Being a Ghost

A ghostwriter gets to walk in a lot of different people’s shoes. It’s like being an actor: you have to sound like your client (or character), then help them sound even better. Good editors do this, too. It’s how I’ve worked in so many fields when my one field, really, is language. It’s why I could be an editor at Women’s Sports & Fitness magazine when my most athletic endeavor was ice skating on Friday nights. It’s why I could be associate editor of The Birds Around Us for Ortho Books, tinkering with the words of renowned ornithologists like Roger Tory Peterson, when the most I knew about birds was the difference between a sparrow and a blue jay (okay, okay, a Scrub Jay!).

A ghostwriter gets to walk in a lot of different people’s shoes. It’s like being an actor: you have to sound like your client (or character), then help them sound even better.
Healing the Rift: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Spirituality was a draft of a book proposal when it crossed my desk, and I learned about physics and metaphysics while I found ways to shape this scientist’s mind-bending thoughts; Tantra Goddess: A Memoir of Sexual Awakening, was a very personal story and it needed a lot of tender coaxing to get to its heart. Fearless Fish Out of Water: How To Succeed When You’re the Only One Like You by Robin Fisher Roffer was a new idea for the author when she called me for help.

Every time I start an editing or ghostwriting project I have to reinterpret “unfamiliar” to mean “new” as I help find the story, learn the voice, and create a diamond gem out of a rock. I have to get in fast and find and understand the core message, then write or co-create a book that will be everything my client wants. The learning curve can be steep and there’s not usually much time to climb it.

And when the book is published, I don’t do the promotion, but I share in the joy. It’s like being an aunt. And I love being an aunt.

 

 

About Suzanne

Suzanne Sherman is a veteran publishing professional, with thirty-five years in the field and a specialization in memoir and other nonfiction. Her clients have published with Wiley & Sons, Chronicle Books, Ten Speed Press, and a number of smaller publishers. She has also helped many authors successfully self-publish. Some of Suzanne’s memoir students and coaching clients prefer to write for personal pleasure or to create books for family, and they call her an invaluable guide.

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