A ghost story for 2014

Undercliffe Cemetery, BradfordI’m really into memoirs and autobiographies, but 99 out of 100 I begin reading (via Kindle free sample downloads) get discarded after the first page or so – if I get that far. And I have dozens more printed books which I started, but never got further than the first few pages.

They turn out to be dull, dry, get bogged down in irrelevant detail, take ages to get to the nitty gritty or just bore me to tears.

The (rare) books that keep me reading tend to be professionally¬† ‘ghosted’ memoirs and autobiographies where a professional ghostwriter has taken the author’s words and re-drafted or re-written them. Or interviewed the author and put their experience into words that keep the reader enthralled to the bitter end.

I’m reading one at the moment. And I immediately recognised it as ghostwritten text.

Ghostwritten books don’t always state that someone else has written them. But, especially with celebrities, it’s almost always going to be a ghostwriter that puts their story into words.

And I’m a sucker for those tragic accounts that end happily-ever-after, although I must admit there are a few too many “I was abused as a child” memoirs.

When I produce case studies for SME businesses, it’s a little bit like ghostwriting. I interview people and put their story into readable, engaging words that keep the reader reading.

I’ve also produced a number of books, the most recent of which was where I talked to 20 families dealing with a serious adolescent illness and ‘ghosted’ their stories into a book which sells around 20 copies a month on Amazon. (I am donating this month’s royalties to a charity promoting DNA research, in memory of a dear friend who passed away last week.)

In September I am hoping to start a two-year part-time MA in Creative Writing, specialising in ghostwriting. I will work with a ‘professional ghost’ to learn what they do, how they do it and how they get professionally published, just as I learned how to be a professional copywriter 25 years ago.

It’s something that won’t just enhance and expand the copywriting services I provide, it will enable me to ghostwrite professionally, too – and I’m really excited about this.

Like everything I write, it’s my aim to create words that keep the reader moving forwards in an impatient momentum – right to the end. And then hunger for more.

Just like the beautifully ghost-written book I’m reading at the moment.

And I’m encouraged by the feedback I get on the books I’ve already published like this comment on my latest (self published) book, received over the weekend: “Thank you for your book.. need to sleep tonight so I daren’t start it ’cause I couldn’t put your last book down!”


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