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How Does Ghostwriting Work?


(New York, NY)—Ghostwriting is a booming industry used by everyone from large corporations to your favorite celebrity to your neighbor’s grandmother. But few people who are looking for a writer really know how ghostwriting works.

“When people are looking for a ghostwriter, they have a lot of factors to consider,” says Joel Hochman of Arbor Books ( “The process really begins during the creation of a contract that outlines what the ghostwriter will do and at what cost. After that, the writing can begin in earnest.”

According to Mr. Hochman and other industry insiders, the process usually follows these steps:

1) Initial interviews: the opening phase with the ghostwriter about the book’s concept and audience.

2) Outline creation: a crucial roadmap for the writing of a book and a good protection against veering off from the established plot (in fiction) or content list (nonfiction). Can also prevent lost time if another writer must be brought in to work on the project.

3) Initial writing sample: the writing of the first chapter and a review of the tone, language and style.

4) Writing: phase in which the bulk of the book will be written based on writer-and-client collaboration through additional interviews.

5) Review: once the manuscript is completed, a final pass by an editor and/or proofreader—similar to a punch list used in construction. At this juncture, the manuscript may also be sent out for peer review.

6) Marketing: the phase where the manuscript is either sent out to agents and publishers and/or self-published. Self-publishing options include traditional printing, POD, eBook (digital download) and audio book. Marketing includes posting on Amazon, Borders and Barnes & Noble; library distribution; and publicity through traditional and online media.

“If you’ve contracted with a ghostwriting firm and they don’t do something as basic as an outline, run for the hills,” says Mr. Hochman. “The initial interviews are also critical for the ghostwriter to get a sense of the client and the direction of the project.”

“Ghostwriting is a productive and rewarding process if done with a reputable firm,” says Larry Leichman of Arbor Books. “Make sure you find someone who is insured against plagiarism and has many years of experience.”

Arbor Books is a full-service ghostwriting and book-packaging firm (


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