Why do entrepreneurs hire ghostwriters?

Successful entrepreneurs are, by nature, go getters. They see an opportunity and go for it. They’ve got a range of skills too, because founding a high growth business always presents a challenge. If entrepreneurs have all this talent though, why do they need to hire a ghostwriter? Surely they are best-placed to tell their own story?

The primary reason entrepreneurs put their story in the hands of a ghostwriter is because they simply don’t have the time to record it themselves. If you are working an 80-hour (plus) week transforming a business sector, this doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for book writing. It takes time to write a good book too. I’m an experienced writer, with more than 50-books under my belt and yet it still can take me up to six months to complete one. I’m planning, writing and editing full time too, not just when I can squeeze in a few hundred words. It would be ludicrous to suggest that any entrepreneur takes a six months sabbatical to write their story. Where is the value in that? They are much better off focusing on the day job.

The assumption that just because an entrepreneur has transformed their industry and built an extraordinary business it therefore follows that they can easily write a brilliant book is a little linear too. These undoubted skills don’t automatically translate into a talent as an author who is able to tell a compelling and readable tale. And, even if an entrepreneur does write well, they may be just too close to their story. A ghost’s skill is to be able to stand back, look at all the elements of a narrative and to structure it in a way to grip the reader. That’s not always easy to do when you have lived through every moment. There is a tendency to hold on a little too tightly to elements of the experience which might have profoundly impacted the entrepreneur, yet might not necessarily resonate so deeply with a reader. A ghostwriter will also take a broader perspective too, using data and research to back important points. This is an essential element to making a book balanced and informative, rather than overly (and off-puttingly) promotional to the entrepreneur whose name is on the cover.

Something a lot of entrepreneurs don’t necessarily realise is that they make things look too easy. Sure, they’ve worked all the hours and overcome all the challenges, but they also instinctively know how to quickly adapt, anticipate and fill a demand. They are used to making things happen. Ask them to describe how they did it though and that not quite so easy. When everything comes naturally, it is not that simple to articulate, or they may gloss over elements of the story because it didn’t feel like a big deal at the time, even though to most people it would be. Again, a ghost can help to unravel the true story.

Employing a professional ghost is a guarantee that the book will be completed too. I have worked with many entrepreneurs that briefly juggled with trying to write their own books while also running their business. Surprisingly enough, the book took a back seat every time a new challenge came up. Result: the book never developed past a few pages which is why I received a phone call inquiring about my ghostwriting services. If you are wondering how much time an author (that’s the entrepreneur) needs to devote to telling their story to a ghost, they’d need to allow no more than 30 hours for interviews, spaced over a series of days. That’s a fraction of the time required to write a book from scratch.

Something else that an experienced ghost brings to the party is, well, experience. If an entrepreneur is using a book to reinforce their brand, they need it to stand out from all the other business books in the physical and online bookshops. The business book market is a crowded one, and, whatever the profession, there are many books that cover it, all jostling for position. There is little value in an entrepreneur joining the clamour and shouting largely the same thing when telling their story. They need to present a different type of narrative. This is where ghosts come into their own. Through research and a carefully structured interview process, they will uncover what is unique about an individual entrepreneur. They’ll take what the entrepreneur knows, together with their achievements, and present it in a completely new and highly readable way. A ghost will filter all the elements of the story through the angle that has been agreed, positioning the entrepreneur as the absolute leader in their field. No need to read all those other books piling up on the bookshelves: this is the definitive guide. After that, no other entrepreneur will be able to say they created that way of doing things. This entrepreneur did it and they wrote the book.

Why doesn’t an entrepreneur wait until they retire and can spend a productive and enjoyable year writing their ‘how I did it’ memoirs? Apart from anything else, wouldn’t a nice trip down memory lane round off their achievements? That is one way of looking at it, yes. The other way to view it is: the time to write this book is when an entrepreneur is in the thick of it, building their transformative business. A well written book is a powerful way to establish an entrepreneur’s position at the forefront of their industry and build up their personal and business branding.

Some entrepreneurs might find it tough to delegate such an important task as telling their story. The nature of entrepreneurialism is that the person in question would have conquered multiple roles: they’ll have pitched to investors, potential employees and customers and assumed a range of positions in their company to make sure things happen. Writing a book is just another in a long line in challenges, right? It can be: but ultimately an entrepreneur is the absolute expert in their field and so is a ghostwriter. To get the best possible book, it makes perfect sense to match the two disciplines.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of working with a ghostwriter, or would like to discuss your book with me, please feel free to drop me an email here: teenalyons@professionalghost.org