What does a ghostwriter do?
Ghostwriting is simply the art of putting someone else's story into the most relevant and readable format, fit for public consumption. Many people prefer to work with an expert when compiling their life story. Most famous or prominent people employ ghostwriters whether it is for their press releases or their life story.
Ghostwriters can also be referred to as co-writers. As part of the title, my job is to interview and research details of my subject's life - or specific experience - absorbing their style and mannerisms and expressing their story accordingly.
It saves the subject time in learning how to construct a book themselves, and also gives them the required distance and perspective so that all aspects are covered in appropriate detail.
I have a great story – will you write my book with me?
Of course you probably do have a great story. Everyone has a story in them, maybe you have hundreds of good stories. Whether your story, or stories, will make a good book is ultimately quite subjective. As a ghostwriter and experienced author I can give you my opinion on whether your idea or experience is something I can personally put into a feasible book format.
Ideally you will be able to summarise your story/request in a few sentences. I write between two and three books per year depending on my schedule.
Will my book be an autobiography or biography?
I can approach your work in the first or third person; it is entirely up to you. You can either present your work as written by yourself, or with myself as co-writer. I can work with total confidentiality, or I can share the work we are doing on my website and beyond.
Are you based in the UK?
I am presently based in Cyprus. However, if you have the means to fund your work then my location will not be a barrier. I regularly travel to the UK and US.
Clients have worked with me when living abroad and I have travelled at their convenience.
The initial meetings and interviews will be in person, after this further notes and conversations/amendments are often completed via email.
How long should my book be and how long will it take to complete?
Obviously, the length of your book is crucial to how long it will take to research and write. Researching will include interviews as well as gleaning any other pertinent information to make sure the finished text is completely factual and accurate.
Once we have discussed your requirements I can give a suggestion as to the expected length of the work and therefore the time this might take.
As a rough guide:
A short story can be created for those on tighter budgets or who wish for a quick production, such as for a special anniversary or occasion.
A 30 page book might require 3-5 hours of interview or research time and will take somewhere in the region of 4-8 weeks from start to finish.
A 100 page book might require 5-10 hours of interview time and will take somewhere in the region of 10-14 weeks from start to finish.
A 200 page book might require 10-20 hours of interview or research time and will take somewhere in the region of 6 months from start to finish.
A 300 page book might require 20-30 hours of interview or research time and will take somewhere in the region of 8 months from start to finish.
A 500 page book might require 40 hours of interview or research time and will take somewhere in the region of one year from start to finish.
The interview process depends on the client and their preferences. We might work with an hour here or there, or it might be two weeks of interviewing daily 9-5. I am extremely flexible and will always find a way to accommodate the client.
I use a professional audio typist to assist in the production and speed of the work.
Will you work for free in advance for a high royalty payment?
As writing is my only source of income and I have a family to support, unfortunately I cannot ever agree to this arrangement.
It is often truly unfortunate from my perspective to have to explain this to clients. On the other hand, I am sure you will agree that few people will work months of 8-10 hour days for no payment, but merely on a promise!
Do we have a contract?
Yes, always. The contract protects both parties; the client is totally protected and guaranteed to receive the best work. I follow terms from the Society of Authors.
What is the procedure for making payment?
There are usually two options for larger projects, which the client chooses to their satisfaction:
1) The value of the agreement is split into two or three. One half, or one third of payment is made upon signature of the contract. The client then makes a payment upon delivery of a certain number of words until the contract and manuscript is fulfilled.
2) A deposit is made upon signature of contract (usually one third) and then monthly payments are made). For example, if the agreement is for the book to be completed within 10 months, after the deposit payment is made, the remaining balance is split into ten monthly payments.
For smaller projects, payment is usually made in two payments - one half in advance and one half upon delivery of half the contracted word count.
If you prefer, you can pay for the full value of the contract in advance.
Can I chat with you to tell you more?
This page is to save time by providing a lot of the information clients always need to know in advance. However, each person is different and an informal chat is always useful to establish what you are looking for and how the process might begin, as well as your budget. Your understanding of how you wish the book to be, as well as your budget, are of crucial importance.
Autobiography & Memoir
This is the most common starting point for most people I work with, who wish to write a book. As one of my favourite quotes states: "There is properly no history; only biography."
Ralph Waldo Emerson was certainly correct. When you consider all knowledge and experience is ultimately subjective, even books which do not come under the category of biography, are by nature creative and first person.
As a ghostwriter, I usually work in first person, which means I have been an Antarctic explorer, a master conman, an oligarch, a zoo owner, a Champion wrestler, a Champion tennis player (both male and female), one of the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted Fugitives, an elite world traveller, a National Lottery winner and a huge variety of entrepreneurs and celebrities. My gift is empathy!
Motivation, Personal Growth and Self-help
Motivation or Inspirational stories are a specialty and personal favourite. I am always on the lookout for a story that inspires whether it is from business or personal life.
Spirituality and Growth are also very familiar subjects. Naturally, self-help or self-improvement stories or 'How To' books are also a specialty.
My most recent work is an inspirational personal growth book with a renowned British self-help author. It is currently under a bidding war with five major publishers worldwide.
These are specialist areas, however, all subjects are possibilities. If you are in any doubt, just ask Paul.
Private family memoirs, or short autobiographical or biographical works also available. This short format book (up to 50 pages) works well for smaller budgets and print runs.
If you already have a completed manuscript, I offer a free overview of the manuscript to give you an indication of the changes that need to be made and an accurate quote – along with a timeframe – for my work to do this.
There are different levels of editing which are offered to suit your budget and requirements. For those who may not have a completed manuscript, additional writing is possible, along with an edit of the existing work.
Content and developmental editing, including rewriting
This is the most comprehensive service of editing work, usually for completed manuscripts which need a lot of work to bring them to publication standard.
It seems to be more common for me to work alongside existing authors who use both my rewriting and editing abilities. This is effectively ghostediting.
Copyediting and proofreading
For manuscripts which do not need too much structural correction, there will be amendments in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as incorrect usages, logic lapses, and continuity problems. I will also offer suggestions on overall structure, sequencing, and flow.
If your manuscript is complete and fully edited but you do not know where to start with attracting agents or publishers I offer a complete synopsis service. This includes preparing the summary and outline of the manuscript, as well as the best way to use the material to attract representation or publication. I will also contact appropriate agents and publishers on your behalf if required.
This includes ghostwriting or authoring a full manuscript, providing a comprehensive edit, and a final synopsis towards publication, unless the work is self-published.
For writing services, the minimum is twenty pence per word. This equates to £2,000 per 10,000 words.
However, certain projects can cost more depending on the nature of the collaboration.
Like any professional service, the more time spent and the more work required, the higher the fee.
Prices can vary from £5,000 for a private, family keepsake memoir to £75,000 for a full and complete service leading to a bestselling public release.
For editing, the minimum is fourteen pence per word.
For a free consultation and to discuss your project just ask Paul!
Some of the benefits that clients have enjoyed with ghostwritten works include:
* Exposure to the major commercial markets
* Private orders for major distribution of books and requests for speaking dates
* Contracts and business links worth far more than the cost of the book
* Connection with networks of readers around the world
* Generating ongoing passive sales revenues
© 2019 Paul Stenning