Judy: How (and why) did you become a ghostwriter?
Chris: Writing is my skill. It’s what I’m good at. In order not to just get a job that would suck my soul dry, I kind of fell into ghostwriting. It was a way to do what I love and still make money.
Judy: Can you tell us about some of the books you have ghost-written?
Chris: I’ve mostly done fiction though I’ve had more calls for non-fiction book proposals. I’ve written all sorts of romance including some taboo ones like step-siblings falling in love. I’ve done an Amish romance that I found I really liked. I’m thinking about doing one on my own, making it suspense. We’ll see.
Judy: How do you work with your clients? Do they send you notes?
Chris: It all depends on what I am doing for the client. Sometimes it is a book. Sometimes a proposal. Sometimes just editing.
I have one client that I give story outlines to. He has a specific form you likes to use, but he gives me a lot of freedom otherwise. From him I only have a sentence.
I work for a company that does book proposals. From them I get parts of the proposal that have to cleaned up. For instance the bio of the author and the table of contents of the book, but there will be parts I need to glean from an interview they send me.
Judy: What is the average turnaround time from start to finish? How many revisions to you agree to (I’m assuming there’s a contract)?
Chris: That also depends on the project. If I have found this client independent from the various places I work for, I do have my own contract. I offer two rounds of revisions after the manuscript is delivered.
In terms of turnaround time, if it’s fiction, I can produce about 10,000 words a week. I can only do half of that if it is non-fiction.
I also beta read which takes less time than a developmental edit. I edit only ten pages a day. I find after that I’m reading instead of looking at it critically.
Judy: Do you help your clients with/to find publication?
Chris: I don’t. Some ghostwriters do. I’ve failed to get several jobs because I don’t do marketing or didn’t have any contacts in the publishing world. If you need those things, I am not the writer for you. I don’t like to lie to my clients. That makes the job stressful for both of us.
Judy: Are you credited anywhere in the ghostwritten books (I’m assuming not)?
Chris: No. Never. Sometimes an author will mention someone in the acknowledgments, but I’ve never had that happen.
Judy: What are the challenges?
Chris: Besides finding steady work, the next challenge is writing in the author’s voice. In any given day, I might be writing a taboo romance and at the same time tackling a New Adult romance. Those would be two different voices and two different audiences.
Judy: What are the rewards?
Chris: I don’t have to market anything. I get paid for my work and go on my merry way.
Judy: How many books have you written as Chris Redding? Are they self published or traditionally published?
Chris: I’ve published 8 novels; one of them is with a publisher. The rest are self-published because with my career always in flux from ghosting, I need the flexibility that self-publishing gives me.
Judy: If someone wanted to get into the ghost writing business, what would they have to do?
Chris: Be a writer and have some things in your portfolio that proves that you can write in genres or about certain topics. You can use anything you’ve worked at or volunteered at.
Judy: Do you write under your own name?
Chris: No, I write under a pen name.
Anonymous all the way! Thank you, “Chris.”
About the author: Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, and a show rabbit. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in Journalism and is still a diehard Nittany Lions fan. Her books are filled with romance, suspense and thrills. Find out more about Chris, her books, and her ghostwriting services at: www.chrisreddingauthor.com.