A 3-Step Guide to Having Your Memoir Ghostwritten
In simple terms, ghostwriting is a process where a professional writer produces content for someone else without (typically) receiving credit as the author. In other words, it’s providing a writing service to a business or an individual looking to publish a book, an article, or a series of blog posts. Ghostwriters work on behalf of those who lack either the time or the creative skills to produce compelling, high-quality content. The client receives credit as the author, and the ghostwriter remains invisible (hence the “ghost” part). However, there are no ethical concerns because the ideas all come from the client, and the ghostwriter receives generous compensation for their hard work behind the scenes.
Most of us associate ghostwriting with celebrity memoirs and tell-all books. While many high-profile memoirs are indeed ghostwritten, the truth is that ghostwriters are everywhere, penning all kinds of content for others, from marketing campaigns and website copy to business books, speeches, novels, children’s books, scripts, and social media posts. Even some fiction books are ghostwritten, particularly in long-running series published under a single name but written by multiple ghosts. Still, memoirs remain one of the most popular projects for which authors seek the help of ghostwriters.
If you dream of publishing your own memoir and want to learn more about working with a professional ghostwriter, check out our memoir ghostwriting services to get a free consultation today. You can also explore our ghostwriting services for CEOs and other writing services.
Let’s start at the beginning. How exactly does ghostwriting a memoir work?
1. Determine whether you need a ghostwriter
Do you want to publish a memoir but are short on time? Do you lack confidence in your writing skills? If your answer to either of these questions is yes, then you should definitely consider hiring a professional ghostwriter to help you achieve your goal.
An experienced ghostwriter will know exactly how to get your best stories out of you and weave them into an exciting, compelling narrative people will want to read (even if you’re not a celebrity). They know what readers want and what sells, so they can help you extract the best memories and anecdotes from your life to craft a book that tells the story you want. Moreover, they’ll finish your book much faster than you could ever dare to hope since writing your memoir is literally their job.
However, do keep in mind that although it will take a professional ghostwriter less time to write a book than it might take someone without the experience or the time to focus solely on writing, that doesn’t mean the process will be quick—you still need to have some patience if you want a high-quality, polished product. You’ll also have to dedicate some of your own time to the project to sit for interviews with your ghostwriter, clarify any details they may be unsure about, read their drafts and provide feedback, and the like.
How long your memoir takes to write will depend on multiple factors, including page count and complexity, and any deadlines must be agreed upon before the two of you sign a contract. Money is another factor to consider since hiring a ghostwriter isn’t cheap, but it’s a worthy investment if your dream is to publish a book that tells your life story. If you opt for a cheap ghostwriter, you’ll likely end up with a subpar book that either no one will buy or that fails to tell your story as you wish. Therefore, paying a bit more for quality is absolutely worth it.
2. Choose the best ghostwriter for your memoir
If you’re hiring a ghostwriter for a business book or a collection of children’s stories, you’ll probably pick someone with a background in your chosen genre, someone who already has the experience and knowledge to confidently navigate your world. However, one can also argue that a writer with a different background will ask new questions and come up with more original and inventive points of view that the average reader will find easier to understand.
Whether you want an expert take or a fresh look will depend on your needs and expectations, but if you hire a ghostwriter who’s unfamiliar with your field, the interview process will likely take longer as you’ll need to explain concepts and teach your ghost the industry jargon. The entire premise changes when we’re dealing with ghostwriting creative non-fiction, like a memoir.
In most circumstances, whoever you hire to ghostwrite your memoir will be a stranger. They will get to know you through a series of interviews and deep dives into your personal history and archives. If your claim to fame lies deep within a particular niche or some of the anecdotes you share require an in-depth knowledge of a specific domain, you’ll still want to consider your ghostwriter’s expertise in the field, but for the average memoir, this isn’t much of a concern.
Overall, choosing a ghostwriter comes down to things such as chemistry, compatibility, communication style, and the ghostwriter’s previous experience with projects similar to yours. You want someone you get along with, someone with whom you’re comfortable sharing your life stories, and someone who’s compassionate, understanding, and non-judgmental—on top of being a fine writer, of course. Pay attention to their writing style as well—the more closely it resembles yours, the easier it will be for them to adopt your voice as they compose your memoir.
3. Collaborate with your ghostwriter
After you’ve signed a contract with a ghostwriter, whether a freelancer or one of our memoir ghostwriting experts, you’ll have your first interview with them. They’ll ask you about your life, your memories, the stories you want to tell, and the reason you want to share them with the world. They will need to understand not only your ideas, background, and personality but also your motivation for publishing a memoir—this will help them craft the book you envision. They’ll spend time with you and request any materials (such as photos, journals, and press clippings) that might give them insights into your personality.
As the project advances, they’ll want feedback and suggestions to make sure they’re on the right track and the writing feels authentic and accurate to you, so keep your schedule open enough to accommodate meetings with your ghost on short notice.
If that sounds more time-consuming than you thought, remember that the book is about you, and your collaborator needs to know you extremely well to capture your essence and voice. Hiring a ghostwriter doesn’t mean you get to sit back and watch them toil away, fusing your anecdotes and ideas into a compelling narrative, although they will do all of that and more if you give them what they need from you.
Once your ghostwriter is finished with your memoir, they’ll deliver an edited and proofread manuscript that is now officially yours. If you choose to work with our team of experts, you’ll also receive guidance through the publishing and marketing processes, significantly increasing the chances of your book achieving commercial success. To learn more about hiring a ghostwriter, check out our memoir ghostwriting service and get a free, no-obligation consultation today.