When you take on a ghostwriter and you commence the ghostwriting process, you need to be confident you are going to be working with someone that you like, someone whose work you respect, someone who you can trust. You’re going to be spending quite a lot of time with this person over a period of months and if you are preparing a memoir, you may need to delve into intimate matters. But whether it is such a book or it’s a less personal piece of fiction or business advice, the three adages remain: like, trust and respect.

For that reason, take your time in making your decision. Look at other options if they are available to you, consider your budget, reflect on the end book you have in mind and what you will need to achieve to realise it. There are plenty of cheaper ghostwriting services available if you do a quick Google search, and we would never deter anyone from trying them. But to create the book that means a great deal to you, we believe that you need to invest time and attention and skill.

Once you have made your decision, the first step is to agree a ghostwriting contract. We always work to a standard contract which sets out very clearly rights and responsibilities on both sides. It is an important document for you, because it ensures your ownership of the intellectual property of the words that are written and it guarantees you confidentiality. The contract also sets out clearly what can be expected in terms of timetable, revisions to draft text, payment terms and so on. Clarity provides reassurance for both of us.

We are members of this organisation:

The Society of Authors protects authors and those in the ghostwriting process.
The Society of Authors

They are the most prestigious writer’s association in the UK and we abide by their guidance and recommendations. In the unlikely event of any dispute (which hasn’t happened yet) we’d recommend their abritration team to sort things out.

Once the contract is agreed, then the work begins. How long should you expect it to take? Obviously that’s a difficult question: the work you may be considering may have an urgent deadline, or it may be very short. But on the whole, a standard length book is likely to take around six months to write with you, which would include a couple of revision stages based on your amendments and corrections.

The process of writing it involves gathering information from you, which is usually done via face-to-face meetings or via Zoom. These are recorded and all recordings made available to you. The meetings are both to find out information but they are also a means by which we can come to a clear understanding of what you really want and what you really don’t want: tone, style, feeling, all these issues need to be teased out at the early stages so that the book that is written is really your voice.

The book is then usually written in sections, with each section passed to you for comment and approval until the whole text is complete. Once the final draft is completed, we usually allow in the contract for a couple more revision stages, to give you time to share the text with your own trusted advisors and to come back with amendments and revisions.

The final text is then handed over to you, the contract is complete and you retain 100% intellectual property ownership of the text, together with the security of knowing that your ghostwriter has agreed complete confidentiality with you.

Your next step is likely to involve publishing, and we discuss that here.

There is also an essay by Simon published in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Idler magazine which you can read here: