WHAT IS GHOSTWRITING?

What don’t I write?

What do I write?

How much do I charge?

What do other people say about me?

How do I work?

Ready to talk?

What don’t I write?

That may seem an odd place to start, but there are things I don’t write and, if you’re looking for a ghost writer for some of them, I can save you a lot of time if I tell you that, for these, you need to find another writer.

Memoirs. Your grandfather has had a fascinating life, he’s reaching the end of it, and you want to give him the gift of a book describing everywhere he’s been and everything he’s done. It’s an estimable wish, but I won’t help you with it. NOTE: This does not apply to sports people’s memoirs, especially if the sport in question is rugby, cricket or snooker, though footballers and hockey players also grab my attention. (I’m using hockey here in the North American sense as a game played on ice. I don’t mean field hockey).

Non-fiction. It isn’t true that I don’t write any non-fiction, but I have to be really gripped. True crime? Yes, please – I love it. The story of how you built a career as an influencer, cosmetic surgeon, advertising icon? Sorry. There are lots of writers who will be happy to take you on and do a good job for you but I’m not one of them. And here’s something I probably shouldn’t say but find I have to: the more fascinating you find yourself, the less interested I’m likely to be.

Fantasy. Yes, I know it’s a huge genre and growing all the time but it just doesn’t turn my crank. Never has. I’m prepared to accept that the shortcoming is in me and not in people who love fantasy, but I’m still not going to write it.

Erotica, soft porn, steamy romance. I regard those terms as interchangeable. I know they have a place. I know that, well written, they can sell very well. I just don’t write them. That doesn’t mean none of my characters ever make love.

Almost all sub genres of the Romance genre. There seem to be thousands of these and, if they are your bag, you know what they are. (If they’re not, you don’t need to know). Reverse harem romance, paranormal romance, religious romance, Gothic romance, LGBTQ+ romance, Bad boy romance – I could go on, but I’m sure by now you’ve got the message.

What do I write?

I write almost anything I haven’t said I don’t write. A romance genre I’m rather fond of is Second Chance Romance, but here’s a list of my preferred genres. If you want someone to write any of these, we may be able to make a deal.

Police procedurals

Psychological thrillers

Historical crime

Spy Fiction

Historical romance

Science fiction

Time travel

The Book of the Film

Want to know more about any of those? You’ll find the detail here.

What do I charge?

Charges for ghostwriting cover a huge range. Whatever your budget, you’ll find someone ready to take on the job. The largest freelancer website in the world regularly carries requests for someone to write a 50,000 word romance for $500, or even less. They get what they’re looking for; the book is written, and it’s worth exactly what they paid for it: very little. English will almost certainly not be the writer’s native language, grammar and punctuation will be laughable and these days it may very well be written using AI software. And, whatever the purveyors of AI writing software tell you, it isn’t very good. But the advertiser wanted a book, and they have one.

Think about this for a moment. Working from seven every morning till three every afternoon, I expect to produce 2500 good words a day. (I may write 5,000 or even more, but 2500 is what I end up with after editing and proofing). At that rate, writing (let’s say) 60,000 words is going to take me 24 days. Just over a month if I’m writing five days a week. But that isn’t going to happen. Ghost writers don’t have writer’s block because our deadlines don’t permit it, but we do have things that get in the way of a day’s writing. There will be days when I don’t write the 2500 words – I have an appointment at the doctor, the dentist or the osteopath. Or a family member needs attention. Or I just need a break. And maybe your book needs to be 80,000 words. Or more. Because no-one knows when they start what the optimum length of the book is going to be. You only know when you get there. So, if I get that 60,000, 80,000, or more words written in six weeks, I’m doing well. But that’s the first draft. What happens then is that I let it work in my brain. I think about it during the day. I dream about it at night. I often find I’m getting out of bed at two in the morning to make notes because, if I leave it, I’ll forget the idea that came to me. And then I rewrite it, and then I edit it to improve the flow, remove as many adverbs as possible, replace any instances of passive voice with active voice, and ensure good Show, Don’t Tell. (Show, Don’t Tell is the single most important factor in making fiction appeal to readers. It’s so important that I made this webinar to show writers how to do it).

What it comes down to is that I’m going to spend 3 to 4 months thinking about your book, living your book, and writing your book. And I have no intention of starving for my art. If you want me to write your book, you’re buying between ¼ and 1/3 of a year of my life, and I expect you to pay for that. I’ll quote you an exact fee when I know more about your book, but I’ll tell you now that it won’t be less than £10,000 or $12,000, it’s unlikely to be less than £12,000 or $15,000, and I have charged £20,000 or $25,000. So, if your budget doesn’t run to at least £10,000 or £12,000 ($12,000 or $15,000), you’ll have my very best wishes for your project but I won’t be the one to write it. You’ll pay 30% of the total fee just to ring fence my time to write the book and it’s very unlikely that I’ll be able to start right away: my time is normally booked some months in advance. You pay another 50% when I deliver the completed first draft, and the final 20% when I’ve made all the changes you ask for (or advise you why they are not a good idea) and the book is ready to go to the first agent.

So, now that I’ve told you what the process is going to cost, am I worth what I charge? Here are some of the things people have said about my work:

What do other people say about me?

“I’d never contemplated using a ghost writer. I felt sure I had a great book idea, but didn’t have the first idea how to write it. I did an internet search on a whim one day and found Reedsy. I registered and, based on my book idea and Reedsy’s selection process, found John Lynch. John has been a pleasure to work with, from start to finish. He has guided, mentored, and educated me in the role of the ghost writer, coaxing the story that was in my head out, and into his head. The result is almost the story I visualized…. but better. Thank you so much John Lynch!”

“John is one tough and honest man to work with, who combines his extensive knowledge with a sensitivity to detail and a razor sharp judgement. It was not always easy and it shouldn’t be. Trust grew on the tree of a direct exchange of values and professionalism. I’d work with John anytime again. Consider yourself lucky to get him to support your project.”

“John, a gifted wordsmith was and is just amazing to work with! He is diligent, goal oriented and always strives to deliver the best possible work. I highly recommend John as a collaborator. Cheers and Thanks !!!”

“John has a great way of pulling the story out of you. He made the process easy and exciting.”

“Truly excellent writer and a pleasure to work with. Prompt and highly professional. Will definitely work with again.”

“John edited and proofed my book and ghostwrote a few chapters. He did his edits at an extreme level of detail. Chapters he added perfectly picked up on what’s missing and followed the tone and the message of the book. John added lots of value to the book. And I am now in trouble – I am not sure I would dare to publish anything in the future without John looking it over.”

“John was a pleasure to work with. He doctored my book into tip top shape. Very professional. My highest recommendations.”

Finally, the founder and CEO of an American publishing company said:

“What can I say about John? One of the biggest issues we find in the manuscripts we receive from authors is Show, Don’t Tell. For a book to have any chance at all to bring readers in and engage them, it needs to show the story and not tell the story. John is an expert at this. He’s the best editor we have worked with when it comes to Show, Don’t Tell and his work has allowed us to accept manuscripts that would otherwise not have been accepted. He does great work and I highly recommend him.”

How do I work?

Ghostwriting is a collaboration between the author (you) and the writer (me). Rule #1 of ghost writing: It isn’t my book. It’s yours. I have to set my ego to one side to write the book you want written, not one I might happen to want to write. I send you batches of 3000 to 5000 words at a time and I ask you to Zoom two or three days after that to talk about what you like, what you don’t like and what changes you would like to see. I realize that allocating that time might be difficult, but in my experience, if anything goes wrong with a ghost writing project it happens because the author has underestimated the amount of time they will have to give to get the book they want. If you know in advance that you’re not going to be able to give enough time over a period of 3 to 4 months, please say so – it won’t do either of us any good to get into a contract that can’t be completed because one of us is short of time.

Ready to talk?

If, having read everything I’ve said, you still want to talk about your book, fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch. Rest assured that I won’t give your details to anyone else. Ever. For any purpose. If you’re planning to send me a sample of actual material you’ve already written, please say so and I will let you have a nondisclosure agreement. Never give material to anyone until you have one of those in place. You can trust writers with all sorts of things, but not with material for a book.