Hiring a Developmental Editor Versus a Ghostwriter

Periodically, memoir writing clients who want strong editorial support contact me. They’re not sure if they need ghostwriting services or if they can write the book themselves. They may want to consider hiring a ghostwriter who also works as a developmental editor.

The main thing is: they’d like to try writing a book. If they fail, they want to know I’m there to back them up as a ghostwriter. It’s a great idea because you know that either way, your book will get written. Failure is not an option.

A Developmental Editor Helps Writers Learn Quickly

Some cynical writer once said: becoming a writer is like basically giving yourself homework every day for the rest of your life. So, it’s not for everyone. Then again, the results are amazing.

Imagine the pride of knowing you wrote your memoir yourself, especially if it becomes a best seller! The service I offer that lies somewhere in between ghostwriting and just having an editor check your grammar is called “developmental editing.”

That means I’ll take what you’ve written–be it a page, a finished short story, or a whole manuscript, and I’ll edit it very thoroughly. If you wish, I’ll take my edit up to and including rewriting passages to give you an idea for alternate stylistic choices you might make.

I won’t rewrite the book for you, but I’ll tell you what to do, step by step, to develop your style and make your story sing. It’s not ghostwriting–it’s more like going to graduate school for creative writing and having a professor work with you one-on-one whenever you need it.

Even Professionals Use Developmental Editors

When I ghostwrite memoirs, I always use a developmental editor, myself, so that I know a second pair of eyes–much like my own, but fresh to the project–has seen the pages.

A developmental editor can help beginner and advanced writers alike, because there are always those points where perhaps the suspense drops or the exposition drags down the story. Your developmental editor works with you to identify any weak spots and fix them, right up front. (Here’s a blog about how to find your story’s theme)

So, if you want to write a memoir but aren’t sure if you need a ghostwriter or not, try asking a ghostwriter to act as a developmental editor first, with ghostwriting as a backup option.

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