Regardless of what type of writer you are, you need a team of people that you can turn to for help and assistance.
If you’re one of those writers who believe you’re a prodigy who can do it all- I implore you to reconsider.
For one, I believe you are capable(if you are one of those people) of doing that, but it’s not cost-effective(in the long term) or an efficient thing to do to yourself mentally. You won’t last long ‘in the wild’ like that without some defenses set in place. The energy required to be a ghostwriter- with no outside help- will allow you to have one maybe two jobs a year. That’s if you’re a little above human that is. If that’s all you want then that’s a different story.
So, if you’re wanting to truly build yourself as a ghostwriter, as a full time profession, then straight from Day 1 of your career, I want you to start looking for people who you can add to your team.
Before entering writing, I started in business, so I’ve had this mentality without even knowing how important it was in my writing career. From the very beginning I was looking to see who wanted to edit my work, be an agent for me, or simply proofread my work. But if you’re not like me and are going right into freelance writing with no skills in building a business, then it’s a skill you must develop rather quickly after becoming confident enough with your writing to begin selling your services.
Granted, this doesn’t mean the first person you see, but it does mean give people chances and don’t ask too many questions. You may find the right person right away or it may take you a few people to find who you can officially add to your writing team. Just send them your work if they say yes and figure the rest out later. There will always be people you come across who aren’t the best, but you’ll never know if you don’t give them a chance.
Find people with similar interests and work ethic as you. Because ultimately, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your team and you don’t want someone who doesn’t know how to hold a simple conversation or who refuses to have a cup of coffee or lunch with you. In other words, being ‘all-business’ has it’s perks, but it can become frustrating if you don’t have a group of people on your team who you enjoy to hang around. You want people who you can be yourself around and hangout with ‘after-hours.’ Why? Well, depending on what project it is, sometimes ghostwriting gigs can last from 6-12 months or maybe even two years! Those moments are critical to building trust and you will be able to get to know your team in a way that will ultimately benefit each project you embark on going forward.
Here are 4 roles essential to fill on your team for your ghostwriting business…
This is listed first because in the beginning you just need someone willing to make sure your early works don’t get released and look like ‘trash.’ They will give you the honest opinion and required edits you need in order to release your work to the public with confidence. You don’t want to misspell a word or put a thousand unnecessary commas in any of your pieces. You’re editor will make sure that doesn’t happen.
2- Co-Writer/ Editor
This person is capable of filling your role if, God forbid, something happens to you. Even if you never have to call in sick, or something never happens to your family, you still need this person because they will help you navigate those projects that only another writer will understand how to get through. At the end of the day, “The show must go on.” And you can’t afford to tell your client, “Please, just give me another 3 months to complete this.” That shit doesn’t fly in this business and you’re going to be back looking for a part time job in no time if you ever that. No one cares at the end of the day. And as a ghostwriter, you shouldn’t ever think people do, because you’ve already committed to a life in the background. You are always second-third-forth etc.
This person is your ‘personal assassin.’ This is the person out there in the trenches trying to find the right publisher to get your work sold and out to the public in the best way possible. Without them you will have an extremely difficult time getting published. Not only do most publishers prefer to deal with agents, but you simply don’t have the time to go back and forth with publishing houses, when you’re still working on finishing the book/screenplay/play/article etc-that you’re working on.
4- Proofreader(1-3 if possible)
This person(s) simply is reading over your work to make sure- “they” the reader are flowing with the story and understanding every part of it. Sometimes they may send you something back that reads, “Chapter 3- I just don’t get it, do you even need this? I don’t know; maybe it’s just me, but I’d think about that and just re-writing it possibly. Please send me the next draft if you do one. – Stacy.”
Bonus- A Consultant
I listed this person because sometimes, you can get overwhelmed with work and a consultant will help you stay on track. I hired a consultant to have 1 phone call a week with me(at the beginning of the week) to just walk me through the best way to tackle my work-load for that week. It may work for you or it may not, but for me, this person has become an indispensable part of my team.
“When you are a team that does not connect, you will be a team that fails to win.” –Mike Smith
By- Tom Kubrak