Write Your Book Without Writing a Word! How to Hire a Ghostwriter to Get Your Book Written

There’s a fairly well known saying, attributed to the influential journalist, Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011), that states, “Everyone has a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”

Whether he meant the idea or story isn’t actually worth telling, or not everyone has the ability to tell the idea or story in a compelling way, or both, is hard to say.

Many people believe they have a book inside them just waiting to come out. You may be one of them.

If you have always dreamed of writing a book or seeing your ideas in print with your name on the cover, yet you aren’t a writer and don’t know the first thing about the process of writing a book, do you have options?

Can you still see your book completed and in print with your story written in a compelling, interesting way?

If you are reading this, you have a book in you and you just need to know how to move it from idea to the written page, all without having to learn the necessary writing skills and the months (even years) it could take to produce it.

Getting Your Book Written

The most obvious way to write your book is to pen it yourself.

Writing your book on your own is a great option if you are a hands-on person and you want full control of your book.

But it does require having the knowhow, time (a book can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to complete), and desire to write and complete your project.

You also have to enjoy writing.

The benefit of writing your book yourself is certainly the pride you gain from accomplishing the task.

It also helps build your skills as a writer and you get full control of the words and how the book turns out.

It is also the least expensive route.

The alternative is to hire someone else to write your book – a ghostwriter.

This is a professional writer (or group of writers) who will organize and outline, write, and edit your book from beginning to end.

Ghostwriting is a great option: you get your book written by a professional who knows the process and will work with you to make sure you get the book you’re envisioning.

You get your name on the book, and the ghostwriter takes no credit.

How to Hire a Ghostwriter

Once you’ve decided to go the ghostwriting route, the next step is finding the right ghostwriter.

Your choice will depend on several factors, including your budget, timeline, goals, and even your personality and preferred working style.

There are several ways to find the right ghostwriter:

1. Use a Freelance Bidding Website

There are many freelance bidding websites where you can hire anyone for just about anything.

Writers are a particularly popular commodity on sites like Upwork, Guru, and even Fiverr.

On Upwork alone there are an estimated 12 million registered freelancers (in various industries, not just writing) with only an estimated three million jobs posted annually.

Just type “ghostwriter” in the search bar and you’ll get tens of thousands of writers from all over the world, ready to bid on your project to write your book for you.

This option allows you to be as involved as you want: You can simply give your ghostwriter an idea and let them run with it, or you can provide detailed information and direction.

Using a bidding site is a cheaper option, with many writers available to ghostwrite books for as little as $100.

You can pay by the hour or by the project, and you can often put the project fee into escrow to ensure the project will get done or you won’t have to pay, with milestone check-ins along the way.

Remember, though, that most of the time you also get what you pay for.

Quality can be an issue when hiring freelance ghostwriters from such sites.

There is no guarantee that the writer can actually write, or that they can write your project in the way you envision it.

There might be more limited contact with the writer and you might be hiring someone who speaks and writes English as a second language.

If you choose this option, it’s important to perform a bit of due diligence to make sure that you don’t get an end product that’s unusable, or in need of extensive editing and rewriting.

Always check writer’s reviews from past clients and request a writer with experience fluent in your native language.

If you want to be more involved, make sure the writer is easy to meet or have contact with.

And get periodic updates using the milestone features on the site, scheduling to get sample chapters to review before going too far into the project.

2. Hiring a Turnkey Book Writing Service

A step up from a freelance bidding site, this option is ideal for people who know what they want in their book and who can explain their ideas clearly and easily.

From this option, you have two choices.

You can handle much of the work yourself by organizing your information and then dictating your book into an audio or video recorder.

Once done, you can hand your recording over to a service company; they’ll take your recordings, transcribe them into written form, and send you a book.

If you’d like more of a back-and-forth working relationship, you can hire a service company that offers a more personalized book writing experience.

You meet with one of the company’s ghostwriters and they familiarize themselves with your book idea and the style of book you want.

They then do in-depth, recorded interviews with you to not only get all the information you want in your book, but also to get a sense of your voice.

From there, they transcribe the information they collected on audio and edit the recordings, completing the transcription of your book into written form.

Companies like Scribe Writing or Radius Book Group are examples of this option.

And some of these types of companies not only provide the interview, transcribe, and provide you with a written book, but they will take your finished project all the way through to the layout and printing and offer a marketing plan as well.

Keep in mind, in this process, the service company is basically transcribing the words you speak with minimal or limited editing or revising.

3. Hiring a Professional Ghostwriter

The third option for writing your book is to hire a freelance ghostwriter.

A freelance ghostwriter is a single individual, dedicated to your book.

The right match with a good ghostwriter, can be a rewarding experience, and the arrangement carries a certain amount of romanticism.

Celebrities, political figures, athletes and VIPs from all walks of life are known to hire ghostwriters to write their memoirs or autobiographies.

Good freelancers can be hardworking and dedicated to your project.

Unfortunately, other freelancers can be fickle and peevish if things don’t go their own way, and you won’t necessarily know that until further down the road in your new relationship – sometimes after dozens of hours of interviews.

When choosing your freelancer, a good tip:  A freelancer’s ability to sell themselves to you has little to do with their ability to write your book.

So, don’t jump at the one that sounds the best simply because he or she gave you a good spiel.

Call their references.

Without proper due diligence, you can invest a lot of time and money before finding out the writer doesn’t fit your project or your own working style.

Another tip:  Be sure to ask how much time they can devote to your book, and if they have had success completely projects on deadline in the past.

Remember that when you hire an individual, you are at the whim of his or her timeline.

While some individual ghostwriters spend most of their time writing, others may consider it a part-time job, meaning your project will need to work around their life.

On the other hand, if your writer makes a living ghostwriting, you may have to wait for an opening in their schedule — and even then they may be juggling you and several other projects which can make for a long process.

4. Hiring a Ghostwriting Company

If you want a more hands-on experience with more options, hiring a ghostwriting company might be the best choice for you.

You will still have the opportunity to develop a one-on-one relationship with your writer (complete with frequent in-person interviews), but you’ll also have the safety net of company management if a problem ever arises.

Plus, with a senior editor available for all stages of your book, those closest to the book (you and your ghostwriter) will always receive objective editorial feedback.

When you are done, the firm will consult on all of your available publishing options – from traditional publishing to print-on-demand services – so you can choose the option that is best for your story.

A ghostwriting company allows for the ability to “go where the project takes you,” in a way that may be difficult with another writing model.

Want to scan hundreds of photos?

Need to track down hard-to-reach expert sources for interviews?

Maybe you want genealogy tracked back to 10 generations, or you are determined to find a needle-in-the-haystack research item only available on microfilm.

You might need a team to sort through hundreds of pages of old legal and medical documents, chronologically sort every piece of material, cross reference it against topic categories and cite it all.

Quality ghostwriting companies are used to receiving out-of-the box requests, and they have the manpower to make them happen, without distracting from your book’s progress.

Finally, because a writing team can share the workload, ghostwriting companies can often take on rush projects and maintain quality, in a way that is simply impossible for a one-man show.

If you’re looking for attentive, white-glove service, lots of interaction with your writers, and an end product limited only by your imagination, this last option may be the best for you.

How to Utilize Content Marketing as a Tool for Business Success

In today’s world, we see businesses come and go. And although external forces, such as the pandemic, may be out of our control, there are things that business owners can do to improve their chances of being successful. One of those things is creating and implementing an effective content marketing strategy. 

Not only can a quality content marketing strategy propel a business into financial success, it can also help to establish a company as an industry expert.

Identifying and Serving the Target Market

To get started on a content marketing campaign, businesses must first identify their target market.

After all, without a specific market in mind, to whom will you offer your services and products?

Probably the best way to determine your market is to select one that you yourself identify with.

Drawing on personal experiences and lessons learned that align with prospective customers proves quite valuable.

Those personal experiences provide you with the necessary background and allow you to serve the client as an expert because you can portray the “been there, done that” attitude.

Past experiences also provide you with the tools to be a problem solver. They can be harnessed to assist you in steering the customer away from making mistakes similar to those you made in the past. This proves to be quite valuable and brands you as an expert. By guiding the customer in a successful direction, you have earned your fee. You’ve also saved the customer a potential financial loss.

The secret to this recipe is marketing yourself as the expert. In these times, it takes more than a resume and college diploma. We live in a results-driven society, as everything is at our fingertips due to our friend, the internet. Content— and your expertise —builds credibility.

Qualifying Yourself

Content marketing can be accomplished in various outlets. Blogging, white papers, eBooks, and newsletters are all strategies that can be used as outlets to position yourself as a subject matter expert. By flooding the internet with content subject matter parallel to the services being provided, you are establishing credibility by numbers.

Imagine if you post quality material in those extensive numbers. Not only are you on the web, you also offer a credible service contributing to your reputation as an industry leader in your field.

And by posting a surplus of blogs, informative white papers, or interactive eBooks, the target audience sees you as an expert.

In today’s world, nothing shows an individual’s qualifications more than being highly searchable on the internet.

Consider the world of business consulting as an example. Developing a website and hosting it on the web looks professional and serves as a landing point for customers. This is an important facet of business, but it must be taken even further.

But how are customers drawn to your website? If a business consulting company establishes a website and lists an array of services provided, it does not accomplish much if no one knows about it. So how is attention generated?

The answer is quite simple. It takes populating the internet with content. This strategy can utilize blogging alone or can incorporate other outlets as well. A combination of two or more is most conducive to meeting your goals.

For example, if you’re looking to increase your reputation as a business consultant, flooding the internet with content about running your own business will make you searchable. It brings your message to the public. By publishing blogs on entrepreneurial startups, white papers targeting a business demographic, and even eBooks on developing a business plan, those searchable standards will bring searchers straight to you.

Overcoming Challenges

The process of content marketing is relatively simplistic but unfortunate detours can be made. Failing to niche down can result in an abundance of wasted work.

No, you are not going to drown the internet in content. However, failure to define your audience can have a negative effect. You could end up publishing a great deal of content that does not result in income.

It is best to select that target audience prior to developing content. Refer to personal experiences and strong points in your knowledge and focus content marketing based upon those key factors.

If you want to offer advertising services, there is no need to blog on quality control or publish a white paper on production management. If advertising will be the source of your profits, then focus content development on that service.

There are additional challenges that can be encountered with content marketing.

You have identified the target demographic and determined the services you will offer. You are ready to blitz the internet with content but discover you do not possess the creative pen to produce the information.

Just because your talents are lacking in creative marketing or blogging, does not mean your business must suffer. In fact, you should concentrate your talents on providing the quality service you offer. And then hire a professional ghostwriter to help you with the rest.  

An experienced ghostwriter will be capable of taking your personal experiences and blogging about them on your behalf.

There’s no shame in letting someone else do it for you. History has taught us that major success has been had in identifying strengths and weaknesses and then filling in weak areas with experts. In the end, all bases are covered.

Regardless of who blogs about the service you provide; the goal is to publish the information and link it to your company. It makes no difference who puts the information out there if it is real, accurate, helpful, and owned by your company.

Summing Up

The key to successful content marketing is avoiding complacency. Business owners should never fall into the trap of getting comfortable and alienating their customers. All customers, no matter their income potential, want to feel special. They want to believe they are your primary focus. It is crucial to produce content that services all your customers and not just one in particular.

Content marketing should capture subjects that your clients can relate to, both large and small. Offer topics that apply to everyone within your demographic. Do not disregard a smaller client by failing to produce content on a subject that the larger client might deem unimportant.

And remember, at the end of a day spent fishing, it is often the case that three small fish will feed more than one big one.

Why to Hire a Technical Ghostwriter: 5 Ways a Technical Ghostwriter Can Help Your Company

The great American author Mark Twain once said, “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” No offense to Mr. Twain, but writing is not quite so simple. Writing requires a combination of skill and expertise that takes time to develop.

And in the business world, time is a luxury few companies can afford. As a result, producing text, particularly technical texts, may be onerous in terms of time and money when done in-house. Thus, hiring a technical ghostwriter can save time and money.

In this article, we will dive into how to hire a technical ghostwriter as well as the ways a technical ghostwriter can help any company improve its interaction with clients and business partners.

When to Hire a Technical Ghostwriter

Companies often balk at the idea of hiring a technical ghostwriter. In some cases, businesses handle highly confidential information. As a result, an outsider may pose a risk. Also, some firms may feel that a ghostwriter may not fully capture their corporate culture.

Those arguments are all valid.

Nevertheless, there are situations in which hiring a technical ghostwriter makes sense. Specifically, the decision to hire a ghostwriter boils down to time and money.

Often, companies may have an abundance of technical experts. However, they may lack experienced writers.

The issue with inexperienced in-house writers lies in the time it may take to produce a technical document. Moreover, tapping an existing staff member may take time away from their main tasks.

Consequently, these staff members end up dedicating precious working hours to non-essential tasks.

Unless a company has dedicated in-house writing staff, hiring a technical ghostwriter is almost always more cost-effective.

A technical ghostwriter has a combination of expertise and skill. As a result, a good technical ghostwriter can help reduce the time and cost associated with producing high-quality technical documentation.

Ghostwriting expert Jane Friedman has this insightful tidbit to offer:

Ghostwriting is a fantastic option for people who have valuable ideas to share but lack the time, energy, or skill to put them into written form. Working with a ghost can have benefits beyond the final content.”

Indeed, this comment is true of any company that employs a ghostwriter. However, it is truly applicable for companies tasked with creating technical documents.

After all, valuable technical staff can better serve the firm when they’re able to dedicate their time solely to their main role.

Types of Technical Writing

Technical documents are not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. In fact, there are numerous pieces of content that can be considered a “technical document.” This includes:  

  • Manuals
  • Guides
  • Handbooks
  • Marketing content
  • Technical specifications
  • Press releases
  • Catalogs
  • Medical information
  • Diagrams
  • Computer code

A technical document is essentially any document that serves to provide a clear explanation of a complex topic. Therefore, the most important consideration becomes writing for the target audience.

Naturally, an end-user manual or guide must use plain language to explain the document’s contents.

By the same token, technical specifications intended for experts would most likely employ much jargon and terminology.

It is up to each company, with the help of their technical ghostwriter, to decide which document formats suit their objectives best. And the outcome should reflect the target audience’s understanding of the subject matter.

Main Benefits of Hiring a Technical Ghostwriter

Hiring a ghostwriter that is dedicated to the organization’s writing projects can be incredibly beneficial to a company in many ways. Here are five ways a ghostwriter can help a company with technical documents.

Number One: Completion of the Project

It may seem surprising to list project completion as the first way a technical ghostwriter can help a company. Nonetheless, it should come as no surprise to find that many writing projects languish and remain incomplete.

Generally speaking, the most common culprit of project incompletion is lack of time. However, other surreptitious causes keep companies from following through on writing projects.

First, staff members may lack writing experience. As a result, they may not feel entirely comfortable writing a technical document, especially if they have never written one before.

Second, staff may already be overwhelmed with work. Therefore, adding another task to a heavy workload discourages its completion.

Third, some staff members may be unwilling to take on the project, particularly if there are no incentives behind it.

Consequently, a technical ghostwriter can ensure the project reaches completion.

As professional writers, ghostwriters do not need coaching. They are masters at their craft. As such, there is no “learning curve” to consider. A technical ghostwriter can hit the ground running from day one.

Number Two: High-Quality Writing

Ghostwriters sometimes get a bad reputation in the mainstream. And sadly, some individuals’ poor work ethic justifies such claims. Fortunately, though, good ghostwriters outnumber the bad ones.

The secret to finding a quality technical ghostwriter lies in the ghostwriter’s experience. Therefore, companies should strive to vet potential candidates, and hire experienced ghostwriters whenever possible.

The surest approach to getting quality writing is to hire a ghostwriting company, instead of a freelance writer. Ghostwriting companies employ various writers with numerous areas of expertise. As a result, your project will have the attention of an entire team of technical ghostwriters who are well versed in writing the kinds of technical documents you need.

Number Three: Real-World Technical Expertise

A technical ghostwriter must be familiar with the topic they write about. After all, a technical ghostwriter without technical knowledge is a bad idea. As such, technical ghostwriters usually have the knowledge (and degrees) to back up their writing.

Often, technical ghostwriters are professionals who take on writing as a way of supplementing their income. However, the best technical ghostwriters make a full-time job out of it.

As a result, reputable ghostwriters offer their clients a singular combination of writing skill and technical knowledge.

Please keep in mind that the vetting process is essential when hiring a technical ghostwriter. Companies must ensure they are dealing with a professional in their specific area. After all, a ghostwriter may be a great scribe, but it is unreasonable to expect a good job without the proper technical knowledge.

Some companies employ retired professionals to write for them. Theseprofessionals usually have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Plus, they have the time to focus on writing. As a result, they can produce high-quality technical documentation based on knowledge and industry experience.

The English poet John Keats famously said, “Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.” Indeed, experienced ghostwriters make the content real.

Of course, anyone can do the research and regurgitate content. However, a true professional technical ghostwriter can write from experience. Consequently, this kind of content is extremely hard to match.

Number Four: Honest Feedback

Often, companies already have technical manuals and documentation in circulation. However, firms may not realize how good or bad these documents really are.

This situation is quite common when in-house staff (non-professional writers, of course) produce such documentation. Naturally, this is not to say that there are mistakes in the document. It just means that they are not as good as they could be.

Enter the technical ghostwriter.

A technical ghostwriter can offer an objective opinion on a company’s existing documentation. After all, a ghostwriter can serve as an impartial third party to evaluate the company’s current technical literature.

A professional technical ghostwriter will more often than not want to look over previous documents.

This task is important as it helps the ghostwriter get a feel for the company’s voice and allows the technical ghostwriter to ensure that they maintain the same voice.

As the technical ghostwriter reviews previous documents, they may offer some useful and constructive criticism.

Honest feedback is a good sign that a technical ghostwriter is not merely looking for a paycheck. It shows they are willing to look out for their client’s best interest. As a result, companies should take their ghostwriter’s opinions seriously. Perhaps these opinions can lead to another project, such as an update or correction of current documentation.

Nevertheless, veteran ghostwriter Steven Douglass offers this piece of advice: “If you want your ghostwriters to do extensive rewriting, editing, and reviewing of your material, then you may want to consider hiring a firm that specializes in this rewriting and editing.” This insightful advice underscores the benefits of hiring a ghostwriter to handle complex writing projects.

Number Five: One-Stop Solution

Undertaking a writing project in-house may require assistance from various types of professionals. For example, the company may need to employ not only writers, but editors and graphic designers as well to complete the final product.

This approach may lead to a disjointed effort. After all, employing several professionals could result in a lack of coordinated effort.

Hiring a ghostwriter can solve all these issues altogether. Ghostwriters, in particular ghostwriting companies, frequently employ writers, editors, proofreaders, and graphic designers.

As such, they have the necessary infrastructure to take a project from zero to completion without a hitch.

Risks of Hiring a Technical Ghostwriter

Naturally, there are risks involved in hiring a technical ghostwriter. Thus, organizations should consider such risks throughout the decision-making process.

First, hiring a technical ghostwriter without the compulsory technical knowledge is a huge blunder. A ghostwriter must have the necessary technical knowledge. Otherwise, the material may fail to deliver the appropriate content. Moreover, the material might contain inaccuracies. As a result, the editing process would take longer than anticipated.

Second, quality is a significant concern when employing a ghostwriter. As such, hiring a ghostwriter does not guarantee high-quality results. An interesting Entrepreneur article offers the following insight: “The reason you can’t get a guarantee is because you are not paying for a manuscript. You are paying for the ghostwriter’s time.” This piece of insight raises an important question: How can you ensure quality output?

The answer is rather straightforward. Recommendations are the most valuable commodity for ghostwriters.

Reputable ghostwriters value their time. They seek to complete projects as quickly as possible with the highest level of quality possible.

As a result, quality ghostwriters look to get it right the first time. Of course, professional ghostwriters offer revisions. Nevertheless, they are not out to waste time.

Consequently, organizations looking to employ a technical ghostwriter should always ask for references. Also, companies can agree to a trial run. A trial run may consist of writing the first chapter. If the material is up to par, the rest of the project can move forward.

Third, ghostwriters can be expensive. Often, the cheapest solution is the worst one. “Cheap” ghostwriters may outsource their work to non-native English speakers. This practice opens the door to a series of issues. Needless to say, be wary of bargain-basement prices. They may look good on paper, but they may fail to live up to expectations.

The best approach is to discuss the budget allotted for the writing project. From there, both sides can determine if there is a possible agreement. In the end, the best method lies in finding a technical ghostwriter that fits the organization’s spirit and culture. Working with the right fit makes agreeing on financial issues much easier.

Conclusion

Hiring a technical ghostwriter is a great way any organization can get a writing project off the ground. The savings in terms of time and money can truly make the entire endeavor worthwhile. Great technical ghostwriters provide high-quality content on time. Therefore, it makes sense to hire a professional ghostwriter whenever possible.

It is also worth considering the risks associated with hiring a ghostwriter. After all, anyone can claim they are a great writer. Therefore, finding professional ghostwriters boils down to understanding the nature of the writing process.

Reputable ghostwriters always seek to maximize the value they deliver. In contrast, sub-par ghostwriters look to offer the cheapest prices. Consequently, cheaper does not always mean better. Thus, it pays to take the time to hire the right technical ghostwriter.

7 Great Tips for Working with a Ghostwriter on your Company History Book

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” —Woodrow Wilson

Companies with vision achieve great things. They are capable of changing the world. Great companies strive to innovate. To take everyday objects and transform people’s experience with life. Indeed, great companies can make great things happen.

When successful companies such as this emerge, there comes a time when their stories must get attention. And those stories require a medium for their dissemination. The most common medium in this case is a company history book.

However, writing a company’s history is not an easy task. It requires a skilled writing team that can encapsulate the company’s vision and spirit. Frequently, though, companies lack a writer, or team of writers, skilled enough for that purpose.

In these situations, many companies hire a ghostwriter to help bring their company history book to fruition. But how does a company go about finding a ghostwriter who’s up to the task?

Tip #1: Find the right ghostwriter

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Finding the right ghostwriter can be like attempting to find a needle in a haystack. As such, the search for the right ghostwriter should not be a sprint. Instead, companies need to use a methodical approach to getting the right ghostwriter.

A great piece on Writer’s Republic offers the following advice:

One of the key points of getting a ghostwriter is not to rush it. Remember that you will be working with the ghostwriter for months or even years, depending on the speed of your work and the overall effectiveness of the ghostwriter. And the success of your book could rest on the skills and effectiveness of the person you hire.”

Indeed, the best approach is to avoid rushing things. While there may certainly be plenty of enthusiasm behind the project, it is best to proceed cautiously.

After all, a project of this magnitude can take several months (or even years!) to complete. Consequently, the right professional will prove crucial to the book’s overall success.

When considering potential candidates, take the time to interview them thoroughly. Ensure that they share the company’s vision. Ideally, they should be familiar with the company or industry, and should be able to provide references for similar projects they’ve completed in the past.

In addition, they should be passionate about their work. Ghostwriters in it just for a paycheck may not be the most suitable candidate for the project.

Tip #2: Be clear with your ghostwriter

When interviewing candidates, be sure to state your position clearly. This position should include the project’s objectives and the company’s vision.

Those two elements must mesh together to create a suitable outcome. Any dissociation between them could lead to confusing work.

The writer’s style and voice must blend with the company’s image. For instance, a hip and edgy writer may not be the most suitable candidate for a company with a serious image.

Likewise, a formal, matter-of-fact approach may not adequately represent a fashionable brand.

Therefore, companies must know exactly what they want beforehand. In doing so, they can find the right ghostwriter to fit their vision.

A good rule of thumb is to ask for writing samples. These samples should align with the project’s vision. Samples that do not align appropriately can lead to potential issues down the road.

Moreover, some ghostwriters have material published in their names. This kind of material is a great way to determine if the writer is a good fit.

Lastly, confirm that the ghostwriter has experience with writing company history books.

Hiring inexperienced ghostwriters can be a risk. Naturally, a new and inexperienced writer may prove to be more cost-effective. However, there is no guarantee of their work.

Thus, serious, large-scale projects should not hinge on the talent of an unproven writer. Ultimately, it is better to go with a seasoned ghostwriter, even if it represents an additional cost.

Tip #3: Have your ghostwriter sign a confidentiality agreement

Working with a ghostwriter boils down to trust. After all, ghostwriters have access to company information. And sometimes this is information not intended for public release.

The question is, what information should the company share?

Generally speaking, a company history book should not involve sensitive company information.

Nevertheless, quality ghostwriters understand that confidentiality is a must. Therefore, ghostwriters must be willing to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement.

This agreement should detail what information the ghostwriter is and is not at liberty to disclose to the public or any future clients.

Please bear in mind that the company is the sole proprietor of information and written materials. These conditions are clear to experienced ghostwriters. Thus, any ghostwriter unwilling to sign a confidentiality agreement should be dismissed immediately.

Something important to keep in mind is that ideas are not subject to copyright. In other words, companies can copyright materials, but they cannot copyright ideas. As a result, trust becomes a huge factor in the entire equation. Therefore, companies must be certain they are dealing with professional, trustworthy writers.

In the end, ghostwriters should not require access to information beyond publicly available information. Confidential data such as financial statements or employee records should be off-limits.

Moreover, interviews conducted with staff require careful selection. Preferably, interviews should be limited to company executives or employees who know the company well and can be trusted not to disclose sensitive information.

Tip #4: Do not Neglect the Review Process

Stating a clear position also entails establishing a clear review process.

The review process is a critical component of a great product. While your company may not have any in-house literary experts who can critique the writing, there are sure to be individuals in the company who can gauge the material’s feelings and vision.

As such, the most important part of the review process is to determine if it adequately represents the company’s vision. Kevin Anderson, CEO and editor-in-chief at Kevin Anderson & Associates, offers this highly useful insight:

When we do beta testing for a full-length manuscript, we often get 20 completely different takes on the same manuscript, but then we have a single editor review, assess, and consolidate the feedback into a unified assessment based on the reviewers’ combined feedback. A similar approach is needed for giving feedback to your ghostwriter.”

Indeed, “reviewing by committee,” as Anderson calls it, may not yield the desired results. For example, having random employees or people outside the company review the book will be a disservice to the overall product.

Consequently, setting up a committee of C-suite executives or higher-ups in management to provide feedback is highly advisable.

However, there should be a single editor to review the finished manuscript. This editor can incorporate the recommendations and feedback from the review process.

Moreover, the company should provide feedback to their ghostwriter, especially if it plans on working with the same writer in the future.

Tip #5: Help your ghostwriter develop the right voice

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

When it comes to writing a company history book, sharing a common style and tone can become a complex endeavor, particularly when there are many people interviewed for the book.

Style not only entails formal writing conventions. Style also pertains to the company’s spirit, attitude, and ethics. After all, a company history book should reflect the organization’s culture at every turn.

Companies should strive to work with their ghostwriter to ensure that they appropriately reflect the company’s vision and ethos. One effective approach is to go through a chapter-by-chapter revision process.

Going through each chapter individually, especially early in the project, can help determine if the right style emanates from the surface. In contrast, waiting until the end of a completed draft may leave the company executives disappointed if the manuscript does not meet their expectations. Moreover, this situation could lead to a need for rewrites, which can be costly in both money and time.

Before jotting down a single word, there needs to be an adjustment process. This process should involve a learning experience in which the ghostwriter looks to capture the company’s voice.

The process may require a series of conversations between executives and the writer. Also, the writer may need to study public recordings or publications to get a feel for the organization’s personality.

In contrast, smaller organizations may lack this public exposure. If this is the case, the ghostwriter can sit down with company executives to get a feel for their approach to business. Ultimately, the ghostwriter can then translate this approach into the contents of the book.

Tip #6: Establish a timeline with your ghostwriter

Producing a company history book can become an arduous endeavor. After all, there are various tasks necessary to produce the final product. Therefore, getting a handle on time is a crucial factor in a successful project.

The main reason for hiring a ghostwriter is the lack of time company members may have for a substantial writing project. As such, executives must be cognizant of their time management. Hence, developing a clear timeline is a significant factor in ensuring the project comes to fruition.

Author Alice Osborn recommends a timeline of roughly six months to get a project through to the end. However, this is an aggressive timeline. After all, there are potential drawbacks throughout the entire process.

In Osborn’s words, “create a timeline and work backward.”

Working backward entails setting reasonable deadlines from start to finish. In doing so, company executives can make their ghostwriters aware of their expectations.

A cardinal sin of a company history book project is not being clear about deadlines. While deadlines can be flexible to a certain extent, they should not be moving targets. Otherwise, the project will never get through to the end.

Nevertheless, professional ghostwriters are well aware that deadlines are a crucial element of any writing project. As a result, they will strive to meet deadlines.

Furthermore, a professional ghostwriter will communicate from the start whether they are capable of meeting expected deadlines. If not, then it may be necessary to find another ghostwriter.

Tip #7: Budget, Budget, Budget

Costs are the Achilles’ heel of many writing projects. Unfortunately, company executives often underestimate how much writing a company history book may cost. The truth is that costs may vary widely. In particular, ghostwriter fees are the main issue to consider when budgeting.

According to most experts, a ghostwritten book can run anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 and higher, depending on the book’s length, its complexity, and the amount of time needed to complete it.

Nevertheless, ghostwriters’ fees can fluctuate significantly. A good rule of thumb is to follow the axiom, “You get what you pay for.” After all, highly qualified ghostwriters are never cheap. Therefore, they will command a higher rate than lower-tier ones.

Additionally, it is wise to hire a reputable editor. Good editors also command higher rates. As with ghostwriters, editor fees vary. Companies can expect to spend anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 on a thorough editing job.

This approximate cost not only includes standard proofreading but revisions such as an editorial assessment. A solid editorial assessment can help ghostwriters visualize the direction they are taking. A professional ghostwriter will take a good editorial assessment in stride. Consequently, the finished product would yield better-than-expected results.

It is important to note that some ghostwriters include editing in their services. This is especially true when you are hiring a ghostwriting firm, and not just a single writer. Be sure to discuss editing with your ghostwriter during the initial interview process.

Conclusion

Producing a company history book is a wonderful endeavor that can cement a company’s legacy. And hiring a ghostwriter may be a necessary step in the process.

Great ghostwriters can produce excellent books. Nevertheless, not all ghostwriters are equal. Therefore, executives must take the time to find a suitable candidate.

Ultimately, there are various factors to consider when hiring a ghostwriter. Mainly, the right ghostwriter must be capable of replicating the company’s voice and vision.

Once a candidate is in tow, setting clear expectations will ensure the project’s success. In the end, the project’s success hinges on trust and fluid communication.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Ghostwriter to Produce a Personal or Family History Book

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”—George Bernard Shaw

Deciding to produce a book can be quite daunting, especially when it is about personal or family history. It can prove to be an even more daunting task when the book is about an important family event meshed within history’s broader context.

Naturally, there may be a plethora of questions surrounding the process of producing such a literary piece. For individuals undertaking this process, choosing to hire a ghostwriter to aid in the process may seem like a viable alternative.

In some instances, the professional writer may come in the form of a co-author. In other cases, it may come in the form of a ghostwriter.

But is a hiring a ghostwriter really worth the expense?

In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages that come with hiring a ghostwriter and will also shed some light on the often misunderstood role of a ghostwriter.

Deciding to Write a Personal or Family History Book

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Popular belief states that only wealthy and renowned families write books on their family history. Likewise, the common thought is that only celebrities and other notable people write books on their personal stories. However, this assumption could not be further from the truth.

People from all walks of life may feel inclined to chronicle their past experiences at one point or another in their lives.

These chronicles serve both an archival and didactic purpose. First, writing a memoir provides a record of a person’s experiences. This exercise helps to preserve personal history by way of first-hand accounts.

In addition, preserving personal and family history provides lessons learned for future generations.

In olden times, oral tradition—usually storytelling—allowed one generation to pass on its knowledge and experience to future generations. With the emergence of written language, preserving tradition was no longer limited to mere storytelling. The printed word enabled generation after generation to pass on valuable insights to the next generation.

Passing on knowledge, wisdom, experience, and lessons from one generation to another has been a staple of human society since its beginnings. Therefore, it is only reasonable to assume that this tradition would endure into the current age.

Thus, deciding to write a memoir or chronicle a family’s history isn’t an odd or even a new compunction; it is a desire as old as the human race.

Penny Stratton, Publishing Director at American Ancestors, offers this insightful tidbit into publishing family history:

Think about the legacy you will be leaving if you write and publish your own family research: not only a legacy for current and future family members, but an important resource for current and future genealogical researchers.

Indeed, there is no question that recording individual and family history is a valuable resource for present and future scholars.

When deciding to write about such personal details, many factors come into consideration. Initially, the most significant factor pertains to the type of information included.

For instance, will the book be a collection of family stories and anecdotes? Will the story center around a specific event or time? Will the book focus on one character?

Additionally, how many details is the family comfortable in divulging? Are there any secrets that ought not to be revealed?

Then, it is also necessary to consider the book’s theme. For example, the book could focus on a dramatic journey from one country to another. Also, the book might have more of a funny spin to it. Perhaps the book is meant to preserve cultural or ethnic heritage.

The book’s central theme should provide readers with an identity of the characters in the story. The aim should be to create a truly authentic experience.

Additionally, the book’s narrative style needs careful thought. Some memoirs have more of a storytelling feel to them. Others read like a history textbook in which dates are interlaced with anecdotes. Furthermore, some biographies tell specific stories within the overall architecture of a historical period. A good example of this would be the story of a well-known war reframed through the harrowing tale of a family escaping the conflict.

Elements of a Personal or Family History Book

Writing about personal family history may seem relatively straightforward on the surface. But beneath, there are multiple layers of complexity.

These layers pertain to the various facets surrounding a family's history. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the elements that make up a successful depiction of a family's history.

After all, a work such as this will become part of a family’s legacy. As such, it is crucial to consider the following elements.

Genealogical Formats

When writing about family history specifically, the book’s genealogical format is highly significant. There are two types of genealogical formats to consider: the register style and the ancestor table.

The register style is a descriptive format that uses a paragraph-by-paragraph depiction of a person’s or family’s history.  In this style, the aim is to provide as many factual details as possible. Here is an example of what this style would look like:

John Doe was born in New York, New York, United States, on January 11, 1912. He was the son of Jack Doe and Jane Doe. He married Mary Doe on May 17, 1950. He died on September 27, 1989, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The description above represents the information about John Doe. This example highlights factual data extracted from legal documentation such as birth, death, marriage certificates, or court documents. Newspaper reports may also serve as proof, though it would be worthwhile to ascertain their accuracy.

The ancestor table is a format in which a table shows the ancestry of an individual or family. The table attempts to go as far back as possible to establish the relationships between current members and past generations.

A family tree is the most common means of representing this table. Conventionally, the tree begins with the current generation and works its ancestry up.

Generally speaking, the number one person on the diagram is the subject of the work. From there, subjects two and three would represent their parents, while subjects four, five, six, and so on would be siblings. These numerical representations allow the reader to get a better sense of the lineage in each generation.

Organization and Scope

One of the most common issues with family history is casting too wide a net.

Some works attempt to capture stories regarding all members of a particular family. However, the family may be so big that it would be impossible to describe every member appropriately.

There are other families whose ancestry is so rich that they can trace their heritage back several generations, leading to a significantly broader scope.

Consequently, it is important to narrow the focus to one or two generations. This may imply multiple volumes in order to encompass all members and their generations.

When the work focuses on a single person, the issue then becomes about how many other members to include. Naturally, the most important members should be described throughout the work. Thus, any other members who do not play a significant role should be left out of the book’s scope.

Madeleine L’Engle, the creator of A Wrinkle in Time, had this to say about family history:

If you don’t recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor your own stories and tell them, too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are.”

The book’s aim should therefore be about preserving the ties that bind entire generations together. These links transcend individuals as they make their way through the annals of time.

Narrative

Both the ancestor chart and the genealogical format tend to be somewhat rigid. As such, they do not necessarily lend themselves to a more narrative style.

If the book aims to share stories, anecdotes, and experiences in addition to factual data, a storytelling-type format will likely suit the book best. That way, the book can transition easily from objective to anecdotal information.

In this case, following an exact, chronological order is the most effective way to balance factual and anecdotal information.

Photos and Images

Whenever available, photographs, paintings, or drawings all serve incredibly well to highlight the information presented. Therefore, this material should be utilized as much as possible. Doing so allows readers to gain a clear vision, particularly when making references to past eras.

Moreover, entire discussions and narratives can be constructed around images.

Deciding to Hire a Ghostwriter

Seeking to produce a text, like a personal or family history, can easily seem like an overwhelming task. After all, the lack of experience in producing written materials may lead to procrastination—the issue of not knowing where to begin may ultimately delay the production of much-anticipated family history.

When it comes to memoirs or autobiographies, individuals may find themselves at a loss for words. In some instances, highly articulate individuals may find it challenging to put pen to paper. Some get lost in a sea of notes and materials.

It’s not unusual for people to retain a professional ghostwriter’s services. Especially for older people with a unique family history, or busy professionals, who just don’t have the time to write their own history.

These people often find that it is much more sensible to hire a ghostwriter than to take on a co-author.

To begin with, a co-author usually receives credit for the book’s production. Naturally, this entitles them to receive a portion of the proceeds from the book. Moreover, a co-author may hold copyright claims over some or all of the material included in the publication.

In contrast, a ghostwriter does not receive any credit for their work. They are simply paid for their writing services, thereby leaving them with no claim over any material in the book. The person hiring them is the author; the ghostwriter is just the person helping the author put their story on paper.

This arrangement provides greater peace of mind for the author, as they retain full control over their published works.

The decision to hire a professional ghostwriter facilitates the production process. As a professional, a ghostwriter can create the content needed for the book within a specified scope. Moreover, they can use the narrative style that best suits the author’s style.

Additionally, hiring a ghostwriter tends to be more cost-effective, especially considering they have no claims over the book’s content.

Yet, the thought of hiring a ghostwriter may not sit well with some people. There is a negative perception of the ghostwriting profession due to the prevalence of unscrupulous individuals. Some of these individuals produce low-quality work that fails to meet industry standards. In other circumstances, some of these individuals create plagiarized works.

To avoid such issues, it is always best to hire a reputable writing company. Professional companies hire qualified writers with proven track records. Additionally, like any other business, these companies stake their reputation on the quality of their output and their clients’ satisfaction. Hence, they offer a better alternative to merely hiring a so-called writer from a shady ad.

When hiring a ghostwriter, it is a standard practice to meet with the writer (or the company representatives) to request sample work. Often, samples may include the introduction or a chapter. This practice serves to gauge the quality of the work before committing to any contracts or payments.

Once the book’s author is ready to move forward, standard confidentiality and non-disclosure contracts must be signed to hold all sides accountable for the content. Additionally, waivers on any copyright claims need to become a part of this process. If possible, book authors should check with their legal counsel to ensure no potential legal issues may arise.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Ghostwriter

Using the services of a ghostwriter has both advantages and disadvantages. Thus, it is worth looking into both sides of the argument before making a final call on the effectiveness of hiring a ghostwriter to produce a personal or family history book.

Attribution of Work

The clearest advantage of hiring a ghostwriter lies in the attribution of the work. Mainly, the author gets to keep all rights and takes credit for the work’s production, which does not occur with a co-author. Hence, using a professional ghostwriter allows the individual to produce high-quality work without sharing any of the credit or earnings.

Protecting Family Legacy

Working with a ghostwriter enables the author to fully control the material and how it is written. This ensures that no surprises become part of the book. As such, having full control over the material enables the author to ensure that their legacy, as well as their family’s legacy, is protected.

While co-authors may not have free reign, they might make decisions without consulting the family. Such actions may lead to issues that could ultimately jeopardize the book’s publication.

Full Creative Control

Authors retain full creative control over every aspect of the book. If they dislike anything in the text, they can request a change. If their standards are not met, the author can fire the ghostwriter and start over. Naturally, firing the writer isn’t the ideal scenario. Nevertheless, the author has that option should they choose to exercise it.

By contrast, when working with co-authors, disagreements over style and prose could potentially lead to the author losing valuable creative control.

It is important to keep in mind that hiring a ghostwriter has disadvantages as well. Here are the most pressing concerns regarding this issue.

Ghostwriting Can Be Costly

Generally speaking, co-authors do not take an upfront payment. They usually get a cut of royalties or a percentage from book sales. Other co-authors do it for the exposure that may come from publication.

While this may not represent an upfront cost, it may represent a considerable payment down the road.

In the case of ghostwriters, they can command a substantial fee for producing the book. It may range from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars. Yet, the upfront cost would undoubtedly offset the book’s potential long-term earnings, especially if it is a commercial success.

Some Ghostwriters Are Unreliable

Unfortunately, there are unreliable and even unscrupulous individuals out there. In some cases, these so-called writing companies swindle unsuspecting clients.

For some, it might be just about money. For others, it might be about stealing intellectual property. Thus, it is essential for authors to vet any company, or individual ghostwriter, before working with them.

The most effective way of finding a reputable ghostwriter is through word of mouth. In addition, legal paperwork is a must. Any individual or company that balks at signing non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements should never be trusted.

Ghostwriting Can Be a Slow Process

Producing a professional book can be a laborious process. Therefore, it is unreasonable to expect high-quality work in short order.

Individuals and companies that claim they can produce top-tier materials on a tight schedule might be attempting to fool their clients. Authors should be aware that creating great content takes time. While this does not mean it should take eons, it does mean that patience is necessary, especially when there are multiple revisions and changes.

Conclusion

Hiring a ghostwriter to produce individual or family history is a serious decision. After all, entrusting precious family stories to a third-party is an extremely delicate business. As such, it is crucial to find a reputable ghostwriter who has a track record of meeting their clients’ expectations.

The ghostwriting process could prove to be time-consuming and somewhat arduous, but the overall result can exceed expectations when done appropriately. Consequently, engaging in a trial run is the best course of action before committing to a full book deal.

In the meantime, legal paperwork must be completed to ensure the proper protection of a priceless family legacy.

The Truth About Ghostwriting Around the World

Imagine this scenario.

A CEO of an up-and-coming winery wants to get the word out about a new technique her company is using to fertilize grapes in their vineyard, creating new and amazing flavors in otherwise standard grapes. She knows the process inside and out. What she doesn’t know is how to craft an interesting and reader-friendly article that could get into some of the industry’s premier publications.

What does she do? She hires a professional writer. A wonderful article is crafted and makes it into the leading magazine in the wine industry. Despite not writing a single word, the CEO is given the byline and credit for the article and boosts her reputation in the vino community.

Wait. What? How can that be? Isn’t that lying? That poor writer! 

Slow down. It’s called ghostwriting and it’s a real thing. The writer knew the deal and accepted it. Ghostwriting is a practice that’s extremely common in the United States. Is it a purely U.S. anomaly or is the rest of the world onboard? Let’s take a look. 

What is Ghostwriting?

The Merriam-Webster definition of ghostwriting is “to write for and in the name of another.”

That’s the gist of it. You do the writing, and maybe even the research, and someone else gets the byline.

So, why would a writer do it? Believe it or not, not every writer is obsessed with getting credit for her work. For those who have the personality and right skill set, it can be a great way to make a living as a writer.

What skills do you need? Here are a few:

  • Ability to work with someone who is an expert in their field, use their ideas, and craft an article or book that reads like its coming directly from them.
  • Research skills to fill in the blanks.
  • Willingness to concede credit for the work.
  • Discretion to maintain that anonymity.

Ghostwriting projects can come in the form of professional articles, memoirs or autobiographies, and even novels.

Remember V.C. Andrews, author of Flowers in the Attic? Even though she passed away in 1986, she’s still churning out books to this day. How? A ghostwriter named Andrew Neiderman has taken over the writing. He does his best to stay in her style and it’s her name on the books, though from cover to cover they are really his stories.

There’s even debate that Alexandre Dumas didn’t do all of his own work but took credit for the work of Auguste Maquet.

If you really want to dig into the realities of ghostwriting, check out “The Truth About Ghostwriting.”

The Dark Side of Ghostwriting

While hiring a ghostwriter as I defined it above is a perfectly legitimate practice, there are some who link the idea to cheating.

For example, students in high school or college may hire someone to write their papers and essays for them. In fact, China has a significant issue with students who are looking to get into schools overseas. They hire writers to do their papers to give the impression that their language skills are more advanced than they really are.

Although this practice is considered cheating in the U.S. — and can result in harsh disciplinary penalties from schools — it’s so common in China that this type of ghostwriting has become an estimated $1.5 billion industry.

Another way that ghostwriting has become controversial is in the medical field. In one scenario, pharmaceutical companies hire writers to draft papers on a new drug. Then, they give authorship credit to a well-known academic in the medical field, thus adding credibility to their product and luring doctors into false confidence in the drug. The medical field, and even the U.S. Congress, have taken measures to try to eliminate ghostwriting for scientific papers.

No one should be hurt by the use of a ghostwriter.

Whether or not ghostwriting is legitimate or shady can be judged by this: Does authorship matter in the work? If the CEO of a tech company is sharing his insight on new tech developments in a magazine, but uses a ghostwriter to craft the article, you’re still getting the CEO’s thoughts.

Ghostwriting in Other Countries

While ghostwriting seems to be legal pretty much across the globe, its reputation suffers in some locations. China, obviously, as it battles the academic cheating scandal, sees it as a form of dishonesty. However, a simple Google search for ghostwriting in China will pop up a large number of companies ready to help you out. The same goes for India, England, and much of Europe.

In France, interestingly, the term for a ghostwriter is negre, which in any other context is considered a deplorably racist term. This association with ghostwriting came about in the 1700s with the rise of colonialism and slavery.

According to Jack Lamar, who wrote an article for NPR on the topic, “The idea was that writing under someone else’s name, erasing your own identity, was thankless servitude on a par with the labor of colonialism’s black subjects and victims.” While that attitude towards ghostwriters may not be as prevalent today, the term still exists.

Ghostwriting is as Legitimate as Construction Work

In nearly any other industry, an agreement that works similar to ghostwriting wouldn’t be given a second thought.

In fact, many famous singers don’t even write their own material. Take country music legend George Strait, for example. Strait has 60 number one hits, but he only wrote a handful of them himself. Instead, other songwriters, like Dean Dillon and Sanger D. “Whitey” Shafer and others, penned the songs and let Strait work his magic with them.

An architect designs a beautiful building, but he doesn’t actually pour the concrete and hammer the nails to build it, right? It’s all about making the best use of your skills.

There are a lot of people out there who, for one reason or another, want to publish a book or an article with their thoughts and ideas. They want their own name on it, too. It just takes a ghostwriter with the right knack for that kind of writing and the willingness to forego receiving credit.

Writers who can accept that kind of an arrangement can build very nice careers for themselves, even if we don’t know their names.

One-of-a-Kind Gifts for Your Parents This Year

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to think about that annually dreaded concept – getting a gift for Mom and Dad.

It’s not that you don’t want to get them a gift. Quite the opposite! You want to give them something amazing. You want to give a gift they’ll use and talk about for years. And this year, it seems more important than ever.

But buying for Mom and Dad is hard. Really hard. They’ve given you so much, yet they ask for so little. And what they do want, they already have.

So, how do you find fun, interesting, and unique gift ideas for the people who gave you. . . everything?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are 15 one-of-a-kind gift ideas to help you show your parents just how much you love them.

1. “Back in the Day” Canvas Print

The older we get, the more we like to reminisce. And this is the perfect gift for reminiscing!

The “Back in the Day Personalized History Canvas Print” lets you pick a significant day, like the day they met, their wedding day, or the day they bought their home, and create a cool newspaper-like wall hanging.

The print will include whatever personal information you want as well as fun facts and significant events from that day in history. It’s a cool conversation piece that your parents will love.

2. Twelve Whole Months of Fun

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

What are your parents’ interests? Whether they enjoy doing puzzles, tasting chocolates, wine, or even whisky, you can find a “Product of the Month” club that’s perfect for them.  

Before you shake your head and conjure up the famous “Jelly of the Month Club” that poor Clark Griswald received, give it a chance.

The key is to pick something that your parents truly love and will want to explore. Would they like to try new types of cheese? Would they get a kick out of a new mystery novel? Seriously, you can even get a “Cryptid Crate” that sends a box of stuff each month on a different mythical beast like Nessie, Sasquatch, or the Chupacabra. 

No matter their passion, there’s a subscription out there.

3. Directions to Their Family Members

A Personalized Family Member Locator Signpost is a fun conversation piece.

Just add significant places, like the towns where each or relative lives, and the sign points to their directions and gives the mileage. It will add a little flavor to their outside décor and keep the neighbors talking.

Added bonus: Whenever someone moves, you have a new gift idea because you’ll need to replace a board!

4. Their Personal Life Story

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Your parents likely have very interesting life stories. And now they can tell them, with this one-of-a-kind gift: a book detailing your loved one’s personal history.

A truly unique gift idea, this is a keepsake book that future generations will treasure, created by our own TWFH team.

We capture a record of your loved one’s special memories through personal interviews, so their stories are never lost. Our writers will interview your loved one about their stories, memories, and accomplishments, and we will turn our interview notes into a beautiful, professionally published book.

This wonderful package includes:

  • One-hour family consult. Before we interview your loved one, we will schedule a one-hour consultation with you and/or your family to learn more about your loved one and to discuss your goals for this book. During this consult, we will also work with you to develop a set of interview questions.
  • Interviews with your loved one. Our professional writers will conduct an interview for up to four hours (by phone or Skype) with your loved one. Digital interview files are included in your gift.
  • Transcription. Our professional writers will transcribe their interview notes.
  • Custom Printed Book. Professionally printed, 100% CUSTOM hardcover book. Up to 100 pages and including up to 10 photos (optional; provided by you or your loved one in digital format)

5. Snapshots of Your Life

Your parents would love to see more pictures of their grandkids, or your dog, or even you. But they don’t do social media and you just can’t get there to see them often enough.

This is a great solution! It’s a digital picture frame that you can access remotely through cloud technology and download new pictures for them periodically.  

When you snap great shots, you can upload them into your parent’s new picture frame to keep the pictures fresh and fun for them all year round.

6. A Personalized Calendar

A personalized calendar with photos of the whole family is simple but useful and fun.

Get creative with it and choose pictures that will make them smile throughout the year. Use holidays and special events like grandkids’ birthdays to theme each month, and don’t forget to include your favorite pets!  

7. A Masterclass

Image by Oldmermaid from Pixabay

You’re never too old to learn something new!

Give your parents something they can do together like painting or cooking, or give them each one they’ll love on their own.

With Masterclass online courses they can even take classes that are taught by subject experts they know and love. Let them learn how to cook from Gordon Ramsay, that really angry guy from T.V. Or, even better, have Steve Martin show Dad how to really tell jokes!

8.Their New Favorite Blanket

Who doesn’t love a super soft and warm blanket? Your parents might even have one, but how old is it?  

Splurge and get something nicer than they’d ever buy for themselves like this Wicked Cozy blanked from L.L. Bean. Just don’t tell them what you paid, or they’ll never use it!

9. “Thinking of You” Lamps

If you don’t see your parents as often as you’d like, get them a dose of comfort with these Friendship Lamps.

Your parents get one lamp, and you keep the other. Whenever you think about them, miss them, or want to make them smile, just touch the lamp. When you touch your lamp, their lamp will light up letting them know that they’re on your mind.

It’s sweet, fun, and unique!

10. Homesick Candles

Image by monicore from Pixabay

Does Mom pine for her childhood home in Boston? Or can dad not stop talking about the year he was stationed in Hawaii?

The area-specific Homesick Candles will take them back using the most powerful memory trigger – our sense of smell! Boston has notes of tea, cinnamon, and vanilla. Hawaii? Pineapple, seashore, and sugar.

Just hope that they’re not homesick for life on the pig farm!

11. An Ancestry/DNA Kit or Subscription

From Ancestry DNA to 23 and Me, there are a lot of options out there for DNA kits these days. Chances are, your parents might think they’re pure stock German only to find out they’re part Irish or Samoan as well.

More often than not, there’s a surprise in the DNA chain somewhere. But even if there are no surprises, aging parents love to ponder where they come from and the roots of the family tree.

12. The Bucket List Scratch-Off Poster

Give Mom and Dad 100 interesting ideas to do to keep the adventure going. From scuba diving to learning a new language, they simply pick a task,  do it, and then scratch it off to keep score.

Warning – You may come to your parents’ house to find “Visit a dive bar” and “Skinny dipping” scratched off.

The Bucket List Scratch Off Poster is sure to make for some interesting stories for the next family get together!

13. Monthly Flowers

Image by Oldiefan from Pixabay

Flowers brighten anyone’s day! Why not set up a flower subscription or just vow to send flowers every month?

If you can find certain flowers that hold special meaning for your parents, try to work them in to add a little more meaning. Get creative and have fun with it! 

14. Novelty Face Masks

OK, it’s not great that we need them, but why not have a little fun with it and give your parents a conversation piece (along with added safety).

Face masks can be colorful, decorative, or even funny. It’s the best smile that you can’t actually see.

15. A Paint-by-Numbers Kit

Paint-by-numbers is easy and fun for anyone. Not just for kiddos anymore!

You can pick a famous painting like the “Mona Lisa” or Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” or even send in a photo and have it turned into a paint-by-numbers canvas. How cool is that? Just imagine your dad painting his very first dog. It would definitely be a unique trip down memory lane!

Wrap Up

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Shopping for your parents can be challenging, but this is the year you’re going to knock it out of the park.

Put some thought into your gift for your parents and put a smile on their faces as we head into 2021. These ideas are sure to bring a little fun and comfort into their lives and may result in the gift they talk about for years to come!

Ghostwriting: Much More Than Meets the Eye

When you think about the term “ghostwriter,” what comes to mind? Someone behind-the-scenes who writes books, speeches, and even social media posts for others without getting credit?

If so, you are correct; however, ghostwriters are often used to help with some unusual projects. 

From cookbooks and fortune cookie messages to poetry and horoscopes, there are many surprising projects where the talents of a ghostwriter are utilized.

Cookbooks

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Cookbooks are massive revenue generators for celebrity chefs, including the likes of Rachel Ray, Jamie Oliver, and Mario Batali. However, between running restaurants, coming up with new dishes, and making publicity appearances, they don’t have much free time to pen books.

Instead, many chefs enlist the help of a ghostwriter to do the heavy lifting. And in the process, ghostwriters become trusted collaborators, testing recipes and ensuring deadlines are met and publishers are updated frequently.

Aside from the actual writing, one of the most critical tasks for a cookbook ghostwriter is making sure recipes are comprehensive and easy for a home cook to follow. Chefs have years of experience, special equipment, and sous chefs at their fingertips, whereas the home cook has the recipe and the ingredients, and that’s about it.

In other words, celebrity chefs may be masters at their trade, but not so much at translating their recipes for a novice cook.

Ghostwriters are invaluable in this scenario, not only being the writer but also the project manager and recipe tester.

Fortune Cookies

Ever finish with your Chinese takeout and wonder who has time to write all the creative messages on fortune cookies? You guessed it: ghostwriters!

According to the website Life in the USA, there are approximately 41,000 Chinese restaurants across the country, many of which serve guests fortune cookies at the end of each meal. Ghostwriters are often hired to write these little notes of inspiration tucked inside each cookie’s shell.

The sheer number of fortunes that need to be produced is mind-boggling, since cookie manufacturers don’t want people to receive repeat fortunes.

And while it might seem odd to hire a ghostwriter to write fortunes, these messages need to be well written, appeal to a broad audience, witty, but at the same time not offensive. It takes a skillful writer to produce fortune cookie messages.

Greeting Cards

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

According to the Greeting Card Association, Americans purchase approximately 6.5 billion greeting cards annually. And retail sales of greeting cards are estimated between $7 and $8 billion! In other words, greeting cards are trendy.

While Hallmark, the most popular of greeting card companies, employs an in-house team of writers, many other companies, such as Blue Mountain and American Greetings, accept submissions from freelance ghostwriters.

Some of these companies also accept artwork from freelancers, including photos and graphics.

Poetry and Song Lyrics 

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Some people have a real knack for cranking out a haiku on-demand or knocking out song lyrics that make sense. But for the majority of folks out there, these tasks can be daunting. This is when you call in professional writers to help.  

Recording artists, performers, and just regular folks who want to express how they feel to a loved one might seek a ghostwriter to help them.

It takes more than just the ability to rhyme to produce a good poem or meaningful song lyric, though. The words need to flow and elicit emotion, which is something a ghostwriter might be able to do better than a musician or the guy preparing to propose to his girlfriend.  

Horoscopes

Image by Quique from Pixabay

Putting together short horoscopes is also something a ghostwriter may do, as it is a task that requires quite a bit of astrology research and needs to be written in a certain tone.

Writing horoscopes has evolved into something of an art form, as well as a popular type of entertainment. As such, they need to be conversational, somewhat personalized, and enjoyable to read.

Restaurant Menus

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Have you ever sat down in a restaurant and wondered who wrote the menu?

After all, the menu is an important part of the dining experience and should present the dishes in an appetizing way.

But restaurant owners are not generally known for their way with words, so oftentimes a ghostwriter is called upon to work their magic.

Top 3 Reasons Why Smart Companies Hire Technical Ghostwriters

Have you ever set up a printer in your home or downloaded software onto your laptop? Perhaps you constructed a jungle gym for your kids or took your blood glucose level with a medical monitor.

If so, you likely benefited from the work of a technical ghostwriter.

Some may only associate the term “ghostwriting” with professionals who draft content on behalf of another individual, often for books and speeches.

Today, the term also extends to writing consultants who draft posts on social media sites for celebrities and company leaders whose relevance can depend on staying current.

Another common type of ghostwriting is for business and technical purposes – on behalf of government agencies, educational institutions, corporations, and entrepreneurs.

The myriad forms of ghostwriting for business may include the drafting of white papers – an authoritative source of information about a topic, product, or service.

It also may include academic case studies, corporate standard operating procedures (SOPs), manuals, and other guidelines for internal and external use by non-profit organizations.

It’s simple: Our daily consumer and business lives are eased by substantive, well-written content that translates complex and industry-specific jargon into cohesive, easy-to-understand manuals, user guides, policy and procedure documentation, instructions, and the like.

The Benefits of Hiring a Technical Ghostwriter

#1: You get a professional experienced in drafting compelling copy from complex source materials.

Sure, your subject matter experts (SMEs) understand the ins and outs of your products and services. Heck, they likely developed them!

Yet, these detail-minded people can find it difficult to grasp how to effectively communicate the essential information an end user needs. It takes an individual with specific expertise to create user-friendly copy that is clear, succinct, and quickly understood.

“Companies know their products and services, but they don’t always know how to describe their offerings in a way that the average person will understand,” says Erin Larson, a copywriter with The Writers For Hire (TWFH). “An effective technical writer provides an outsider’s perspective and an ability to translate the technical information from the subject matter expert to the public.”

In addition, SMEs often are skilled at listing the features of a product and not as practiced at describing its benefits for the user.

A solid technical ghostwriter is someone who is capable of distilling that content in a meaningful manner and “someone who, by education, innate ability, or experience, has the capacity to understand what the experts are talking about,” remarks TWFH technical writer Barbara Adams. “Engineers talk like engineers and don’t want to dumb down their conversations to get their point across.”

#2: You get an expert in producing content that effectively targets your customers and other end users.

An experienced technical ghostwriter possesses grammatical and organizational skills for drafting copy that engages people at various comprehension and reading levels.

For example, instructions on setting up a child’s $100 telescope would be quite different from those for a $2,500 Orion model.

And a manual of SOPs involving offshore oil rig operations is quite different from the operations plan for leadership in the event of an oil rig catastrophe.

Technical writers are communications professionals, and their expertise often includes a keen sense of audience targeting and content strategy.

Those offshore workers may prefer a hard-copy manual, while the board of directors probably seeks something simpler, like a Google doc that can be revised quickly and easily.

An adept writer can assess how to effectively market your information to the intended audience and utilize the appropriate delivery mechanisms to do so.

“An outside technical writer, typically, has been exposed to different companies and different technologies, and can therefore bring new perspectives about how to communicate technical topics,” Adams adds.

#3: Hiring a technical ghostwriter can save your company time, money, and headaches.

Outsourcing many types of labor has become common practice – especially for organizations who may benefit from an expert practitioner on an occasional basis.

As TWFH writer Brenda Hazzard asserts, “Outsourcing the writing of blogs, social media, white papers, and proposals is a good option for companies without a dedicated team of professional writers and editors.”

One thing to consider, Hazzard says, is whether to hire a technical writer with specialized, industry expertise or a generalist who has collaborated with various types of projects and industries. “While the former may come with applicable background and experience, the latter may be more objective, and possess a fresher, non-technical perspective.”

Additionally, any experienced contractor will prioritize the project and understands the importance of delivering a high-quality product – on time. After all, being hired for future projects depends on it.

“A subject matter expert within your organization may place the project on a back burner until they find the time to compose something. Plus, a SME’s content probably will need a good editor, someone who possesses a sharp eye for logical flow, grammar, style, and tone,” Hazzard adds.

Keep in mind that many consultants – whether they practice technical writing or another skill – must adeptly collaborate with a diverse array of individuals. They wouldn’t survive long otherwise!

“An effective technical writer is a good listener and a quick study, with the ability to work with various personality types,” Hazzard remarks.

Outsourcing your technical communication to a ghostwriter could be a smart decision for your company. Perhaps, too, it can provide benefits you never realized and, ultimately, help the company’s bottom line.

Copywriter Q&A: Flori Meeks Discusses the Art of the Interview

The Writers For Hire (TWFH) team member Flori Meeks began her career in suburban Detroit as a community newspaper reporter. Throughout her impressive 25+ years as a writer, she has taken the skills she developed as a reporter and spun them into a successful career which has included penning everything from blogs and web copy to ghostwriting nonfiction books and autobiographies.

In this installment of Copywriter Q&A, Flori walks us through the art of the interview, and talks about some of the challenges that come with interviewing clients.

TWFH: For what kinds of writing projects do you generally conduct interviews?

FM: Most of the time, I conduct interviews for business clients’ internal articles spotlighting employees and community outreach projects. I also interview people for blogs and for nonfiction book/ghostwriting projects.

TWFH: How do you identify the people who need to be interviewed?

FM: When I’m working on a blog or article, the client usually recommends subject matter experts to interview, or I interview the person the piece is about.

For books, the client almost always is the first person interviewed. From there, I usually get ideas for other people to talk to. Maybe, for an autobiography, I might ask for permission to interview family members, friends, or business colleagues who can share interesting stories. They might provide a valuable perspective or insights that make the book more compelling or insightful.

For a book about business, history, or any kind of subject that requires research, I usually spot potential experts as I read articles and papers about the book’s topic. These are people who are quoted in the articles or wrote about the topic themselves.

In some cases, I’ve also gone to universities’ media relations pages, which sometimes list professors/experts who are willing to be interviewed.

Some services that distribute press releases accept queries from journalists and other researchers who need to connect with experts. I’ve had pretty good results with ProfNet and Newswise.

TWFH: How do you schedule interviews? Do you reach out to people by email? Call them?

When I was a journalist in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I almost always called people to request and schedule interviews. These days, people tend to prefer advance notice before a call, so I email my interview requests — or if the interviewee prefers, I text them.

In some cases, with an interviewee associated with a university, for example, you have to coordinate through a media relations office.

During this process, whether I’m emailing interviewees themselves or an office, I usually include my questions in the email and give the interviewees the option of answering by phone or by email.

For book-related interviews, I sometimes send questions in advance, too, so the interviewee can think about their answers. If the book is relying mostly on the client’s interview answers—that’s usually the case for ghostwritten autobiographies and memoires—we sometimes schedule a series of interviews that might take place weekly or every other week until all of the information is covered.

TWFH: How long does a typical interview take?

FM: For a simple article or blog, the interview usually takes 30 minutes or less. For a longer or more complicated piece, it might take an hour.

For book interviews, if I’m talking with the person the book will be about, two hours per session is usually the ideal amount of time. If the interviewer starts getting tired, or thinking about the other things they need to get done that day, their answers aren’t as well thought out. That said, I’ve done some autobiography interviews that lasted all day, and because the interview subject was passionate about the project, those marathon sessions went very well.

TWFH: How do you come up with questions for your interviews?

FM: The goal is to have the interviewee provide information, insights, or an explanation of something that I, as the writer, can’t provide through research.

So, if I’m talking with a subject matter expert about a technological subject, I’ll ask questions that help me understand the topic (a new gizmo, for example), the key takeaway for readers  (the new gizmo helps keeps widget company workers safer), and how to write about the topic accurately and in a way that will be easy for readers to digest.

For articles that are less technical, maybe a piece about a community outreach project or an employee achievement like completing a marathon, I try to ask questions that encourage the interviewees to reflect on the topic. “What excites you about the new food pantry?” “Why was that experience meaningful to you?”

For a book about someone’s life experiences, The Writers For Hire has developed an extremely detailed list of questions to ask, and I try to build on that, based on what I know about the person we’re writing for. If they were raised by a grandparent, for example, I might add a list of questions to try to better understand that experience and how it impacted them.

TWFH: Do you have a standard method for starting interviews?

FM: Not really, except I make sure they don’t mind if I record our conversation.

TWFH: What are the biggest challenges to conducting interviews, and how do you overcome those challenges?

FM: Well, first of all, it can be challenging sometimes to get subject matter experts to respond to interview requests, which I understand. They have a lot on their plate. In those cases, all you can do is politely follow up until they respond. Sometimes it helps to copy other people from their organization (a marketing person, media relations, other people on their team) so your emails don’t go into bulk mail, and the subject matter expert feels more compelled to respond.

During interviews for autobiographies or business insights books, it can be challenging at times to get people to reflect on the memories or examples they’re sharing. Maybe an executive can tell me about the time their business almost went bankrupt, but they find it more difficult to expand on how that impacted them or the lessons to be learned from that situation. It helps, sometimes, to ask questions about possible outcomes. “Did you change any of your processes after that?” “Did you approach deals differently?” “Have your relationships with team employees changed? How?”

Another challenge can be when interviewees go down rabbit holes or off-topic before providing the answer you need. In those cases, it’s just a matter of respectfully returning them to the topic you were trying to address.

TWFH: I imagine it can be hard to get some people to share deeply personal information. Do you have any tips to help make the interviewees open up?

FM: It depends on the person. Sometimes, if you have a sense of what the interviewee enjoys talking about, you can work in questions about that subject, so they relax and feel more comfortable answering your other questions.

Sometimes, if it’s appropriate, you can share a little about yourself, so the interview is more like a conversation. “When I was raising my children and working, I ran into this situation…What was it like for you?”

But, really, I’ve found the best way to put interviewees at ease and foster a good interview is to be respectful and a good listener. Ask follow-up questions based on what the interviewee is saying. “You said your uncle was your role model. Why? What are some of your favorite memories of him?”

TWFH: Is there anything (or any questions) that should be avoided when doing interviews?

FM: For questions to avoid, I would just use common sense: If something seems unprofessional or too personal for the circumstances, trust your judgment.

As far as things not to do in general, I would try to avoid interrupting the person being interviewed. Also, if you disagree with a point they’re making or with something they did (or didn’t do) in a memory they’re sharing, keep that to yourself. Instead, make sure you understand what they’re saying well enough to write about it — especially if you’re going to be ghostwriting from their perspective.

TWFH: How do you keep track of the information you glean from interviews? Do you take notes while you are interviewing people?

FM: I usually record interviews and take notes as a back-up. It’s something one of my journalism professors strongly encouraged, and it turns out she was right. When I was getting my start as a reporter, I had the opportunity to interview a well-known playwright for a community newspaper. When it was time to write the article, I realized something went wrong with the recording. If I hadn’t taken notes, that would have been a disaster. Recording technology has come a long way since then, but stuff still happens.

TWFH: Is there anything else that you feel is important for people to know about doing interviews?

FM: I think the best interviewers are good listeners. They treat interviewees with respect, and that puts interviewees at ease.