January 23, 2017 admin

Behind the cover? Ghostwriting for success

What is ghostwriting?

The term ‘ghostwriting’ might conjure imagery of some dark ethereal being haunting the living by wielding a pen. But in reality, a text is ‘ghostwritten’ when someone besides the named author wrote it. It could be a novel, an autobiography, lyrics, a script or just about anything else you can put down on paper or in pixels. Simple!

Read What is Ghostwriting? for more information.

As a process, it can be more complicated. At Story Terrace, ghostwriters are meticulously matched with customers to create life stories. Story Terrace Managing Editor Alice Nightingale says, ‘We pride ourselves on creating a great fit between ghostwriter and storyteller, so a rapport is forged and the writer can produce the life story the storyteller has always wanted.’

Why use a ghostwriter to write a life story?

Having someone else write your life story might seem an alien concept. If the story is yours, why not write it down yourself? Put simply, this kind of collaboration can help you to get the most out of your memories, and make writing your own life story easier than you think:

First, ghostwriters help to organise thoughts. Attempting to collate your life into one comprehensive book can be a tricky task. Life is full of stories and moments, and working with a ghostwriter can help to sift through them all so that the finished product is the story you want to tell.

Teresa Samuels, a Story Terrace customer, said of her ghostwriter:

‘Sara really took the time to help me find the structure in the story of my life’.

Moreover, having an outsider’s perspective can help you to gain new insight into your life, and tease out the themes underlying your experiences. It is always much harder to create a good end product if you are too close to the story. As the American philosopher and poet Henry David Thoreau once remarked, “It takes two to speak the truth – one to speak and another to hear”.

Most importantly, even if you are a good writer, writing a book is a huge challenge, writing a biography even more so. From putting together all the facts, to knowing how to edit, design and get a book printed, you may want to avoid struggling through the task of attempting to write your own life story if you lack the right experience. There is the risk that beginners’ mistakes will hamper a project of great personal importance. Leaving it to the professionals can result in a more enjoyable process as well as the best possible product.

Successful ghostwriting in popular culture

Ghostwriting is much more common than people think and is used frequently by both those in and out of the public domain to achieve the best result possible. Here are some examples of best-selling works by ghost-writers:

  • Crime novelist James Patterson has put his name to well over 100 books. This is seemingly far more than it is humanly possible to write each year. His secret? He employs a team of 23 ‘co-authors’, who are generally responsible for the word-by-word writing of his novels. Patterson considers himself a ‘big picture man’. He creates the main plot and makes the major decisions but leaves the rest to his ‘best-seller factory’ – his ghostwriters.
  • When Enid Blyton passed away, some of her series were still unfinished. It fell to Pamela Cox to continue her Malory Towers and St Clare’s series, resulting in success for the ghostwriter herself.
  • Katie Price, AKA Jordan, has accumulated quite a fortune from her collection of 14 novels and her autobiographies. To achieve these successes, she (and her publisher) employed ghostwriter Rebecca Farnworth, to write them.
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, a seminal book in regards to the American Civil Rights movements, was in fact written by Alex Haley. This book is still considered important to date.