- Transparency. In a world where transparency and openness reigns, the use of a ghostwriter can have negative connotations. This gives rise to the trend of co-authorships or celebrities who acknowledge and give credit to the writer of the book by including their name in the author byline. (The word “ghostwriter” signifies that the actual writer is not disclosed—both the author and the writer agree to keep the fact that a ghostwriter was used a secret.) The use of a ghostwriter or acknowledged “co-author” is common among celebrities and professionals, although we’ve currently seen that this relationship can present problems. Recently, this type of partnership went awry with Donald Trump, who shared the author byline and 50% of the publishing advance with his writer. If Donald had used a ghostwriter who signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), the ghostwriter could not legally say they wrote the book, as they cannot disclose their client list (which is tough when prospects ask for references). The co-author, who basically wrote the book, eventually came public with his opinion of Trump. In this case, having a co-author bit Trump in the butt; because he put the name of the co-author on the book, the co-author could publicly disclose details about the partnership.
- Your Voice Counts. Your book should always be in your own voice, whether you write it yourself or use a ghostwriter or co-author. A good ghostwriter who takes time to know an author well can adapt his or her voice. However, oftentimes, ghostwritten books lack the author’s voice and style. Yes, it’s easier to delegate the task of writing a book to a professional writer, but you take the risk of your book sounding generic or cold, lacking your personality. Even ghostwriters who draw six-figure paydays really need to interview the author of the book with voice recordings. But there are some who will write a book from their point of view, either using their style and personality or removing all personality and style from their work. Because your book bears your name, it’s important that your readers know you and can connect with you—that’s accomplished with the expression of your unique style and voice.
- Instead of a Ghostwriter, use a Book Doctor or Developmental Editor. You might not think you’re a writer, but if you can tell a story, I assure you that you can write a book. Many people are better speakers than writers. Some prefer the process of dictating their content, thoughts, or ideas and having it transcribed, as we do in the Bestseller in a Weekend program. Maybe you’ve even written 100 pages, but know that your book needs some work, some polish, and some organization. Removing a ghostwriter from the process doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. You can hire a book doctor or a developmental editor, who will retain your voice and make sure your book gels and is professional. This is one of the processes we use in The Book Funnel.
- Makes you a better writer and leader. My client Michael Strasner, author of Living on the Skinny Branches: 5 Tools to Creating Power, Freedom, and a Life Worth Living, wrote his own book not only to make him a better writer, but also a better leader. He knew the trials and tests of writing while running a business and being a father would stretch him into new ways of being. For Michael, writing a book became a personal challenge, and a way to get uncomfortable, because “life begins outside of your comfort zone.” Writing a book provided him with the discipline to grow as a person, and the fine details helped him advance his writing skills. He also created a team of people who reviewed and edited the book, so the entire process supported personal growth, clarity, and relationships. The same goes for my client, leadership and executive coach, Dr. Tracy Tomasky. For Tracy, writing her own book, The Conscious And Courageous Leader: Developing Your Authentic Voice to Lead and Inspire, encouraged her to be courageous and continually push the boundaries of her comfort zone.
- Practice makes perfect. Almost everything is difficult the first time you attempt it. But as in most things, once you do it once, it’s easier the second and third time. The same is true with writing a book. It’s a learning process. But once you write your first book, you’ll find it easier and faster the second and third time. As a coach, I encourage you to dive into the process—you’ll be sure to learn a lot. It will open up opportunities for growth and change, while you build expertise in the publishing industry. As they say, life starts when you get uncomfortable. Writing a book may feel uncomfortable, but imagine how much the process will open up your life as it expands your skillsets, knowledge, and credibility.
So now go and write your book. If you need support, The Book Funnel uses your unique voice to create a book that conveys your message. You can write a book without writing a word. All it takes are some phone interviews where your voice and thoughts are captured, transcribed, and then professionally edited to create a polished and publishable manuscript. It’s the funnel that transfers your message into a bestselling book in less time and with less effort than you’ll believe.