- What change do you want to inspire in the world?
- What impact do you want to have on your peers, your industry?
- What doors do you want to open for the next step in your career?
- How do you want to be remembered?
Business leaders are some of the best-selling authors of our day.
Would Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have achieved prominence if she hadn’t published her trailblazing leadership book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead?
She’s now a sought-after speaker inspiring countless woman to seek opportunities to advance in business. Her book introduced her to the public, positioned her as an authority, built her network, and strengthened her personal brand.
Highly successful Starbucks CEO and author, Howard Schultz, has three books under his belt, written in partnership with three different co-authors.
Pour Your Heart Into It is the quintessential legacy book, telling the history of a small coffee shop in Seattle that grew into one of the biggest coffee chains in the world. With this CEO memoir, Schultz inspires his readers, humanizes his company, and shares a prescription for success that every business can follow.
What Do You Want to Achieve with Your CEO Memoir?
A memoir is a story only YOU can tell. When done well, it’s a story many people will want to read. What do you want to achieve with your memoir?
- Establish yourself as an authority or thought leader in your field.
- Kick off a public speaking career. A book is an excellent platform for marketing your ideas.
- Build credibility and trust as you move from the corporate world to a consulting position, or from one company to another.
- Share what you’ve learned over the course of a long career.
- Maybe you need to set the record straight on misconceptions your peers or the public have about you or your company?
- Maybe you simply want to share your life story with your children. This can be tremendously meaningful to loved ones who take great pride in what you have accomplished. It’s part of your legacy.
The process of working with a ghostwriter to collect the highlights (and low points) of your career, to reflect on the journey you thought you were undertaking when you were young, and the unexpected twists and turns that brought you to where you are today – that process can be personally meaningful and invaluable in creating a CEO memoir others want to read.
- “A fascinating read. I couldn’t put it down …”
- “A book that will change the way you think about …”
- “Chock-full of practical advice that will inspire you …”
Who wouldn’t like to see these kinds of reviews for their book? When you work with an experienced, professional ghostwriter, you’ve stacked the deck in your favor.
I Can Help You Find the Right Ghostwriter for Your CEO Memoir
You will need to interview them to determine if it is a good fit and whether they can provide the ghostwriting services you need.
The Benefits of Working with a Ghostwriter on a Memoir
Memoirs are a unique form of literature. Even if you are a great writer at the office, you may find you’ve met your match with the memoir format. A “just the facts” approach will ensure your book sits on a shelf unopened. You need to blend those facts with just the right amount of emotional, psychological, and interpersonal detail to generate empathy and interest.
A writer must have several outstanding skills in order to craft a great CEO memoir, including:
- The ability to conduct careful background research, such as searching public records and newspaper archives, gathering genealogical data, or mining corporate minutes. This can be quite time-consuming.
- Strong interviewing skills to capture color and context surrounding events. It can be difficult to do this when writing your own memoir. Work colleagues, family, and friends may feel more comfortable talking with your memoir writer than with you.
- A good ear for capturing a subject’s voice. In that sense, the memoir writer is more like a fiction writer than a business writer.
- The ability to organize seemingly disparate threads so they add up to a meaningful whole. This task can be particularly hard to do when those threads are your own life -and you’re not done yet! Your memoir writer has the benefit of distance. That may be why so many business leaders, politicians, celebrities, and public figures use ghostwriters for their memoirs.
Choosing a Ghost Writer for Hire
When you meet with a prospective CEO memoir writer, ask them about:
- Books they’ve worked on in the past: Some writers may have produced award-winning memoirs, but that is not the only measure of quality. Many memoirs are never meant to be seen by people beyond a small circle of family and friends. Their reach may be small, but the writing still has to be excellent, so ask to see samples of their work. (Realize that there may be work they cannot share due to confidentiality agreements.)
- How they work, their process: How much time would they like to spend with you and how often? Can you realistically accommodate that schedule? How much background will you need to provide, versus how much research will they need to do on their own? What touch points will there be in the process so you can provide input and direction?
- How have they helped past clients craft their memoirs: A memoir is not always structured in chronological order and certainly not everything that occurred in a lifetime can be included in a book. Ask how they have worked with clients in the past to decide what to include and how to organize a personal narrative.
- References: Can they provide several past clients’ names and numbers so you can ask what it was like to work with them?
What Services can a Ghostwriter Provide?
- Research and documentation
- Book outline and organization
- Preparing a book proposal to help you find an agent and publisher
- Writing original content with an authentic voice and a tone that speaks to your intended audience
- Editing and proofreading to ensure your manuscript is grammatically perfect
- Making revisions based upon your feedback
- Proposing supplemental materials for the book, such as photos and imagery
You can hire a ghostwriter to provide a few or a full range of services. Your ghostwriter can write your entire CEO memoir or provide background and structure and leave the rest to you. You can also ask a ghostwriter to write a book proposal and submit your query and proposal to agents and/or publishers. You can also hire a co-writer, so that you and your writer share some of the writing. Either way, an experienced writer can make sure your voice comes through the work.
You can email me for help finding a ghostwriter for your CEO memoir, as well as for advice on publishing options.
How Involved Do You Need to Be?
A memoir or biography is unlike any other type of book. It is deeply personal but also factual. Every detail needs to be accurate, but the “facts” will be subjective, coming from your perspective. It should also reflect your “voice,” using words the way you do so that people who know you – or hear you speak – will recognize the work as uniquely yours.
You will need to work more closely with your ghostwriter on a CEO memoir than other types of business books. You may need to provide more background information to begin the project, as well as a list of people to interview.
If you want to get your book done quickly, consider carving out 5 to 8 hours a week or more in the beginning. If you don’t have that kind of time available, shift the deadline. Maybe you don’t need the book completed in 4 – 8 months; 9 or 12 months will do.
Cost of Working with a Ghostwriter for Your Memoir
Ghostwriting fees are negotiable, and the cost of your memoir will depend upon several factors: your budget, the expected length of the book, the amount of research required, the types of services you need, and travel expenses.
- Books of 250 pages (about 40,000 words) written by an experienced memoir writer and requiring 4 to 12 months of work can run $25,000-$60,000 and up.
- Shorter books of 80 pages may cost in the range of $10,000 – $20,000 and up.
Did you live big? Play a role in momentous world events? Travel the globe? Some stories are just too big to be contained in 250 pages. Talk to your writer about the scope of action you want covered in your story and see what they suggest.
Shorter books can be effective AND cost-effective, especially if you are self-publishing or producing your book in an e-book format (more about that below).
Whose Name is On the Book?
Your name, of course.
It’s up to you if you want to add the name of your ghostwriter to your memoir or corporate history book. By legal contract, the ghostwriter-client relationship is confidential. You do not need to give credit. You own the rights to the book and you can do as you wish.
However, a small number of our writers are “co-writers” and they do require that their name be at the bottom of the cover, in a smaller font than your name, as “with Writer Name.” If that is the case, we will let you know that during the process of assessing your needs and helping you choose a writer. It can be an advantage to have a prolific quality writer’s name included on your cover.
If you do choose to give credit, you may include the text: “as told to,” or “edited by.”
Traditional Publisher or Self-Published?
Writers have more options than ever before when it comes to publishing and distribution of their book. If you go the traditional publishing route, you will need a book proposal. We have several excellent book proposal writers, should you need those services. Usually, you will query literary agents who shop your book around to a major or specialty publishing house. However, sometimes you can query publishers directly.
A traditional publisher pays you, rather than charges you. They may pay you an advance, although some smaller publishers pay a small or no advance. This will vary by publisher and by project. Being published by a publishing house provides valuable credibility, but you do give up some control along the way.
Self-publishing is common for legacy books (such as the history of a company), as well as for books used to sell a product or a service. Self-publishing gives you complete control of the final product. Credibility comes from you, not the publishing house. However, you will need to pay for designer(s), printing, and other costs of getting the book launched.
You may have a hybrid publishing option. Your company puts money toward production costs, but a traditional publishing company releases it under its imprint, essentially giving your book their seal of approval.
And then there is the option of digital publishing. E-books can be “published” at very low cost, and distributed on your company website, through Amazon, or a host of other online locations. If ease of access is important, consider an e-book!
We can help you in making this decision, helping you assess how well each publishing method lines up with your vision and goals, as well as providing information about what publishers are looking for and what you might need to do to make your proposal as marketable as possible. Of course, with traditional publishing, there are no guarantees that a traditional publisher will pick up a book; we do our best to help you make the best case you can.
Are You Ready to See Your Memoir in Print (or online)?
Get your free e-book, 20 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Ghostwriter. It will help you be diligent in thoroughly investigating the business book ghostwriters you are considering and making the best possible match for your book.
Call my office at 401-477-0886 or contact me today to get one step closer to your dream of a stunning CEO memoir. I can help you find a quality ghostwriter just right for your project.