Book Design and Ghostwriting

image of the Aftershock book cover

This motivational book was a collaboration with Kelli Poles and Mark Graham Communications

You may be asking yourself how there can be a connection between ghostwriting and book design.  The truth is, the two are tied together in very obvious ways. Or at least they should be.

With all of our ghostwriting clients, every conversation includes some mention of where the final product will end up.  We don’t just hand over a finished manuscript and say, “Good luck.”  We want the finished manuscript to be published just as badly as our clients do.  There are two ways to go. Indie publishing (or independent publishing; also called self-publishing) and mainstream publishing. We talk about these two vehicles all the way through the process.  Yes, this may seem on the surface to be putting the cart before the horse, but we are planning for the publishing process throughout the writing process, whether the project is a novel, biography, business book, or book of health and inspiration.

In preparation, we introduce a client to our book designer and book design team very early in the process, even as the first draft of the book is coming together.  If a client chooses to independently publish their book and take charge of the publishing process, we want them to be thinking about their book cover – such an important decision – early on and to be aware of the interior layout process. We want to be sharing the different printing and ebook options available to them. Mostly, we want them to know that they are not alone in this process.

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Great Writers Start Out as Good Writers

image of the Surreal Estate Book Cover

Surreal Estate – a captivating thriller, was a collaboration with Sugar and Mark Graham Communications

Great writers have a special way with words. They have a special way with storytelling.  They have a special way with building memorable characters.  They know drama. They understand jeopardy.  They understand their audience, and they never deceive their audience.

The thing is, great writers got that way by persevering.  Yes, they have skill, but they developed that skill by writing and writing every day. They never quit.  They push through the hard times when the creative juices might not be flowing.  They push through rejection and failure.  They let nothing come between them and their time in front of the typewriter, with their computer, or with notebook in hand.

  • Good writing takes practice.
  • Good writing takes study.
  • Good writing is about mastering a craft.
  • Great writing is when the practice and the study and the craft emerge as an art.

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Write for the Reader

God in My Closet - Sonya Black

God in My Closet is a collaboration between Sonya Black and Mark Graham Communications

It’s really very simple. Good writing is about the reader, not the writer. If your goal is to indulge yourself, you’re probably going down the wrong track.  A good writer thinks about the reader’s point of view when he or she is composing sentence to sentence. A good writer doesn’t think, “Is what I’m writing clear?” but rather, “Does this bring clarity to the reader?”

Good writing can and should explore multiple layers, whether it be the perspectives that come from different situations or different characters or overlays different dimensions to a storyline or a narrative, but it should do so for the benefit of the reader, not as a means of coming across as eccentric or egotistical.

Earnest Hemingway once said, “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”  Hemingway also advocated for keeping things simple without meandering toward the simplistic. Make sure you’re not indulging some great need to use fifty-cent-words when a good ten-cent-word will do.

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Make an Impact – Inspire a Young Writer

This unique self-help book on realizing your dreams as a reality is a collaboration between Jason McKinney and Mark Graham Communications.

This unique self-help book on realizing your dreams as a reality is a collaboration between Jason McKinney and Mark Graham Communications.

If you love writing or love reading and you want to inspire a young writer to sit down with pen and paper (or more likely at the keyboard of a computer) and encourage them to express herself or himself in words, here are some tips along those lines:

  • Be there for them. We can’t encourage our young writers if we don’t engage with them. Talk up reading and writing. Make sure your young writer knows that there is no right or wrong with the words they put down on paper. Their words are unique to them, and they should know that every word that goes down on a piece of paper is a part of his or her legacy.  Show that you are interested and that will spur their confidence.
  • Give them the tools. Make sure your young writer has a safe place to express herself or himself. A journal is a great idea. A computer that they have access to both at home and at school is important in this day and age.  Make sure they are given the time, space, and freedom to put their words down and make sure they respect that time. Continue reading

The Art and Science of Ghostwriting

#5 Samaritan Court

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

Good, strong, powerful writing is considered an art.  Of course, it is. You know great writing when you read it.  Just like you know poor writing when you read it. It is the writer who can elevate his craft to a place where the flow, tone, pace, and magic of each sentence drives the reader to want to return time and time again to the pages, hoping the prose go on forever.  Okay, that sounds a bit romantic, but you know how it is when you can’t wait to open that special book you’re reading at the end of a long work day. Or when you want to sneak in a few minutes with that special book during the day. It’s a true pleasure.

The art of ghostwriting is really no different. Whether the ghostwriter is tasked with the creation of a novel, biography, business book, or self-help book, the magic of finding the right words to express the client’s message or mystery, philosophy or world view, secret recipe or darkest secret is just as compelling and challenging as the author penning a short story or fantasy novel.

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The Beauty of Literature

Inspired by real life events, this fascinating story is a collaboration between Gretchen Wiegand, Anna McDermott and Mark Graham Communications.

Inspired by real life events, this fascinating story is a collaboration between Gretchen Wiegand, Anna McDermott and Mark Graham Communications.

Stories can be found everywhere. When a good friend of mine once said, “The power is in the story,” he was referring to everything from history to gossip, a poem or a memory, a song or a child’s laughter. Everything we do in life is the essence of story, and thus, essential to the beauty of literature.

We all know that stories pre-date language, especially that of the written variety. Stories are a means of connecting, and human beings, as solitary as our physical bodies might be, long for connection. Literature connects us. Sharing literature with others, either by writing, reciting, or recommending, is a powerful form of communication that is a brick in the bridge that brings us together.

Literature is not for the great writers alone, nor is it for passionate readers alone. Literature is expression, and we all thrive on expression. We all thrive on the wonders of going places that no one else can go. If you and I read the same passage from the Songs of Solomon, our individual journey is completely unique, and that is extraordinary.  If a high schooler writes an eight-line poem, those eight lines are unique to him or her on a planet of seven billion people. Is there anything more beautiful?

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Trust and Your Ghostwriter of Choice

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

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

Hillary Clinton didn’t write her own biography.  Neither did John F. Kennedy or Malcolm X.  They hired ghostwriters that they trusted. They hired ghostwriters with tremendous writing skills, yes, but also people who knew how to get the best story from their clients. It takes trust to do either of these.

It is not an easy decision, but it is worth every ounce of energy that you put into finding the right collaborator for your novel, business book, memoir, biography, or self-help book. You have to trust this person enough to share your ideas, your inner most thoughts, your opinions, and even your insecurities.  Make no mistake, it is an intimate experience, also an exhilarating one. At Mark Graham Communications, we have experienced this bonding hundreds of times. You need someone with great writing skills, and you need someone you can trust to create a special working relationship and to create a special book.

To begin, do your research.  Talk to people.  This is, in many ways, a job interview, except that the person you’re interviewing is skilled in an area that you are not.  Don’t be intimidated.  Trust your instincts.  Look for experience. Look for speciality.  A fiction writer might very well be a terrific biographer and vice versa, but these are still different genre requiring different skill sets.  Once you’ve established the potential ghostwriter’s skill level, then you have to judge the viability of the relationship you can build with this person. This is very much a feel thing, but it may also be an area where references can be helpful.  Don’t be afraid to ask for them.

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Hiring the Best Ghostwriter for Your Memoir or Biography

This eye-opening memoir from a Vietnam POW was written by Robert Wideman, Cara Lopez Lee and Mark Graham Communications

Your life story deserves the attention and skill of the very best ghostwriter in the country.  Settle for nothing less.  This ghostwriter does not need to live in your home town or home state.  At Mark Graham Communications and Graham Publishing Group, we come to you.  We sit with you. We get to know you. We build a trusting relationship. And then we write a biography or memoir that is deserving of your legacy.

No matter what anyone tells you, the life you have lived is more than a story filled with adventures and obstacles, love and loss, family and friends.  It is more than jobs you’ve worked or the degrees you’ve earned.  It is more than the memories you’ve accrued or the regrets you have. It is more than your successes and your failures.  It is your legacy.  It is the power of all your experiences coming together via the power of the written word.  You do not want to trust your legacy to just anyone.  Find the right collaborator.

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Ghostwriting Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

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.

You are probably familiar with the obvious definitions of fiction and non-fiction.  Fiction, it is said, is predicated upon such things as plot, settings, and characters, all care of your imagination. Whereas non-fiction relies upon actual facts about real people and even more real events.

These are good definitions, to be sure, but what is most fascinating from a top-flight ghostwriter perspective is that the definitions overlap in the most interesting and useful ways.

When we have a client wishing to write that special novel that has long been in his or her head, we spend considerable time brainstorming the storyline, giving life to the characters, and creating settings that fit the former in the most effective way.

Interestingly, when we have a client interested in writing their memoir or biography, there is still a storyline; it just happens to follow the client’s life and can be as captivating as any piece of fiction. There are still characters, and the primary character has lived the storyline. We treat the development of that character very much as we would a made-up character from a thriller or mystery. There are still settings; they are the places where the client has lived his or her life and become who they are.

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Book Marketing and Ghostwriting

Book marketing is one of the most important pieces of being a successful author and hiring the right ghostwriter. Perhaps your book is written. Or perhaps you’re in the process of writing a book with a professional ghostwriter. Now what? How do you find your audience? How do you build a brand for your book and yourself as an author?

All good questions.  If only the answers were as easy to come by.  Consider first that you have to create a buzz for your book both pre-publication and post-publication. You have to develop a marketing plan and look for appropriate promotional support.

You will want to utilize the latest and most effective resources and tactics available to you. You will want to personalize the process to fit your book specifically.

What are the vital steps you will need to take?  You will need to create an email marketing campaign designed to dissemination of your title, your synopsis, and your author information.  That’s a good start but it’s just the beginning.

You will want to establish a presence on niche social networks and similar communities directly related to your title, genre, and literary communities. It is often helpful to make title and author submissions to specific forums, message, and discussion boards.

Man finding a book in a bookstore

Another effective tool is to make book submissions to online blog sites specific to the genre of your title. If these very important sites read and review your work, they will them disseminate it to their followers. Very powerful.

Of course, we all know about the social networking avenues, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, but learning how to best use them is the challenge we all face.

Once your book is written, no matter the genre, the most important part of the publishing process is letting readers know your work is available. There is an audience for every book; it is just a matter of finding it.

If you’d like to know more about marketing your book or hiring a ghostwriter, we’d be happy to help you at Mark Graham Communications. Visit us online at, give us a call at 303-777-4155, or drop us an email at: