Who are you again?
My personal website includes other information about me as an author that might help you make your decision.
Isn’t it cheating to hire a ghost writer to do your writing?
No more than hiring a barrister to act on your behalf in court. Let everyone play to their strengths. It would be unethical if, say, I was writing your essays for you – but I wouldn’t do that if you asked me and you're not going to, are you?
Don’t you mind writing something and not getting acknowledged?
No, my ego was surgically removed ages ago. More seriously: whether I’m acknowledged or not is up to you. I won’t complain whether you proudly put me on the title page alongside your name, tuck a quiet ‘with thanks to …’ somewhere between the covers, or pretend I don’t exist at all.
Who owns the copyright in what you write on my behalf?
You do, lock, stock and barrel – unless you want to share it. This will be in our agreement.
Can I see some examples of what you’ve done?
I’ll be glad to provide samples of material that’s been professionally published under my own name. An unfortunate effect of being a ghostwriter is that you often don’t officially exist and therefore, no, I can’t provide ghostwritten samples as that will give the game away. I can however provide references from happy customers, and / or their editors and agents. If it’s any help, I will afford you the same level of discretion.
How long will it take?
This is one of those piece of string questions. Once all the research has been done, all queries answered and outline finalised – in other words, nothing else to do except write the thing – then turning in the first draft will probably take 2-3 months. How long it takes to get to that stage in the first place is another matter.
You will have paid me already for turning in the completed manuscript. That might have been a flat fee, or we might have worked out a way of splitting the proceeds of publication, for example treating my fee as an advance against royalties. All kinds of things are possible and we will have worked this all out before I started writing.
Can you guarantee publication with a professional publisher, or acceptance by an agent?
No, because no one can, and you shouldn't believe anyone who tells you otherwise. I can however help you turn in something according to a publisher’s or an agent’s stated submission requirements. After that it’s up to them. There are no certainties.
Can you help me self-publish?
I can advise, if that’s the way you want to go, and help prepare the electronic files. Actually doing it will be up to you.
Your fees are a bit steep …
I can negotiate, but my fees are the minimum recommended by the National Union of Journalists and endorsed by the Society of Authors. People do this for a living and I’m not going to undercut them.
I have quite extreme views. Can you cope with that?
As long as you don’t want me to write anything that is illegal under UK law. Ultimately, if I just can’t stomach what you have to say then I will politely turn you down with no hard feelings, and refund any money that has changed hands.
Can you keep a secret?
The point of this is that I’m helping you tell people things. However, our agreement will include a guarantee of confidentiality for anything that comes out during our consultation which you would rather not be made public. This will not cover an admission of anything illegal.
How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
For a start, there will be a paper trail of correspondence between us showing that you came up with the idea first.
And second, even though many authors live in terror of this scenario, it’s a lot rarer than they imagine. This article here should reassure you.