Welcome to Ghostwrite Club. The First Rule of Ghostwrite Club is...
...you do not talk about Ghostwrite Club.
(Hold up. How does Brad Pitt figure into a blog about writing and strategic communications? You know what, it's fine. Brad is welcome pretty much universally. And perhaps you are unaware that, as in the movie Fight Club, in which Brad Pitt, as macho avatar for Ed Norton, flaunts his six-pack and foments chaos in underground clubs, there are invisible corners of the writing world where some of us make things happen and are not allowed to talk about it much.)
The second rule of Ghostwrite Club is: you DO NOT talk about Ghostwrite Club! When friends or colleagues learn that I collaborate on books, in addition to the other communications services we provide here at AWC, their question, always, is: "Don't you want your name on it? Why would you want to create something that no one knows you created?"
The answer: I truly do not care. This is not false modesty; not me feeling like I don't deserve credit. What this is, is me getting paid to do a job I love, that I'm really good at, and that happens to involve me not talking about the precise nature of what I do. (I can actually talk about it to a point, or how else would I get business? The folks for whom I help write books are almost always the ones who lead me to the next ones.)
The people and organizations I collaborate with are really smart. They are leaders in their respective fields, running booming businesses or making the world better, and they possess solidly book-worthy ideas and information. They simply lack the time and specific expertise to get it from concept to paperback. Skills like creating a structure and trajectory, understanding pacing and release of information, knowing when to add flavor with personal anecdotes or intuiting that a well-placed joke might drive a concept home, and scouring articles and research papers for the perfect back-up evidence. Frankly, if my clients are doing their own jobs extremely well, which they are, when in the world would they have the time or bandwidth to acquire and apply these other things I can offer? We don't expect professional athletes to also bake perfect croissants. That's why there are pastry chefs. Why would we think CEOs should write books with no help from those who specialize in that?
Beyond making a living, the reward for me is the meeting of the minds and the creative process. I enjoy downloading what my clients know. I get jazzed about working with an author to create something that authentically represents his or her self and ideas. And that's why mum's the word, and that is fine with me. I hope you enjoyed this peek inside the life of a ghostwriter. I'm a friendly ghost, so if you want to collaborate on a book, or any aspect of communications strategy and execution, call AWC.
You, and Brad, have my number.
Alyson Gold Weinberg