There are many elements to consider when checking out a ghostwriting service, but how the two parties get along is paramount. Indeed, talk to ghostwriters about their relationship with named authors and vice versa and one word that comes up time and again is ‘chemistry’. When a ghost and an author sign up to work together on a book, it is not the start of a life-long relationship, but it is certainly a commitment to a fairly intense, intimate process. If it is mismatched, rocky or strained from the beginning, by the time both parties get close to 80,000 words or so, it will be like being at the tail-end of a failed marriage. Very messy.
Working at achieving a smooth collaboration is important for a wide range of reasons, over and above pure chemistry. It stands to reason that if either party can’t stand being in the same room as the other, the main author’s voice and personality is never destined to come across very well in the end result. Finding a good match is key to the success of any co-authored project.
Other key factors that any author should consider include:
Trust – Do they have complete faith that this writer really knows what they are doing? An author has to feel comfortable sharing their life with a ghost and be satisfied that their ghost can produce a book that truly reflects their story and is a compelling read too.
Fun – Is the ghost going to be a good person to work with? Again, it is not a lifetime commitment, but co-writers do need to spend a lot of time together, particularly in the early stages of collaboration. Wouldn’t it be much better if there were a few laughs along the way?
Experience – Most skilled writers can turn their hands to pretty much any subject, but it is helpful to delve into what they’ve done in the past. An author with a dramatic story that involves some sort of loss, might want to consider someone who has done misery memoirs in the past. If the author has had a very glamorous or well connected past, they may well wish to seek out a ghost who is familiar with all the names they will be dropping. Someone with a background as a successful captain of industry will need someone who is familiar with business to properly tell their story. (Check the Featured Work section, to see what Teena Lyons has worked on in the past).
Authors don’t always need to go for the ‘obvious’ ghost with an expertise in their particular area. Although the book will undoubtedly be technically brilliant, displaying a ghost’s detailed knowledge and understanding of the subject, it may not be as effective at engaging people outside the immediate sphere of interest. Sometimes a bit of a wild card and experimentation works well, particularly if the ghost and author hit it off well.
Any collaboration will inevitably involve a bit of a leap of faith, on both sides. However, if an author and a ghostwriter are careful to do their due diligence ahead of time, then the match will be good.