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FAQ – All about ghostwriting

Ghostwriting, also called “co-authoring,” or “as told to,” is a partnership. An experienced writer on The Memoir Network staff writes your memories, feelings and message in a book-length manuscript. That book, however, is always yours.

“This sounds like I just sat down and wrote it myself!”

Louis Dillingham

This is the co-author’s goal: to find and use your sensibility and point of view (what we call your writing “voice”) to ghostwrite the memoir you have to tell.

Our work together has a mutual goal: to tell the story that’s important to you and to tell it in your way.

Q. How do you select your ghostwriters?

A. Generally our ghostwriters come to us after a time of lurking on our site and reading the Memoir Writer’s Blog and various materials of ours—books, reports, ecourses. They are often members of My Memoir Education. They take themselves seriously as writers and do not want to throw their lot with someone they are not comfortable with. We recognize them from their thoughtful comments on the blog and begin a process of reading their published work—books, articles, blog posts. Then we ask for an interview or two. Lastly we look into their references—people they have worked with in the past.

Q. I know an English teacher who will help with my memoir manuscript. Can’t I just get by with that?

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A. That’s well and good for what it’s worth (and good grammar is worth a lot!), but it’s almost always never enough for an interesting and meaningful memoir. Unless a person has written a book before, s/he will know little about shaping and pacing a lengthy manuscript, about sustaining themes and building suspense or foreshadowing. A professional co-author is experienced in just these aspects and much more. S/he knows all about ghostwriting.

Being able to deconstruct a story in an English class is not anything like constructing a manuscript. Your English teacher friend will probably get stuck in the small picture of sentences and miss the larger needs of your book.

Q. How long will it take?

A. Because each project is unique, it’s impossible to predict. Some clients come with small commemorative projects for a family member or business event and have a deadline to meet. Others have an entire lifetime of experience and achievement to be recorded and explained and are not concerned about an end date.

One factor is how much of the preparation work you have already done—planned the book, assembled the photographs and support documents, written some text or even a rough draft. The project will move along more quickly if you are easily and often available for telephone meetings and for reviewing chapters as soon as they are written.

If you have a deadline for publishing your book, we will do everything possible to meet it. We are more likely to be able to do so if you communicate with us about your project deadline as soon as possible.

Q. Whose name goes on the book cover?

A. That choice is always yours. As a minimum, we request that we are mentioned on your acknowledgement page with a line such as, “Thanks to The Memoir Network and to [the Name of The Ghostwriter] for the assistance given to this project.”

Convention also allows that your co-author may be included on the cover, for instance: “by Your Name and The Ghostwriter,” or “by Your Name as told to The Ghostwriter.” We do not ask for this.

The choice is yours.

Q. How do I know if the Memoir Network and I are a good match for such an important project?

A. You get to try a collaboration! We offer a free 30-minute telephone consultation during which we can meet and discuss your project in detail. This session is all about ghostwriting questions and concerns you may have.

In addition, if you choose to work with us, you may terminate our working relationship at any time. All the materials developed up to that date will be yours—always. Should you end our co-authorship before the publication of your book, the manuscript such as it exists will be yours to do with as you please, including passing it on to another ghostwriter. This is always your project.

We are like midwives who help to bring a baby in the world and then leave it with the parents. Midwives do not go home with the baby!

Q. Will you be the publisher of my book when it is finished?

A. The Memoir Network does not purchase manuscripts for publication, but we can help you in every step of the process of self-publication. See the next Q/A.

Q. Do you have the technical skills to help me to self-publish my book?

A. In addition to co-authoring your book, we can design it, do the pre-press preparation of files for the printer and work closely with the printer and binder to be sure the results are what you expect. Your memoir will have all the features of a professionally designed and published book, and it will have the look and feel of you.

We can doctor your photos and get them ready for printing. (Many photos require photoshopping to look their best in your book. Many may be gray and degraded while others may be overexposed. We have also had great luck in reconstructing a photo (removing a person or adding one!) and repairing torn or creased photos.

Q. Can’t I learn to do this work myself?

A. In theory, you can, but pre-press file preparation and working with a print house requires a steep learning curve. If you are publishing just one book, or even a few, is it worth the investment of time and energy to learn these skills yourself? Our experience goes back to 1988. We’ve already gone through the mistakes-to-learn-from stage!

If we have ghostwritten your book, staying with The Memoir Network for publication means you’re working with people who already know you and your manuscript. It’s a seamless process from writing to illustrating to design and layout.

During the later stages of ghostwriting, you will gather and sort through photos and other materials that will suggest and inform the design. That’s when our book design and pre-press staff begins to think about your project and starts the creative process that will result in a dynamic cover and interior design that fits your story, your style, and your budget.

Q. More “all about ghostwriting” questions?

A. Give us a ring at 207-353-5454, M-F, 9-5 ET or email us to set up an appointment to answer your questions and discuss your project. Suggest three dates and times that work for you and we will confirm one.

Take the next step & call us today!

Are you ready to work with a ghostwriter?

If you are ready to proceed to create the best memoir you are capable of, we suggest you sign up for our introductory package—try us for a three-hour commitment. That’s it: three hours! If we’re a fit, you ask us for more time. If we’re not a fit, however, we go our separate ways. It’s a great hands-on way to find all about ghostwriting and make sure your important project succeeds.

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