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Should I Hire a Ghostwriter or Write My Book Myself?

Your Book Writing Coach
Your Book Writing Coach

Easy answer: 9.5 times out of 10 you should write your book yourself.

My first year on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s publishing course, a doctor told me his horror story on landing a top publisher who recommended hiring a ghostwriter. Sadly, the ghostwriter’s version took him far afield from his vision.

He took his name off the book altogether, though the publisher still published it (and, I believe, he paid for the ghostwriter). He came to Harvard to regain his voice and start over with the book he originally wanted to write.

Should you trust your book to this guy?
Should you trust your book to this guy?

It’s your story. Do you really want to trust the details to someone else?

There are some great ghostwriters out there. And I do recommend to some of my busiest clients that they hire one. But, most often, when I hear someone talk about their book and they say they need a ghostwriter because they can’t write, I know that what they really need is some support to learn to write.

It’s not that hard to write well. I have about three simple rules that make all the difference. It takes practice. And it’s always good to have a talented editor. But, the truth is, you probably can write. And if you feel drawn to get your message out there through a book, you’re probably the ideal writer for it.

If you’re a better speaker than writer, talk your book. Record it into a  phone or voice recorder and use a transcription service to send it to you in written form. It will need editing, but you’ll have  a great start. Just remember, Show; don’t tell and provide plenty of details, particularly quirky ones, to bring your book to life.

Ask your inner voice and you’ll probably have a clear answer inside. So, tell me, should you write the book or hire a ghostwriter? Still unsure? Share your questions here and I’ll provide the best answer I can.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Stacy Corrigan says

    Lisa, you are SO Awesome! I love that photo of you (or whomever) in the sheet! CLASSIC! Thanks for making me Laugh!
    Happy Halloween,

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