If you want to know how to write a book that's written by someone else--i.e., a ghostwriter--make sure you know how to find a competent one, and be prepared to pay their fees.

Once there was a giant ship engine that failed. The ship's owners employed one expert after another, but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine.

Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a youngster.

He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, immediately he went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

Two of the ship's owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life.

He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed! A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars.

"What?!" the owners exclaimed. "He hardly did anything!"

So they wrote the old man a note saying, "Please send us an itemized bill."

The man sent a bill that read:

Tapping with a hammer....... $ 2.00
Knowing where to .......... $9998.00

It took that man a lifetime to learn “where to” and that is what his clients were paying for. Considering that a lifetime was involved in learning that skill, the bill was relatively inexpensive!

Professionals have spent years learning, either from others or by practicing the same skills over and over until they become second nature.

Effort is important, but knowing “where to tap” or place that effort is the key to “working smart.”

Moral: if you want to know how to write a book you didn’t write, contract a professional ghostwriter with excellent credentials, who can send you (live) references, testimonials and writing samples.

In some instances, a ghostwriter may not be permitted to divulge that they are the actual writer of a book. Fortunately, a ghostwriter who has completed several projects will have enough references, testimonials and writing samples from clients who are open to disclosure.

How do you know if your contracted ghostwriter is a professional writer?

How do you know if anyone is a Professional Anything? I have one major criteria for distinguishing a professional writer from a “Sunday hobbyist.”

The professional writer has a full cupboard of elbow grease which they use daily. A few rare individuals may have that natural gift for being able to draft an almost perfect story, article or poem without having to go through the revision process.

Even the masters will tell you they depend on the “cold storage” process of writing something, putting it aside for awhile and then reviewing it with a fresh eye.

“You’ll do it until you get it right”

This familar dictum is a way of stating that the real writing experience occurs during the process of revision. As a publisher, often I receive manuscripts from individuals who tell me their work is “the word of God and is not to be tampered with.”

Of course their work is the word of God. All writing is! How could it be otherwise, if you and we and all humans are God’s creatures--divine sparks or “part-whole, whole-part of that great Creator of Us All”?

If these writers are attempting to say their work was divinely inspired, I will agree with that statement as well. Creatures who have been created by a divine being will deliver work that is “divinely inspired.”

Also, if we take the word “inspired” literally, we are referring to the process of spiritual intake. Breathing is the activity of “in-spiring” or taking in oxygen.

We express ourselves or deliver pictures, thoughts and feelings after we have impressed these energy forms upon our conscious and unconscious minds. We then feel inspired to express these impressions.

The process of being impressed and expressing, or being inspired and delivering our impressions to the external world, is a basic description of the activity of creative writing.

The person who tells you they received their written work directly from God or from some other higher being and therefore, not one word should ever be changed, is either afraid of criticism or unwilling to do the necessary work in order to become a professional.

A professional ghostwriter must be an expert editor

Writing is an art, a craft and a business. The revision process is the craft. The work itself is inspired; it comes from that embryonic part of you that is your creative genius.

Of the three aspects, the inspired kernel or outline--and possibly even the draft of a work--is often completed in a split second, a few minutes or an hour or two at most. Then it’s time to do the real work.

Experienced ghostwriters collect recorded and written material from the client, listen to their voice and style and then set to work creating a draft. After they have developed this working document, the "real writing" or editing process begins. Often a work will require numerous revisions before it's finally ready to show the client.
After the client has reviewed the material, the revision process often begins again. It is so important for the client to trust the experience and expertise of their contracted professional, and for the ghostwriter to listen to and honor the goals of the client.

Author's Bio: 

Carol Adler, MFA has ghostwritten over 40 non-fiction and fiction works for a number of professionals in the education, health care and human potential industries. Her first ghost-written book listing her name as co-editor, Why Am I Still Addicted? A Holistic Approach to Recovery, was endorsed by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and published by McGraw-Hill. Other publications include three novels, four books of poetry, and well over 200 poems in literary journals.

Carol is President of Dandelion Books, LLC of Tempe, Arizona; a full service publishing company. She is also President and CEO of Dandelion Enterprises, Inc., Write to Publish for Profit and President of the International Arts & Media Foundation, a non-profit subsidiary of Dandelion Enterprises, Inc.

Her business experience includes co-ownership of a Palm Beach, FL public relations company and executive management positions in two U.S. rejuvenation and mind/body wellness corporations, for which she founded publishing divisions.

Carol has served as editor of several poetry and literary magazines. Her career experience includes extensive teaching of college-level creative and business writing, and conducting of writing workshops in prisons, libraries, elementary, junior and high schools, and senior citizen centers.