Ghostwriting can be an effective way to learn how to make craft into a business. As a long time professional ghostwriter, the best practices I have developed have gone a long way to prepare me for more success in where my ambitions lie.
Here are a few handy tips on how you can parlay a successful ghostwriting practice into a better platform for your own publication:
Clear Client Communication:
Writing is a solitary pursuit. Yet it is an equal truth that no successful writer can be an island.
Whatever you choose as the path for your project (whether that be a novel or a memoir or a feature length screenplay) at some point you will need to communicate clearly with a team of editors and publishers, designers and marketers. Even if you choose to go with the self-publishing route to bring your book to market, you will still find yourself working with a team.
Use your ghostwriting experience to hone these skills. Learn how to discuss project specs. Talk about time lines. Be clear about expectations. Discover the value of saying no.
No one ever wants to hear that they need to go back to the drawing board. As difficult as that may is for anyone to hear though, re-writing is the soul of good writing.
Humble yourself. Take good notes while listening to your ghostwriting client. Have your own ideas to add. Most importantly though, do not take getting notes as a personal attack.
Bring what procedural feedback you get back to the table and dive into draft two. Learning how to deal with criticism (especially the bigger monster: self-criticism) is key to becoming a professional in any creative venture.
That Professional Feeling:
This may seem a little corny… but feeling like a professional goes a long way toward becoming a professional. Call yourself a ghostwriter. Imbue that definition with class.
Put your title on your business card. A professional ghostwriter carries a certain feeling about them that amateurs do not. That can go a long way toward distinguishing yourself from others vying for the same publisher or agent’s attention. At a writer’s conference, everyone is out applying for the same job. It’s a helpful boost to feel as though you’ve been there before.
Stay tuned for more another set of tips on how to use your ghostwriting practice as a path to publication in the second installment of this blog.