August 8, 2013

You're Never Too Busy for Your Book Project


Ghostwriting and the Traveling Executive

Creating a book can be tricky at the best of times, but what if your job required lots of time and travel? How will you be able to fit in reviewing chapters, coordinating with your ghostwriter, and supplying materials? As always, the secret to success is organization. This means organization of your projects, your priorities, and your personal time.

When you first hire your ghostwriter, let him or her know that you travel frequently and will sometimes be in and out of communication. Provide your known travel plans for the foreseeable future and note when you will be completely off the grid. This will give your ghostwriter a good idea of when and how you can be reached.

Next, try to create a schedule with your writer based on your travels. If you know you'll have some downtime or a long plane ride in a few weeks, that would be a good time for your writer to send you the first couple of chapters. And once your writer gets started on the project, you two can nail down the schedule on the basis of your availability and the ghostwriter's need for feedback. You should be prepared to set aside a good chunk of time at the beginning and end of the ghostwriting process, but be sure to stay involved during the middle portion to ensure a great final product.

Try to set aside some time each week to check in with your writer via phone or e-mail. Give your writer advance notice, saying, "On Thursday afternoon, I will be devoting several hours to the book. You can expect a call/e-mail from me, and I will complete X task." Tasks can be anything from catching up on ghostwriter queries to sending edits. Even if you've hired an autonomous ghostwriter who can handle the bulk of the project without your input, you'll still want to keep in touch.

For many execs, publishing a book is a very time-sensitive matter. You may be creating a corporate anniversary project, an in-demand memoir, or a groundbreaking business book. Your ghostwriter will understand these time constraints. However, you should also be able to take some time out of your schedule for this book. Your involvement, no matter the subject of the book, is key to creating a finished product that you and your readers will enjoy.

Each project is different, so my best advice is simply to be organized and stay in touch with your writer. You two will create a schedule and a system that works well for both of you. Check out some of the other entries on this site for tips on how to communicate with ghostwriters, prepare your materials, and make a realistic timetable for your project.

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