“If you are writing an academic paper, designed to be read by experts then you want a specialist, if you are writing a book that explains your product or service to outsiders then you want someone who can bridge the gap between your expertise and their ignorance.”
~ Debra Hilton
Grappling with Concepts?
I talk to many experienced ghostwriters from all walks of life and I find that while we have diverse educational and experiential qualities, we have certain common characteristics which contribute to our success in the field.
1.We like digging deeply into a variety of subjects and concepts: this is important because you want your business book to have substance and not just to be a collection of fluffy, regurgitated platitudes and stories.
2.We enjoy working with words and writing extensively about a single topic because it enriches our understanding: this means that we are curious about the whys and wherefores as well as the what’s and how’s.
3.We are curious about a variety of subjects and recognise that there are many different approaches: as a result we try to reflect your unique voice and perspective on your topic.
4.We are able to step back from our work and let your vision shine through: while we do not hesitate to offer professional advice, at the end of the day this is your book not ours. In a professional capacity we will give you our advice clearly and directly, but as your ‘voice’ we will execute your decisions even where we disagree.
5.We see ourselves as a bridge between your knowledge and your audience’s expertise: like any effective translator this means that your market will come to appreciate what you do without needing to know how to do it themselves.
The few single-subject ghostwriters I know usually focus on academic papers, white papers, and academic books rather than business books designed to appeal to the wider market and serve as a marketing and authority-building tool.
The Benefits of Working with a Subject Specialist Ghostwriter
Working with a ghostwriter who is a specialist in your subject means that you will not need to explain certain concepts to them because they already have that knowledge and understanding. You should also find that they can already outline the key reasons why your topic is relevant and your approach is valid.
As a result, you may be able to seriously reduce the amount of time you spend briefing them for your book and still have confidence that they will include the important points in your book.
The Danger of Working With a Subject Specialist
That said, there’s a critical reason why most ghostwriters are not subject specialists and why subject specialists generally don’t write other people’s books: perspective.
The more deeply you dive into a subject, the more committed you become to a single point of view on that subject and that means that you have a tendency to slant every book towards that same angle.
Have you ever noticed that when you read a few books on a subject they all sound alike? Last year I was researching a popular subject for a project and realised that three or four of my resources all sounded quite similar even though they had somewhat different structures. I wasn’t surprised to discover that they were all the work of one ghostwriter who was a specialist in the subject because this is a fairly common issue.
Authors like the idea of working with a subject specialist, but if they want to approach their subject from a different perspective this can get in their way. It can also be an obstacle if they want to present a novel solution to a problem or a different angle since subject specialists, almost by definition, have strong views on how the subject should be approached and why this is so.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
As an author, it’s up to you to consider what is most important about your book. There is no single right answer.
Choosing a subject specialist makes it:
• Easier to explain the technicalities of your topic;
• Faster to brief your ghostwriter;
• Less likely that you will need to correct factual errors in the first draft;
• More likely that your book will sound and feel like others on the same subject;
• Challenging if your angle or solution is unconventional or innovative.
Choosing a generalist ghostwriter means that:
• You will probably need to spend more time explain core concepts or allow more time for the ghostwriter to familiarise themselves with the subject;
• You may have to correct more factual or vocabulary issues in the first draft;
• Your book is likely to reflect your perspective and bias accurately;
• The voice and angle of your books will be uniquely yours;
• ‘Civilian’ readers (those outside your field) will usually find your book more accessible and persuasive.
Want to Learn More About Writing a Unique Business Book?
The process of writing your book, won’t just help you with your book. It will also help you identify and exploit the unique characteristics that set your business apart from your competition so that you can use those things in your messaging.
For more information, download my report: “How to Choose the Right Writing Process for Your Book & 10 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Co-Author or Ghostwriter” [https://hiltoncopy.com/]