I realize I’m incredibly late to the party as far as the many, many books on building and improving your freelance business go, so I do apologize to those of you who probably read this book years ago. But since diving into freelancing without much of a plan, I’ve been trying to make the time to read the books that I’ve heard positive buzz about.
And Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: The Writer’s Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Co-Authoring Books by Kelly James-Enger is certainly buzz-worthy. She offers a clear, step-by-step process for establishing yourself as a ghostwriter, warts and all. While ghostwriting can certainly be a lucrative income stream, some writers may not want to put a major amount of work into a book project and not get any credit for it. This is where co-authoring—collaborating with another writer and seeing both names on the cover—may be a better option.
Enger, who has ghostwritten and co-authored a number of books, provides pointers on what to charge, how to decide on a client (will they be amiable or a total PITA?, will they be easy to reach and accessible or difficult to track down?), how to get down to work with authors (whether as a ghost or a collaborator), assembling book proposals, and how to tackle 10 common problems many ghosters experience.
While I haven’t tackled any book-length projects, I’ve ghostwritten blogs and other materials and my ego was fine with it. Of course, a book is considerably more work, so I think all of the elements would have to be in line before I’d agree to such an arrangement. I could see the pros and cons of both ghosting and co-writing, and I think both come down to one thing: being able to work well with others (and that goes for the collaborator, too). The other person must be willing to pull their share of the weight in order to get the project done, and Enger doesn’t sugar-coat the fact that not all clients are a joy to work with (as any freelancer would agree!) But her suggestions and input for how to deal with different types of roadblocks are helpful, and could be useful for dealing with any type of writing client.
What about you? Have you ever ghosted or co-written a book with another author? Care to share your experiences?