwriter is an experienced creative, and they can surprise you with their take on things that might feel mundane or normal to you, so don’t restrict them too much. As writing professionals, they also know what publishers and audiences are looking for, so their spin on your story can make it more marketable. Anything you don’t like or agree with can always be edited out, so there’s no harm in giving your ghostwriter more creative freedom.
Collaborating with a ghostwriter on a book might be very different to what you do on a daily basis, but don’t let that put you off from taking on the challenge. Publishing a book or memoir is a great way for CEOs and entrepreneurs to grow their personal brand and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry while promoting their business. This is why so many time-strapped businesspeople are turning to ghostwriters for their publishing needs. In fact, most books from your peers in business are ghostwritten—and there’s no shame in outsourcing this important work to a seasoned professional! If you’re ready to solidify yourself as an expert and take the next step in your career, check out our ghostwriting services for CEOs and get a free consultation today.