Last week I got a ghostwriting enquiry from a prospective client.
Nothing new in that, but this time it was from a witch. Yep – a bona fide, broomstick-wielding, hair-raising, cauldron-stirring witch. Here’s how it read:
I’m wondering if you can help me. I’ve been a witch for two hundred years, and have a fascinating story to tell. In my time I’ve cast spells on princes, influenced global events through my evil potions, and even made Donald Trump’s hair stand on end on more than one occasion.
I’m not all bad, though. In my time I’ve contributed to the witch community by sharing my considerable collection of cauldron recipes. For instance, it turns out you don’t always need poisoned entrails, sometimes regular ones will do as long as you throw in an extra toad. And some of the spells we’ve been using for centuries – well, they’re out of date. In fact, I’m developing a curse app that’s far more versatile than the traditional way of summoning the evil hordes. Maybe I’ll even launch an online programme for novice witches, so they can skip the scary learning curve I went through.
It’s that kind of practical help and advice I’m always giving. I just can’t help spreading the love.
But I have a problem: being a witch means wearing a cloak of invisibility. And I’m tired of that. I want recognition! I want TED talks! I want immortality (yes I already have that, but you know what I mean)!!
Sorry if I seem over the top, but we witches aren’t known for our patience.
In other words, I want a book, but I’m so busy zooming around on my broomstick I don’t have time to write it. And I don’t know what to put in it or how it all works. I reckon hiring a ghostwriter seems spookily appropriate. Can you help?
Wanda The Witch
Here’s what I replied:
Thanks for getting in touch. I can see huge potential in a book for you. Not only do you have a fascinating story to tell (I can’t wait to find out more about those princes), but a whole heap of practical advice to share as well.
There are a few areas you could do with getting clear on before we go any further, though.
First, what do you want to achieve with your book? Is it to build your profile so you become the ‘go-to’ crone for all things witch-related? If so that’s a worthwhile aim, but it’s worth narrowing it down. What do you want to get out of this profile? More sales of your wand app? Invitations to speak on the other-world stage? A way in for hags and harpies to work with you on a one-to-one on a consultancy basis? Once you know the results you’re after, it will be easier to decide what to put in your book.
Secondly, who’s your book for? I’m assuming it’s for other witches rather than a human audience (in which case the TED talk might not be an option – sorry). But what kind, exactly? Is it novice crones who could do with some advice on getting started, say with deciding whose lives they should make a misery for all eternity? Or is it for more experienced hags, who’ve gone beyond the everyday potions and want to have a more transformational effect on the world? I’m thinking casting spells on politicians, financial decision-makers, that kind of thing. Knowing your readers is a crucial step, because it influences how your book is written and marketed.
And finally, how are you going to promote and use it when it’s published? You don’t want to end up with a book and no idea what to do with it – that would put you into a cursing rage. Would you send it by owl-mail to the spooky speaker agencies? Sell copies at your talks in return for vials of venom and lizards’ legs? Or even transform yourself into a comely wench, so you can present a personal copy to the next world leader you’ve set your evil sights on? The opportunities for an influential witch are blood-curdlingly endless, so it’s worth having an idea of what they are before you begin.
I hope this has given you some useful advice. If you’re still keen, let’s arrange a time to talk.
And by the way, this is how I start off with all my prospective clients. Some people (whether they be mortal or not) think ghostwriting a book is only about the writing, but as one of my clients you’d get so much more than that. I know what a book can do for the career of the right author, so I make sure I craft the work to deliver it thrice over. It’s a lot of toil and trouble, I can tell you.
Although if you had a spell to make it easier, we could possibly come to some arrangement on the fee . . .