By Ken Walker
The way I see it, the leading reason to consider being a ghostwriter is similar to that for being a book editor: the legion of people who need help telling their story.
After more than 20 years of ghostwriting, co-authoring, and collaborating with authors, I have discovered that many people are simply too busy to write or need help crafting their message. God gave me the ability to assist would-be authors with this task. Along the way, I have made long-lasting friendships that are more valuable than a byline on a cover.
I had already ghosted dozens of testimonies for a Christian businessmen’s magazine when I talked with the first published co-author I ever worked with. The magazine had given me a transcript of a talk he had given. I called to verify a few minor details before finishing the article. Instead of the five-minute conversation I expected, we wound up talking for 45.
During our chat, he talked about wanting to write a book that would encourage young men to take a stand for God instead of “drifting along” with popular trends.
“I can help,” I replied.
He then sent me material which I used to draft the first three chapters. For the next two years, we worked on developing the book, submitting samples chapters to several publishers but never landing any offers.
That changed after I attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. There I described the book to four editors; three agreed to look at the first two chapters. The acquisitions editor for B&H Publishing wound up buying it, as well as a follow-up.
Although neither made any best-seller lists, the author is still using those books in his ministry. And, we had lunch recently when I was on an editing trip to Los Angeles.
Over the years, I’ve met people who talked about ghostwriting “getting old,” but it’s never grown old for me.
For one, I am a pretty shy person and don’t care about public appearances or being a “name” author. Besides, over the years I have had nearly 4,000 bylines, including a number of cover stories in national Christian magazines. I have never discovered much public acclaim accompanying such achievements.
In addition, this desire lines up with a call I heard from God one day. It came amid a period of prayer, fasting, and agonizing over what to do after my public relations business had collapsed.
Sitting in my office, a soft voice—had I not been concentrating I would have missed it—said, “I want you to use your writing talent for Me.”
That call made all the difference. It kept me on track when things got even tougher, and helped me appreciate whose story I am telling. I write and edit books whose main purpose is to talk about what God is doing in the world. Not me nor the author, but Him.
Experienced. Award-winning. Skilled. For years, Ken Walker has been shaping stories—thousands of them—for books and articles in various venues. He uses his writing and editing talent now to help edit and refine authors’ material, as well as coaching bloggers and other writers on how they can improve their material. In recent years Ken has co-authored or edited more than a dozen health-oriented books. This specialty began with co-authoring Winning the Food Fight, a book that emerged from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, an Emmy-Award-winning mini-series on ABC.