Writing Books/New Book


QUESTION: Hello Catherine, I am looking for a ghostwriter (collaborator or co-author) for a fiction book in which I have an idea, and have written many notes. I am not a writer but I love to read, so I have no idea what kind of work is required from me or the ghostwriter (collaborator or co-author), or even if my idea is worth it. My book would be a combo of Sci-Fi/mythology, some thriller, and some religion. My question is when looking for a ghostwriter, are there inappropriate questions to ask them such as their religious or political affiliation? How about giving them a questionnaire? Also, if someone wants to read my synopsis and a page or two of what I have written in the beginning, should I be concerned that someone might steal my idea (I feel foolish for asking that)? Because I am not a writer, would I need to just provide notes, or write the complete story? Is it wrong for me to solicit different writers at the same time in order to compare?
Thank you for your time Catherine. I notice your profile mentions you are a ghost plus other. Also you do many other things. If you are interested with what I have then please let me know as well. I don't even know if what I have warrants a book. If not interested, no problem as well.  

Thank you again, for your time.

ANSWER: Dear Jim,

If the book deals heavily with religion or politics, it's best to just make that very clear in your proposal or project announcement; explain it very carefully, and those who are of like mind will respond.

You can, of course, ask an open question on a job "posting board" regarding the editor's or ghostwriter's experience in or with religion and/or politics, etc. -- if they are interested, most should be very forthcoming about it.

It's actually a very good idea to post a page or two of what you've written, or a synopsis of your work when you post the project listing; many times, people don't respond because the project description is too vague, and they won't bid on it because they have have too little information to go on.

It's also a good idea to post a few pages so ghostwriters can tell straightaway if their "voice" will correspond to yours, etc., and if the subject matter is something they feel they can easily take on -- that kind of thing.

I wouldn't worry about anyone stealing your ideas; that's a common concern, but there is literally so much out there in printed form that it's just overwhelming, and good ghostwriters literally either don't have time to stop and consider it for themselves, or they don't write their own books for a living, anyway.

It's not essential that you write the entire story, because that's why you're hiring a ghostwriter, but at the least, you should have a very detailed outline prepared, with a sense of place, time, characterization, plot, etc.

I can't take it on myself at this point, but I would certainly encourage you to try out a few of the leading websites where you can find many professional freelance writers, such as www.elance.com, www.ifreelance.com, and www.guru.com, among several.

Thank you for writing, and I certainly wish you the best.

Catherine Van Herrin

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Catherine. I guess then it is okay for me to solicit mutplie ghostwriters if I wish then, is that true? My idea was that I have a book from elizabeth Lyons which is "The National Directory of Writers and Eitors." From there I had a list that might be intereste in my project. I was going to send about 10 of them an intial email to see if they would be interested in seing my synopsis, an maybe the 1st couple of pages. Is that way okay to do? Or is it better to go the websites you mentioned?

Thank you.

Also, will the ghotswriters do research (my book wouldn't be too technical), or will I? I would think both.

Dear Jim,

When you solicit writers from the directory, many will indicate that they do not accept simultaneous submissions -- however, you can contact several at the same time if they do not have this clause in their listing. It all depends on each professional's preference: everyone is different. You should first write a query letter with a synopsis of your book if you're going to go this route -- don't send the two pages of text until you have garnered some interest first.

If you want to try the on-line route, you can post your project on a variety of websites, and you will likely receive multiple "bids" on it; that way, you can see several writers' profiles, which is what you'll need to look over to determine if they will fit your needs, and vice versa. This way, people will be responding to you instead of you having to initiate contact with several people -- it's less work for you, but again, everyone works differently.

In terms of research, you should include as much technological or other background information as possible on your own, and then help the ghostwriters as much as possible, though they would be expected to do some of the research themselves.

I hope this helps -- thanks again for writing.

All Best,
Catherine Van Herrin  

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Catherine Van Herrin


I am an American-born, native English speaker with a BA in English and more than 26 years of professional editing, writing, and proofreading experience. I have edited several books and book-length manuscripts. References and titles available upon request.

For further work or assistance with larger projects, see my profile here, with 190 excellent reviews: WordChannel Professional Reviews, Ratings

I can use British-English or American-English, and I am very familiar with Chicago and AP style.


More than 26 years' U.S. publishing industry experience, editorial (print). I provide crystal-clear, clean grammar; strict attention to style, consistency, flow, logic, accuracy, and spelling, and I work quickly and efficiently.

I do not format or provide technical assistance in publishing books. I use MS Word only.

If I can help you further, contact me at the website above (create a job request) or write to me at ceg33@myway.com. My rate is $0.008 per word. Send requests/inquiries to ceg33@myway.com. I accept currency only through PayPal, with 50% of the total at project initiation; the balance is due upon project completion.

Editorial Freelancers' Association, USA

AA, Liberal Arts, Anderson College, Anderson, South Carolina. BA, English, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. Post-graduate concentration: Post-war Irish poetry and early 18th century English fiction, Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas.

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I have worked with authors in the UK, Canada, the US, and several other countries. References and titles available on request.

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