Help! I Can’t Afford a Ghostwriter (But Maybe You Can)

Sold on Sales is a collaboration between Jet Abuda-Sison and Mark Graham Communications.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about it: a book with your name on the cover, sharing your story. Whether you dream of writing a business book, memoir, self-help title, or novel, you might be someone who has a great story to share or a strong message to impart, but you’re unsure about writing a full-length book. You might simply have little time to write, or you aren’t as interested in honing your writing skills as you are in getting a timely, important message into the world. Maybe the words you want to share aren’t your own—they could be those of an older relative, for example, whose memories your family wants to capture on the page. All of these are compelling reasons to seek the assistance of a professional ghostwriter.

Frequently, we hear from prospective clients that while they love the idea of having a book ghostwritten, the process seems daunting. One of the biggest concerns is that ghostwriting will be cost-prohibitive.

It’s an understandable concern. Hiring a professional ghostwriter does represent a financial commitment. But you might be surprised to find that it’s more affordable than you think. As you work through the prospect of hiring a ghostwriter, here are tips to consider:

  • Shop around. There are many ghostwriting services out there, from individual “one-writer shop” ghostwriters to small and midsized ghostwriting firms, to clearinghouses that connect prospective clients with freelancers, to large-scale ghostwriting operations. The pricing for these different models varies as much as the models themselves. Be sure to vet any individual or service you’re considering, and make sure you understand all costs upfront.
  • Draft the book first, then hire a ghost editor. Writing a draft of the book can go a long way toward bringing down the costs. If you have the time to devote to writing a first draft, this written draft can provide the ghostwriter/editor with a strong sense of your voice and what you want to convey. This, in turn, can significantly lower the project cost.
  • Understand the value of a ghostwritten book. Anyone can self-publish a book and post it to Amazon and other online services, hoping to generate sales. But not every book out there is a quality product. As book-buying options continue to grow, readers become more and more savvy. They know the difference between a well-written book and one that was let loose in the world before it was ready. If strong writing isn’t in your skillset, a professionally ghostwritten book will stand out from thousands of other books in your genre that are available to readers.
  • Realize that the book is only one part of your revenue stream. A professionally ghostwritten book can open many doors for you, from speaking engagements to book club appearances to charity events. All of these provide another way to get your message out—and opportunities to sell more copies of your book. Moreover, a book can go a long way in establishing your credentials and helping you become a thought leader in your field of expertise.

Interested? If you have a project in mind, please get in touch. We’re happy to offer a free consultation, walking you through the ghostwriting process and helping you decide if a ghostwritten book is right for you. We’d love to hear your ideas, and we look forward to working with you!

Sell Your Book from the Back of the Room

The Amazing Huff is a collaboration between C. Herbert Locy and Mark Graham Communications.

While it can be challenging to find professional public speaking gigs, it can be done. To locate speaking opportunities, first and foremost, ensure you have expertise in a specific topic. After you have identified potential topics, search online groups and websites related to your subject matter, as well as professional sites such as LinkedIn. Be willing to start small. Before you pitch, take the time to research any conference or event that interests you, thus ensuring your pitch addresses the conference organizers’ needs.

Once you secure that coveted speaking engagement, what comes next? First, take plenty of time to prepare. Learn as much about your audience as you can. How many attendees should you expect? What characteristics are they likely to share? Will there be time for Q&A?

Next—practice, practice, practice. Write your full speech, ensuring you’re covering all salient points. Then hone it until you’re able to deliver it comfortably and naturally using only an outline. No one wants a speech read to them word-for-word. Instead, you will best engage your audience by speaking comfortably and knowledgeably, using humor where appropriate, and making eye contact. Practice in front of a mirror, a test audience, or even by recording yourself on your phone or other device.

If you plan to sell your book at the event, remember that it’s your expertise, personality, and brand that matter. The audience wants to know who you are as a person and why your words are important. While they might be interested in hearing teasers from the book during your speech, they will quickly lose interest in a speech that’s a thinly disguised sales pitch for the book. For this reason, at Mark Graham Communications, we encourage our clients to retain some of their important material for public speaking, rather than attempt to put everything they know into a single book. The idea is to generate audience interest in your book, not to use the speech to reiterate every piece of data or story within its pages. If audience members buy your book and find the content is nothing they haven’t already heard during your speech, they will consider you an unreliable source in the future.

It’s also important to keep your expectations realistic. Many audience members, even those interested in your topic, will not purchase the book. Some are simply overwhelmed by the amount of information they’re receiving at the conference or event. Others might turn down the offer of a physical book because they prefer ebooks. Ensuring your ebook is readily available and providing a link can help the audience find it later. To sell the ebook on-the-spot, have a QR code available that takes readers to your ebook on your preferred online vendor’s site.

All of this, of course, starts with a great book. If you need help writing yours, please get in touch. We’d love to talk about your interests, passions, and expertise—and how we can help you get a book out there that everyone is talking about!

Using Your Book as a Networking Tool

Back in the Real World is a collaboration between Ed Turner, Cara Lopez and Mark Graham Communications.

Networking. For many, it’s a dreaded word. Whether we’re entrepreneurs, managers, or individuals just getting started in our careers, the idea of introducing ourselves, shaking hands, and making small talk that we hope leads to “big talk,” can feel intimidating.

Today, in-person networking opportunities are on the rise. A recent study by Forbes lists some of the benefits of in-person networking: building stronger business relationships; a better ability to read body language and facial expressions; bonding with others; and engaging in more social interaction. That being said, plenty of networking still occurs online. A 2023 LinkedIn article states that online networking can help you connect with potential customers, partners, and investors; develop your skills; and build your reputation and brand.

Clearly, both in-person and online networking are beneficial. If you want to keep up with the curve and are not comfortable talking about yourself or your business, what can you do?

First, genuine interest in others is essential. According to Debra Fine, bestselling author of The Fine Art of Small Talk, “If you are not genuinely interested in what the other person is saying, no amount of planning or preparation will save you from a doomed conversation. Interest in someone else cannot be feigned.”

Secondly, offer something of value. This is where a book authored by you can be incredibly helpful. Assuming your networking involves individuals interested in your topic, your book can be an icebreaker. With your expertise in the subject matter and your conversation partner’s interest in it, you can mention your book’s topic, listen attentively to your partner’s thoughts on it, and discuss the insights your book has to offer. Many authors carry copies of their books to in-person events and/or offer to send a sample to an online or in-person connection.

It’s important to reiterate that genuine interest in your conversation partner is essential. If your goal is solely to sell books—but not to make connections—you are likely to experience stiff, polite rejection before your conversation partner quickly exits the exchange.

Don’t have a book yet? You’re in good company. Many individuals with significant expertise in their subject matter and much to offer have not written a book. Some do not have the time, and many are informed enough to understand that while they do not have the writing expertise to create a book-length work, professional help is available.

If you’ve considered the idea of authoring a book but are not sure where to start, please reach out. A Mark Graham Communications ghostwriter can help you clarify your ideas, put them together in book form, and get you talking at your next networking opportunity. We’d love to hear about your ideas and help you get yourself out there!

What’s Your Story? And Why is Story Important in a Business Book?

Risk: A Road Worth Traveling – collaboration with Craig Huntington and Mark Graham Communications

This remarkably forthcoming book was written by Craig Huntington and Mark Graham Communications.

Anyone who has ever read a memorable novel can agree that story is vital to audience engagement. A novelist works to fabricate a tale that draws in readers right from the start. We want to know what is happening, who it’s happening to, and how it’s all going to turn out. In addition to having a compelling plot, a well-written novel connects with readers on an emotional level. We’re right there with the characters—rooting for the hero, booing the villain, reading one more chapter late into the night because we have to know what comes next. Finally, we turn the last page with smiles on our faces; our time with this novel was well spent.

But what about a business book? We read nonfiction strictly for information, correct? The only reason a reader would select a business book—and read it cover to cover—is because it contains information that the reader is interested in. Right?

Yes and no. It’s true that understanding the audience for your business book is vital. Not every business book is appropriate for every reader. For example, if your book is geared toward entrepreneurs, it might not be something that a manager at a Fortune 500 company who has no interest in starting a business would pick up. That being said, readers might initially discover your business book because they’re interested in your topic—but they will keep reading it because they’re engaged with how your material is presented.

Story, then, becomes not the topic of your business book, but rather a method for engaging readers. Using story brings your topic down to earth and makes it relatable for the reader.

As an example, a recent Mark Graham Communications project was for a business person writing a how-to guide for entrepreneurs. The author had started many companies, and in the beginning, he had little idea what he was doing. Inevitably, his first business failed. Over time, he learned the planning and execution techniques necessary to successfully launch a business. The book was born because he wanted to share these techniques with would-be entrepreneurs in a step-by-step process.

Early in the book, story is used: a brief recapping of the author’s first, unsuccessful business. Later stories (set as sidebars amid the book’s specific process steps) focus on his successful business launches, how he balances the heavy hours of being a business owner with the other areas of his life, the importance of surrounding yourself with great talent, and other aspects of entrepreneurship. These stories make the author relatable to the reader. Rather than pages and pages of dry facts, the book contains both useful information and relatable stories. Because this author shares his stories (in other words, his humanity), readers trust him. His stories, as much as his expertise, become memorable.

When you work with a Mark Graham Communications ghostwriter to write your business book, you’ll find that when we interview you, we will want to hear your stories. Helping you discover the stories that will connect with your particular audience (and that you are comfortable telling) is what a talented ghostwriter will do. To the extent that you are comfortable with it, the ghostwriter will use your stories as a framework to make your business book’s information relatable and engaging for your audience.

Interested? Please get in touch. We’d love to talk about your book idea—and hear your stories!

Improve Your Online Presence with a Book

Learn how ghostwriters from Mark Graham Communications can help you tell your story.

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, chances are you spend considerable time, effort, and resources promoting your business online. You likely have a company website, run online ads, and/or use social media to generate new leads and help your current customers stay up-to-date about your products or services.

Another key marketing tool for reaching clients and prospects is a book. How does a book improve your online presence? Consider these factors:

  • Credibility. While short content (such as your website or newsletter) gives your audience a general idea of you and your company’s expertise, a full-length book can be used to demonstrate the breadth of your experience. A well-thought-out, well-written book shows your audience your expertise in and commitment to your offerings.
  • Differentiation. What makes your business special? Your website likely uses written content, layout, and graphics to show what you do and how you do it better than your competition. However, the longer format of a book can give current and potential customers a deeper understanding of your business mindset and how your company operates.
  • Connection. With a book in hand, you can approach members of the media, organizations seeking speakers, high education institutions, and others who can exert influence and with whom you have the potential to work collaboratively. In exchange for you sharing your expertise with their audiences, such connections can open doors to further opportunities, prospects, and increased clientele for your business.
  • Visibility. You can sell the finished book not only on your website, but also on Amazon and book retailer sites. Promoting the book’s title in your social media, emailed newsletter, and/or ads, and providing a link to the book, gives your audience an easy way to find the book and order a copy. You might also consider giving away copies to potential customers. The return on investment is generally high when you land new clients this way.

    Love the idea of writing a book, but you’re not sure where to start? We can help. A professional ghostwriter will work with you to define your book’s goals and outline the topics to be covered. Via interviews with you and other key players in your business, the ghostwriter will generate professional, authoritative content in your unique voice. The finished product is a full-length, informative book with your name on the cover.

    If you’d like to explore the idea, please get in touch. We’d love to learn about you and your business, and help you determine how a book can help your company grow.

NaNoWriMo is Over! What’s Next?

Wired Differently Cover Image

Earthly Worlds, an exciting fantasy book, is a collaboration between Billy Wright and Mark Graham Communications.

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo in November? If so, you’re not alone. According to the official NaNoWriMo website, in 2022 (the last year for which stats are available), 413,295 writers participated in the program that year. That’s a lot of novel writing!

What is NaNoWriMo? Begun in 1999 by a handful of New York City-based writers, National Novel Writing Month, often shortened to NaNoWriMo and generally pronounced “nan-no-RYE-moe,” is a commitment to write a 50,000-word draft of a novel during the month of November. Now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, NaNoWriMo offers community, challenge, and competition to inspire writers of all abilities and in all genres.

For writers in some genres, 50,000 words is close to a completed novel. For others, it’s a bare-bones start to a longer work. Either way, completing the challenge means NaNoWriMo participants put an average of over 1,600 words on the page every single day during the month of November.

Perhaps you were one of these writers. If so, hats off to you! Writing a novel requires discipline, focus, and the ability to power through the all-too-frequent moments of doubt that every writer experiences. It’s something to be celebrated!

But for some aspiring novelists, there’s an underside to the NaNoWriMo challenge: What if you discovered that while you love your story idea, you don’t particularly love writing?

First, take heart. This happens more often than you’d think. The reality is, being passionate about a story idea does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with completing a novel based on that idea. If participating in NaNoWriMo showed you that novel writing might not be the right fit for you, you’re in good company. The same thing happens to many, many people who are great at coming up with story ideas but don’t have the time and/or skills to turn those ideas into a full-fledged novel.

So, what can you do? In this scenario, a professional ghostwriter can help. The ghostwriter will discuss the project with you and review your draft (regardless of how many pages you’ve written). Subsequent, in-depth interviews will take place, designed to ensure that the completed novel fits your vision. The ghostwriter will then outline the novel from start to finish. Next, using a voice and tone that you and the ghostwriter determine together is the best fit for the novel, the ghostwriter will complete your novel chapter-by-chapter, providing the chapters to you for review and input. Before long, the completed novel you dreamed of, with your name on the cover, will be in your hands.

NaNoWriMo is, above all else, a process of discovering who you are—as a person, a creative, and someone with a story to tell. Astute storytellers, whether they write their own books or use a ghostwriter, recognize that the most important thing is that the story be told in the best manner possible. If your NaNoWriMo experience has demonstrated that having your novel ghostwritten could be the way to go, then let’s talk. We’d love to help get your novel to the finish line and out into the world!

A Conversation with Bestselling Author Todd Saylor

Wired Differently Cover Image

Wired Differently is a collaboration between Todd Saylor and Mark Graham Communications.

What’s it like to write a bestselling book using a ghostwriter? To answer that question, we turned to Mark Graham Communications client Todd Saylor. Todd is the author of the Wired Differently series: Wired Differently: Leveraging Your Favors on Fulcrum Principles (2018); DriftAgain: 8 Traits of Supremely Purposeful People (2021); and Your Will Be Done: How To Become Wired Differently (2023). For all three books, Todd worked with the same Mark Graham Communications ghostwriter.

Mark Graham Communications (MGC): Please tell us about your business model, Wired Differently, and about what you do.
Todd Saylor (TS): Wired Differently is a mindset, mission, movement, and ministry. I’m a Christian-mindset business coach, speaker, and author. In my Wired Differently role, I coach clients and hold workshops to elevate spiritual, personal, and profitable growth.

MGC: How did you get into that line of work?
TS: I’ve been successful in most everything I’ve done, so I decided to write about it, in hopes of sharing my model with the wider world. That evolved into my becoming an author, speaker, and Kingdom-inspired business coach. My first book was published in 2018, and I’ve been coaching since 2022.

MGC: What made you decide to work with Mark Graham Communications?
TS: Soon after I began writing my first book, I realized I wasn’t skilled at organizing my thoughts in book form. I Googled “help me write a book” and found MGC. I liked what then-owner Mark Graham proposed, and we began working together. With my first MGC ghostwriter, the ghostwriter-author relationship wasn’t vibing for me. Rather than give up, I asked Mark if there was another writer I could work with. He introduced me to a different ghostwriter, Mario who ended up being a great fit. Initially, what he wrote felt too “Godly,” but when I met with Mark and Mario face-to-face, there was a breakthrough. The process was constructively painful and educational after that face-to-face meeting, but it was worthwhile. By the time Book One was drafted, my ghostwriter was inside my head. Mario never got impatient with rewrites. He helped shape my thoughts and the book’s flow, but I was always the director of the story. Mario was brilliant.

MGC: You’ve since written two more books with MGC, both times with that same ghostwriter. How was the process the same and/or different in these subsequent books?
TS: The process became easier each time. For Book Three in the series, Your Will Be Done, I wanted to lift up God in the title, but my pastors and motivational teachers didn’t want to cross mindset with Christianity. The process nearly broke me emotionally, but in the end, I feel the book has a powerful message about how to grow and become a better person.

MGC: Tell us about marketing your books. How do you get the word out and find new readers?
TS: I use three marketing segments: 1) in-person appearances; 2) social media such as Facebook and Instagram; and 3) my website, Google ads, podcasts, and click funnels. I also coach one-on-one and in group settings, including my Tikki Hut Retreats. To date, I’ve sold more than 15,000 books, which is great for my own spirituality and growth.

MGC: Anything else you’d like to add?
TS: MGC changed ownership between my first and second books, but under Christopher Short’s leadership, the process for Books Two and Three was straightforward, attainable, and successful. But the war is when I’m sitting still! I’m a man of action, and authorship is work for me—as it is for most people who attempt writing a book. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me, “I’m writing a book,” I’d be wealthy. Most people never finish the books they start. If you don’t have the discipline and organization to write your book, then get help. I’m grateful for the help the MGC team provided.

Thanks, Todd, and congratulations on your success! If you find Todd’s story inspiring and you’d like to talk with us about your book idea, please get in touch.

Book Two: The Ins and Outs of the Sequel

 

image of the Surreal Estate Book Cover

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

So you’ve written a book. Congratulations! It’s out in the world, and the reception has been positive. It’s so positive, in fact, that you might be thinking about a sequel.

What is a sequel? Simply put, a sequel is a subsequent book featuring characters, circumstances, and/or topics already familiar to readers of the first book. This could mean a continuation of the original story—i.e., the second, third, and subsequent books in a series. However, a sequel might also build upon the original theme but use new circumstances or material. For example, in fiction, a sequel might focus on a much-loved secondary character from the first novel. A second memoir might be about the same individual, this time overcoming different obstacles than in the first book. For business books, a sequel might build on the business advice offered in the first book, perhaps addressing a more specific audience or taking an alternative approach to the professional challenges discussed in the first book.

For authors with ideas for a second book, the biggest question about writing a sequel might be when to do it. In our experience, particularly for ghostwritten books, the best time is as soon after the first book comes out as possible.

Why? Consider the following:

  • Readers are hungry for more. You put a lot of work into promoting your first book. You likely have spent marketing dollars, and you’ve certainly invested a great deal of time. Reviews have come in, emails arrived in your inbox, and you’re starting to build a fan base. All of this means that the time to get another book in your readers’ hands is now—as soon as possible.
  • The material is fresh in your mind. You spent considerable time on your first book. If you worked with a ghostwriter, you know the process is time-intensive, but the more you and your ghostwriter “lived” in the story, the more both of you discovered about the book’s theme, structure, primary players, and other narrative elements. In the sequel, you can build on this. In many cases, you’re able to work with the same ghostwriter, ensuring a smooth process with a known professional.
  • Sequels build credibility. Even if it’s successful, a single book (in any genre) can feel to the reading public as if it might be a fluke. Readers are more likely to trust authors who have published more than one work. Your second book (and subsequent books) show your audience that you’re serious and passionate about your genre and the topics you write about.

If you’re thinking about having a sequel ghostwritten (whether you worked with Mark Graham Communications for your previous book(s) or not), please get in touch. We’d love to discuss the project and help you get that next book into your readers’ hands as soon as possible.

You Won’t Believe This Story! Writing the Exposé

The Aware Leader – collaboration with Richard Metheny and Mark Graham Communications

Has something big happened to you? By this, we mean truly BIG: the sort of story that, if you told it at a party, would have everyone’s mouth hanging open in shock, would have people saying, “You have to write a book about this! You just have to!”

If such a story is part of your personal experience, perhaps you’ve considered writing an exposé. Also known as a tell-all, an exposé is “is a movie or piece of writing that reveals the truth about a situation or person, especially something involving shocking facts” (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/expose).

Before you begin your exposé, here are a few things to consider:

  • Personal satisfaction. It can be therapeutic to get a harrowing experience onto the printed page. Nothing can completely take away trauma, but seeing the story in written form can help with the healing process.
  • Key players. Does the story involve anyone famous? If so, are you portraying that person positively or negatively? A story associated with a celebrity undoubtedly has the potential to attract many readers, but it’s important to consider the risk involved in exposing a celebrity, especially if they will be portrayed in a negative light.
  • Audience. Again, this is easier if the story involves someone famous. Nonetheless, exposés about particular circumstances or locations—a story set at a Fortune 500 company, for example, or one about something that happened at an Ivy League university—can also be big sellers, even if the key players are not household names.
  • Possible litigation. Whether your story involves celebrities or everyday folk, someone is bound to recognize the circumstances of the story—and possibly themselves in it. This is often true even if you use pseudonyms rather than real names. Depending on how the person(s) is portrayed, you’re opening yourself up to a potential lawsuit. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you seek legal counsel before publishing an exposé.
  • Levels of support. Hopefully, your friends and family will be supportive of the project. You might find support in surprising relationships. One tell-all author reported that an octogenarian relative became her biggest supporter!

In addition to the above, it’s important to recognize that your story, while interesting party conversation, might take on an entirely different (and often more challenging) quality when you have to relive every detail as you write the book. You might find the writing process extremely taxing. It can be difficult to power through.

In this situation, a professional ghostwriter can help. The ghostwriter will interview you, going over details and letting you take as much time as you need to discuss what happened. The ghostwriter will then organize what you said into a compelling, evocative narrative that unveils the story in a way that can be understood and appreciated by your audience.

Is it time to tell this story? If you’d like help, please contact us. We want to hear what you have to say, and we’re here to help you reveal your big story to your chosen audience.

Can AI Write Your Book for You?

Twin Flames is written by Charles Quinn as a collaboration with Mark Graham Communications

Chances are you’re aware of AI (artificial intelligence) and its rapidly expanding usage. Everything from college essays to song lyrics to architectural renderings can—and are—being created by AI. Given that, it’s no surprise that many people are exploring the idea of writing a book using AI.

The temptation is understandable. ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, costs no money to use. Microsoft and Google are also developing AI tools that presumably will be free. To use an AI tool, all you need to do is enter a few prompts, and the tool generates content. Given enough prompts, an entire book could be written this way. AI is highly intelligent, and if appropriate prompts are given, chances are the resulting content will be coherent, readable, and engaging.

For would-be ghostwriting clients, this probably sounds too good to be true. After all, content generated via AI—unlike ghostwritten content—is fast and free. Who wouldn’t choose such a path over the traditional ghostwriting process?

If you’re pondering it, here are a few points to consider:

  • Can AI create the nuances that a successful book requires? Last month on the blog [The Author-Ghostwriter Relationship], we talked about the relationship between Prince Harry and his ghostwriter, J.R. Moehringer, as they worked together on the prince’s memoir, Spare. In writing this book, Moehringer did not take Prince Harry’s words verbatim and use them to generate pages in a book. Rather, Moehringer’s years of writing experience helped him shape a compelling and discerning story. Key moments are highlighted. Details are powerful and pitch-perfect. Scenes end where an experienced writer knows they should. Much of this happened because of the very human relationship that developed between Moehringer and Prince Harry as they worked together on the book.
  • Where does the material come from? ChatGPT generates content based on material it finds online. But there is no sourcing—which means the content that ChatGPT creates could come from anywhere, and there is no way to cite it. Your AI-generated book could very well be full of plagiarized content. If that occurs, after your book is out in the world, there’s a possibility you’ll find yourself the defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit.
  • Will publishers and book retailers accept the book? Whether you decide to self-publish the book or seek an agent and a traditional publisher, the opinions of those in the book industry about AI-generated books will likely be in flux for a long time to come. What isn’t acceptable today could eventually become acceptable. Conversely, as more is learned about this tool, what is now accepted might in the future be rejected. Because so much is still unknown, an AI-generated book runs the risk of having a very short shelf life.

These questions and others will continue to arise as more AI tools are developed and more people use them. The short answer to whether AI can write your book is this: Yes, it can. But the more important question is: Do you want it to?

If you’re unsure, please get in touch. We’d love to discuss your book idea, the possibilities for getting the book written, and how our team of seasoned ghostwriters can help you tell the unique story that only you can tell.