The Ghostwriting Process

puzzledStep 1: Let’s meet

We meet by phone, or in person, to discuss your project. If we are comfortable with each other we set up a second meeting to explore your idea in more detail.  Both consultations are free with no obligation to continue.

If we are going to spend a lot of time together we had better be at ease in each other’s company.

Step 2: Defining your story

Once we agree to work together, interviews are next. These conversations give shape to  the nature and scope of your book and the tone or voice you want to project. The meetings are for an hour or so.  I will ask why you want to write the book and why now?  Who do you think will read your book and what do you want them to learn from it?

As the interviews continue they elicit the details that form the main themes of your story.  The discussions define where the book should start, what details are likely to interest readers and how the book should be structured.

These main points will be summarized for you in a document.

The themes in this summary are further subdivided to create chapters which will later  explore the themes in detail. The chapters are further sub divided with the details that tell tell your story with a narrative flow that is compelling and entertaining.

These steps can involve 30 or more hours of taped interviews and may involve more research. For my latest book, Unstoppable Force,  this second step involved 40 interviews with the principal and third parties.

Step 3: Writing  your book

The interviews are  taped for two reasons. One is to ensure accuracy. The other is because the auditory  record captures emotions, emphasis, ways of speaking and other subtleties that add texture to your story. It helps create your unique voice and message.

Editing has already begun through decisions about what to include and what to leave out in the chapters. We structure the material to create a logical order for the telling of your tale. This includes the transitions of material from one theme to the next. The big idea, or central theme is like a a river.  The stories, anecdotes and insights are tributaries flowing into the river and enriching it with the details as it flows towards its conclusion.

Each chapter is submitted for review and changes made as  needed.   The changes can be to correct errors of fact, or more subtle changes to adjust nuances and tone.

Step 4: Editing & publishing your book

When the manuscript is finished and agreed upon, we proceed to editing, which comprises everything from substantive (big-picture structural and stylistic) editing to line editing (polishing language) to copy editing (correcting grammar, spelling, and ensuring consistency) and proofreading once the book has been laid out (to ensure there are no lingering mistakes and corrections have been incorporated).

I work with the former editor of a large Canadian publishing company. Karen Milner has enjoyed a love of language and good stories since childhood; for the past thirty years she has brought that passion to her profession as an editor, and now as an independent publisher.

My editor can help with the design, layout and printing of books as well as publishing e-books.

The timeline for a full length book including interviews,  research, writing and editing is a minimum of six months.