the best way to go the second time around. I’d rate
him a 9, or even a 10.”
According to Goulet, “I thoroughly enjoyed work-
ing with a book doctor because he challenged us to
flesh out our thoughts, concepts and ideas, which ulti-
mately made for an award-winning book. He gave us
solid guidance and direction, but he did not step on
our ‘writing toes.’ He encouraged us to edit so that
we could stand behind every word of the book.”
In both cases, the ghostwriter and book doctor re-
ceived a flat fee and were acknowledged in the book
for their contributions. No standing in the shadows
for these wordsmiths!
Three’s a Charm
For master PR strategist Jill Lublin, hiring the right
ghostwriter has been a blessing. After two unsuccess-
ful attempts working with ghostwriters, Lublin finally
hired Mark Steisel, who has collaborated with her on
all three of the bestselling books she authored or co-
authored: Guerrilla Publicity (Adams Media, 2002),
Networking Magic (McGraw Hill, 2004) and Get Noticed … Get Referrals (Adams Media, 2008).
“I think it’s important to interview several ghost-
writers because the relationship is intimate, like a
marriage. You need to match personalities and styles.
The ghostwriter will constantly probe you to uncover
personal information,” Lublin said.
“I was looking for someone to contrast me. Mark
is an attorney who loves to write. He is a very analyti-
cal, linear thinker. I’m very whimsical and creative,”
Lublin said. “We’re a great match. I’m good at con-
necting with people spiritually, and Mark understands
It’s a fact that books can build credibility and vis-
ibility but, according to Lublin, speakers speak; they
don’t necessarily write. “If you’ve got good content to
share, get someone on your team who clearly under-
stands your message and supports your book’s objec-
tives and goals. If you don’t hire a ghostwriter, then
get a book coach to shepherd you through the writing
and publishing process.”
Publicly acknowledging a ghostwriter is a negoti-
ated point, according to Lublin, who believes in giving
credit where credit is due. Steisel’s name appears on
the inside front book jacket of all three books. He was
paid a flat fee for the first book, and a fee plus a per-
centage of royalties for the next two books.
Lublin hears speakers say time after time that they’re
working on a book; however, months and even years
go by and the book is not finished. It’s hard to write
a book when you’re busy with speaking engagements.
Her advice: Hire a ghostwriter. “Look at me,” said Lu-
blin. “These were the easiest books I ever wrote!”
Tips on Hiring
• Select a ghostwriter who is sensitive to your
needs and easy to be around. It can take months,
or even years, to bring a project to fruition.
• Verify your ghostwriter’s experience by reviewing
samples and contacting former clients.
• Before signing a contract with a ghostwriter,
discuss your project’s potential with an agent or
publisher. It’s a fickle market with shifting trends
that can leave your book high and dry six months
down the line.
• Ask your ghostwriter about get-out clauses
• If you are a celebrity, select a ghostwriter who
can communicate your personality through the
written word. The finished book must capture
Barbara Parus, managing editor of Speaker
magazine, writes on health care, human
resources, real estate, high technology and
now, NSA speakers. She can be contacted