Like any business owner, you’re short of time.
And if you’re one of those who aspires to write a business book, that shortage of free hours is even more of a problem.
Naturally you might have wondered whether working with a ghostwriter would be a good solution. So, would it? I’m a bit biased, being a business book ghostwriter myself. But I figured I owed it to you to calculate the time saving and show you how it works.
Because although you’d be having your book written for you, you’d still need to be involved. Let’s look at what’s required from you as an author and break down the timings.
Choosing your ghostwriter
I always encourage people to talk to a few ghostwriters before they pick the one they want to work with. Your choice will be based on whether they’ve already written the kind of book you want for yourself, what their area of expertise is, what price range they’re in, their availability and whether it matches with your own timescale, and – crucially – whether you click with each other.
You can suss out the first set of criteria over email, but you need to have a conversation or two before you can be sure of the final one. That’s the only way to tell if you have enough rapport with a ghostwriter to entrust them with your book.
The amount of time this will take will depend on whether you’re someone who likes to scour the market or whether you’re happy to go for the first person who feels right for you, but as an estimate:
Time taken to research and interview prospective ghostwriters: 3 hours.
Collecting your thoughts
Your next task will be to give your book some thought. What do you want to write about? What are you offering your readers? And what do you want to achieve by the end of it? If you feel stuck this post will help.
You don’t need to plan your whole book by yourself – that’s something your ghostwriter will help with. I always start with a session in which I walk my clients through the process of strategising and outlining their book. Many are surprised at how quick and easy it is once they let me take care of the direction.
Time taken to create the strategy and outline for your book with your ghostwriter: 3 hours.
Creating your manuscript
Handing over the writing of your book to your ghostwriter is where you start saving time in spades. Imagine the relief of talking through what you want to say, and then . . . letting them get on with it. All you have to do is read the first and second drafts of what they’ve written, while they do the heavy lifting.
How do you help your ghostwriter to understand what’s in your head? Most ghostwriters conduct a series of interviews with their clients, in which they ask them to talk about their book’s content while they record it. This is my favourite way to do it, as it also allows me to capture their unique voice. These sessions can be done over a few days, or spaced out weekly or fortnightly to fit your schedule.
You might also want the ghostwriter to carry out some independent research. If this is the case, you’ll need to agree that up front as it will take up more of their time.
Many people are surprised at how few hours it takes to talk through their ideas. That’s because it’s much quicker to talk than to write. If you’ve spent a some time getting your thoughts in order before each session with your ghostwriter, it won’t take long.
Time taken to tell your ghostwriter what you want to say: 12 hours.
Reviewing your manuscript
Your ghostwriter will send you the first draft of your book according to an agreed schedule. I like to receive feedback on my first draft chapters as I go along, so I can use it to inform the next one. Also, it makes it easier for my clients if they can read it chapter by chapter rather than waiting until the end, when getting through a whole book can feel like a mammoth task.
How long this takes you depends on how quick a reader you are and how much attention to detail you want to give. So this is an estimate. You’ll also need to review the subsequent drafts of your manuscript, which won’t take as long as the first.
Time taken to read and review your manuscript drafts: 15 hours.
The time you save
Let’s add up those hours, shall we? It comes to a total of 33 hours.
That might seem like a lot, but remember it’s spread out over several months.
And let’s compare it to how long it would have taken you to write it all yourself. I keep a tally of how long my clients’ books take me to ghostwrite, and it’s an average of 170 hours.
Hmmm, 170 versus 33? I think I know which you’d choose.
If you’d like to explore your book idea, why not apply for a free, half hour Strategy Session with me? I’ll help you to get clear on your next step so you can start your book with confidence.