The Savvy Ghostwriter: Secrets of an Invisible Author clarifies what it takes to be a ghostwriter, what a ghostwriter writes, the questions to ask before signing an agreement, as well what a he or she needs to know about contracts, budgets, writing style, ethics, legal requirements, personalities, research, scheduling, organization, working with other freelancers, and getting fired.
A ghostwriter works behind the scenes. The focus is on the client—the person whose name will be on the cover. A ghostwriter needs a wide array of skills and a particular temperament to do this job, including a special knack for crawling inside people’s heads to find out what they really want to say. In addition, this behind-the-scenes “ghost” must be able to adapt to the author’s writing style and voice: distill a great deal of information into clear, concise prose; translate feelings into words; organize a complex message into a coherent manuscript; possess the patience and vision to see a huge project through from start to finish; and “go with the flow” when absolutely nothing goes as planned.
Here are some concepts a ghostwriter must understand and embrace: Ghostwriting is a business transaction. The client has full control over the material and pays the writer for services. The writer’s name may or may not appear on the finished product. Terms and details are agreed upon before the project is begun. The client must explain the concept for the project, provide the information needed or direction on where to find it, and deliver on what he or she promises. Everything—what goes on, what is said, what the writer learns or observes—is confidential.