Tips for choosing a Christian writer to ghostwrite your story.
by Adam G. Fleming
If you’re looking for a Christian ghostwriter, we can make a few assumptions:
With most ghostwriting engagements, the primary question is, “Can the writer do the job well, communicating what is needed, and do it in a timely fashion?” But there’s an additional underlying question when you add the word “Christian” to ghostwriter. For sure, you’re looking for someone who is a professing believer in the Christian faith, preferably baptized, and holding membership in some kind of church (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, etc.), and well-versed in the Bible . . . wait.
Do you see the problem that’s already cropping up? There are many interpretations of what it means to be a Christian, but this ghostwriter you’re looking for—do they have to have the same theology you do? And if so, how exactly spot-on do they have to agree with everything you think and believe? Which doctrines and opinions are critical and which ones aren’t, for them to be able to write your Christian book for you?
Here are a few personal characteristics you need from a Christian ghostwriter, in addition to the basic skills of ghostwriting:
They need to be willing to work with your theology and philosophy of life. You don’t really need to have the exact same theology, they just need to have a servant’s attitude toward you and your story. They are here to help you steward the message God has given you. What should you ask? I would not recommend grilling them on their theology, whether it’s liberal or conservative enough. If you approach a Christian ghostwriter with an argumentative attitude, you probably won’t set anyone up for success. Instead, say a little bit about what’s most important to you, and ask if they’re willing to support it.
Along with a servant attitude comes two important characteristics for a writer. Recently while working on a workbook for a Christian training class, I used the word “drama” and the author changed it to “chaos.” I realized that “chaos” was a better word than what I, the ghostwriter, had chosen! The writer needs to be humble enough to recognize that it’s your book, and you get the final choice of words.
While the Christian ghostwriter’s job is to keep their opinions to themselves, you really do want someone who can let you know if they think that something is “off,” either in your theology or philosophy. Here’s the secret sauce: it’s probably not that your theology is off, it’s the way it is being said or communicated. You need the Christian ghostwriter to act as a sort of beta reader, too. They will understand and be able to give you perspective on how a reader will experience what’s being said. Ultimately, the Christian ghostwriter will give you the final say, but you probably want someone bold enough to let you know that the way your message is being communicated might confuse people or throw readers off.
A good Christian ghostwriter will listen for specific words that you use, so they can use them when writing. If you are talking about the Goodness of God, they should not change it to “the Mercy of God.” Unless, they have good cause: for instance, the rest of your discussion really describes “mercy” more than it does “goodness.” In which case, your ghostwriter is giving you an appropriate challenge by letting you know, “hey, this will be less confusing if we call it what you’re really describing.”
Well, that’s not really any different than selecting a ghostwriter in general, but it may be even more important. What is the Holy Spirit saying?
At Victory Vision we’re dedicated to connecting you with a Christian ghostwriter with plenty of experience as a writer, and someone who can be both humble and bold in their support of authors coming from a variety of different theological positions. We understand that it is a beautiful mystery how the Lord speaks through many kinds of people and trust that if He has begun a good work in you, He will also be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).
Adam G. Fleming, PCC, is an ICF certified coach and trainer. He has trained people in coaching skills around the world and has also led other seminars as speaker and facilitator. Using both traditional and DIY methods, Adam has published 13 books in a variety of genres, and serves as the CEO and lead ghostwriter for Victory Vision Publishing, Inc. He lives in Goshen, Indiana, with his wife Megan and their four children. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.