Research: What Does It Entail?

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

Recently, a Mark Graham Communications (MGC) ghostwriter faced a conundrum. The project was a family history/memoir, with the primary subject a woman in her nineties. Her family wanted to capture the woman’s stories and produce the book as a keepsake. Over the years, the woman had written personal essays and recorded numerous family stories, which provided a perfect starting point for the book. Using these materials and input from family members and the woman herself, the ghostwriter developed a robust historical memoir.

The problem? As is common with personal history, some vital details had been lost – and the woman was unsure about the specifics. One example involved a teaching job offer she’d received. The woman believed this had happened in 1948 or 1949. However, among the woman’s papers was her offer letter from the school district, dated 1951. Ensuring the correct sequence of events was vital to other aspects of the story. When asked about this, the nonagenarian couldn’t recall the exact timeline.

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What Does “Genre” Really Mean?

image of the Aftershock book cover

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

The term “genre” is nearly as old as literature itself. And, of course, books are not the only form of communication to use the term. Music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and just about every other means of creative expression also fall into genres. But for the purpose of this discussion, let’s focus on genre in books.

But what is genre? Simply stated, genre identifies a book as a certain type. We all know (and perhaps are!) readers who are attracted to particular types of books. It’s not unusual to hear someone say, “I love mysteries,” or “As a reader, I gravitate toward nonfiction,” or “I’m addicted to fantasy!” All of these booklovers are talking about their favorite genre.

Books within a specific genre share these traits:

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The Difference Between Any Ghostwriter and the RIGHT Ghostwriter

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

Go online and Google “ghostwriter,” and you’ll find no shortage of hits. And it’s no wonder. Self-publishing has made it easier than ever to get a book out in the world. However, while many of us have a story to tell or an area of expertise to share, not everyone has the time or skills to write a full-length book. The ghostwriting industry has evolved to address this need.

So you’ve decided that collaborating with a ghostwriter could be the next move for you – and you’ve begun exploring options. But how do you go about finding the right ghostwriter for your project?

Consider the following:

  • Does the ghostwriter have a proven track record? Do they have links to previous projects? If there are Amazon links to the ghostwriter’s previous collaborations, you can often read a few pages by clicking “Look Inside.” Evaluating previous projects should give you a sense of the ghostwriter’s capabilities.
  • Do all of the ghostwriter’s previous projects look and sound somewhat the same? If so, the ghostwriter may have a bias toward writing in their own voice, rather than understanding and writing in their clients’ voices. Remember, this is your book. Your voice should come through, loud and clear. Skilled ghostwriters are adept at nailing a client’s voice and using it consistently.

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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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