Last summer, I began ghostwriting a book for one of my existing clients. Our process evolved over time, as did our ideas about the text.
A few months ago, we finally completed the manuscript. My client was and is ecstatic with the end product. As it turns out, my ability to simplify technical concepts and tell stories works in areas outside of my sweet spots: workplace tech, collaboration, project management, citizen development, and the future of work.
We haven’t reached the end zone just yet. I immediately donned my project-management hat. I’m spending a good bit of time in Notion these days.
My Next Ghostwriting Project
I plan on ghostwriting more books. Ideally, future clients will understand that producing a quality text takes considerable time, money, and effort. (Chop shops can churn out books quickly and inexpensively, but their results invariably disappoint. Ditto for generative AI tools like ChatGPT.)
Note that I’m not qualified to write many genres, including:
- Political books.
Any writer who claims to be able to write anything well is arrogant, delusional, or both.
In no particular order, my next client will:
- Be deeply knowledgeable about a specific area.
- Understand the financial and time commitments involved. With respect to the latter, timely communication is critical. Yes, emergencies happen. Still, in the ghostwriting work that I’ve done over my career, nothing good has ever come from going dark for months at a time.
- Be reasonable with his or her sales expectations. Very few books cross the vaunted 10,000-copy Rubicon. More than that, professional, well-written books can yield other benefits in the form of increased visibility, speaking gigs, higher rates, new opportunities, and the like.
- Understand the importance of a book’s design. Ugly books deter prospective readers. (There. I said it.)
- Hold true to their word. On a ghostwriting project a few years back, my client kept moving the goalposts. It did not end well.1
- Use best-of-breed collaboration tools. You’d never manage any type of project via e-mail, and books are no exception to this rule. If you wouldn’t deign to use Calendly or a similar tool to schedule time, then we’re not going to get along well.
- Consider different publishing methods: traditional, hybrid, and self. (Yes, this is a conversation.)
- Be able to occasionally laugh. A little levity now and again can go a long way.
If you or someone you know is seriously considering writing a proper business or technology book, I’d love to connect.