Writing a Self-Help Book the Right Way

image of The Race for Good Credit book cover

The Race for Good Credit was written by Trent L. Pettus and Mark Graham Communications.

Yes, Self-Help books can help. They can change someone’s life, someone’s view of the world, or the way they present themselves to the world.  If you know something that can make a difference, writing a Self-Help book is a fantastic way to share it.  Here are a few thoughts as you get started.

  • Know your idea. What is the message you are delivering?  Can you break out your ideas into chapter headings?  This may sound simplistic, but you need to have a roadmap if you intend to write a book that’s somewhere between 100-200 pages.  On the flip side, don’t get so caught up in the details that you forget to put pen to paper and start writing.
  • Knowing your subject inside and out is important, but it is equally as important to have stories that illustrate your message. Fun stories, serious stories, unusual stories. The importance of the story is so your reader will have something that clearly illustrates your point, and then has that moment where she or he says, “Oh, I see how that works.”

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Ghostwriting and the Book Marketing Process

Fallen Medicine: A Nurse's Dark Journey Through Ptsd, Drug Abuse and Sexual Addiction

This fascinating story of a nurse suffering from PTSD was a collaboration between D. F. Thompson and Mark Graham Communications.

Let’s say you’ve enlisted the help of a special ghostwriter to assist in creating the book of your dreams.  The process does not end with a completed manuscript. In fact, it doesn’t end once you’ve had your book designed, printed, and upload as an ebook.

Now it’s time to get to work and thoroughly market what you’ve created.  Books don’t sell on their own.  They have to be effectively marketed.  So let’s talk about some key points.

  • Know your audience. Yes, of course you’ve thought of this while you were writing. Now you have to tailor your marketing to that audience. Old or young, male or female, educated or not.
  • Build a brand for your book and yourself as the author. This is very important and not as easy as you might think. Do your research in this area and then be certain your brand is one you are excited about and can readily support.

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The Seeds of Great Ghostwriting

No Return Ticket – this memoir was a collaboration between Andi Crockford and Mark Graham Communications

If you are someone searching for a special ghostwriter for your book project – be it a novel, memoir, biography, self-help book, or business book – you need to know the right questions to ask. Just as importantly, expect your ghostwriter to ask the right questions in return. These questions represent the seeds of great ghostwriting.

When you’re asking about someone’s credentials, you most assuredly want a ghostwriter who has written and published his or her own books and someone who has received a certain about of critical acclaim.  Why?  Because this speaks to the writer’s skills in creating a great story, delivering a strong message, and effectively hooking your audience.

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For the Love of Ghostwriting

This fantasy novel was a collaboration between Billy Wright and Mark Graham Communications.

Ghostwriting is not just a craft; it is an art.
First, you have to be a talented writer.
Second, you have to be a sensational communicator.
Third, you have to be a good businessperson.

Here’s the first thing to love.  If you are a talented writer, you want to write. Ghostwriting can offer this.  No, you’re not writing your own material, per se, but you are engaging in the art and craft of doing what you love. You’re becoming better at what you love because you’re practicing. All writing is practicing.  Every sentence is practicing for the next sentence, making you a better writer.

No, you may not be writing your own thing, but, if you’re working on a novel, you are being challenged to create a storyline, develop characters, and world build. If you’re writing a memoir or biography, you’re jumping into another person’s world and bringing their many stories into a cohesive, readable journey. If you’re writing a business book or self-help book, you’re exploring terrain your own writing very likely will never take you. Very rewarding.

Is ghostwriting tough? It most certainly is.

You’re bringing something to life that is the product of another person’s brainchild. You have to understand that product, access their process, travel a road of their making, all the while enhancing the product, maximizing the process, and paving the road. You may be a novelist writing a business book. Yes, a challenge, but one a talented writer relishes.  You may be screenwriter penning a memoir. Yes, a completely different genre, but one a talented writer can adapt to and thrive in.

When you are bringing to life a client’s idea, the challenge is on you to create a strong and fruitful relationship with that client so you effectively reflect that idea.  Ghostwriting is a partnership, so it’s not for everyone. You have to thrive in that partnership, and very often you have to take the lead in that partnership. You either love that part of the job or you may not want to go there.

It’s not all about you. 

What does that mean?  It means the challenge for the client is to find the right ghostwriter. Someone who sees ghostwriting as a profession.  Someone who likes the idea of doing something they enjoy, something they do well, and, along the way, get paid for it. Sounds romantic. It’s not. It’s work. If you don’t like to work, you won’t love ghostwriting.

Story Power

Soul Tracker is a collaboration between Nicholas Crabtree and Mark Graham Communications.

There is a wonderful saying: “The Power is in the Story.”  How true this is. If you love to read, there is nothing quite like falling into the grasp of a well-crafted novel or biography, a timely short story or expose, a heartfelt poem or play. Story comes in so many captivating forms.  A friend telling a story over dinner; a parent weaving a mystery around the campfire; an elderly man or woman captivating a younger person with tales of their youth.

Listen, learn, love.

We love when a skilled author creates a character so special that we find ourselves fully invested in that character’s outcome.  We love when a storyline is so compelling that it leaves us in tears or holding our stomachs in laughter.  A true story and a work of fantasy serve the same purpose if effectively written: to entertain us; to tap into our emotions; to draw us from one page to the next.

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The Art of Ghostwriting a Business Book

Wow Moments

This engaging how-to business book on customer interaction is a collaboration between Mark Kent and Mark Graham Communications

You are a successful businessperson. You have developed a business acumen that is uniquely your own.   You have built your own business or created a robust business career to arrive at your current station in life.  Writing a business book or business biography is a next step in sharing your story, your message, and your working philosophy. You have a created a wealth of tools and traits that businesspeople of all ages would benefit by.  Why not share them?  Why not share your journey?  Why not use a well-crafted book to power the next phase of your career and cement your legacy?

Enter the professional ghostwriter. If you hire the right ghostwriter, they will have both the writing skills and the relationship skills to take your ideas and craft a readable, accessible book that will do you proud. Here are the keys:

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Your Biography – Your Legacy

#5 Samaritan Court

This moving and powerful biography is a collaboration between Maria Mai-Thuy Swenka and Mark Graham Communications.

With every decision we make, every relationship we create, and every action we take, our individual legacies take shape, influence others, set the tone for our successes and our failures, and clearly express who we are.  Your legacy is worth sharing. Your legacy is the sum total of every meaningful moment in your life, and this legacy is worthy of a book. 

Too many of us view our lives as ordinary and, in many cases, forgettable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your experiences have meaning. The lessons you have lived and learned can and should reach beyond today.  Family, friends, colleagues, and, very often, a far bigger audience deserves to hear about your triumphs and your failures, your highlights and your lowlights, your good times and your bad.  Your legacy need not be filled with exotic adventures to make it worth sharing. Think of all you’ve learned about people, about the facing and conquering of obstacles, of all your tears, all your laughter, all the tools you’ve collected with experience and the passing of time.

Your biography is your legacy.  It allows you to bring the important and not so important moments to life, to drop the many people interesting in your journey right into the scenes of your past.  Time is the best teacher, but someone who is willing to expression both the ups and downs of their years provides a learning experience to every reader. 

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I Always Wanted to Write a Book

An award winning biography ghostwritten with Paul Wayne by Mark Graham Communications

This award winning biography was a collaboration between Paul Wayne and Mark Graham Communications

“I always wanted to write a book!”

This is, in many ways, a universal thought.  Most of us have said this or thought it, because, quite frankly, writing and completing a book is a very special thing.

Not everyone is meant to write a book, but let’s consider what it takes to get there.  It’s not magic. It’s work.  Let’s start there. 

Writing a book takes time. And it takes energy. It takes commitment.  If you say, “I don’t have the time or I don’t have the energy,” then you probably don’t really have the dream. That’s okay, but you might want to consider this. You might not be approaching the use of your time or energy with a plan.  Books take work, but they also take planning.  A schedule. Discipline to stay on that schedule.  Prioritizing.  If the book is important to you, make it a priority, even if it’s an hour a day.

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Ghostwriting – Facts and Fictions

Tuah. an inspiring short novel, is a collaboration between Jeyda Bolukbasi and Mark Graham Communications

Fact: You have a book inside you, but time and circumstances have kept you from getting started.

Fact: Hiring a ghostwriter may very well be the best solution for you.

Fact: Hiring a ghostwriter saves you time and provides you with a professional skill that few people have. Which means you are applying their talents to your project while you focus your time on your own expertise. 

Fact: Most people who start a book do not finish it. This is another distinct advantage in hiring the right ghostwriter.

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Ghostwriting: Art or Business

The Eyes of the Moose – collaboration with David Ranking Johnson and Mark Graham Communications

Writing is, of course, an essential in our world, first and foremost. We write emails galore, text even more, journal for fun and introspection.  We write lists that guide our days.  We leave notes for our kids.  We leave ourselves notes to inspire, motivate, or just to remind us of whatever it is we need to be reminded of.  We keep our calendars. We scribble entries in our diaries. We scribble on stickies, on napkins, on legal pads.

Writing verges closer to art when we try our hands at more expansive things like poetry and prose, short stories and essays, plays and novels, memoirs and biographies, self-help books and books of inspiration. At some point, with practice and self-discipline, and more practice, maybe we actually cross over into that illusive plane where writing does become art. It’s a wonderful goal. Just the pursuit alone is worth the effort.

Ghostwriting may be a business first, because ghostwriting is essential plying a trade, but it is not a business to pursue if you haven’t pursued the often-illusive art of writing. Most accomplished ghostwriters are highly published in their own right, and that is often used as a benchmark for the art of writing. No, a published author is not automatically an artist, but a published author is generally travelling the path of pushing his or her craft in the direction of artistry. Again, it’s about the goal. It’s about the pursuit.

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