12 Steps to Company History Book Success

Your company has reached a major milestone, a new CEO is being appointed, or maybe a significant anniversary is coming up.

Press releases are fleeting, and your boss wants something more concrete, something to hand out to clients, stakeholders, investors, and employees.

The execs have landed on the idea of a company history book — one that can commemorate the company’s story and achievements for a lifetime.

Here’s the kicker: You’ve been tasked with writing, editing, and managing the book. It also needs to be polished and perfected as soon as possible, and although you get the appeal, you have absolutely no idea where to start.

Well, top up your coffee and take a breath, because you’ve landed on the right page. This article is a fool-proof, tried and tested survival guide to writing a company history book.

The professional ghostwriters and editors at The Writers For Hire have seen a ton of corporate businesses come through the door, and we’ve learned some crucial golden nuggets along the way.

This easy-to-follow guide will go over the content needed for your book, the form it should take, the people you need to interview, and, most important, how you can make your book stand out from the crowd and even generate high-ticket clients.

Why a Company History Book?

Let’s take a look at three core reasons why a company chooses to write a corporate history book, and the benefits it can bring to an establishment.

1.   Brand Storytelling

Writing in Forbes in January 2019, Celinne Da Costa declared brand storytelling “the future of marketing.” In this overly digitalized world, showing a company’s human side is crucial to its success and longevity. As Da Costa puts it, nowadays, “humanity is becoming the new premium.”

People are craving human connectivity now more than ever.

More than sales numbers, quarter milestones, and successful leaders, what really stands the test of time is a brand that connects itself to the age-old practice of storytelling.

A company history book is one of the best ways to incorporate your company’s human side.

It’s a way for a company to show its core values, its mission, and the humbling journey of founders with a big dream that then turned into a reality. These are the things that deserve to be recorded.

2.   A Growth Tool 

A company history book is an excellent way to generate leads, grow interest, and expand reach.

There are many different ways to incorporate your company history book into a lead generation system.

Setting up a landing page for your book where clients, investors, stakeholders, or prospective employees can see your professionally completed work not only sparks interest, but also accelerates the company’s professional presence.

When you build a product that highlights and declares the company’s expertise, you are in turn cementing the company and its story into a tangible and attractive form.

3.   The Ultimate Corporate Welcome

Picture this: A prospective employee walks into the office and is told to wait at reception. Maybe it’s one of those days when everyone is swamped and they are left waiting longer than you had anticipated.

They see your company history book, leaf through a mixture of some of the best company moments, and perhaps even match a friendly face in the pictures to the job interviewer with whom they were emailing.

Instantly, the company becomes more alive.

The same can be said for anyone who walks in the door.

Having a professionally produced representation of the company ensures that new clients, employees, or business investors understand what the company is about before they’ve even met the team.

Aside from this, a book is the perfect corporate gift for those momentous occasions.

Now that you understand some of the many reasons companies choose to record their story in a book, let’s focus on the how.

12 Steps to Company History Book Success

1. Set the intention of your book.

Dream big here. Don’t just limit the book to something that will make a great coffee table asset. (Although it does that, too!)

Make sure you’re clear on your company’s intention with the corporate history book. Is it to expand growth within the company? Is it to share the company’s morals and values with a wider audience? Is it to commemorate a change in management or procedure?

Whatever the intention, allow that to lead the book’s progression. Of course, you can have more than just one reason to write a company history book. But when the project feels too big to even start, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of the book’s intention, and why it’s important to get the book done as envisioned.

That brings us onto our second crucial point.

2. Consider hiring a ghostwriter.

In the same way that you hire vendors and outsource different content that isn’t available in-house, you, too, should consider hiring a professional ghostwriter to do the heavy lifting of this project.

Professional ghostwriters are experts at managing large manuscripts, writing impressive amounts of text under seemingly impossible deadlines, and organizing many of the different files, images, and information needed for your company history book.

You should consider hiring a ghostwriter to do the writing, interviewing, and managing of your book. Not only will they take the load off your hands, ghostwriters and editors will ensure that the product you’re handing over to the big boss is of the highest, professional quality.

Even if you’ve already started the project and have reached a standstill, ghostwriters are comfortable with joining projects at any given stage.

While corporate companies tend to produce technical in-house writing, business ghostwriters are wizards at transforming complex information into a relatable, compelling, and action-led story.

3. Establish project goals.

Before any writing gets done, you’ll want to ensure that you sit down with all of the project collaborators and shareholders and set out realistic and agreed project goals.

This sit-down needs to cover the following project aspects.

4. Define Your Target Audience

Your book is going to look different depending on your target audience. Is this an in-house book for employees only? Or do you intend to self-publish and reach a wider audience?

Narrow your target audience down and specify who the book’s target audience is. This will then drive the book’s writing style and content, as well as the most suitable format it should take.

5. Be Realistic About Your Book Completion Date

We generally recommend that clients allow for at least six months to a year for the book’s publication.

Ghostwriters are certainly known for reaching impressive deadlines but take it from us: A book is worth spending the time and effort.

The last thing you want is for the book not to turn out as planned because a deadline seemed more important than the book itself.

Here’s what Flori Meeks, one of our top corporate history book ghostwriters has to say about the length of time and what is needed from clients when working together:

“Project length depends on how frequently the client can meet with us, how long those meetings are, how many additions and revisions the client wants, how many people we are asked to interview in addition to the client, and how much research we need to do to complement the client’s interviews.

A project might take even more time if the company’s journey involves a lot of complex details. I worked with one client who told us about technological advances that impacted his company, a couple of company inventions, the purchase of other businesses in different industries, management and franchise challenges, and the day-to-day challenges of working with their children. Getting all of those details right–and making sure they’re understandable and interesting to readers–can add time to the writing process.”

If you do have a shorter deadline that can’t be moved, then choose to narrow down the parts of the company’s history you’re going to focus on. Short-form company histories are a thing, too. It all depends on what you need. When you find the right team to work with, they’ll make sure your vision comes to life.

6. Visualize the finished product.

Despite what you may have heard, there is no cookie-cutter approach that must be followed when writing a company history book. In fact, some of the most popular books out there have taken advantage of newer digitized formats.

Check out these 10 different book examples from The Writers For Hire, ranging from family-centered memoirs to self-help entrepreneurial reads that offer crucial advice for start-ups.

Maybe you’d prefer to have your company history laid out on your website. Or perhaps you’re a family business with a rich and century-long family tree that you’d love to investigate.

Consider exactly how your book needs to stand out and represent your company in the best way possible. And make sure to pinpoint some book examples that inspire you.

Allow yourself to get creative and excited about the finished product. High-vis photography from different generations, personal touches such as recipes from farm-run businesses, or invaluable advice from some of the top leaders in an industry are only some of the elements that take a company history book to the next level.

7. Agree to a review process.

With the book’s deadline in mind, agree on who exactly is going to be responsible for allocating feedback on the book’s progress, and how often this review process is going to occur.

Consider project goal posts, set clear and realistic deadlines as to when feedback needs to be received, and ensure that everyone who needs to see a draft has had a chance to review it before moving on to the next section.

8. Gather book materials.

If the book meeting goes according to plan, you’ll leave feeling fired up and ready to get cracking. Take advantage of this momentum! Start gathering all of the critical data that you need to include in your company history book.

Begin by tracking the many different ways your company has told its story in the past: Think of press releases, in-house newsletters, photographs, and recorded interviews. Speak to the old-timers that have been there since the beginning and figure out which department has access to archived and historical data.

Ask for help from the marketing team and track down those who remember the company’s journey in detail. Once you’ve mapped out how much content is available, as well as who can give you first-hand accounts of the company’s history, it’s time to start recording the information in the form of an interview.

9. Conduct interviews.

First-hand accounts are always a popular media form. The more personal you can make the company’s story, the better. But don’t just stop at the higher-up execs and leaders.

Think outside the box and locate employees who have been around for an extended period of time.

Have you had the same receptionist for the past 15 years? How about the maintenance guy who has fixed more photocopiers than he can count? What about the building manager who may have helped the offices move and who progressed as the company did?

Most corporate history books focus on upper management. But don’t overlook those who have been around just as long, but in smaller roles.

The insights and reflections from employees who have been dedicated to the company for years will make your book really stand out.

Create an online schedule that you can follow and, bit by bit, arrange to meet with the people you’ve agreed to interview. Have clear-cut questions prepared but be open to allowing the subject matter experts and other interviewees to lead, focusing on making the story as understandable and relatable as possible.

A business can often get indoctrinated into explaining aspects of the company that only insiders would be able to comprehend. There may be some tweaking done to the interviews when it comes to writing them down, or you may want to hand out some guidelines for the interviewees to consider before recording.

Here’s what corporate ghostwriter Flori Meeks has to say about what makes a really great interview: 

“One of the best ways a client can help us is to make themselves accessible for detailed conversations with us. We want to hear more than the “what” and “when” of their company history; we need the “how” and “why,” too.

We want to hear their stories, including their insights on missteps.

We need details that make the information they share valuable and fascinating for readers.

When clients make time for conversations, it also gives us a better feel for their voice and personality so we can do a better job capturing it in their book.”

Never conducted an interview before? Don’t let that put you off. You don’t need a Master’s in Journalism to figure it out. But there are some core skills that ghostwriters use to make an interview a successful one — the first time around. Check out these top tips.

1. Double check recording software.

Whether it’s a Zoom conversation or you’re using a voice recording software, double and triple check your technology before conducting the interview. This is an easy mistake that first-time interviewers can fall victim to.

Right after a meaty interview with a high-level executive, the last thing you want is to realize that the record button wasn’t switched on.

Especially when conducting interviews with employees whose time is more sensitive, it is worth spending 5 to 10 minutes before the interview starts making sure that everything is set up, that the audio on the device is being recorded, and that you’ve conducted a sound recording test.

2. Pre-send interview questions.

Over the years of conducting hundreds of interviews with all different types of businesses, we have found that pre-sending interview questions can help make the interviewee feel prepared and more engaged with what’s being asked.

Emphasize to your interviewees that the conversation is going to be transcribed in written form.

The writing process is going to be a lot easier if the interview is high-quality, with less jargon and filler, and with more crucial detail. Pre-sending interview questions can be a huge time-saver, and it can help calm the nerves of anyone who feels a little audio-shy at first.

3. Source relevant examples.

If you’re still not feeling confident about conducting interviews, take a look at some business leaders who you really admire, leaders that align with your own company’s field of work and morals.

Check out some of their top-rated interviews and see what sort of questions allow them to open up and express their company’s story.

The best way to get inspiration is to see how it has been done before. Here’s 100 must-see interviews with some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs to get you on the right track.

10. Create a company history timeline.

Now that you’ve gathered as much data and interviews as possible, not forgetting online digging and internet deep dives, it’s time to get the story structured into a chronological order.

Barbara Adams, another one of the top corporate ghostwriters at The Writers For Hire, gave us some great insight into what this process looks like:

“Let’s face it, when it comes to reading a corporate history, no one wants to feel like they’re doing an archaeological dig. An introduction followed by a decade-by-decade exploration is probably most effective. I like what I call a “modular” approach – the history in narrative form with sidebars about the company’s key (or most colorful) personalities, products, [and] achievements.

 Any way you can break up the content into snackable pieces is helpful to the reader, as is including lots of large photos. It’s also very effective to put a timeline in each chapter. That way, you can incorporate all the key activities of a year or a decade without making the reader search through the narrative for the information. I don’t mean to suggest it’s an either-or; you can use the timeline to get important dates and initiatives in front of the reader, then expand in the narrative about what happened or why it was important.”

11. Write a sample chapter.

Once you’ve gathered a ton of material and you’ve conducted key interviews, it’s time to get started on the writing process.

You don’t have to do this in chronological order of the company’s history. Start off on the section that you feel the most confident writing about.

Don’t get ahead of yourself and write 15-20 pages before anyone has had a chance to review what you’ve done.

It’s crucial that the reviewers and editors are all on the same page with how the book should be written, as well as what format and style the book is going to take.

Another important aspect of the writing phase is how to incorporate edits and revisions.

Set up a clear review process. Are you going to use Track Changes and encourage the reviewers to do the same? Or will this be an in-person review where the edit team gets together and breaks up the review into sections?

Knowing how to integrate edits and feedback is a skill in itself. If this aspect of the project seems daunting to you, consider going to a team of professionals who can take over the writing, editing, and final review process of the project.

The writing schedule should move at a pace of about one chapter a week, with the review process continuing as you originally decided. Again, if the pre-planning of this project has been executed properly, the writing process will have been scheduled according to what’s realistic, along with usual work responsibilities.

12. Don’t let your book be forgotten.

Writing a corporate history book is not for the faint-hearted. Collecting a large amount of data, as well as finding the time to write down all of the information you have required, is a big feat. Know when to reach out for professional help and choose a team of trusted ghostwriters and editors with a proven track record.

Investing in your corporate history book is something that can lead to invaluable rewards. You want to have a book that best reflects the endurance, strength, and intellectual knowledge of your company.

As Barbara Adams explained, writing a company history book should be an exciting and rewarding process:

“I’m a long-time information junkie, so any project that requires research is fascinating to me. I enjoy digging into the corporate “time capsule” — the archive of old photos, newsletters, annual reports, newspaper clippings, and so on — to understand how the company grew and changed over the decades, especially against the backdrop of what was happening in the community and the world month-to-month and year-to-year.

It’s also exciting to find out what the founders had in mind when they started the company and to see how those goals were met or exceeded. For example, when I wrote about a century-old business recently, it was interesting to see how the company’s current community relations and sustainability policies can be traced directly back to the interests of the founder. In that way, writing the history wasn’t just about delving into the past; it was also about learning how the past created the present (and the future).

Of course, the best part is putting everything into words – bringing the company to life for readers so they see what sets it apart, where its value is, why it’s a great place to work, why customers embrace it, and so on.”

Remember to keep your book’s intention in mind and consider the finished product as your main motivator. A corporate history book lasts a lifetime and is the best way to record a company’s expertise, cementing its story and legacy forever.

What You Need to Know Before Writing Your Family Business History Book

Family-run businesses have been the backbone of the American economy for decades. A business is a source of pride for countless families, a great number of which go on to become well-established corporations. Some family companies even endure the test of time as they move from generation to generation.

When businesses grow and thrive over the years and decades, they accumulate valuable experiences and stories. However, these memories may fade as time wears on. It then becomes essential to preserve the company’s history by honoring its founders and contributors.

The question is, how can current business stewards properly preserve their company’s history?

In this article, we will explore five things to know about writing a family business history book as well as effective ways of crafting a document that depicts a family-run corporation’s true nature and character.

Defining a Family Business History Book

Before defining what a family history book is, it is worth defining what it is not.

A family business history book is not a list of facts, dates, and names.

While there is certainly a place for timelines, charts, and chronology, a family history book should be about building a coherent narrative around the company’s journey and the family behind it.

When business leaders limit their family business history book to a collection of factual information, they deprive readers of the company’s essence. In other words, the formula that made the company successful gets lost along the way.

So, what exactly is a family business history book?

A family business history book is a living document. It is a testament to the company’s evolution. Therefore, the narrative must reflect the business’s transition and the contributions of those who made it possible.

Benefits of Writing a Family History Book

There are three key benefits to consider when evaluating a potential family business history book.

1. Preserving a Legacy

Undoubtedly, the biggest benefit is also the biggest motivating factor. Business leaders must consider the importance of preserving the legacy of both their family and their business. Thus, writing a family business history book ensures that generational efforts endure into the future and beyond.

2. Honoring Founders

A successful family business would not exist without courageous founders.

Indeed, a family business history book should pay homage to the founder’s valuable contributions.

Moreover, a family business history book should honor significant contributions from subsequent generations.

After all, the business would not continue to thrive without each generation’s noteworthy efforts.

3. Celebrating Achievements

A family business history book should also celebrate achievements. In particular, achievements by the company and its founders can make up the core narrative. A family history book can provide wonderful insight into the company’s overall contribution and its collaborators’ role by celebrating achievements.

Please bear in mind that effective family business history books address challenges and failure as part of the evolution process. These experiences can serve to describe worthwhile lessons that helped the company and its founders build a robust enterprise. Moreover, readers love learning about how successful leaders overcome their challenges.

Getting Started With a Family Business History Book

Getting started with a family business history book may seem like a daunting task. However, it is not. Far from it. Writing a family business history book is relatively straightforward when business leaders take the proper steps. As a result, there are five key elements to consider when writing a family business history book.

1. Plan carefully.

The first step to writing a family business history book is to collect information. Without careful planning, it may be hard to differentiate useful information. Typically, the information-gathering process yields voluminous results. Sorting the information can become a complex task.

To streamline the information collection process, family business book authors must carefully plan the approach they wish to take. This planning process includes building a narrative and establishing the main events and people throughout the company’s history.

A great technique to use is mind-mapping.

In mind-mapping, writers use a diagram to visually organize information in a hierarchy, showing relationships among pieces of the whole.

This helps narrow the focus into a single overarching theme.

Mind-mapping can be as simple or as complex as needed.

For instance, a simple mind map can provide the book’s broad outlines and main topics. More complex mind maps can delve into the specific points surrounding the book.

Generally speaking, the planning process should guide family business history authors throughout the information collection process. Careful planning enables authors to determine what information is useful to support the book’s narrative. Additionally, careful planning eliminates pursuing tangents that may do little to build the intended narrative.

2. Highlight the company’s ethos.

The planning and outlining process must highlight a crucial element: the company’s core ethos. In general, a company’s core ethos is the basis of its mission and vision statements. Therefore, a solid family business history book must reflect this core ethos.

However, authors must ensure they accurately depict the founders’ original vision for the company. The book’s narrative can then describe how the company’s mission and vision have evolved throughout time. This approach helps readers see how the company’s core values enabled it to thrive.

It is also worthwhile to demonstrate how the vision of individuals has helped shape the company’s ethos. Often, companies revolve around the founders’ original vision. For example, founders start a business looking to serve a specific type of customer. Also, founders seek to deliver value and support their communities. These motivations must jump out at readers as they navigate the company’s history.

3. Mind the details.

A common mistake is to attempt to chronicle every detail of the company’s history.

While readers would certainly appreciate detailed accounts, providing too much detail may lead to a copious amount of information.

Therefore, minding the details becomes a crucial factor in establishing the book’s overall construction.

Here are some points to ponder:

  • Will the book provide an overview of the company’s history? If so, what are the most important events the narrative will revolve around? These are the points that require the most details. Other events may not require highly detailed depictions.
  • Will the book center on a specific event? If so, the surrounding narrative should only provide context to the book’s main point. For example, a book that focuses on a specific product’s success can offer details on other events to give readers context leading up to the product launch. From there, the narrative can go into greater depth regarding the product’s creation, development, and launch.
  • Will the book focus on its founders and their role in the company? If so, details on the people must reflect their influence on events. Therefore, chronicling specific events in detail should serve to illustrate the founders’ influence.
  • Will the book’s narrative be part of a broader social or historical context? If so, details about the social and historical context must link to the company’s history. For example, a family business history book about a company surviving the Great Depression must link the company’s survival to the overall challenges businesses faced during the Great Depression.

On the whole, it is crucial to avoid providing too many inconsequential details. The aim should be to produce a sharp narrative that will keep readers turning pages. Details must, therefore, provide the right amount of information while keeping readers interested in the book’s next portion.

4. Focus on the right people.

When writing a family business history book, it is easy to focus on the founders and neglect other valuable contributors. Thus, authors must ensure they include everyone’s contributions. While founders are crucial to the narrative, other contributors, such as employees, suppliers, customers, or local government officials, may have played a significant role in the company’s success. These contributions should make up the book’s narrative whenever they are relevant.

Likewise, it is crucial to avoid listing people without reflecting on their importance to the company. Hence, it is best to avoid listing people unless their contributions have somehow influenced the company. Readers want to know why the business has been successful and the people that have made it possible.

5. Say it with pictures.

Carefully curated pictures speak volumes about a family business’s history. Pictures provide depth and substance to the book’s overall narrative. After all, it is one thing to portray events with words, but a completely different situation emerges when using imagery.

Effective use of pictures allows readers to put faces to names. It also helps readers see the company’s evolution.

For instance, a common use of pictures is to show the evolution of store locations or products. These transitions help readers grasp the thoughts and emotions behind the descriptions in the narrative.

It is also important to avoid including pictures for the sake of it.

Including random or unrelated pictures, while entertaining, may contribute little to the book’s substance.

Thus, selecting pictures based on the mind map and outline will go a long way toward conveying the right company image.

Hiring a Ghostwriter to Write a Family Business History Book

There are instances where putting pen to paper can be a considerable challenge.

For instance, business leaders may not have the time or expertise to write a full-length book. Also, organizing, cataloging, and utilizing information can prove to be a complex and time-consuming endeavor. Additionally, some folks find that writing is not their strong suit.

What can business leaders do in these situations?

This is where it pays to hire a ghostwriter.

Ghostwriters are professional scribes that can take archival information and transform it into a seamless narrative. They have the expertise and experience to transform pictures, dates, names, and stories into a carefully woven quilt of emotions, events, and accomplishments.

How can one hire the right ghostwriter?

Hiring the right ghostwriter for a family business history book depends on experience and know-how. Thus, reaching out to individual ghostwriters and ghostwriting firms is only the first step.

Business leaders must take the time to interview prospective ghostwriters and ghostwriting firms. These interviews should allow business leaders to ascertain a ghostwriter’s overall suitability for the project.

Finding the right ghostwriter may take some time. However, taking the time and effort to find the perfect ghostwriter will eventually pay off in droves. After all, the alternative to foregoing a ghostwriter is letting a family business history book project stagnate.

When projects simply stall, it can be nearly impossible to revive them. It is, therefore, essential to consider employing a ghostwriter before the writing project languishes into oblivion.

Please bear in mind that the most significant benefit of hiring a ghostwriter is the savings in time and effort.

Unless one is willing to devote the time and effort needed to produce a full-length family business history book, hiring a professional ghostwriter may be the best way to see the project to fruition.

Conclusion

Writing a family business history book is no easy task. It is a labor of love.

Indeed, producing a high-quality family business history book is about finding a balance between accurate information and a compelling narrative. Ultimately, careful planning and thoughtful information gathering make striking this balance possible.

The most important element to consider is planning. Careful planning provides organization and clarity when pursuing a family business history book project. This clarity helps sort through large amounts of information, allowing authors to find the most suitable information for the project.

Employing a professional ghostwriter is a worthwhile consideration, especially when business leaders lack the expertise, time, or experience to produce a full-length book. A professional ghostwriter can weave various information sources into a seamless tale. Thus, employing a professional ghostwriter can differentiate between a stalled project and a completed chronicle.

Lastly, a family business history book should pay homage to the people who made the business grow and thrive. It is about preserving a legacy, enabling it to endure through subsequent generations. Moreover, a lasting legacy involves handing down valuable knowledge to future generations. After all, one cannot know where they are going if they do not know from where they came.

10 Best Formats for your Company History Book

Given all that goes into starting and successfully running a business, chances are that your company has a story to tell.

Have you been tasked with sharing it? Maybe you have a milestone anniversary to celebrate, a legacy to preserve, or a great brand origin to share.

Whatever the reasons, if you’ve thought about chronicling your company history, you may have discovered there are several styles and formats to consider.

If you don’t know where to begin, here are 10 company history books to get your creative juices flowing.

10 Best Formats for your Company History Book

1. Beyond the Pale- The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Ken Grossman’s memoir chronicles his personal experience as a homebrewer turned mega-successful craft brewer. In some 250 pages, Grossman shares not only his adventures and anecdotes but also the approach and mindset that built his brand. The book also contains a section of full-color photography depicting his journey, serving as a well-done combination of memoir and illustrative history.

2. Kaufman Fruit 100th Anniversary Book

In this 145-page history, the Kaufman family includes a wide variety of family and product photographs, more than 50 fruit recipes, and stories based on 30 interviews – a style to consider if your family business has interesting anecdotes to share.

3. Anadarko 20th Anniversary Book

This 165-page company history may look standard at first glance, but what stands out is the use of large, high-end photography, sometimes spanning a page or a full spread, as well as the incorporation of employees, past and present. If you have a strong culture and/or strong company imagery, this may be a style to consider for your book.

4. Behind the Cloud – The Salesforce.com Memoir

Written by the founder of Salesforce.com, this memoir reads like nothing else on our list. In fact, it’s more like a playbook on how the startup became one of the world’s fastest-growing software companies. If sharing industry or entrepreneurial knowledge is more your thing, this may be the history book style for your company.

5. The Cullen Way – J.P. Cullen 125th Anniversary Book

Family owned businesses and construction companies will want to consider this corporate history commissioned by three brothers in honor of their late father. In 155 pages, the book highlights the company’s construction project portfolio, a family tree, and a history that not only chronicles the business but also the family, dating back to the 1800s.

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6. Aerojet 100th Anniversary Book

If the length and level of detail of some anniversary books make you shy away from the idea, take a look at Aerojet’s concise compilation of history and photos in just 45 pages. Bulleted copy and a timeline make the book easy to comb through, and there is no shortage of imagery, from products to personal photographs, to advertisements and newspaper clippings over the years.

7. Korte Company 50th Anniversary Book

If your company history archives include plenty of tangible mementos, consider a scrapbook-style chronicle. For this 145-page book, everything from drawings and floorplans, to newspaper clippings, to hand-written notes were scanned in and used to illustrate a 50-year history.

8. Godiva 90th Anniversary Coffee Table Book

As you might expect, Godiva Chocolate’s anniversary book is a decadent journey through the company’s craftsmanship over the years. Unlike many of the others on our list, this one takes a coffee-table-book approach, full of attractive product photos and pitched as the perfect gift for chocolate lovers – an angle to consider if you have an aesthetically pleasing product or service (think architecture, food, fashion, travel).

9. Black Hills Corporation 125th Anniversary Book

This 200-page company history includes a nice balance of text and imagery, but unlike some of the other books featured here, its design relies heavily on the energy company’s corporate colors – a great example of what can be done through graphic design should your business be lacking on photography.

10. Wild Company: The Untold Story of Banana Republic

In this memoir penned by the founders of retail great Banana Republic, husband-and-wife team Mel and Patricia Ziegler write in alternating voices to tell their remarkable story. The nearly 100-page book is filled mostly with text supplemented by black-and-white photography and artist illustrations. Said by reviewers to read like fiction, this book may be a good example for companies with a charismatic voice and a surprising story to inspire entrepreneurial success.

Five Things to Know about Using Descriptive Narrative Writing in a Nonfiction Book

Conventional wisdom suggests that descriptive narrative belongs in the domain of fiction writing.

Undoubtedly, fiction writers do need to exploit descriptive narrative as much as possible. However, for nonfiction writers, utilizing descriptive narrative can provide an effective tool to draw in and engage readers.

Conventional wisdom also suggests that nonfiction writing may be boring or dry. As this article will show, nonfiction writing can be just as interesting and lively as any creative writing endeavor. The secret lies in using descriptive narrative effectively within the nonfiction domain.

Five Things to Know about Using Descriptive Narrative Writing in a Nonfiction Book

1. The Purpose of Descriptive Narrative Writing in Nonfiction Books

One might ask, “what is the purpose of using descriptive narrative writing in a nonfiction book?” To answer that question, writers must consider their readers’ experiences. This is the point where nonfiction meets descriptive narrative writing to create a singular reading experience.

Assuming that nonfiction writing cannot benefit from using descriptive narratives is short-sighted. Virtually any nonfiction topic can benefit greatly from implementing a descriptive narrative.

In particular, topics such as history, art, politics, and journalism, among many others, can use descriptive narrative writing to paint a picture in their readers’ minds.

Consequently, the descriptive narrative provides writers with an effective tool they can use to transport readers to a completely new world.

Please note that descriptive narrative writing does not entail somehow reducing the seriousness of topics. Quite the contrary, descriptive narrative writing aims to properly focus on nonfiction so that the language used helps portray material vividly. Descriptive narrative writing allows content to flourish in readers’ minds, thereby effectively fixating information.

The key to descriptive narrative writing lies in the way writers use the language to convey their message persuasively.

2. The Use of Descriptive Language in Nonfiction Books

 A common misconception about descriptive narrative writing is that writers must “create” material. While this is certainly the case in fiction writing, nonfiction writing can utilize descriptive narrative to cement factual information.

Descriptive language aims to enhance readers’ perception of the writer’s message. As a result, descriptive narratives enable writers to frame their ideas in a much more compelling way. Here are some descriptive adjectives that exemplify this proposition:

  • Charming
  • Ornate
  • Gregarious
  • Puzzled
  • Discerning

Utilizing these adjectives allows nonfiction books to transmit messages and ideas better. Consider this comparison:

  • The President addressed the nation this evening about his proposed tax reforms.
  • This evening, the discerning President addressed the puzzled nation about his much-anticipated tax reform bill.

While properly structured and even economical, the first sentence offers a bare-bones, matter-of-fact description of the President’s address.

The second sentence, in contrast, offers many more clues about the President’s personality and the state of the nation.

Moreover, the statement offers insight into public opinion regarding the tax reforms.

This example is a small sample of how simple, yet highly effective, language can make a considerable difference in capturing readers’ attention. The beauty of descriptive narrative writing lies in simplicity. There is no need for overly ornate or inflated language. The secret lies in choosing words carefully to produce the desired effect.

3. The Power of the Senses

Focusing on the senses in a nonfiction book may seem counterintuitive. After all, how can one link sensory perception to a how-to guide or a cookbook?

Ah, therein lies the secret!

Some specific nonfiction topics lend themselves perfectly to sensory perception. For instance, cookbooks are the quintessential example of how sensory perception can greatly enhance the readers’ experience. Please note that sensory experiences help fixate readers’ understanding of the topic at hand.

Consider this situation:

  • Chop three onions and toss into a frying pan until cooked.
  • Chop three crispy onions and toss into a scorching frying pan until golden brown.

In this example, both sentences refer to the same situation. However, the first sentence merely describes the steps in the cooking process. The sentence does not provide readers with parameters they can utilize to determine if they have done the recipe correctly.


Conversely, the second sentence clearly highlights how using clear sensory words can activate the readers’ imagination. Readers can use the descriptive narrative to activate a mental picture without seeing the cooking process. This approach greatly enhances the overall effectiveness of nonfiction writing.

Some may argue that using sensory expressions in a cookbook is an obvious example. But what about other types of nonfiction books? For instance, could a history book use sensory experiences to portray historical events accurately?

Absolutely!

Sensory perception is a wonderful way of providing depth to historical events and figures. Consider the famous speech King George VI delivered at the outset of World War II:

  • The King’s voice commanded every Brit to take up their arms and fight.
  • The King’s resounding voice defiantly commanded every brave Brit to take up their rightful arms and fight courageously.

Indeed, the second example attempts to deliver a sensory experience that closely resembles the true historical event. Descriptive narrative writing allows readers to immerse themselves in any nonfiction book. The purpose is to give readers colors, textures, scents, visuals, and emotions they can firmly grasp. In doing so, nonfiction books can come alive in the readers’ minds.

4. Using Figures of Speech

Figures of speech can go a long way toward helping portray meaning effectively.

Please note that figures of speech have a place in both formal and informal writing. A common mistake is to believe that using figures of speech reduces a serious topic into a trivial one.

Quite the contrary, figures of speech can put a fresh spin on what may be a dull or monotonous dialog.

Consider the following figures of speech.

Metaphor: A metaphor is a wonderful way of exemplifying concepts and ideas. Metaphors often work very well with abstract concepts to represent them accurately in the readers’ minds. For example:

The government’s economic stimulus plan cast a wide net across the economy.

In this example, “cast a wide net” helps readers latch onto the idea of an overarching economic recovery plan. This statement clearly refers to a proverbial net rather than a literal one. Consequently, readers can find this statement much more enjoyable than something like “The government created a broad stimulus plan.”

Simile: Similes are a staple of creative writing. Nevertheless, similes can also become effective tools for nonfiction books. Similes help draw a clear picture in the readers’ minds by drawing comparisons between various objects, ideas, or people.

Consider this example:

The American and British soldiers stood as tall as giants on the beaches of Normandy as they faced the relentless onslaught of German machine gun fire.

With this example, the author attempts to paint a highly detailed picture in the readers’ minds. By stating that the American and British soldiers stood “as tall as giants,” the author intends to draw a clear expectation of the soldiers’ bravery. In contrast, a statement such as “The American and British soldiers bravely faced the German resistance at Normandy” does not fairly depict the bravery of the American and British soldiers.

Analogy: An analogy, like a simile, draws comparisons between various objects to enhance comprehension. The difference between an analogy and a simile lies in the objects they compare. A simile compares two objects that have some similarities between them. An analogy compares two seemingly unrelated objects, thereby enhancing the quality of the comparison.

Here’s an example:

The court’s decision was like a stick of dynamite.

This analogy compares two completely different ideas. After all, what does a court decision have to do with a stick of dynamite? Therein lies the beauty of analogies. Readers can infer that the court decision was “explosive.” It is then up to the author to further explain why this court decision is “explosive.”

Personification: Personification consists in providing human qualities to a non-human element. This tactic aims to enhance comprehension by enabling readers to create parallels between a concept and human behavior.

Consider this situation:

The new gun control bill has the legs to go far.

In this statement, the author uses the term “has the legs to go far” to imply that the new gun control bill will eventually become a law. While the author could have said “The new gun control bill will eventually become a law,” using personification makes a dry statement become much more vivid in readers’ minds.

Hyperbole: In short, hyperbole utilizes exaggeration to drive home a point. Hyperbole is a great device, especially when authors feel strongly about a point.

Here is a great example:

Employment figures this week caused a monumental collapse on Wall Street today.

Affirming there was a “monumental collapse” is a serious statement. After all, what exactly would constitute a “monumental collapse?” Using hyperbolic statements allows authors to paint the picture they want in their readers’ minds.

5. Overdoing Descriptive Narrative Writing

Descriptive narrative writing can make nonfiction books come alive. Nonfiction content can quickly go from a “stale” monologue into a vivid two-way dialog.

However, there is the risk of overdoing descriptive narrative writing. “Overdoing” descriptive narrative writing refers to using inflated and even pompous language to adorn writing.

Please bear in mind that it is easy to get carried away. At that point, descriptive narrative writing risks becoming counterproductive as substance gets lost amid fancy language.

Consider this situation:

  • The Prime Minister’s speech was boring.
  • The Prime Minister’s speech failed to light a fire in the audience.
  • The Prime Minister’s speech resulted in a colossal failure that did not deliver on the precious pearls of wisdom sought by the audience.

These sample sentences illustrate the degrees to which writing can be effective or miss the mark.

While effective in conveying the main idea, the first sentence is simplistic. One can infer that this sentence is pedestrian in its style.

The second sentence offers a balance between descriptive narrative and concise writing. The author communicated their impression of the speech without overinflating the language.

The third sentence goes over the top. It uses too much language, causing the reader to go on a winding journey before reaching the ultimate destination.

The goal is to balance narrative with precision. Using descriptive narrative in nonfiction books is as much skill as art. Authors must find the appropriate mix of linguistic artistry and substance.

One Final Thought

What happens when the writing well comes up dry? In other words, what happens when authors, editors, and publishers want to spruce up writing but cannot seem to find a way to make it work?

Instead of struggling to spice up nonfiction books, authors, editors, and publishers can turn to a ghostwriter. Hiring a ghostwriter can become a highly useful solution when looking to incorporate descriptive narrative writing into nonfiction books. In particular, a professional ghostwriter can utilize descriptive narrative to craft the right message audiences want to hear.

How is this possible?

Professional ghostwriters are a mixed bag of skills. On the one hand, they have the skill to produce substance based on fact. On the other hand, they have the sensitivity to use the right language to evoke emotions in their audience.

There is a catch to hiring a ghostwriter, though.

Hiring a ghostwriter entails finding a person with the right mix of skills. Finding a ghostwriter that can incorporate descriptive narrative writing in a nonfiction book requires someone with experience in both fiction and nonfiction.

These ghostwriters typically have a long track record of producing a variety of works. Additionally, professional ghostwriters are willing to work with their clients until they find an appropriate voice. From there, the narrative builds itself. It is quite feasible to create an entire narrative from a single word.

Crafting a memorable narrative in a nonfiction book should not be a daunting task. It should be a labor of love. Often, it is like a master artist patiently creating an artwork until it is perfect.

10 Reasons to Hire a Professional Nonfiction Editor

“The life of an editor is not a glamorous one. You’re a fixer; you make things better.”—Courtney B. Vance

The work of an editor often goes seemingly unnoticed. When readers work their way through a book, they fail to realize an editor’s vital role in making that book outstanding. While writers get most of the accolades, editors sit in the background, doling out their indispensable labor.

In this article, we will explore 10 key ways a professional editor can improve the overall quality of any nonfiction text.

10 Key Reasons to Hire a Professional Nonfiction Editor

1. Professional editors have fresh eyes.

American author Thomas Wentworth Higginson once said, “Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes.” Indeed, an editor can provide a valuable pair of fresh eyes. Writers often travel in circles attempting to improve a manuscript.

However, there comes the point where a fresh pair of eyes can spot issues writers cannot detect.

As a result, hiring a professional editor ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.

They can provide insight into even the most minuscule of elements.

Ultimately, a professional editor ensures originality by offering a third-party perspective.

It is worth noting that a fresh pair of eyes can spot a writer’s unconscious mistakes.

For instance, it is quite easy for nonfiction writers to allow their personal opinions to skew their representation of the facts. A professional editor can help ensure a writer maintains an objective view of the information as they build a clear and consistent argument.

2. Professional editors provide objectivity.

Objectivity is the perfect complement to a fresh pair of eyes.

As writers go through their manuscripts, they tend to get caught up in their particular voices. After all, writing a book is like raising a child. There is a significant emotional attachment between a writer and their work. Consequently, it might be challenging for a writer to spot areas for improvement.

That is where a professional editor can make a significant difference.

A professional editor can provide objective insight into a working manuscript. Most important, professional editors play a crucial role in nonfiction works.

Their objective viewpoint can help identify factual mistakes and unproven claims and provide support to the text’s overall argument.

3. Professional editors help save time and effort.

Writing requires dedication and commitment. Any good piece of writing demands a concerted effort in order to craft good-quality text.

However, the editing process can become time-consuming and laborious for writers, especially after spending a considerable amount of time and effort producing a working manuscript.

Indeed, automated tools can drastically reduce the time needed to proofread a manuscript.

However, hiring a professional editor is necessary to ensure the text’s quality.

While writers can go through their own work, it may require additional time and effort. A professional editor’s expertise enables them to review a working manuscript in the fraction of the time it would take writers themselves.

Professional editors ultimately play a crucial role in ensuring a book is up to publishing standards.

It is worth mentioning that foregoing the intervention of a professional editor can lead to mediocre results.

Sadly, this reality permeates the self-publishing domain. Aspiring writers view self-publishing as a means of cutting corners. Consequently, they bypass the editorial process in hopes of accelerating the publication of their book.

This approach, however, leaves the door open to a host of mistakes, sub-par materials, and even inaccurate information. These potential shortcomings underscore the main reasons why self-published nonfiction texts do not get the same degree of attention that traditionally published materials receive.

4. Professional editors keep the writing process moving.

All writers go through some form of “block” or “get stuck” during the writing process. Nonfiction writers may find it difficult to build their book’s argument or have trouble articulating their thoughts. In such cases, a professional editor can take a deep look into a working manuscript.

A solid editorial assessment can often remove roadblocks, thus allowing the writer to continue developing the text.

Professional nonfiction editors are experts in helping writers unpack their thoughts. As a result, a professional nonfiction editor aids writers in keeping the writing process moving, thereby saving substantial amounts of time and frustration.

5. A professional editor is a professional.

By definition, a professional editor is a professional. They have the experience and training needed to take diamonds in the rough and polish them into magnificent pieces.

As American novelist Karen Thompson Walker once stated, “Working as an editor was like being a professional reader, and the better I became at reading, the better I became at writing.”

Professional nonfiction editors are undoubtedly professional readers. They are are often professional writers, as well.

Consequently, they have a keen sense of what works and what does not.

While it helps to have friends, colleagues, and family read through working manuscripts, the feedback a professional editor can provide is unparalleled.

6. A professional editor is human.

Nowadays, automated editing tools receive a great deal of attention. Automated tools can indeed help reduce the time needed to proofread documents.

But no machine, however well-designed, can replace the human brain. That is why professional nonfiction editors are very much in demand today.

Artificial intelligence cannot replace the understanding, feeling, and voice that the human mind can bring to writing. Perhaps, at some point in the future, automated tools may be able to replace humans. In the meantime, there is no substitute for the valuable input a professional nonfiction editor can deliver.

Best-selling novelist Stephen King once remarked, “To write is human, to edit is divine.”

There is no doubt that professional editors endeavor to take writing to a sublime level. A professional editor can help writers unlock their most profound thoughts and feelings. That is something no machine could ever achieve.

7. A professional editor is a multifaceted expert.

Most folks typically view professional editors as proofreaders.

Naturally, editorial duties do include proofreading for linguistic issues.

However, reducing professional editing to merely proofreading is unfair.

The truth is, professional editors are generally multifaceted experts. And professional nonfiction editing requires individuals to possess a number of skills.

To begin with, professional nonfiction editors must have an expert-level understanding of the English language (or any other language they edit) in addition to a substantial knowledge of the text’s subject. After all, one cannot expect a professional editor to adequately review a text if they have no idea what it means.

Additionally, professional editors must play a dual role. They must understand both writers and readers.

First, professional nonfiction editors need to comprehend the writer’s voice and message. Second, a professional editor must also understand what the reader seeks to gain from the text. The challenge, then, becomes to mesh both positions into a coherent discussion that properly negotiates meaning among all parties.

The best part is that professional editors make such tasks look easy.

8. A professional editor improves the overall product.

American actor Sam Rockwell once said, “An editor is like a painter. There is a magic in that.” This profound statement encapsulates two key elements.

First, editors must handle a work of art with the utmost care. The thought of editors ruthlessly hacking through manuscripts is short-sighted and disrespectful.

A professional editor ensures that the text in their possession receives the care and attention it deserves. It is quite common for editors to view a text like a delicate flower in need of nurturing. The text can blossom in the reader’s eyes with the right touch.

Second, editors work their magic in a myriad of ways. Professional editors must sometimes have mind-reading skills. They must transport themselves into the minds of the readers. In doing so, nonfiction editors can translate the information into a text that resonates with readers.

Even when information is perfectly accurate and arguments well-structured, professional editors can bridge the gap between the author and reader. Metaphorically, editors can take the Mona Lisa and somehow make it better. This seemingly magical ability is the result of knowledge and experience.

9. A professional editor is flexible.

A common misconception surrounding editors describes them as judgmental and intransigent. The thought of an all-knowing editor makes some writers shudder. Some writers feel wary of editors out of fear that an editor might slice their work into pieces.

This idea is nothing more than an unfounded myth.

Professional editors are flexible people who are willing to listen.

A reputable nonfiction editor takes the time to sit down with writers. They go over the writer’s ideas to gain insight into the vision impregnated in the text.

Without this understanding, a nonfiction editor’s job would become extremely complex.

Professional editors often develop close relationships with writers. As the relationships become closer, a writer and editor can develop an intuitive understanding of each other’s individual styles.

A professional editor knows they do not have all the answers.

They are aware that producing a high-quality text requires mindful interaction.

The best editors know they must be sensitive to a writer’s thoughts and feelings. Ultimately, a writer’s thoughts and feelings should leap out of every page. A professional editor is the subject matter expert that can help clear obstacles along the way.

10 A professional editor is a coach.

Professional editors often work with inexperienced writers. Many novice writers have raw talent. However, these writers find it challenging to articulate their ideas into a seamless narrative. This situation is especially true in the nonfiction domain.

Nonfiction writers often have a wealth of knowledge in their area of expertise. Nevertheless, they lack the skills and experience to articulate that expertise into a fruitful reading experience. In these circumstances, professional editors become coaches. They help writers find their unique voice and style.

In some instances, professional editors may sit down with a writer to go over areas for improvement. In other cases, editors can help writers through a developmental edit. This type of edit allows writers to see how far they have taken their manuscript and where they could go with it.

It is worth noting that professional editors do not have all the right answers. Professional editors have insight that comes from experience. Like sports coaches, editors know what it takes to become a champion. Thus, professional editors aim to turn writers into champions in their own right.

What A Professional Editor Is Not

Professional nonfiction editors are many things. They wear many hats, often simultaneously. They play a number of key roles throughout the writing process. They may even become mentors for some writers. However, it is important to highlight what professional editors are not.

First, a professional editor is not the “boss.” Even when an editor-in-chief has a functional leadership position, they do not see themselves as the “boss.”

Even when an editor-in-chief has a functional leadership position, they do not see themselves as the boss.

Instead, a professional nonfiction editor sees themselves as the captain of a ship. Therefore, a professional editor must coordinate the efforts needed to ensure the ship gets safely to harbor.

Second, a professional editor is not a “fan.” While it may be true that editors enjoy reading manuscripts, they must maintain an objective mindset.

Fans generally have biased opinions. They judge texts based on their individual perception. Consequently, they may fall prey to confirmation bias.

A professional editor must, therefore, maintain a level head. They must ensure that information is factual and the narrative is coherent, even if they do not necessarily agree with the author’s position.

Lastly, a professional editor is not a “gatekeeper.” This idea is a misrepresentation of an editor’s job.

Unfortunately, some writers believe they must get past their editor in order for their manuscript to reach publication. The reason editors review texts is to ensure that the text is up to professional standards. Sub-standard texts generally fall by the wayside, defeated by criticism. A professional nonfiction editor can help authors construct their text so they can withstand the test of time.

5 Reasons to Hire a Ghostwriting Agency to Produce Your Non-Fiction Book

Producing a non-fiction book is a great way to jumpstart a professional career, boost brand positioning, or raise awareness on a specific topic. A well-crafted book provides a clear image of professionalism and expertise in any given domain.

It’s no secret that writing a quality book takes time and effort. It also requires dedication to completing the task. However, there are occasions when professionals and experts lack the time or writing experience needed to take a book from scratch to publication.

That point is where a ghostwriter can help bring a writing project to fruition.

What is a ghostwriter?

Simply put, a ghostwriter is an author that produces content on someone else’s behalf.

They write material that will eventually list another person (or organization) as the author.

This process is a common practice in the business world. Companies often employ professional writers to produce their material, instead of relying on the in-house staff to do it.

Additionally, celebrities and experts often hire ghostwriters to do the bulk of their writing work for them.

Please note that ghostwriting is a legal agreement where the hiring party employs the ghostwriter to work for them. The ghostwriter retains no rights over the published work. Sole ownership belongs to the hiring party.

Why hire a ghostwriter?

In essence, hiring a ghostwriter is an investment in time and effort. Professional ghostwriters are experienced scribes that can handle significant workloads and create content in less time. In some instances, a skilled ghostwriter can produce articles in mere hours. In contrast, inexperienced writers may take days or even weeks to finish an article.

Also, experienced ghostwriters can bring various skills to the table. They may have backgrounds in specific areas such as business, economics, journalism, political science, and technology, to name a few. They can combine their adept writing skills with a specific area of knowledge.

Most importantly, ghostwriters can ensure projects actually get completed. Often, writing projects languish midway through the process. Other times, projects never fully get off the ground. A professional ghostwriter can take a project idea and shape it into a working manuscript. Ghostwriters can truly make a book project become a reality.

What is a ghostwriting agency?

A ghostwriting agency is a dedicated organization that employs multiple ghostwriters and assigns them to projects. In some instances, more than one ghostwriter may be necessary to complete a project.

Ghostwriting agencies match up writers whose experience and skill set align with a project’s requirements.

In many occasions, highly skilled ghostwriters wear several hats. These ghostwriters are able to tackle various types of projects, and write about many different industries.

Keep in mind that ghostwriting agencies are not job boards. In other words, they do not simply advertise jobs for individual projects. Instead, a professional ghostwriting agency has a streamlined process that takes a project idea all the way to a completed manuscript. Within this process, ghostwriting agencies can assign specific ghostwriters to particular projects. Moreover, some ghostwriting agencies can even help their clients throughout the entire publication process.

A professional ghostwriting agency typically has a single point of contact. This representative acts as an intermediary between clients and writers. This approach facilitates communication by coordinating interactions among all parties. This way, the ghostwriter can focus on getting the project moving. At the same time, the client can confidently voice their concerns and provide feedback.

Five Reasons to Hire a Ghostwriting Agency

Hiring a ghostwriting agency can sometimes be a better choice than hiring an individual ghostwriter. On the whole, ghostwriting agencies facilitate the entire process needed to complete your nonfiction book. Here are five reasons why hiring a ghostwriting agency can be a better alternative than hiring an individual ghostwriter.

Reason 1: A ghostwriting agency is a team of writers.

Hiring an individual ghostwriter entails finding the ideal candidate and then committing to them. While this arrangement can work out very well, it makes the hiring party vulnerable.

How so?

When the client commits to a single ghostwriter, any relationship disruption can potentially derail the entire project. If for any reason the ghostwriter is unable to continue working on the project, it can stall progress or even grind the project to a halt.

Of course, professional ghostwriters dedicate their efforts to delivering a completed project. Nevertheless, situations could arise that prevent them from moving forward. At that point, the hiring party may have to start over and search for someone else to take over.

A ghostwriting agency can proactively prevent such issues. Since a ghostwriting agency is a team of writers, other writers can pinch-hit if needed. Having access to multiple writers ensures that projects come to fruition and can reduce the time needed to produce a full manuscript.

Reason 2: A ghostwriting agency brings many skills to the table.

As skilled as they may be, individual ghostwriters can only tackle so many topics and projects at a time. After all, there are limitations on what a single person can reasonably accomplish.

In contrast, a ghostwriting agency has multiple skill sets from various writers. Most professional ghostwriting agencies have a cadre of scribes that can tackle multiple topics, often all at once.

Ghostwriting agencies are the best option when it comes to complex, multi-layered projects. For instance, projects that involve a variety of topics may exceed a single writer’s scope. A team of talented writers can provide expertise across several fields. Highly complex projects are feasible, using experienced writers to focus on specific projects. Conversely, asking a single writer to cover such wide ground may ultimately become unworkable.

Ghostwriting agencies purposely employ writers skilled in various areas. They tend to avoid hiring writers all with similar backgrounds. Successful ghostwriting agencies strive to have diverse teams. This approach allows ghostwriting agencies to serve their clientele’s needs better.

Reason 3: Ghostwriting agencies take care of the legwork.

A cursory online search reveals a number of how-to guides on recruiting, vetting, and selecting a ghostwriter. While these guides all contain sound advice, they underscore an important element: Finding the right ghostwriter takes time and hard work.

Ghostwriting agencies help save time and work by having a dedicated writing staff.

These writers are vetted professionals that have experience and credentials to back up their work.

Clients can trust that the agency has selected the best available talent.

On the flip side, some critics claim that ghostwriting agencies try to hire the cheapest available talent. They accuse agencies of lacking quality talent in their writer pool. In particular, lower-priced firms or discount ghostwriting companies may offer lesser-quality work.

Please note that there are probably less expensive alternatives available compared to an agency. However, these alternatives do not always represent a good option. After all, recruiting, vetting, and training great ghostwriters requires an investment on the ghostwriting agency’s part. In contrast, a high-profile ghostwriting agency does not necessarily mean it is better based on pricing alone. Ideally, a balance should be at the forefront. That balance can come from properly assessing a ghostwriting agency’s experience and reputation.

Thus, hiring a ghostwriting agency is about understanding where their strengths lie and what they can deliver. The best ghostwriting agencies manage to find a balance between delivering high-quality work and maintaining an appropriate price point.

Finding a reputable ghostwriting firm boils down to their track record. Obscure companies with amateurish websites should raise a number of red flags. Professional ghostwriting firms always strive to put their best foot forward. That approach begins with great references and customer reviews in addition to suitable customer service.

Ultimately, a professional ghostwriting agency can cut down a project’s overall timeframe by a significant margin. The savings on time alone can easily offset the financial cost of hiring one.

Reason 4: Ghostwriting agencies are a one-stop shop.

Hiring a freelance ghostwriter can work out very well. There are many talented writers offering high quality services. However, hiring a one-person band may prove to become more expensive than initially anticipated.

Publishing a polished finished manuscript requires several steps. First is the planning stage, which is something clients prepare before reaching out to ghostwriting agencies. Then, the ghostwriter can take care of the research and writing stages. However, polishing a manuscript requires an experienced editor. Depending on the subject matter, a specialized editor may become necessary. Therefore, the client would also have to go about hiring an appropriate editor for their project. This task would add to the time and effort the project requires for completion.

Once the editor has reviewed the manuscript, there are formatting and design tasks that must take place before the material is ready for publication. In short, hiring individual professionals for each task can become onerous in terms of time and attention to detail.

A professional ghostwriting agency can take care of most of these various steps, thereby leading to significant savings in time, effort, work, and attention to detail. By hiring a reputable ghostwriting agency, project owners can free up their time and attention for creative tasks such as planning and research.

How does a ghostwriting agency become a one-stop shop?

Professional ghostwriting agencies usually evolve over time. As ghostwriting agencies grow, they are able to expand their services. These services include editing, formatting, design, and even translation. As time goes on, ghostwriting agencies become one-stop shops that are able to facilitate all aspects of the book creation process.

Reason 5: Ghostwriting agencies put a lot on the line.

A professional ghostwriting agency has a lot on the line whenever they take on a new project.

After all, a successful track record always bodes well for a ghostwriting agency’s reputation and profitability. In the business world, reputation weighs heavily on success.

Ghostwriting agencies understand the power of word-of-mouth referrals.

They also understand that online reviews are critical to success. Hence, ghostwriting agencies will strive to do their best to complete projects and do them well.

Given the competitive nature of the ghostwriting industry, both freelance ghostwriters and ghostwriting agencies must go above and beyond to meet their clientele’s needs.

In particular, ghostwriting agencies continuously compete for the best talent available. By attracting and retaining a high level of writing talent, ghostwriting agencies can provide their clients with greater assurance of their quality, timeliness, and overall level of services.

In contrast, if a ghostwriting agency cannot deliver, it may see its business severely affected. Ghostwriting agencies have a lot riding on their reputation. Their track record will need to speak for itself. Therefore, ghostwriting agencies should strive to meet or exceed their client’s expectations.

The Bottom Line

Hiring a ghostwriting agency is an investment in time and effort. Clients can focus on their creative endeavors by essentially delegating tasks such as recruiting, hiring, vetting, and coordinating. In turn, this approach can lead to more book ideas.

The ghostwriting agency can take care of the heavy lifting. Employing a ghostwriting agency is a great alternative to trying to write your nonfiction book alone. It can be the determining factor that brings a writing project to completion.

Finding a professional ghostwriting agency can help aspiring and established authors and publishers boost their production and save time and money, while relying on a trusted business partner.

Nevertheless, finding that ideal ghostwriting agency may seem somewhat challenging. Thus, the search begins with understanding a ghostwriting agency’s cost-benefit relationship. This relationship boils down to determining the ghostwriting agency’s core strengths and how these strengths suit a client’s needs.

Additionally, getting a clear idea of a ghostwriting agency’s reputation is a crucial element in figuring out the best option. A proven track record is always the best way to go. However, up-and-coming agencies may prove to be worth taking a chance on them. After all, ghostwriting agencies have a lot riding on their performance. Therefore, clients can be certain that a reputable ghostwriting agency will do its best to meet or exceed its clientele’s needs.

How to Choose the Perfect Topic for Your Memoir

You have a story to tell, and you want to write a book. Not just any book, though. You want to write a book about your life.

You love a good memoir, and you know that they are popular. You’ve lived an interesting life and you think it would translate into a remarkable memoir.

But how do you write it? Do you simply tell the story of your life, or does it need to be more zeroed in than that?

Spoiler alert! Yes! A good memoir should have some focus beyond just telling the story of your life. The good news is that you have many options when selecting a plan of attack for your memoir. Here are a few suggestions to help you figure out what your memoir should be about.

What is a memoir?

Let's start with the basics.

Before you can write a memoir, you need to understand just what makes a memoir a memoir and not an autobiography.

According to Merriam-Webster, a memoir is 'a narrative composed from personal experience.' In contrast, an autobiography is defined as 'a usually written account of a person's life in their own words.'

There are two words there that make all the difference:

A memoir is a narrative based on your life’s experiences, while an autobiography is an account of your life.

In other words, your memoir needs to be a story. That means it will need structure, plot, theme, characters, and emotion.

Another way to look at it is this: A great memoir can become a great movie, while an autobiography becomes a documentary. It’s a tale with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and you want to keep your readers imagining what’s happening as if it’s on the big screen.

It’s all about the theme!

A memoir is a story of personal change. It’s not a chronicle of your whole life from birth to death.

It's about who you were as a person at one point in your life and the situations and actions that establish a fundamental change in how you think and act from that point on.

It may be a period of years or just one remarkably significant afternoon.

But your memoir should focus on a limited period of time when you uncovered a new truth.

Think about some of the most popular memoirs of the past few decades. Each gives you a peek into the emotional growth of the author through some significant situations. Some are broader than others, but each has a definite theme on which the narrative of the author’s life is built.

Here are a few good examples:

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen – Battling mental illness and the mental health system experience.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertEnlightening travel experiences as the author copes with divorce.

The Tender Bar by J. R. MoehringerLonging for his estranged father or some sort of father figure while trying not to become like his father as he grows into adulthood.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouRacism, poverty, and learning to love oneself.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonLife in civilization versus life out in nature.

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch AlbomLife lessons and mentorship.

How many of those memoirs also became successful movies? Yeah, most of them. That’s what we’re talking about!

If you’re not sure what kind of theme you could use, consider some of these common, yet successful, themes found in memoirs:

  • Accepting change
  • Coming of age
  • Dealing with loss
  • Determination
  • Discrimination
  • Divorce
  • Drug addiction
  • Faith
  • Friendship
  • Forgiveness
  • Greed
  • Hard work
  • Hope
  • Leadership
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Parenthood
  • Poverty
  • Self-esteem
  • Survival
  • War
  • Wealth
  • Weight loss

This list is just the tip of the iceberg, but it gives you the idea.

There’s something bigger going on in your story than just a recounting of a part of your life. Your theme becomes the thread that holds your story together and keeps it moving forward.

What theme should I choose?

So, you might be asking yourself this question. Of course, the answer is very personal.

Your memoir is based on your life, so why not start there?

If you're struggling to come up with a theme that resonates with you, list out 5-10 major events from your life that you feel changed you somehow. What were you like at the beginning of each event, and how did you grow from it?

You may be looking for the event that had the greatest impact on your life, or you may notice that several of your events are centered around the same concept.

Keep your reading audience in mind. Whom are you writing it for, and what do you want them to take away from your story?

As you begin to outline your memoir with your theme in place, you’ll know quickly if it’s right or not.

It’s your story. Your memoir is about you, but it’s about more than you. Choose the right theme for your memoir, and you can weave a story that people will love to read over and over again.

It’s also about structure.

You may have noticed that all or most of the memoirs cited above have also been made into successful movies.

The reason they work so well as movies is because they have structured stories. They follow a standard story structure with a beginning, a rise to a climax, and a resolution.

Now, they may not be blockbuster action flicks with car chase scenes and explosions, but they're cinematic.

Keep in mind other aspects of your story such as:

  • Setting. You may have one central setting or dozens of places but choose them carefully and make them real for your readers.
  • Characters. One of the great opportunities in a memoir is the chance to showcase the characters in your life! In some cases, you may want to tread lightly so as not to offend but stay true to your story.
  • Conflict. No story is very interesting unless there is conflict. What do you want in your story, and what stands in your way? Make your readers feel the stakes and worry about the outcome along with you.
  • Emotion. This cannot be stressed enough! Whether it’s humor, grief, fear, relief, or any other emotion, it has to be a major part of your memoir. Your readers don’t just want to read about your life; they want to ride that roller coaster with you and come out just as changed at the end of the ride as you were.

If you want to write your memoir and you already believe you have a story to tell, the key is to home in on the events that had the greatest impact on you and craft your story around them. Then, start outlining your story and get the ball rolling.

Writing your memoir can be difficult and time-consuming, but it can also be a deeply rewarding experience.

And if you find that you need help with the writing, don’t be afraid to hire a ghostwriter to help.

The most important thing is that you enjoy every minute of the process!

10 Great Books to Inspire You to Write Your Business Book

Articulating book ideas is not a straightforward proposition. There are times when books stall because it is not easy to transform an idea into a tangible manifestation.

Thus, finding inspiration in other sources can help frame one’s ideas into a clearer picture.

To help a business leader find inspiration, books by other influential business professionals can provide a useful frame of reference. Here are ten books to inspire professionals to write their business books.

10 Great Books to Inspire You to Write Your Business Book

1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

This classic biography features tech pioneer Steve Jobs’ rise from a garage to the heights of the business world.

Serving as both a personal story and business masterclass, the book revolves around interviews and accounts by Jobs himself as well as others that knew him.

This book provides inspiration on how one’s personal story can intertwine with business endeavors.

It is a must-read for anyone looking to find the best way to combine their personal and professional journeys.

2. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson

Richard Branson’s autobiography details his rise to prominence. In particular, Branson highlights how he defied conventional wisdom to put his mark on this business world.

This voluminous account reveals insight into why his business ventures have been successful.

Moreover, readers can distill crucial lessons into why some of his other ventures failed.

Professionals can find inspiration in this volume as it is part autobiography, part business guide.

As such, business leaders looking to share their recipe for success can find a good blueprint in this book.

3. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…, and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Good to Great has become a staple of business literature.

In this book, Collins distills years of research and anecdotal evidence into lessons businesses and professionals can implement to lead their businesses from bad, to average, to great.

Most importantly, the book features personal insights into how leadership is a crucial element in any successful business.

Good to Great provides a model for any professional looking to establish themselves as a subject matter expert.

Professionals who have research and abundant experience can take this book’s approach to present their data.

Moreover, this volume uses a straightforward tone, thus making a highly complex topic digestible for readers of any background.

4. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

The Millionaire Next Door is a treatise into how America’s wealthy have made their fortune.

After decades of research into behavioral economics, the authors compiled their findings—along with personal observations and data driven analyses—into a roadmap for wealth accumulation and preservation.

This book is a great source of inspiration for anyone looking to take their experience, coupled with data and analytics, and transform both elements into a coherent contribution.

Additionally, subject matter experts can find a useful example to follow in this classic of personal finance.

5. Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew the Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, with Bob Andelman

Built from Scratch chronicles the story of Home Depot founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank.

This fascinating book tells how Marcus and Blank grew their business from nothing and transformed it into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

Taking readers through the authors’ dismissal from their jobs up to their crowning achievements, Built from Scratch is a great source of inspiration for anyone looking to write a company history book.

Professionals, founders, and business owners looking to chronicle their company’s story must read Built from Scratch.

6. Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft by Paul Allen

Idea Man is a compelling memoir by Paul Allen. As the co-founder of Microsoft, he was the less public figure behind the corporate giant.

In this book, he recounts his experiences while delivering useful insights into his business dealings.

Throughout the book, Allen goes into detail about his thought process and how he approached his life following his retirement from Microsoft.

In this memoir, business leaders can find a guide on how to frame their personal contributions to their specific domain.

This book can serve as a model by which professionals from all walks of life can systematize the lessons they want to preserve for generations to come.

7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is a classic of the business world.

In this book, Hill chronicles his experiences with wealthy individuals.

In particular, he distills these experiences into lessons and principles anyone can follow on their way to building wealth.

Think and Grow Rich helped catapult Hill into subject matter expert territory.

Business professionals looking to translate their experiences and expertise into a methodical guide can find inspiration in this timeless work.

The lessons and principles contained in this tome remain relevant nearly one hundred years later. Thus, business professionals from all walks of life can find the inspiration they need in this book to translate their acumen into a subject matter expert masterpiece.

8. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 Into a Billion Dollar Business Bu Barbara Corcoran with Bruce Littlefield

Shark Tales is a memoir/autobiography about real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran.

This book offers various facets of her personal and business life.

It is a company history book, memoir, and autobiography all polled into one.

In this story, readers can discover the secrets and insights that led to Corcoran’s highly successful business empire despite her humble beginning.

Shark Tales inspires readers to write about their transformational journeys.

Moreover, this book delivers a clear roadmap for entrepreneurs seeking to shed light on their personal brand of success.

9. The Martha Rule by Martha Stewart

Celebrity juggernaut Martha Stewart distills her expertise into ten clear-cut rules business professionals can follow to navigate the corporate landscape successfully.

Stewart flexes her subject matter expert muscle to deliver a masterclass on running a successful business in this book.

Business professionals looking to share their expertise as subject matter experts can find inspiration in this highly informative volume. In particular, focusing on how Stewart frames her rules can help aspiring authors present their knowledge in an easily digestible format.

10. Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie

In Start Something that Matters, readers discover a feel-good story about giving back.

The story centers on Blake Mycoskie’s soul-searching journey following multiple failed startups. He founded TOMS based on the idea of giving back to poor children around the world.

This book is a fascinating combination of personal and company history. Additionally, the author reveals his recipe for success following failure.

This book inspires readers, especially after succeeding in the face of failure. In particular, entrepreneurs can find a wonderful source of inspiration to combine personal causes that matter with successful business or charitable ventures.

Making Sense of It All

Ultimately, a business book is about reflecting one’s own journey through the business world.

The books described in this article serve as examples of how other successful individuals have leveraged their subject matter expertise to create masterclasses.

Nevertheless, there may be times when inspiration may not necessarily translate into immediate writing success. As such, hiring a ghostwriter or ghostwriting agency can help make a book idea come to fruition.

Most importantly, the aim is to ensure that great book ideas become a reality.

TWFH’s Top Nonfiction Reads of 2021

It’s hard to believe that 2021 is already coming to an end!

As we look forward to the new year, we at TWFH wanted to share our favorite nonfiction books we’ve read this year.

From the true story of a spy who played a pivotal role in the Cold War to a guidebook for changing old habits, we hope these delightful suggestions inspire you to read more in the coming year. And, perhaps, to even write your own book!

TWFH’s Top Nonfiction Reads of 2021

A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca by Andrés Reséndez

Every Texas kid learns the story of Cabeza de Vaca, but the version we learned in school left a lot out.

The explorer's journey was way longer, harder, and weirder than we knew.

And in the end, he became one of the most sympathetic figures in the history of Spanish exploration—a determined, but sadly ignored, advocate for the very Native Americans who held him captive.

“A Land So Strange is absolutely a story worth reading!” — Stacy Clifford

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

In this great read, James Clear presents a framework for reshaping the way you think about progress and success and provides tools and strategies for transforming unhealthy or unwanted habits.

“I found it really helpful to change small bad habits, effectively.” — Wintress Odom

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben Macintyre

This thrilling page-turner is the true-life story of a woman, code-named “Sonya,” whose career as a high-ranking Soviet intelligence officer traversed over several decades, during which she was hunted by the Chinese, the Japanese, the Nazis, MI5, MI6, and the FBI.

Yet, she managed to evade them all!

“I am a huge fan of Historical Nonfiction, and this book definitely didn’t disappoint! I found it to be both mind-boggling and fascinating.” — Jennifer Rizzo

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

In this engaging memoir, Cary Elwes recounts stories from the incredible time he spent with fellow actors, including Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner, making the movie “The Princess Bride.”

“This book is really, really good. Especially if you love “The Princess Bride.” I actually recommend listening to it—Cary Elwes narrates, and he does a great job impersonating the cast.” — Kathy Rinchiuso 

Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck

Written with great humor and very accessible, this is a great book for anyone who is wanting to get into alignment with their life’s purpose.

“We have become so accustomed to looking for validation outside of ourselves, and this book helps steer us back toward recognizing our own worth and giving us permission to live our lives in a way that truly lights us up.” — Carol Kim

Daughter of China by Meihong Xu

This is the riveting autobiography of a woman who spied for the Chinese government, fell in love with an American professor—which she almost got killed for—and defected to the U.S.

Hollywood couldn’t produce a better spy thriller than Daughter of China: A True Story of Love and Betrayal.

“Dynamic characters, international espionage, and forbidden love create a gripping story. It’s fascinating to watch Meihong question her upbringing, fall in love (more than once), risk death, and eventually defect.” — Cecile Brule

Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal by Rachel Naomi Remen

This incredible collection of true stories is full of inspiration and hope for navigating the curves and challenges that life throws at us.

“Beautiful and profound meditation on illness, mortality, and the human spirit.” — Carey Miller

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich

In this emotional masterpiece, everyday Russian citizens recount the past 30 years, detailing what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake.

“I really enjoyed this one. It's an oral history that reads like poetry.” — Jennifer Iacullo

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton

The Sun Does Shine is the compelling story of a poor black man in Alabama who was wrongfully charged with two counts of capital murder in 1985, and subsequently spent the next 30 years on death row, before he was finally acquitted in 2015.

“Very powerful” — Martha Scott

Unveiled: One Woman’s Nightmare in Iran  by Cherry Mosteshar

This gripping read is the firsthand account of how the religious revolution in Iran transformed the country into an extremely conservative Islamic state overnight, dramatically changing the lives of the Iranian women.

“I am half Iranian. My biological father is from Tehran and my family worked for the Shah of Iran. Reading this book made me realize just how lucky I am that I wasn’t raised in Tehran during the overthrow of the Shah. It truly made me count my blessings.“ — Deirdre Paige

Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene

Once Upon a Town is a sweet story about how a small town rallied to support the soldiers who travel through it during WWII.

“Heartwarming and in a U.S. that is increasingly divided, it is nice to hear a story of people bonding together for a common cause.” — Barbara Adams

If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen

If You Tell is the harrowing true-crime story of three sisters who were held captive and tortured by their sadistic, murderous mother, Michelle “Shelly” Knotek, and the unbreakable bond that held them together and eventually gave them the strength to break free.

“This book was like watching a train wreck. Parts of it were horrific and hard to read, but I just couldn’t put it down.” — Jennifer Rizzo

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

The Five tells the fascinating backstories of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.

It also delves into the laws and customs of the Victorian society that made it impossible for these women to be anything but horrifically poor, and how it was that misogynistic society that was partially to blame for their murders.

“Really fascinating stuff. There is also a podcast by the same author called “Bad Women: Jack the Ripper Retold.”  — Kathy Rinchiuso

John Adams by David McCullough

This powerful biography by David McCullough tells of the adventurous and fascinating life of America’s second president.

“It’s inspiring and humbling to watch John Adams grow as a person, not just a politician. I enjoyed being in his shoes and eating his food, meeting his loved ones, and seeing the world through his eyes. It's also an engaging, easy read--if you're afraid of dry academic prose, this is a great antidote.” — Cecile Brule

Who NOT to Hire as Your Nonfiction Ghostwriter

A great memoir, biography, or history burns at your insides, just waiting to be born and put your name out there. Unfortunately, you can’t or don’t want to write it. The search for a ghostwriter has tentatively begun, but you don’t know where or how to begin.

On the bright side, ghostwriters are as common as dirt. On the downside, many ghostwriters aren’t much cleaner than dirt. By the same token, finding a good one requires copious digging, panning, and sorting.

To make that initial search easier, here’s our advice: Cull the bad ghostwriters first. Once you’ve removed the dross of scammers, wannabes, and bad fits, the remaining nuggets will be easier to sort through.

Ghostwriting is a personalized, highly involved act of mimicry. The average reader should pick up your completed autobiography, memoir, history, or other nonfiction book and hear your unique knowledge, conclusions, story, and voice.

They should automatically assume that the person on the back cover — you — typed every single word. They believe this because your ghostwriter did an excellent job of channeling you personally.

With that end in mind, we’ve compiled a list of who not to hire as a ghostwriter.

Who Not to Hire as Your Nonfiction Ghostwriter

The (Supposed) Speedster

Ghostwriting a book takes time — the ghostwriter’s, editor’s, and yours. Hundreds of committed hours get baked into the cake, so anyone who claims otherwise clearly isn’t following the recipe.

“[Books] take six months to a year, some take two years to complete,” says Wintress Odom, owner and editor-in-chief of The Writers For Hire.

How is that possible? Are those writers just slow? It’s a valid question, especially since the internet abounds with fast turnaround “500 words an hour!” “I’ll deliver your ebook within a day!” offers.

Yes, some people write that quickly — but it’s physically impossible to ghost write full-length, nonfiction books at that speed.

To clarify, a full-length book generally spans 30 to 80,000 words. Memoirs, biographies, histories, business, how-to books, and general nonfiction often double that.

(Writers promising a “book” in one to five days often mean 2,000-word eBooks or 10,000-word novellas, so don’t conflate those with your in-depth memoir or niche history.)

Even so, it may be tempting to expect a faster turnaround than six months. “If they write 2,000 words a day and my memoir’s 60,000 words, can’t they do it in a month?”

That math assumes one particularly faulty variable — the word “they.” As the primary author, you also sink significant time into interviews, read-throughs, and multiple revisions. As with any process that juggles multiple people’s schedules, it takes longer than a lone wolf’s timeline.

“We often have to do 20 to 40 hours of interviews, and that’s just to get the information,” Odom points out. “If you do a lot of interviews with them, you can figure out how to hear their voice.” It takes time for the ghostwriter to gather and digest your knowledge, desires, and style. They can create a book without that understanding, sure — it just won’t be your book.

Bottom line: Partly because good ghostwriting requires such deep communication and back-and-forth, it’s a heavy time commitment from both parties. If your prospective hire promises quick turnaround or requests very little of your time, then expect the literary equivalent of a new picture frame’s stock photo.

The final book will exist and possibly even look good, but it won’t reflect your full knowledge, story, or voice — which largely defeats the point of nonfiction ghostwriting.

The Cheapskate’s Dream

Time equals money, so don’t expect a super saver’s deal on your book.

“Most books take 300 hours to complete,” Odom reveals. “And we’ve had books that go past 1,000 hours. We bill by the hour, and the price tag at the end of the day is not insubstantial.”

As with all goods, that billing stems from more than the sheer number of hours — you’re paying for highly specialized, skilled craftsmanship.

Ghostwriting isn’t an entry level job, and the price tag reflects that.

“Writing for others takes a special skill set, and some writers just don’t have that,” ghostwriter and family history specialist Jennifer Rizzo points out.

A competent ghostwriter has built up strong communication, interviewing, organizing, collaborating, and, of course, writing skills. Depending on the project, they might also bring specialized research skills to the table.

“So much of family history research is diving down rabbit holes, trying to remember random facts along the way, and then figuring out how to connect the dots,” Rizzo adds. “To truly find the answers and do a project justice, it takes hours upon hours of research. It’s not something that can be done with a quick search in the Ancestry database.”

Ultimately, your ghostwritten book is a unique, highly personalized product — you’re hiring a tailor to make a bespoke suit through multiple fittings, not dashing to Wal-Mart for a polyester T-shirt.

The Lead Singer

You’re the star of your book, not the ghostwriter.

Someone who fails to request and defer to your expertise, vision, and voice simply isn’t doing the job.

“When you are ghostwriting a book, you are not actually writing the book,” Rizzo explains. “Yes, you are physically putting the words to the paper, but those words and the ideas behind them come directly from the client, who is actually the author.”

That’s precisely why you, the primary author, remain vital in the entire ghostwriting process. Without regular input from you, the drafts morph into a book that’s not really yours.

“We ask [every] client to read and approve each chapter. Then you have a completed manuscript, and they have to read that, possibly more than once as you make additional changes at their request,” ghostwriter Flori Meeks explains.

If the ghostwriter seems less interested in your input and more concerned with their beautiful ideas, prose, and approach, then good for them — they’ll write wonderful books of their own. Your book, however, deserves a ghostwriter who prioritizes your vision.

“[Ghostwriting] requires channeling the other person. It’s not our book, it’s their book. We are just adding a layer of skill and organization and writing to their stuff,” Odom concludes.

The Lone Wolf

Hiring one person gets you a draft. Hiring multiple people gets you a finished book.

Writing books sounds completely solitary, but completed volumes only hit the shelves thanks to teams of specialized workers.

For starters, any final draft requires at least two people. Besides the core ghostwriter, it needs a separate, designated editor. Without a pair of fresh eyes, that draft will bloom with spelling, grammar, and other basic errors.

“You need at least one editor who’s removed from the writing process, and ideally a third person who’s doing the final proofing,” Meeks explains.

It is viable to find and hire, one by one, your writer, editor, and designer. Selecting each individual, however, can involve draining amounts of time, effort, research, and coordination.

Good writing agencies, by contrast, relieve much of that “team leader” burden. Armed with multiple researchers, writers, editors, and proofreaders, they cut out the hiring and management process. A sizable staff also guarantees delivery — if your lone wolf ghostwriter gets sick or suffers a personal loss that brings your book’s progress to a halt. An agency, however, has additional writers to keep things moving.

Some agencies also extend support beyond the final draft. Keep in mind that design and publication are two entirely separate processes in their own right. While not all agencies perform those functions, they’re usually well connected enough to offer useful recommendations, advice, and contacts.

Bottom line: Creating a polished manuscript requires two people at minimum. Designing and publishing the book takes you into completely separate, specialized realms. Any individual who promises both creation and publication within an amazingly short time frame is probably a scammer, not a magical lone wolf.

The Newbie

Writer Number One has spent the past decade cranking out bestsellers. Writer Number Two just completed their first project, a ghostwritten book.

Always hire Writer Number Two — they’re the more experienced candidate. Yes, the bestselling author has produced more work, but it’s their work, not somebody else’s. Writer Number Two, by contrast, has proven an ability to write in somebody else’s voice and for somebody else’s purposes.

“You want to call someone who has specifically ghostwritten full-length books,” Odom says. “It’s a completely different experience than making whatever book you want. [Ghostwriting is] more like a homework assignment, that skill set [of] being able to take information that was given to you, reformat it, and put it out in a different way, versus being this creative genius.”

Many romanticize writing as a completely solitary, creative, independent process. Ghostwriting nonfiction, which requires great communication and intense collaboration, is almost the complete opposite.

Of course, you shouldn’t settle for anyone under the general umbrella of ghostwriting. Like any broad field, it contains specialists with experience in the particular product you need. If you want a deeply emotional memoir, don’t call the ghostwriter with a portfolio of corporate history books. If you want an autobiography, don’t call the ghostwriter who specializes in romance novels.

Just because they write well doesn’t mean they write well for your particular genre. Don’t settle for someone without a history in your type of project — someone’s already out there with the experience and savvy to do your project justice.           

The Robot

Ghostwriters are like therapists, mattresses, and thermostat settings — choose a comfortable one, seeing as you’ll spend lots of time together.

“You’re going to be interviewing with them for hours and hours, having lunch, etc. And if you don’t like them, that’s not going to work very well,” Odom points out.

Depending on the project, it’s not just a matter of sharing space comfortably and talking — the deeper the connection, the stronger the book.

“The more they are willing to open up and tell me, the better their final product will turn out . . . The more people are willing to be vulnerable and let me inside, the easier it will be for me to really capture who they are in the pages of their book,” Rizzo points out.

The Friend (Maybe)

If the best ghostwriters make you feel comfortable, a logical question follows: Can a friend ghostwrite for you?

Depending on whom you ask, the answers are virulently different. “Yes, and very successfully!” “No, it’s always a terrible idea!”

“Sometimes it’s easier to share personal details or painful memories with someone who’s professional, who you don’t know, than sharing really intimate details of your life with someone that you know,” Meeks points out.

It’s the same reason people confide more in a therapist than a friend, family member, or even a significant other.

On a practical note, though, a stranger’s interview will probably pull more thorough, detailed stories out of you.

Being forced to start from the beginning, and craft a complete picture for someone with no context, often results in a better picture.

“If you’re being interviewed by a friend or family member, you might assume they know certain aspects of whatever memories or stories you’re sharing, so you might not go into as much detail, you might not provide background,” Meeks explains.

And, of course, there’s the double-edged sword of caring about someone: Friends and family members can find it harder to provide and receive harsh, objective criticism.

That being said, there are some situations where ghostwriters work perfectly well with their loved ones. “I frequently have friends ask me to research things for them or solve old family mysteries. It’s such a passion for me that I’m always happy to help as much as I can,” Rizzo explains.

Bottom Line: Working with family and friends can be tough — apply that logic to your ghostwriting project. It’s a serious endeavor and you might be more comfortable, and get a better product, by working with a professional.

The Man Behind the Curtain

It’s common sense, but vet your ghostwriter before hiring. Like any profession that requires so much money, trust, and time commitment, it attracts plenty of scammers.

“Before he came to us, a client paid someone $15,000 [up front] for the whole book, got a couple chapters, did the interviews, and then the ghostwriter literally disappeared — literally ghosted him,” Odom says dryly.

Beyond basic due diligence — asking for references, running a few Google searches, looking at their portfolio — we recommend treating this like a competitive interview process.

Just because they’re clean and competent doesn’t mean they’re the best candidate for you personally.

Have a good conversation with them in real time, just to see if there’s a good rapport.

And most importantly, ask them for a writing sample in your voice — it’s better to find out now than later if they can’t sound like you.

To really verify they know what they’re doing, take a step further and see if they’ve done their legal homework. Many experienced ghostwriters will have boilerplate Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and other contracts prepared in advance. Someone who completely neglects that paperwork may just be inexperienced, not malicious, but their lack of clarity can cause problems down the line.

Remember that your creative and intellectual property is on the line — use the same care you would when hiring a babysitter, accountant, or new doctor.

What TO Look For

We’ve described bad ghostwriters pretty thoroughly, but let’s talk about good nonfiction ghostwriters.

They enjoy learning and conducting interviews; care about you, your voice, and goals; take the project very seriously; communicate well; give honest feedback; think of themselves as a presenter first and writer second; and have specific ghostwriting experience.

If your ghostwriting candidate lacks any of these qualities, then keep looking — someone with all of them is waiting for you.

There’s an ocean of ghostwriters out there, both real and fake. Using this list should dry that ocean into a manageable pond.