Make Writing Easier: Collaborate with an Editor or Ghostwriter
Writing can be daunting, especially if you’re unsure of your skill level or have never written something as long as a book. An editor or ghostwriter can provide support, accountability, and guidance through the publishing process.
Depending on how comfortable you are with the writing process, there are several options for moving forward. Hiring the right expert can make your book both faster to write and easier to read. If you have the expertise and the message but hesitate at the sight of a blank page, here are some ways editors can help.
Draft like the wind!
If you’re comfortable writing and can get your ideas down fairly quickly, take a few weeks and jot down everything you want to say in your book. The structure doesn’t matter so much at this point; what’s important is getting your message on paper (or hard drive).
After you have a rough draft, an editor can walk you through what’s called a developmental edit. The editor will help you arrange your ideas into cohesive chapters, with smoothly flowing ideas and clear takeaways for your reader. Collaborating early will help you avoid any structural problems, ensuring that you address your reader’s pain points clearly.
Put me in, coach.
If you have a few hours a week to write but don’t know how to structure your time—or even where to begin—an editor can direct you through the writing process. This is often called writing coaching or project development (PD).
An editor can help you refine your approach by discussing your goals for the book and your intended message and then helping you create a detailed outline. If your outline is explicit enough, you can plan out what you want to say in each chapter—and possibly each paragraph in each section of each chapter—before you even begin writing. Then you fill in the blanks to complete your manuscript.
During a PD, your editor will give you manageable writing assignments and will review everything you write to ensure that it stays on topic, clearly expresses your point, and reads well.
I ain’t afraid of no ghost!
When you simply don’t have the time to write or haven’t written something so long before, your best option may be to hire someone to do it for you. A ghostwriter can mold your ideas into a compelling narrative (yes, even nonfiction books need a narrative). They’ll handle the mechanics of flow and clarity, letting you focus on your business or the day-filling ephemera of life.
Like a PD, ghostwriting starts with discussing your ideas. You’ll collaborate with your ghost to determine your message, your audience, and even the tone and voice you want to convey. You’ll review the book as it progresses, making sure you and the ghostwriter are still on the same page—pun intended—and the book is shaping up as you’d hoped.
You might be asking But doesn’t hiring a writer mean it’s not my book anymore? Think of it like hiring a CPA to do your taxes: Sure, you could do them yourself, but hiring a professional doesn’t make those taxes any less yours. Your expert will better handle any complications that arise, and you’ll likely have the job done more efficiently and much more quickly than if you’d done the work yourself.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Whether you’re too busy or haven’t honed your writing skills to your own satisfaction, an editor or ghostwriter can help you express your message. It’s your book, but writing it doesn’t have to be your burden.
Would you like to discuss the editing or ghostwriting options for your book project? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our submissions page.
Want to see more posts like this? Follow along as our editors trace the manuscript's journey in The Mark Up.