The Best Ghostwriters Ask Great Questions

The Best Ghostwriters Ask Great Questions

Whether being conducted in person, by phone, or video, the best interviews involve smart questions.

The best books are filled with information that is interesting, entertaining, informative, and maybe even surprising. To gather those details requires the skills of a great writer, or, alternatively, a great ghostwriter.

The benefit of hiring a talented ghostwriter is as much their writing ability as it is their curious mind. They ask great questions that get at material that is new and sometimes even controversial.  Without a skilled ghostwriter, you wind up with a book that is dull, boring, and filled with old information everyone’s already heard before.

Good ghostwriters are skilled at asking questions that elicit often fascinating facts.

A Ghostwriter’s Real Value

Although a ghostwriter may ask to record a phone or video interview and transcribe it later, often to avoid a hand cramp as they try to take comprehensive notes fast, the value they bring to the project begins long before the interview starts.

Each and every book requires a ghostwriter to conceive of and compile relevant questions that explore in depth the topic the author is writing about. Sometimes that requires the ghostwriter to conduct background research, read books, articles, blog posts, and study scholarly research to get their arms around a subject. That research helps them prepare a list of questions that goes beyond your standard who, what, where, why, when, and how.

The ghostwriter’s genius is in their interview questions.

Some authors attempt to replicate this process by dictating their thoughts and having them transcribed and then edited, but it doesn’t deliver the quality product that you can get with an experienced ghostwriter. Because experienced book ghostwriters know the questions to ask that will elicit the most interesting material.

Among other things, questions posed help to:

  • Express the author’s emotions about a particular event
  • Provide context for the author’s discovery or epiphany described
  • Explain why the author’s perspective is so different from existing opinions
  • Tell a relevant, previously unheard story to illustrate a point or justify an action
  • Set the stage for events covered later in the book
  • Prove the author’s authority and expertise
  • Explore other characters who were present or who played an important role
  • Fill in background details
  • Link other theories or stories with the one being told
  • Offer analyses and findings to support the author’s position
  • Educate the reader about the author’s process or strategy

Each question builds on the last, helping the ghostwriter to better understand the material so that he or she can relate it to the reader in a new way. Or to explain it in such a way it helps the reader better comprehend it.

Beyond Transcript Editing

There are some ghostwriting services that promise to produce a published book from recorded telephone interviews.

For many articulate aspiring authors, this approach sounds quite appealing, both because the process isn’t overwhelming and the cost is fairly low. After all, if an author already knows what they want to share, a ghostwriter becomes little more than an editor working from a transcript of the call.

Since the work completed is more editing than writing from scratch, the fee charged is typically only a few thousand dollars.

Before you opt to go this route, think about what it is your book needs to really shine. Do you need someone to polish words you’ve already written? Or could you benefit from a professional writer who will help you uncover the real gems in your message, and clarify your thinking? Someone who will push back and ask for details?

Better questions result in better stories and better writing. Ultimately, better questions result in a better book.

So if you’re going to hire a ghostwriter to support you in writing your book, choose the one with the most inquisitive mind. Your book will be so much better for it. If you’re looking for a ghostwriter, the Association of Ghostwriters would be happy to help you find one for your project.

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Marcia Layton Turner

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