Member Spotlight: Laura Schaefer
How did you land your first book ghostwriting project?
I landed my first book ghostwriting project after writing and traditionally publishing four of my own books — three novels with Simon & Schuster and one nonfiction book with a smaller indie press. The ghostwriting opportunity came to me via the (now defunct) LinkedIn Profinder platform. I pitched my services to a local CEO looking for a collaborator for a book on running a growing association. He chose to work with me because we lived in the same city at the time, and because we clicked personality-wise. It was a great experience! I quickly learned I love establishing the trust, rapport, and long-term focus book collaboration requires.
What has been your secret to building a steady stream of ghostwriting clients?
Two things: 1) word-of-mouth referrals from my clients and 2) regularly sharing online who I am and what I’m thinking about during any given week. If you’re looking to work with a ghostwriter or book collaborator for what will likely be four to six months of your life (or longer), you probably want to know who that individual is as a human being. You also want to see that they’ve thought deeply about their craft and process. With this in mind, I am very open about who I am on my website and on LinkedIn so potential clients can get to know how I work.
As an author, I am nothing if not a seeker and a learner. It’s why I am so into books — and have been since childhood. I see a book as the ultimate tool for connection, teaching, and reflection. My offer as a book collaborator is this: perhaps you and I can travel together for a time. I’ll do my very best to put what you have learned in your life and in your work on the page…in exactly the way you want it expressed. Preferably in a well-organized, conversational, and personal way that deeply engages your chosen audience.
What do you wish you’d known about ghostwriting when you were first starting out?
I’d tell my just-starting-out self to trust that the clients meant for me would find me. Because they have. Also, knowing what I know now, I would have raised my prices sooner!
How would you describe your favorite type of project and client?
My favorite type of client is a true authority in a niche topic, whether it’s art, business, coaching, entrepreneurship or non-profits. They have been honing their expertise and unique perspective for so long that a book is an obvious next step. They have a genuine wish to educate and help their readers. Their knowledge and stories are close at hand and enjoyable to discover and deepen — together.
They’re willing to trust me to guide us through the book writing process as partners, and they have at least 2-3 hours per week to devote to a collaboration for several months. They are warm and caring people who know their stuff. The thing we’ll be writing about together is a topic they’ve truly mastered and are ready to teach.
I only take on one to two full-length projects per year. I’m picky!
What are the best parts of this career?
Definitely the chance to get to know a wide range of interesting and thoughtful people. I love the unique perspectives I’ve been privileged to help fascinating individuals share. On a more practical level, I love the solopreneur lifestyle (which lets me spend summers in Wisconsin and the rest of my time here in Florida), and devoting my brain power to something I believe in through and through — books!
How can people reach you?