Member Spotlight: Douglas Glenn Clark

How did you land your first book ghostwriting project?

After daily newspapers crashed in 2000, I wrote feature articles for businesses, which allowed me to interview their clients. One man lived near Chicago, where I planned to visit family. I asked if we could meet, then pitched him a simple book that explained his business to new clients. This meant his sales team did not have to answer the same old questions on the phone. Saved a lot of time.


What has been your secret to building a steady stream of ghostwriting clients?

The telephone. I ask the prospective client for a phone chat as soon as possible. Not for a hard sell. I want to know if we are compatible, and if the book is truly within my range of interests.


What do you wish you’d known about ghostwriting when you were first starting out?

It’s okay not to be an expert in the field. In fact, sometimes it helps. I can say, “Tell me your story as if I’m 10 years old.” Then I rely on my narrative skills. Many books are not that much different than journalism and playwriting—also included in my resume.


How would you describe your favorite type of project and client?

I ask authors to look beyond the concept of a book. Perhaps it is my entertainment background, but I want them to see their story as a series of moving pictures. Or I want them to hear lyrics to a song that best expresses the soul of their project. I’ve never had a niche. I’ve written for a police officer, physical therapist, real estate mogul, chaplain, and World War II memoirist.


What are the best parts of this career?

Meeting interesting people and discovering the drama (or comedy) in their narrative. We all know how effective story can be, and yet some business authors begin only with bullet points. In that situation, I ask them to share their lowest point, or biggest blunder. That’s when the real story begins. Mistakes are universal.


How can people reach you?

Social media is a good way to connect, but then so is email:

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