Career gurus advise freelancers to “niche down” and specialize, because there’s big money in specialization. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at salaries of healthcare specialists like plastic surgeons to generalists like primary care physicians. The same goes for writers. Writers who specialize in financial technology or blockchain command higher rates than those who are generalists.
I’m a generalist. In short, I know a little bit about a whole lot of stuff. Some of that comes from lived experience, some comes from knowledge acquired through researching myriad topics, and some comes from simply reading a variety of informative sources.
When it comes to ghostwriting books, another factor comes into play: desire. Or perhaps you might call it interest. A lot of people want to hire ghostwriters and are willing to pay a lot of money for a ghostwriter’s expertise. These are generally nonfiction projects for, by, and about high-powered business executives who wish to impart their insights and life journeys to others. These projects require extended interviews with the subjects, interviews with others, and intense focus.
If I were that kind of ghostwriter … but I’m not.
I prefer to ghostwrite fiction.
There’s a misconception that fiction requires no research. Actually, it does. Writing fiction requires a great deal of research to establish verisimilitude, that level of realism that serves as the base for plausibility. Research imparting a factual basis to what happens in the story is crucial to enabling the reader to suspend his or her disbelief.
Of course, realism isn’t the only factor that goes into making a story good. It involves the ability to create engaging dialogue, action, emotion, motive, and more. It requires an ability to develop characters with more dimensions than a paper doll. It requires knowing how to write primarily in active voice to make the verbs perform the heavy lifting.
Interviewing subjects to obtain their insights isn’t one of my better skills. To be candid, I don’t like prying and digging into someone’s recollections for insights. I prefer to simply hold a conversation. In fiction, it’s great to experience the characters revealing themselves through dialogue, action, and introspection. I flatter myself in thinking I do a good job at that.
Value doesn’t necessarily confer reduction to dollar value. I find value in the relationships I develop with my clients and in the quality of what I write for them. I won’t earn the six-figure salary that a big company’s CEO will pay to have his life story and lessons learned transformed into a motivational or inspirational tome, but I’ll do what I’m best at doing: writing stories.
That does, of course, lead into the question as to whether it’s wise to hire a ghostwriter to write your story. The main objection—beyond the financial implication—is that the ghostwriter won’t write your story exactly as you would. Of course not.
However, have you considered that the ghostwriter may very well write that story better than you could?
Just as a home cook can make a tasty meal, but not necessarily have the skill to serve as a chef in a fine restaurant, your writing skill may be adequate for business reports and not up to the challenge of writing a book that engages readers. When you want a nice meal, you cook it yourself. When you want a great meal, a chef cooks for you. The same goes for writing stories.
Let me be your chef de fiction. Let me write your story.
#henhousepublishing #ghostwriting #fictionwriting