Memoirs | Novels | Short-Form Materials | Business Books
An average ghostwriter will write you an average book. A great ghostwriter will write you a great book, guide you into a publishing path, and help you understand what comes next in the life of your book. With a knowledgeable, experienced writer and mentor at your side, this can be a fun and rewarding adventure.
From Bare Idea to Beautiful Book: Bringing Your Vision to Life with a Ghostwriter is easier than you think.
You want to write a book; otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. You have to leave your life story for your grandkids and their kids. You’re driven to share your expertise with the people who would most benefit. You’ve got a killer idea for a novel that you’re just dying to put between two book covers. And I’ve got good news for you. At this very moment, you’re just a few steps away from being a published author—with the writing, guidance, and developmental expertise of a topflight ghostwriter.
One day (two to six months from now, depending on the kind of book we’re writing), you’ll have the completed manuscript in your hands. It will be impactful, beautifully written, highly polished, and carefully edited. It will convey exactly the message or story you want it to. But how do we get there? Actually, for the client, it’s the simplest thing in the world.
Tom transformed my screenplay into a novel. Two things impressed me deeply about him. First was the enthusiasm and depth of interest with which he embraced my story. Second was the fact that he’s an all around writer—great with character, dialogue, plot and prose. Wonderful to work with. —Anonymous (novel ghostwriting)
Step One: We start with the development of material by the two creators of the book—the author (that’s you) and the writer (yours truly). You tell me your ideas. If you’re geographically close to me, we can meet in person, but this step is usually done in a series of phone interviews. You’re also more than welcome to send me handwritten notes, an outline, a rough draft, recordings you made in the dead of night when everyone else was asleep. You convey what you want to say in the book, and I ask clarifying and amplifying questions.
In fact, in this step, I ask a lot of questions. The ghostwriter is, in one sense, an intermediary between the author and the reader. Which means, I ask the questions (even stupid questions) any reader might have. That’s how we make the book clear enough that the reader won’t have questions. (Well, in the case of a mystery novel, there’s always that one burning question we want the reader to have: Whodunit?)
We’re all human. Memoirists can overlook the fact that two dots in their story need to be connected in some way. Aspiring novelists with detailed fictional worlds in their heads forget to put some of those details on the page. Experts sometimes overlook the fact that they need to translate their esoterica into concise, easy-to-understand prose. But don’t worry; my goal is not to dumb you down, alter your life story, or wrest your beautifully imagined fictional world away from you. I am the right hand—the writing hand. You are the author—the executive of this book writing enterprise. Your book will be yours.
Development usually goes very quickly, and my schedule during this phase is extremely flexible because I know yours may not be.
Tom’s expertise has been invaluable in shaping my novellas and short stories. I have been extremely impressed by the interest he has shown in my work. His enthusiasm and attention to detail are fantastic. —E. G. Hallowell, Director General of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation and author of No Place Called Freetown (developmental edit)
Step Two: I write an outline of your book. Don’t worry; this isn’t one of those things you did in high school with the big and little roman numerals. In my profession, what we call a book outline is a chapter-by-chapter summary written in paragraph form. It’s an easy-to-read narrative with whole sentences and usually captures each chapter in a third to a half a page. I submit the outline for your approval. We discuss any changes you may want in the organization and any inaccuracies you might see in the way I’ve represented your chapters. Only when you’re satisfied do we have a working outline.
Step Three: Now I get to do what I do best. I write. Depending on the length and type of book, I’ll deliver a first draft in three to twelve weeks. Yes, I’ll show off. I’ll give you some beautiful prose. I’ll light up your world. However, even Stephen King’s first drafts are imperfect.
I had the pleasure of working with Tom Wallace as my editor. We worked on [my manuscript] for several months. I was impressed with his expertise and how detail-oriented he is. Tom is not only a skilled writer/editor; he also easily took the perspective of a conscious and knowledgeable reader to provide very valuable comments and feedback. He went even further, providing constant encouragement and his honest opinion about all aspects of my writing: exactly what I was looking for. Tom was always very generous with his time and promptly answered all my questions. —Silvia Casabianca, PhD, author of Heartminded: Conscious Evolution from Fear to Solidarity (developmental edit)
Step Four: Now I need your feedback. Did I get anything wrong? Did I make anything sloppy? Did I completely miss the point in the story about the cat who could do long division?
I take all of your immensely valuable feedback. We may disagree on a point or two, but I will never push back out of capriciousness or pride. If I feel a particular approach will better serve your readers, I’ll explain my reasoning. Ultimately, you have the final say.
Step Five: I write the second draft, incorporating all your feedback. And this draft is the real deal. This is everything you want to say in clear, strong, persuasive, artful prose.
I was fortunate to find Tom when I was seeking editorial input for the second edition of my e-book, Seven Circles. The first edition was sadly outdated and hadn’t benefited from the kind of editing that Tom so aptly provided. His skills at the various levels of editing—ranging from semantics, punctuation, formatting, and grammar to the higher elevation of editing to enhance reader comprehension—made this edition a far superior work than I had envisioned. Tom offered highly professional, timely services, and he was responsive to me at every turn. He is a great value, and I highly recommend him for anyone who is seeking a seasoned and sensitive editor. Ernie Hubbard, author of Seven Circles (developmental edit)
Step Six: You’ll look over the second draft. Having been over the first draft together, by the time we get to this step, we’ll already have made the major revisions, but I’ll attend to any additional tweaks you may want. Even left to my own devises, I’ll find a better word to put here, a more eloquent turn of phrase to include there. But neither of us will be the last to look at your manuscript before it leaves the nest.
Step Seven: Though I’ve edited hundreds of books in my career, I never edit my own writing. If I didn’t know the value of a fresh set of eyes, I wouldn’t be good at my job. On the other hand, I know from experience that good editors are hard to find. So rather than have you scour the internet for one who can artfully address what we’ve created, I’ll engage the services of a talented editor. Having been in this business as long as I have, I know a few of those. I’ll let you approve the selection, but the payment for his or her services is included in the total project price. It won’t cost you anything extra. I take this step very seriously because I’ve seen many fledgling writers end up with terrible freelance edits. So I pay for the best.
Tom Wallace is a versatile writer who’s able to adapt his tone to any project, from formal to conversational to humorous. He moves through the learning curve quickly and smoothly. I’ve never returned an assignment to him for any reason. —Paul Nutcher, Public Relations Manager, PRB Design Studio, Orlando, FL.
Next steps: A few of my clients have had very clear and realistic ideas about how they’re going to proceed after completion of the manuscript. But for most, if I simply delivered the manuscript with an arrivederci, they’d be a little lost. So I’ll help you understand the differences between traditional publishing (Simon and Schuster, et. al.) and self-publishing (these days, just as viable as the traditional route for most authors). And I can help you choose the best path for you. We can discuss book launches, reviews, and book marketing in general. In fact, I’ll answer any questions you might have about what to do with your book next. When you come out of a ghostwriting process with me, I want you to be successful.
Since ghostwriting jobs vary a great deal in complexity, one price does not fit all. Novels, memoirs, and short business books start at $20,000. Payment is made during the course of the job, rather than in royalty splits down the line.
To begin a job, I take a 20 percent deposit, which allows me to carve out exclusive time for you on my calendar. In other words, I don’t put another ghostwriting job on my calendar until yours is complete. I take milestone payments along the way, and the final payment is due upon delivery of the completed and edited manuscript.