Today’s Association of Ghostwriters teleseminar with Debra Englander, editor-at-large at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., was quite an eye-opener. We all know the bad news about the book publishing industry – contracts are harder to get, advances are negligible, and competition fierce. On today’s call, Englander did not dispute any of those observations but, instead, shared Wiley’s plan for the future.
As of fall 2012, Wiley had already begun looking for ways to use author-provided content in ways beyond simple hard or softcover printed books. In addition to packaging content as printed books, editors at Wiley are now helping authors spot opportunities to use their material in other forms. From e-books to special reports to subscription websites, there are a multitude of ways to present expertise and Wiley is exploring them all. That’s exciting news.
Even more exciting is the fact that Englander has observed that “the number of books with ghosts is increasing.” Whether due to time constraints or the difficulty of expounding on a topic for 75,000 words or so, more and more authors are asking for help from ghostwriters.
Going forward, that help may be to help turn a draft manuscript into a series of shorter primers. Or to pull out facts that could be converted into an e-course. I suspect that, thanks in part to Wiley, the role of a ghostwriter may expand to include helping with packaging and repackaging content in new ways. Not only will we be need to be strong writers and editors to be successful, but creative thinkers as well.
That can only mean more opportunities. That is good news.