5 Things You Need to Do When Working with a Ghostwriter: A Guide for CEOs

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Talk With a Ghostwriter

You know publishing a business book will be good for your company, your personal brand, and your industry standing, but you don’t have the time to write it yourself, which is why you’ve decided to hire a ghostwriter. This is the solution for most business leaders with great ideas for a book since few CEOs have the time (or the writing skills) to pen a full-length manuscript. 

That’s all fine, but what’s your role in the process? It’s true that your ghostwriter will do most of the heavy lifting, but that doesn’t mean you get to sit back and just watch them type. It’ll be your name on the cover, so there’s still a fair bit you have to do, but it will be far, far less than if you tackle the entire project yourself.

Ghostwriting is a collaborative process, meaning you need to give your partner all the material they need to produce the best book possible based on your knowledge and experience. While your ghostwriter specializes in telling other people’s stories, the book they write for you can only be as good as the material you provide. It’s not just about the material, though—it’s also about giving the ghostwriter a detailed snapshot of who you are and what makes you tick. As the author, you need to be authentically represented in the books you publish, and to do that, your ghostwriter needs to get to know you, your voice and style, and the ideas you want to express. 

If you’re ready to hire a ghostwriter, check out our ghostwriting services for CEOs and get a free, no-obligation consultation today. 

So, what exactly do you need to do when working with a ghostwriter? 

1. You need to get along with your ghostwriter

Even though your relationship with your ghostwriter is of a business nature, it’s not the same as with your other employees. Ghostwriting can be a very personal process, so you need to connect with your writing partner on a personal level as well. Unless you do, the project is likely to suffer because you won’t be comfortable opening up to them and sharing all the thoughts, feelings, and stories necessary to make your book a success. Another issue with not being on the same wavelength as your ghostwriter is that it will be harder for them to adopt your voice and perspective, which will jeopardize the authenticity of the manuscript. 

Therefore, it’s important to interview multiple candidates to find the ghostwriter you feel the most comfortable with, whom you can share your ideas and thoughts with, and who has the right background and expertise to write the kind of book you want to publish. 

2. You need to know your subject matter

A ghostwriter’s job is to convey your ideas and knowledge in a polished, professional way. In order for them to do that, you need to be a master of the subject matter in which your book deals. You must be able to answer questions and prove your knowledge in the real world, meaning you must be prepared to discuss your subject matter at book signings, conferences, and industry events. In short, a ghostwriter can pen your book for you, but they can’t come up with the content—that’s all on you.

Your ghostwriter will put the words together in a clear, concise way, but you’re the one supplying the actual content, so you really need to know what you’re talking about. Most ghostwriters won’t do any research beyond some basic fact-checking as anything beyond that can easily push you into unethical territory. For this reason, you need to be an expert on the subject before you even start interviewing ghostwriting candidates. Make sure you know enough to fill a book of a reasonable length and that you’re confident enough in your knowledge to publish the work under your name.

It’s worth pointing out that you should also look for a ghostwriter familiar with your field, especially if you expect the content of your book to get quite technical. You can’t lean on your ghostwriter for facts or content, but you do want to make sure they understand the concepts your book explores and can use the technical jargon properly.

3. You need to actively participate in the process

When working with a ghostwriter, you must be willing to fully participate in the process. You need to be involved and collaborate with your partner every step of the way, which means being open during interviews, carefully studying the outline your ghost puts together, and giving feedback and suggestions on the drafts. If you don’t make time to communicate with your ghostwriter, the deadlines will get pushed back and your relationship will likely suffer, the outcome being a subpar book with a ton of wasted potential.

To get the results you expect, you need to be engaged and stay focused on what you want the published book to look like so that your voice and vision don’t get lost along the way. Even though hiring a ghostwriter will save you lots of time, you must be willing to invest some time in the project yourself. It is your book, after all—you can’t entirely duck out of the process.

4. You need to clearly communicate your ideas

A major part of actively participating in the process involves communicating clearly your ideas and vision to your ghostwriter. To deliver the book you want to publish, they need to know exactly what you want to say. That doesn’t mean you need to express your ideas perfectly—that’s what they’re there for—but they need to be able to understand what you want to share with your audience so that they can convey your ideas in an authentic way. It will require laying it all out on the table, every single detail you want included and then some, so your ghost has as much material as possible to turn your book into a resounding success. This is why it’s so crucial to hire a ghostwriter you like and get along with.

5. You need to pay your ghostwriter what they’re worth

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. If you want high-quality writing, it won’t come cheap. Ghostwriting is a solid investment in your future, and when done right, it will deliver great returns. Always keep in mind that you’re hiring a professional to take on a massive project that can shape the way you’re seen in your industry, so pay them what they’re worth. Hiring a novice with low rates, on the other hand, can result in a book that actually hurts your reputation, so go for quality.

If you’d like to get a free consultation and learn how you can become a published author, check out our ghostwriting services for CEOs

Talk With a Ghostwriter