I just shifted my thinking on something *major* regarding book collaboration.
Before this week, I held pretty tightly to the idea that a successful author/ghostwriting relationship required...wait for it...
I was so sure that in order for collaborative book writing to work well, the two people involved needed to have a pretty substantial and detailed plan ahead of time. And stick to it, goldarn it!
Enter my current client.
He is awesome.
Working with him has been a joy.
Sure, I started our work together using my old thinking. I tried to corral us and the material we were discussing into an outline, but it wasn't really happening, so I just decided to trust and keep moving forward. I spent my time getting to know this person and figuring out what themes were emerging from our work naturally.
We talked once per week as is my process, and about six to eight weeks in, I marshalled our material into a structure.
This client was like, "Sure, okay. You do you."
But that structure was not really working, and I knew it. For once, I didn't worry about it because this client is so cool and nice, and I knew we would get it figured out.
Again, I decided to trust the process.
Book writing is playing the long game...not expecting results in weeks but being ready to think more in terms of months.
My client made doing so easy, because he is relaxed, generous, and positive. Confident in his own story and ideas and likewise confident in my skills and dedication to the work.
This week, while this client was adding detail and changes to our shared Google Doc manuscript, he offered a new structure. By now, we have much more material, so the guiding framework of the manuscript became really obvious.
He didn't even really know he had completely shaken up the outline, as it were, but I saw it right away and felt relief and elation.
There it was.
I did some surgery to rearrange the content we'd created and...drumroll, please...
A BOOK APPEARED.
We have a tight manuscript that totally works and makes sense.
I'm sure you can see the thesis statement of this post.
Ghostwriters and clients don't so much need a strict outline. (Although if you have one already, please call me.)
What they do need is trust and time.
Trust in each other.
Trust that they'll get there. Together.
Trust that both parties care...and that the result of their combined efforts will be excellent.
Trust that the process doesn't have to be difficult or forced. In fact, it shouldn't be. If it is, the resulting work will NOT hit the target for the reader.
From now on, I'm going to be a lot more relaxed about my job.
And the result of that decision is going to be wonderful for the books that emerge.
Readers can feel our energy. They really can.
One reason this relationship is working so well is that this client's book is my one and only project right now. I have enough mental capacity to expand and enter into a calm state of flow with it.
After a very busy 2021, I decided to slow things down in 2022. My motto became "less, but better." Instead of three or four client projects at a time, I vowed to only have a roster of one or two.
It's been wonderful. A necessary and correct change to my business.
Our society tends toward, "more, more, more" thinking. But I believe there is an important place and time for focus and quality.
I am a premium ghostwriter.
How much does a premium ghostwriter cost, exactly? Well, I am transparent about the fact that I charge $1/word. And a full-length book is 60,000 words. Sure, you can find ghostwriters who are much less expensive. But they cannot offer the expertise or the knowledge that I bring to the table.
If you want a true professional for your book, you want a premium ghostwriter. Don't settle for less.