How to Meet with Your Ghostwriter: 5 Tips for Success

Posted on June 11, 2013


So you’ve decided to go with a ghostwriter to help you with your book. You have some ideas of what you want to write about, but the details are still sketchy in some areas. You might not be an experienced writer, so perhaps you’re uncomfortable with the writing process. Maybe you still have some brainstorming to do. No matter what step of the “idea-forming” process you are in or how skilled you are as a writer, there are still ways in which you should prepare for meeting with your ghostwriter. They may be the boss as they interview you and as they offer their skills and expertise in the areas of brainstorming, writing, organizing, and editing; but in the end, you’re the one in charge of your book. It’s your vision—and you want to make sure they capture it perfectly. Here are some ways you can start out on the right track to making your book dreams a reality.

1. Prepare an outline.

Even if you don’t have a finished outline or framework for your book, you should have the beginnings of one. Whether you jot down chapter titles and short descriptions, or an overall summary with a vague “layout” plan for your ideas or chapters, you should have some notes. Make sure everything that you know you want in your book is down on paper. It’s all right if you don’t have a complete beginning, middle, and end yet or if your ideas are a little disorganized or unfinished. The main goal is to ensure that everything that’s been in your head is out there—not only for your ghostwriter to see and sort through, but also for you to refer back to and make sure you don’t forget to mention something.

images2. Schedule meeting times without distractions.

 As difficult as it can be with a busy schedule, try to make sure that any times you meet with your ghostwriter, whether in person or on the phone, your surroundings allow you to focus your full attention on your conversation. Sometimes this is all but impossible. If you are at home, let your family know that you need an hour or so of time to yourself; if you are in your office on a break, try to find a quiet location where you will encounter few interruptions. Whatever place you choose, select one with which you are comfortable and where you and your ghostwriter can easily and clearly hear one another. In addition, find times in which you won’t feel rushed or distracted by whatever you have to accomplish next on your to-do list. Give yourself plenty of time so that you don’t have to cut your meeting too short; you want to make the most of this time!

3. Take notes before, during, and after meetings.

 Did you have a sudden rush of inspiration the hour before you’re supposed to meet your ghostwriter? Did something occur to you as she was questioning you, but you didn’t have a chance to bring it up during your conversation? Did you walk away from your meeting and realize, “This would also be a really good point to make in that chapter”? Whenever or however ideas strike, be sure to jot them down immediately. Oftentimes, speaking with someone about your book encourages new ideas for it. You want to make sure you don’t lose anything important, or get so focused on answering your ghostwriter’s questions that you forget some of the points you want to talk about.

4. Don’t lose your authority.

 This can be a tricky point. In the world of writing and interviewing, your ghostwriter is generally the one calling the shots. However, you need to remember this: at the end of the day, this is still your book. If the ghostwriter asks leading questions that point you in a direction you don’t want to go with your book, state this right away. Make your purpose for your book clear from the start, so that you and your ghostwriter both have the same goals for it in mind and are on the same page. If he doesn’t understand a point you are trying to make, don’t give up—continue to describe and explain and let him ask questions until you understand one another. If she writes a particular section inaccurately or in a tone/manner you did not want, tell her what is wrong with it and what your expectations are in the revisions. Communication is vital. Your ghostwriter can’t see your visions or understand your ideas with the clarity you’ve captured them in your brain. It’s up to you to tell him about them.

5. Don’t rush the process.

 When you’re busy and have limited time to meet, you might feel agitated with the time it takes to produce your book or the number of meetings you have to schedule with your ghostwriter. Since you already have an idea, you might have unrealistic expectations of your ghostwriter churning out a book after only a couple talk sessions. It’s understandable to get excited, but don’t be hasty about the process. Take the same time and care to describe, brainstorm, and plan your book with your ghostwriter that you did when developing the ideas on your own.

Whether you write it yourself or use a ghostwriter, creating a good book takes time and patience, and it is a learning process. As you meet more often with your ghostwriter, you’ll learn to better answer his questions and take notes as you go. You’ll start finding it easier to communicate your ideas to her and make sure she writes what you want her to write. Remind yourself that each hour you spend with your ghostwriter is an investment, and seeing your finished book will be well worth the work and the wait.

 Rachel Schade, Editor and Writer, Asta Publications

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

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