I can add and subtract, multiply, and divide. I can balance a checkbook. I can keep track of income and expenses on a spreadsheet. I can determine sales tax and apply seller discounts. I can figure out what percentage of my gasoline costs is deductible. I can even fill out my own partnership tax forms if I have enough time.
Lots of time.
I’m talking serious clumps of uninterrupted hours.
Basic bookkeeping. Profit and loss. Cash flow. Retained earnings. All the accounting doo-dads and business jargon those QuickBooks magicians need to make business financials run smoothly. Accounting, as someone once explained, is a specialty profession; one that’s essential for all manner of banking, business, investments, and taxes. People go to college to learn its myriad aspects and intricacies. No business can expect to be successful without proper accounting. Just as no book can expect to be successful without proper writerly skills.
An accountant’s math skills are to my abilities to write, edit, and comprehend intricate prose. Those spreadsheets and percentages? Outlining, character studies, and basic plot architecture. An accountant’s Schedule K is on the same level of concentrated effort as applying APA style guides to a 425-page master’s thesis.
Just like accounting is a specialty profession, so, too, is ghostwriting.
Sure, any aspiring author can open whatever word processor strikes their fancy and clickity-clack type out enough words to rival War and Peace, but it likely won’t have the same finesse as it would if they had access to my kind of expertise. Just like a CEO absolutely can open QuickBooks and navigate the truly brain-folding double-entry system but come tax time there likely will be some missed deductions.
Luckily for those aspiring authors, ghostwriters like me love creative analysis and musical line editing. We relish literary intricacies as much as the math-heads who take delight in their accounting tasks. Not only are ghostwriting’s myriad tasks more fun than trying to figure out QuickBooks, they’re far less mind-bending, that’s for sure.
More power to those accountants. Hats off to them! I’ll just be over here with my manuscript structure and plot/character integration.
And M&Ms. Can’t forget the M&Ms.
Claudia Suzanne is a consummate ghostwriter/teacher, understanding what authors need in order to successfully complete their book dream, and she has a finely honed talent for communicating what she knows to her students and clients. Popularly dubbed “The Einstein of Ghostwriting,” Claudia has entertained and informed tens of thousands of writers, editors, journalists, and aspiring authors at countless writer and professional meetings, conferences, radio and BlogTalk radio broadcasts, webinars, and podcasts. Claudia was an invited expert on Penguin’s Author Solutions Expert Video series and a featured entrepreneur in Orange County Business Journal and Norwegian Business Daily. Her signature title, This Business of Books: A Complete Overview of the Industry from Concept through Sales, earned her a 2018 Author of Influence Award from Connected Women of Influence.