One of the most common mistakes I run into, both as an editor and as a ghostwriter, is when the author wants to write too much. They know all the ins and outs and exceptions and nuances about their subject, and they try to cram it all into one book. This is not only unnecessary; it makes for a bad book. The readers don’t need to know everything the author knows – only what applies to them, and what they care about. If you try to cram too much in, your important points will get lost.
As a ghostwriter, it is my job to help my client find the right focus for their book. I look for the story arc, the common themes running through the story, the primary hook for the readers, and why anyone would want to read this author’s ideas. This is not that easy, because often my clients cannot answer these questions directly.
I once had a client who I met at a book fair, where I had a table promoting my ghostwriting services. He came up to me and said, “Oh, I want to write a book – I need to talk to you.” I said, “Great – what do you want to write a book about?” And he says, “I don’t know.”
Now there was a challenge. He just felt that he had a book inside him somewhere, but he’d never written anything, or thought much about what he wanted in his book, until that moment. You meet a lot of “tire-kickers” at book fairs, but this guy was serious. He actually hired me to help him find out what his book was about. I charged him a consulting fee to spend some hours talking about why he wanted to write a book, what his passions were, who he wanted to reach, and so on, and I recorded the conversations. Eventually a focus for the book did emerge, and he then hired me to ghostwrite it for him.
The book was about psychic hunches and how to follow them through.
If you’d like to know more about ghostwriting, I’m giving a FREE teleclass titled “Why Do People Hire Ghostwriters – or Why they Should” on August 5th, 4pm PST/7 pm EST. For more information and to register, go to http://www.primary-sources.com/classes.html.