Writing an Autobiography? Hire a Ghostwriter!

08 Mar 2022


When you tell people about your life, do you often hear, “you should write a book!”?

Have you lived a life that inspires others, or do you have a fascinating family history that you are confident would be a bestseller?

If you are reading this, chances are you have a spark burning inside you to get your story out into the world. There may be obstacles standing in your way. Maybe it is time, money, skills, or even the frustration of how to tackle such a massive project.

You may be under the impression the public only wants to read about well-known people. The truth is you do not have to be famous to write your life story.

Helen Garrison-Williams, publishing director at 4th Estate (owned by HarperCollins), says, “Celebrities aren’t inspiring anymore, and people don’t want to be them.” 

Instead, Garrison-Williams says regular people’s autobiographies are becoming more popular. “What readers want is people who are normal and who they feel they can trust.”

Unfortunately, though, many people who want to tell their life stories never follow through. They fear that it will be too much work or that they don’t have the necessary skills.

They don’t realize that hiring a ghostwriter to co-author your life story keeps you and your voice at the epicenter of the project.

The purpose of a ghostwriter is to uncover your voice and author your story for and with you.

Ghostwriters not only have a robust understanding of narrative but also an exceptional ear for individual voices.

Their job is to recreate your story in an effective and authentic voice—your voice, a voice you may not even realize you have—and to tell that story using the skills and elements of narrative writing.

Jennifer Rizzo, a ghostwriter at The Writers For Hire, explains how autobiography ghostwriters successfully write using their client’s voice. “Ghostwriters are skilled at really listening to the way our clients speak, in order to genuinely mimic (their) style and rhythm of speech.”

Autobiography ghostwriters seamlessly bring clients’ voices to life. Rizzo says, “We use those unique inflections and ways of saying things to weave their characteristics into the story.” 

All you have to do is hand over the reins to your ghostwriter and remain available for interviews, answering questions, and periodically approving the writing throughout the project.

Reasons to Consider Hiring a Ghostwriter for Your Autobiography

Many people joke about drafting the stories of their lives. And the truth is that many really would love to produce a book to share with their families—including future generations—or to publish on a larger scale.

However, very few actually do so.

Below are some great reasons to consider hiring a ghostwriter for your autobiography.

1. You have a remarkable story but not the writing skills to publish your book.

You know that you have a story people will want to read but you also realize your dream of others reading your book will not come true without the support and expertise of a ghostwriter and editor.

2. You have written out bits and pieces but need someone to put it all together coherently.

You may have written down ideas and thoroughly enjoyed the process. You may even want to continue writing sections of your autobiography, but you know you need an experienced co-author to organize those sections into a coherent narrative.

3. You have the skills to write your autobiography, just not enough time.

Crafting your autobiography solo involves a huge time commitment and you may not have the time to make it happen. An autobiography ghostwriter is a partner who can help you efficiently move the process along.

4. You have great ideas in your head, but you need someone to help get them onto paper.

You have a clear mind movie of your autobiography, and you may have even begun drafting your story, but you know you need structural help with pacing and other elements of your story.

What is the Difference Between an Autobiography Writing Coach and a Ghostwriter?

Now that you have established the need for some outside help, you may wonder what distinguishes an autobiography writing coach from a ghostwriter.

There are several differences, ranging from the amount of writing and research each of you will do to the total cost of your project, as well as how much time you will need to invest.

Autobiography Writing Coach

An autobiography writing coach works closely with clients to establish the book’s theme, content, research, and outline. The writing coach’s primary purpose is to help clients draft their own books.

An autobiography writing coach does not complete any of the actual writing—instead, they help clients set goals and give them strategies to succeed as an author.

A coach’s services are based on the client’s needs and wants, such as research or editing. Typically, coaches are given partial credit for authoring the book.

Autobiography Ghostwriter

Like a coach, an autobiography ghostwriter also works with clients to establish themes, plan content, and create an outline—however, a ghostwriter provides additional services.

Ghostwriters serve as co-authors and interviewers as they discover and develop the clients’ stories.

Ghostwriters can complete and verify all relevant research and track down any necessary supporting documentation.

The most significant difference between a writing coach and a ghostwriter is that ghostwriters compile all the content and draft the book, generally receiving no credit. No one reading a book written by a ghostwriter will know someone else is the author; instead, the client gets full credit.

In most cases, hiring a ghostwriter will cost more than hiring a writing coach, because of the larger scale of services offered. However, if money is a deciding factor, there are ways to reduce your costs by playing a more active role in the process.

For example, supplying your own documentation and providing images may significantly reduce the costs of working with an autobiography ghostwriter.

How Hiring a Ghostwriter Can Help You Get Published

The grand finale of your autobiographical journey is getting it published. Although self-publishing is not new, the recent popularity of self-published books like “The Martian” by Andy Weir and “50 Shades of Grey” by E.L. James has given this format of publication a widespread stamp of approval.

It also offers new authors a variety of options to get their story out into the world.

Although self-publication can give authors additional options for success, it can be difficult for new authors to determine which path to take.

This is where working with a seasoned writing partner can pay off.

Not only will ghostwriters sharpen your content and weave your story into a literary work you can be proud of, but they can also help guide you through an overcrowded marketplace that is often hard to navigate.

Ghostwriters are not agents, but they can be insightful allies on your journey to publication.

“While we are not publishers ourselves, we work very closely with several independent publishing agencies,” says Rizzo when asked about ways The Writer’s For Hire can help clients get published. “We are very well versed at getting autobiographies written and formatted in a way so that they are in good shape to hand directly over to the publishers when completed.”

Working With a Ghostwriter

Hiring a ghostwriter offers a multitude of benefits. You will have someone who listens carefully to every detail of your past while learning your goals, dreams, hopes, and fears. The ghostwriter will come to understand your story in a way no one has before.

Working with a ghostwriter is a partnership with someone whose entire goal is to understand your story, from your point of view, wholly and wholeheartedly. Someone who will provide feedback to your ideas and construct your story in a way that will satisfy you and resonate with readers

“The process can take many forms, depending on the client’s needs,” Rizzo says. “Some clients know exactly what they want their autobiographies to say, but struggle to put those words to paper . . . In other cases, a client may want to take a stab at the writing themselves, and just need a ghostwriter to help smooth things out and do edits.”

Authoring a book takes time. It does not happen in a month or two. Rizzo stresses, “Writing an autobiography is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Good writing is honest writing, and ghostwriters must take time to get to know you in order to convey your story and your truth, in your own voice.

Considering Writing Your Autobiography?

Writing your life story is one of the most fulfilling projects you can ever embark upon, regardless of whether it is for yourself, your family, or a broader audience.

Hiring an autobiography ghostwriter means building a relationship based on trust and honesty.

Finding a skilled ghostwriter with whom you feel comfortable will allow you to relax and enjoy the creation of your memoir while maintaining creative control.

Deirdre Paige 

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