Much of the work that keeps me busy as a full-time writer comes from ghostwriting and co-authoring. Being willing to ghost is what helped me make the jump from article writing to book authoring.
Whenever I am faced with a potential project that will involve putting my words to work for someone else, I take the time to analyze it from several different vantage points. I essentially apply the following filter of “Six P’s” to the project. These filters have served me well. If you are considering ghosting work, I suggest that you first answer the following questions:
PROJECT – Consider the Project.
Are you passionate about the book? Can you stay passionate about it for the next 9 – 12 months? Is it worthwhile? Does it appear to be something you will be proud to have been a part of?
PERSON – Consider the Person who is the Expert in the field.
Is the person someone whose talents or expertise you admire, or does the person have a compelling life story you would be honored to help tell? Is this a person you would willingly do business with? (Does the person deserve to have you write his or her book?)
PUBLISHER – Consider the Publisher.
Will the final book be a quality product? Is the publisher well-known, or well-respected? If it’s a small publisher, do they have a good distribution system? Does the publisher have access to other experts who may need a ghost at some point?
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT – Consider your Professional Development.
Will working on this project give you something you need such as published credits, a byline, a working relationship with a highly respected Expert or publisher, platform development, or exposure within a particular niche?
PROMOTION – Consider the Promotion.
Is this a chance to learn a thing or two about marketing and promotion? Does the project have a big PR push planned, or a huge marketing machine behind it? Does this provide an opportunity to learn as much as you can about the marketing aspect of the business — so you can then apply what you’ve learned to your own work?
PROFIT – Consider your Profit.
All other things being equal, is it worth your while to dedicate your life to this until the project is finished?
At least one of the “Six P’s” (Project, Person, Publisher, Professional Development, Promotion, and Profit) must be enough to bring you on board and keep you on board during the book’s development and throughout the writing and editing process.
If more than one of the “P’s” appeals to you, that just makes a project doubly compelling.
If you can’t find anything in a project to get excited about for the next few seasons — don’t do it. You’ll do yourself, and everyone who is committed to the book, a huge disservice.
Once the contract is signed — when experts allow their egos free rein and deadlines loom ñ you need to know the reason you committed to ghost in the first place. That reason must be strong enough for you to see the project through to completion.
Ami Hendrickson is a bestselling author, award-winning screenwriter, and educator. She has written for some of the leading horsemen in the world including the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), hunter trainer and judge Geoff Teall, neurosurgeon Dr. James Warson, and Clinton Anderson of Downunder Horsemanship. Her most recent book is “Beyond a Whisper” for horse trainer Ryan Gingerich, slated for release this spring. She is currently working on “Against the Wind,” an independent feature film on the life of marathon running legend Dick Beardsley. To learn more about her work, visit http://www.amihendrickson.com, read her Muse Inks blog http://museinks.blogspot.com or become a fan on Facebook.