Ghostwriting a Novel is like Planting a Tree

Let’s say you have a wonderful idea for a novel. Let’s say you don’t have the time or experience necessary to bring this novel to life. How then do you find exactly the right ghostwriter or professional editor to collaborate on such an important venture?
I like to think of it as choosing the right tree for exactly the right spot in your yard. It’s a critical decision. A pear tree needs lots of sun and plenty of breathing room, for example. A sunrise maple is probably a better choice than a sugar maple for a backyard in the city.


When you’re thinking about selecting a writing partner, the more you have a handle on the plot of your story, the more you’ll be able to communicate this to the ghostwriter of your choice.

A Drop of Rain – collaboration with Heather Smith callahan and Mark Graham Communications

The better developed your cast of characters, the more memorable you and your team will be able to make them, though you also want a collaborator who stimulates your imagination when it comes to both plot and characters. That’s what a good team does. The more open you are to the voice, tone, and style of your book, the better, however, the person you are working with also has to have an open mind and respect your viewpoint.
A tree is a personal thing. You will be living with it in your backyard for many years, assuming you give it the care it deserves.
Your book is equally, if not more, personal. It will take anywhere from six months to two years to complete, and you want a partnership with your ghostwriter that thrives on the interaction this process will take.

Consider these four key elements when you’re thinking about the novel you want to author:

• Creating a storyline that fits the genre you have chosen and the audience you are targeting.
• Developing characters that fit your genre and that your audience is excited to read about.
• Making certain that the story has exactly the right flow and pacing.
• Writing dialogue that fits your characters and sounds authentic.

Many novels recently are being written in tandem with a ghost writer, including many best-selling novels. Don’t be shy about exploring this relationship. Talk to the best people in the industry. You want someone who not only has the writing and editing skills necessary to produce a stellar novel, but also someone who shares the passion that you have for your story. It is about creating a working relationship with that is enjoyable, creative, and interactive.


When you plant a tree, it needs to be nurtured. It needs to be watered and trimmed and given plenty of love. Not unlike your novel.

What’s most important is putting the tree in the ground. What’s most important for your novel is diving into it headfirst and choosing a writing partner who as the skills and passion to do the same. Set goals. Stay involved. Pretty soon you will have a full-grown tree and a thing of beauty.