Write Medicine

Ghostwriter: Who? What? How?

January 07, 2022 Alexandra Howson PhD Season 2 Episode 22
Write Medicine
Ghostwriter: Who? What? How?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today we're talking about ghostwriting. Not the ghostwriting that has been loaded with negative associations within medical writing circles for many years but a different kind of ghostwriting. The kind that gets your business to business or business to consumer book out the door. My guest, Wendy Meyeroff, has been ghostwriting for many years and is here to share what she has learned about what is is, how it has changed, who can benefit from the support of a ghostwriter, and what to look for when you are thinking of hiring a ghost writer.
If you didn't know about the world of ghostwriting before this episode, I think you'll agree that there's a lot to mull over here. If you need a writer to help you write a B2B or B2C book or other materials, you can learn more about how to hire a ghostwriter at Wendy's website, to which I've included a link in the show notes, as well as Claudia Suzanne's website,  ghostwritertraining.com

Even if you are still on the fence about the value and credibility of ghostwriting, Wendy shares a wealth of detail about the craft of writing, its role in educating audiences, examples from ghostwriters who work in particular genres, like memoir, and a long list of resources on tools of the trade and where to find training. 

Smithsonian Magazine
American Medical Writers Association
Council of Science Editors 
Editorial Freelancers Association
Claudia Suzanne
Claudia Suzanne Ghost Writing Course 
Derek Lewis
Lorraine Nash
Military Writers Society of America
Mark Agnew 

Connect with Wendy: Email, LinkedIn 

Host: Alexandra Howson PhD
Sound Engineer: Suzen Marie
Shownotes: Linzy Carothers  

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Alexandra Howson  04:15 

Hello, and welcome to Write Medicine. I'm your host, Alex Howson. And with me today is Wendy Meyeroff. Welcome, Wendy. 


Wendy Meyeroff  04:24 

Hi, Alex. Thanks for inviting me. It's fun to be here. 


Alexandra Howson  04:27 

Good to see you. Let's start by talking a little bit about who you are and what you do. 


Wendy Meyeroff  04:35 

 Okay, well, you asked how I got into ghostwriting. So, what happened was right now, for 17 years I've been in Baltimore but I will always truly be a New Yorker born and bred. And back home in New York, you've got a ton of writing possibilities. You have publishing houses, nonprofits, PR and ad agencies and this list just keeps going right? And I had gotten married, so we needed a little more money. I answered an ad and boom, I walked into a trade publishing house. And when I teach succeeding as a magazine writer, nobody's heard of trade magazines, medical writers will, but the average person, and even the medical writers, a lot of my colleagues know the Journal of whatever. But if you say, graduating nurse to them, or Healthcare Informatics that's not ringing everybody's bells. Okay? So, I walk in, and there's this big tabloid on the executive editor's desk, the lady interviewing me. And I say you publish 2020? And it was for the opera--it still is. It's one of the few that's still out there. It's for the optical industry. It's the business side of the industry. And she looks at me and she says, you know this? And I said, yeah, my husband gets it. Because when I got married, Richard was still a New York state licensed optician, she says, have you read this? I said, I’ve looked through it. It's a nice publication. I like that you have articles and not just sales pieces. Next thing I know, I was hired, and I spent six years with them. And that's good training. But honestly, every medical writer or any writer has different dreams, whether it's a book, or they always wanted to be in Smithsonian magazine, or wherever. For me, it was the women's magazines that my mother had around the house, which were Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, things like that. And that's what I ended up writing for. I spent three years writing with Good Housekeeping. I wrote for a Woman's Day--an article they...that Johns Hopkins pulled to us in the clinics on perimenopause. And magazines led to newsletters and newsletters led to the website in the 90s. Because we didn't have LinkedIn yet. It's hard for people to remember this. But we didn't have LinkedIn, we didn't have Indeed, people couldn't post ads and get 12 million writers to help them, they had to know about the American Medical Writers Association, or the Council of Science Editors for the editing help, or the Editorial Freelancers Association, which I have been with forever, ever since the beginning. And, so they would post things to job boards. And that's how a lot of us got our freelance work. And so there you go, then I was writing all this stuff, and the next thing I knew what I didn't know, technically, I was a ghost writer, because there are at least two definitions nowadays of a ghostwriter. 

 Alexandra Howson  08:00 

So, before you get into definitions of a ghostwriter an answer to the question, who are you? And what do you do? You're a writer. What do you do? 

Wendy Meyeroff  08:14 

I am not a clinical writer, although I did spend three years helping New York Presbyterian--I wrote for the neuroscience newsletter. It is clinical material, but it's not journal stuff, you have to take the journal stuff, interview the lead clinician, and then turn that into a newsletter. The length was a primary or a secondary feature. So, it could be anywhere from 600 to 750. The longer ones were up to 1500 words. Okay.  

Alexandra Howson 08:57 

What do you focus on now? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  08:59 

Now, it's mostly anything on the business side. So, I could be talking to a psychologist who wants to write a self-help book. I could be interviewing business leaders on how to establish your Electronic Health Record system. My main areas are anything in health, I can cover almost anything. I've never covered things like HIV for some reason, but I have covered almost every other type of clinical issue. I have a specialty of the aging America. I started covering that 20 something years ago before most people were paying attention to the growing Boomer market. I have been a marketing consultant and a marketing person. So, it's not just regular articles. It's blogs and informatics and case studies, white papers, anything that needs a good storyteller. 

 Alexandra Howson  09:57 

Okay. And one of the things that you might be doing--that you might do now--is talk to people about or help people who want to write their own book but don't necessarily want to write it themselves. So that probably takes us into ghostwriting territory. Can you describe for the audience what ghost writing is? Because for a lot of people, ghostwriting has a bad rap.  

 Wendy Meyeroff  10:27 

I'm not sure why--maybe because they've never known a ghost writer. There’s a class I'm finishing. It's almost a little over a one-year certification. And the first part is an introduction to ghostwriting. And it's by a lady, she has been at this for 30 something years, you'll never have heard her name because she believes in the real definition of a ghost writer. We keep our mouths shut--even after the author's gone--unless we get permission from the estate. You don't hear who Charlie Smith and Jane Doe's ghost writer was. So, her name is Claudia Suzanne. And she is amazing. And she teaches this 13-month certification. It is the only certification for ghostwriting in the world. Okay, so and if you, as I say I'm about to graduate in July. And what I have been through, I've interviewed her graduates because I also help her with the marketing. But to be honest with you, I don't praise her just because she's a client. I have interviewed her graduates and one is making $100,000 a year. She says on average, you start at 35-40,000 per book. She teaches a whole segment called musical line editing, because she comes from a musical background. She wants you to sing, as you go, chapter to chapter and line by line, what's going to keep you moving. Because, you know, we'll glance at the first chapter of a book when we're in Barnes and Noble and when the day comes, well, we can now go back into Barnes and Noble, you know, you can't do or you can do it on Amazon, you know, you can click on whatever they call it, and you can read the first 234 pages. How much do you like this if the editor of the author doesn't grab you and keep you. And that's a test to keep you chapter to chapter you know, so that's what a good ghost writer has to do. Okay, now, I always give clients and potential clients another definition, because there's two other areas you can now work in. One is not a traditional book, not everybody has to be published by Simon and Schuster, and places like that anymore. You can self-publish. Sure, okay. And then you'll need the ghost writer even more, because you will not have an editor. I'm like--people I've known who were at Simon or other places, Wiley or whoever, and then they set up their own businesses. So those are people who have been trained. Okay. Um, if you're going to self-publish, you won't get those kinds of people--you have to start looking us up. People hear about Claudia's grads, basically through word of mouth, we just get around. Some of us are up on Indeed, LinkedIn, I should say LinkedIn and you'll see my--I have a website about some of my work in ghost writing and my work overall. I'm actually setting up my ghost writer who grabs attention, a separate website, that'll be out in another few months. But for now, you can find about my ghost writing on my website, which I'll tell you right now is https://www.wmmedcomm.com.  

 Alexandra Howson  14:33 

So, you've mentioned a few things there that I'd like to kind of dig into a little bit. First of all, you talked about, you know, one of the main places where people might use ghostwriters is in book publishing. So I want to talk about that a little bit. You mentioned the training, but I am still not clear--and maybe it would be helpful for listeners--to get a definition of ghostwriting. 

Wendy Meyeroff  15:02 

It's the person who takes over your voice. That's key, the person who takes over your voice and gets the book truly developed and refined. So, it's going to appeal to the market you're targeting, and even a good ghost writer, when we do what we call an a&r analysis and recommendation before we get started, and that is something you get charged for; but we go through your manuscript, we come back to you and say, “okay, this is the pot of gold we see that we can refine your book to convey.” 

 Alexandra Howson  15:43 

And what is the pot of gold? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  15:46 

What you know, this, that's the question that comes up all the time. And we have fun in Claudia's class, because she says there's a pot of gold in everything, it can be really hard to find, but that's what our job is as the ghostwriter. We have to take the mosh and turn it around, we have to be able to say, Okay, if we make this work, or when we make this work, you have to go in with that positive attitude. Now, we will also figure out where it is likely to sell. We might have to tell the author, first of all, there's three different levels of books, there's nonfiction, this fiction, and then there's memoirs, which really goes across both. Because it turns out, I know, I can never write a fiction book, I am not going to be able to help with a book on centaurs or whatever. So even if you're in health care, but your dream has always been to write the next Star Trek novel then you're not getting me for help. Okay, I'll refer you to people. So that's fiction, and you have to be able to help them refine the characters. You have to help them dig deeper. For what's going to work in the background. If you're creating a whole new planet, your ghostwriter, because a lot of authors have not done this kind of in depth work, they send you 50,000 words and think they're done. 

 Alexandra Howson  17:18 

And is this an increasing trend? Do you think that people are looking for ghostwriters more now than perhaps a decade ago? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  17:28 

Oh, yes, yes, we keep finding, they not only come for fiction, but there's the other two areas, they're coming into nonfiction. You've got the business leaders, and a lot of them are big, muckety mucks, and they think they've got the next great book about how to succeed in business without really trying or whatever. Then you've got the folks who are writing or in health care, we've got tons. There's a tool we use as ghost writers, it actually shows you, it gives a special code for books of different categories. And if you just try and pull up health, forget it, you got 40,000 books. First of all, you go to every clinical topic God ever created: osteoporosis, diabetes, whatever. So, you're doing diabetes. Okay. Are you doing recipes for diabetes? Are you talking about self-help? Are you talking about weight loss, are you I mean, you can keep going. That's just the clinical side. And there's self-help books. And there's--you know, I don't even know maybe this is the history of medicine you've always wanted to write or something. So that's the nonfiction side. You got the fiction side. And what hurdles in between the two are memoirs, because memoirs have to be honest, and real stories, you're not making them up totally. But if someone's doing a memoir of how their family survived the Civil War, I mean, they're obviously not talking to somebody about “Gee, Granny, how did you survive, right?” So maybe they have their great great whatever grandma's notebooks, you know, or love letters or something, and that will give you some, but you may have to flesh out a background. You know, if this family survived it in some major city like Philadelphia, well, what was Philly like in 1863? Okay, and you as the ghostwriter properly, probably have to be able to grab the sounds, the smells, and so forth. So, your part--one foot in the fiction side, and the other sides on the nonfiction and it has to be accurate. So, the memoir writer has a real challenge. It's going to be the roughest area of ghost writing you can possibly take. Just to be honest 

 Alexandra Howson  20:00 

And who ends up in ghostwriting? First of all, what kind of writer do you have to be in order to find your way into ghostwriting or have the skills to develop a ghost-writing portfolio? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  20:18 

Well, I think medical writers like a lot of established writers, but maybe medical more than most. And I'll say health writers--because to me, a medical writer...well I stopped calling myself a medical writer. Because I'm more on the business side and the consumer side. That's the world we call B2B: business to business. So, you're talking to trade people, and B to C. Now, it never used to be respected. Taking the high-end clinical stuff and turning it into plain language, I spent, I think that was six months as the interim Marketing Director for the Center for Plain Language. Most medical writers, and all due respect to those listening, you are not good, plain language people. And if you're going to write any kind of book, you've got to get the academic mindset and the language out of your brain, you've got to bring it down. And I remember when I used to be a member of an MMA, but they did not respect plain language, and OTC over the counter meds, they only worked with the rec side, and mostly on the clinical, you know, regulatory and all this kind of stuff. They didn't write plain language for hospitals and their patients or for you know, the websites that were promoting. I wrote for the AMA's first website, and I helped them redesign it because they were not making sense to people reading on the screen which was a lot harder back in the day. So, you have to be able to bring it down to the right language first of all, and decide which area you are going to go into? Are you going to, I mean, there are still academic books out there. But I don't know any training for helping with good academic books. Claudia's work is all for students who want to help on the business side, like how to do whatever, or in this fiction and memoir stuff. So, you've got to get your brain refocused. 

 Alexandra Howson  22:33 

So, you mentioned medical writers a few times. So, thinking about education in health care, where might ghostwriting fit in there, do you think? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  22:53 

Well, it depends if the educator wants to help train other people, and they have one of these how to type books? And then what kind is it? Is it just regular classes like you teach and the educators can be teaching recruits? Like, you know how to make better websites or whatever. I mean, that I could turn into a book. And that again, what kind of book do they want to write? So, this traditional book, that's 152-530 pages, you try not to get much beyond that, really. This is not the days of Norman Mailer, or whatever, where you'd have 2000-page books. So, you have to think smaller, but if you really want and it depends what your goal is, as a writer, and what you want from the ghost. Or if you want to be the ghost to different things. What do you want from the ghost? Do you just need help refining it, bringing it all together? Or you want to be a ghost writer, the greatest challenge of all, I think in ghostwriting, and it's my greatest difficulty, I admit, you have to be a lot more polite. Okay, you can't just say boy, this is the worst thing I've ever had. Okay, you can't really do that in any business. So, I mean, if you're going to be a writer, or marketing consultant, or an editor, aide of some kind, developmental editor, copy editor, proofreader, whatever; you want a real business. You've got to be much more polite with the clients. I will never be as great as a lady I know named Sheila Buff. Sheila is a ghost writer. And she worked with Simon and Schuster, if I remember correctly, and she was Dr. Atkins’ ghost writer, and she was so good. She became his co-author. So, she got her name around. Okay. She is the most polite human being you will ever meet, but she knows how to steer you while she's being polite. And that is a really strong talent, because you've got to be able to say, if it's just a bunch of glop, and you're looking, you can't say that to the client, you have to say, you know, I found something, and I'm not sure you even realized, you know, that there's three key markets you could be reaching, but you would have to be willing to make some changes, or really, you know, that kind of verbiage has to be going on. 

 Alexandra Howson  25:38 

Can you share how you balance diplomacy with candor? How do you know--what kind of people do you see? As clients of ghost writers, you know, what do your clients look like? Who uses ghostwriters? And how did they find them? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  26:00 

Well, who uses can be anybody, as I say. If you want to write a memoir, and is the memoir just for your family? Since the pandemic, that's becoming even more of a trend, and it was already increasing the year or so before the pandemic, but now people are thinking, you know, we can't be sure how much time we ever have. I want my folks to understand such and such, okay. And it's not your lifelong history, it's I, whether--it's how I made it through the pandemic, or whether it's what truly made me the success you think I am, and how hard much harder it was. Alright, so you got all these memoirs. And then there's anything else. If you think you've got the right story about the next great diabetes diet, and what's going to make yours better or easier or whatever, um, you know, but it pays for the author to do a ton of research, not just whip out the book before you even whip out the book. My suggestion is you do a quick paragraph or whatever of what you want to get out there. What's your message? Okay. This is especially important in nonfiction. I'm not sure how, and honestly, as I say, I'm not a fiction person. So, I'm not sure how well this would work for fiction, but any kind of nonfiction and since we're in healthcare-- 

 Alexandra Howson  27:47 

You cut out there. So, we'll go back to I'm not a fiction person. 

 Wendy Meyeroff  27:53 

Yeah, so any kind of nonfiction, whether you're a nonprofit, whether you're writing certain business information, whether you want to get the word out on a better diet, a certain aspect of self help, whatever, okay? Write down a summary of what your message is. Alright, whether you do it online, or you make an excuse to get out in the world and get to Barnes and Noble or some of your local bookstores. And how about a library? Oh, yeah, the library? Well, I know we can't. I don't know what it's like by you, but here in Baltimore, and anywhere in Maryland, you can't go into the library. 

 Alexandra Howson  28:35 

Oh, I mean, in a post COVID world? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  28:38 

Oh, yes. Well, one of these days. That's probably why I forgot them, though. But you could look at the library's catalog. My husband and I, in all due respect, we were just missing the New York Public Library. So there's things we cannot research in all due respect in the Baltimore library system, but you can get certain things. So, look at what's out there. Because you need to know what competition is, you may think you have the world's greatest idea about XYZ. And there's 20 other books. Well, okay. God knows how many books there are about how to succeed as a writer.  

 Alexandra Howson  29:16 

So, you know, I've written books, and I've gone through that process of, you know, you've got to research the market first and figure out what's out there. So you're not replicating the same stuff. But doesn't someone come to a ghostwriter wanting you to do that work, or do you insist that they do that work first? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  29:37 

 No, we don't insist on it. It's nice if they do. You asked what would help them and I'm telling you what will help them. But Claudia tells the story, where she has had some upper echelon executive who knows he's got the next greatest idea on how to sell...,munchkins for a living, I have no idea. And she'll spend an hour on the phone with him. And it turns out, he's never written it. He's gonna detail it for her. He'll have two, three conversations. That's all he can manage. He's a very busy world leader. So now you figure out the rest. And guess what? Yeah, the contract has her writing it all. She learns his voice from the recordings they've done together, and does all the research. You know, she'll outline it, send it back, does he approve the outline, these are going to be the chapters, month by month, sends in the first chapter, comes back, they modify whatever, and keep it going for their 8 months, 12 months. If it's a regular book, it's on average, an eight month project, okay, and you don't sign the contract month by month. It's Hey, this is going to be your fee. We get x amount here, we get X amount there. And there you go. 

 Alexandra Howson  31:07 

And so, you talked about voice a couple of times. I'm curious. You mentioned that when you're the ghostwriter, it's not your voice. It's the voice of the person whose idea and messages you're trying to convey. Doesn't that ever take you off? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  31:27 

No, but it is--it's very hard. The book I'm working on right now has to be, and I admit, this is the fiction one that I'm doing for class, so I don't care and I'll never have it sent back to me by my teachers four times because I cannot capture his voice. I'm turning his character into what sounds like a brash, brassy, New Yorker. I didn't know I sounded like a brassy New Yorker. But that's what I've been told. I never knew I had a New York accent. And now everybody says, oh, yes, you do. All right. Okay. So, his lead characters are supposed to be Southern California. And not only Southern California, it's a guy and I'm a gal. So, you know, what if you're a male ghost writer, and you've got to take over a woman's voice? So, we have to get past a lot of the people who come from regular writing. We're trained in APA style, we're journalists. Okay. And so yes, you capture the voice on a tape recorder or I use a free conference call service or zoom or whatever. Um, and you, if you have a good transcriptionist, like mine, you get a transcription. You lift the quotes that are good, you clean them up in terms of you know, they flow nicely or the you know, we don't speak the way you're supposed to talk--I mean, supposed to write. So, you clean up the copy and make it read well. And that's it as a ghostwriter. You have to really get their emotions and you have to push a little harder if the business person just says, “and so the way I succeeded was because being stubborn, made sure that I always got XYZ done on time.” That's not enough. I mean, I got amazing answers. I'm very proud to say that when a former president of the United States, Bush 43, was pushing the drug plan, and I had a client and I had to go see him face to face at a big town hall meeting. And he knew he had the call on me. So, I stood up. And I will tell you, Alex, I rehearsed the whole night before, because I've interviewed senators, I've interviewed internationally renowned doctors and all sorts of amazing things. I've been with a president and face to face in front of a crowd. So, I said, So Mr. Prez, and I actually used his mother in part of it. And when I said, my mother heard, I might be interviewing you and she insisted on a couple of questions--and you may know what it's like sir, to have a very strong-willed mother. And he fell over laughing. And he said, what are your mother's questions? And I asked him two solid questions that nobody had asked and he'd been interviewed by ABC and the Wall Street Journal, and God knows who else and nobody asked these two questions and that's what I'm very proud of. That's what I got from my training. Not everybody does it that way. They just take the recording or their transcripts, they pull it out and think they're done. You want to be a true ghost writer.  

 Alexandra Howson 35:00 

So, can you give some examples of books that have been ghostwritten? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  35:10 

I can't, because I told you about Sheila's work with Dr. Atkins those I know. Okay, but nobody else tells me there's a fellow you can look up. And his name is Derek Lewis. Derek is one of Claudia's grads and he's the one who makes a zillion books sing. So you can look up https://dereklewis.com.  I'll give you my email just before we're done, and people can email me but I'm pretty sure you can also go to http://www.lorraineash.com. I believe Lorraine is an amazing memoir writer. She's another of Claudia Suzanne's graduates. I mean, what she does, she had a terrible thing happen in her life. She wrote a story about it and she got it presented at a national meeting. And the next thing you know, people were crying in her arms, practically saying, “Can you write my story because I lived through something like that?” So, she's been busy. And she knew, even though she had a writing background, she wanted to be really trained because the ghost-writing class teaches you negotiation, what your responsibilities are and aren't, and that sort of thing. Most things don't go that in depth into the business of ghostwriting. 

 Alexandra Howson  36:38 

Well, let's talk about that training a little bit. What does it involve? You've already mentioned that it takes a long time. 

 Wendy Meyeroff  36:46 

Yeah, as I say, it's Claudia, Suzanne's class, but the bottom line is you start with a six-week intro to ghostwriting class. And the next one is about to start in May. That will be her next live class on the intro side for this year. And then there's going to be a set of courses you can do in the fall till the January class starts again. So, you have the six-week intro to ghost writing and https://ghostwritertraining.com you sign up and that teaches you the very basics, even things like the Chicago Manual of Style. I was never trained in CMS, but a lot of you take it for granted if you're medical writers and health writers and science, right? I didn't--I learned the AP style. That's the Associated Press. That's what we use for journalism. So, it's a whole different thing to set up a bunch of other stuff, but so it's a six-week class. Of course, there's the cost of it. You can quit but you don't get a refund.  

 Alexandra Howson  38:29 

I want to include all the details that you said there. But I'm curious. What was your experience of taking the course? And what did you learn? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  38:40 

It is amazing. It is hard. And every one of her graduates I've interviewed say this, it is not easy. And she doesn't teach it all by herself. She has a team of her teachers come on in. And so maybe you find you can't. There's a system where you can make appointments with your teachers in between classes. So, if you're really struggling, you can get a 15-minute session, you can get a nearly one-hour session. Okay? It doesn't cost you anything extra. That's all-factored in. Okay. So you can get all sorts of help and you learn what your best skills are and what you're not so good at. You know, like I said, 1000 times, I'm not going to be a fiction person. Um, you don't--you know one thing she stresses because one of my classmates this year even said, “you know, I don't know how I'm going to be all ready to go when we're finished with class in July”. She says you don't do it that way. We find somebody in our stack who's waiting for a ghost writer. We assign one of our either one of our teachers or one of our graduates and they work with you. The author understands that two people are reviewing their material. Okay, so you learn again, how to do a real-life book because we're not doing whole books in class. You get one nonfiction book and you get one fiction book. And you learn the basics during one, the first half of that bigger class, and then you learn to refine it even further in what she calls musical line editing. And that's the whole section of class. And the last six weeks, if I remember correctly, are all about the business of ghostwriting. And she insists that we team up with classmates, and we work on each other's books, because you can't do it all by yourself. You need to have support and you need to see people who are getting as confused as you are. You know, so she never makes you feel like a failure. She will ask you--and I was asked a number of times when I had so much trouble with the initial part of the fiction work--” Are you sure you want to stay in on this? Are you sure you can carry it through?” She won't force you to go out. But she wants to make sure you're going to be happy. And we've had I think two people quit this year. And she says that's not unusual. Some people figure “Oh, why bother with this?” 

 Alexandra Howson  41:24 

And you mentioned that she has a stack of clients waiting for a match with a ghostwriter. How, how do people who want to write a book and work with a ghostwriter? Find ghostwriters? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  41:41 

Well, um, there are now LinkedIn and websites to find ghostwriters. I don't even remember because I haven't used most of them. The people who find Claudia, they, you know, get referred to the rest of us and she knows “I'm not referring any fiction writer to Wendy.” Okay. She probably won't hand me an engineer who wants to write his amazing story of building over Puget Sound or something? Could I do it? Yeah, I actually wrote for Pirelli Engineering one year. But yeah, you know, she'll stick to sending me people in health and self-help and stuff like that. 

 Alexandra Howson  42:27 

I kind of mean how clients find ghostwriters. 

 Wendy Meyeroff  42:31 

As I say, they can look at Claudia, go to https://wambtac.com. And that's one way you can look up different people now that we have LinkedIn and ghostwritingtraining.com, you can look for those people. Who's discussing what, you know. Online, we say things like, ‘well, you know, I just got my latest client in aeronautics” or whatever. Join a writer's group. I was just lecturing a Virginia group of writers on plain language. No, before that, it was the Military Writers Society of America. And then I gave a presentation on my web work, and what it takes to build a website by yourself, okay. And they, because they're military, all of them have had careers. And I'm allowed in because I'm the spouse of a veteran. So, you can get in that way too. But the majority of them have served in the military, and they are amazing people. And I wish I didn't, I won’t give her name. I just heard a lecture by a lady. We had the monthly meeting this past Sunday online. And if people want her name, but she's a retired colonel, and she helps you put together your own book. Okay. And she gave us the first four lectures she's doing because they're short 15-minute segments. 20 minutes. So, the first was how do you get the book to look right? Okay, especially if it's an eBook, and people are going to be downloading it. So here I am. With two eBooks, I thought I was ready to go. And I said, oh, okay, I have to change the fonts because of what dawn just told me. All right. So, you find groups like this. There are groups, and now they're far easier to find than when I started 30 years ago, you punch in the kind of writing, editing whatever that you want. 

 Alexandra Howson 44:47 

And is that what clients are doing? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  44:50 

Yes, yes, they're looking. A lot of its word of mouth. One of the ladies I interviewed--she's not graduated--and she does a lot of business books. Okay. And she's up in Massachusetts, if I remember correctly. Yeah. Because she works with places--folks come to her from places like MIT and wherever. And I said, “How did they find you?” And she said, the word just gets around, because Charlie gets this book done. And then Jennifer says, well, how did you get your book done, and there you go. And especially now I'll add in eBooks, we've mentioned these briefly at the beginning. But because eBooks are so short and sweet, they might say, four to six weeks instead of an average of eight months. So, if you want to be going around, you must be willing to do your own marketing. Ghost writers do not do your marketing, okay? Agents very rarely really do your marketing, you're going to have to find radio stations, and I highly recommend radio. I never knew this myself. But I did suggest radio as a topic to the American Society of Journalists and Authors a few years ago, and they accepted it. I put together the panel and I learned amazing things about how influential radio still is, as our main medium. So now it's easier. You do what you and I are doing. You don't even have to do it with the image. But you can--it could be just a, you know, microphone, and you talking to your desktop. Yeah, if you have a headset that's nicer, if you had other things that would have been nice if I could have done but hey, they'll work. They've got sound engineers; they filter things out. And so, you can do radio interviews, you can do podcasts, you can do TV. Okay, and if you have an eBook, you're seen as an authority figure. 

 Alexandra Howson  46:59 

It seems like everybody's writing an eBook these days. And definitely anyone who's offering any kind of training subject, you know, often advice. 

 Wendy Meyeroff  47:07 

I'll be honest, I've got two almost ready to go. But as I say, since I took the military writer’s event this past weekend, I know I have to clean up how it's laid out. So that's tricky. All these tricks you have to learn if you're either going to be the author, or you're going to offer the services of a ghostwriter, self-publisher, editor, whatever. It's not as easy as people think, oh, well, I spent 20 years at XYZ publishing house so I can be an editor. And editors I think get it a little easier. Their skills are so precise. I will never do the kind of true line editing in academics that I've seen some members do. We have one lady, she's a medical editor. And not only has she been renowned for more than 30 years now, she has a specialty of helping medical science folks for whom English is their second language. And so, they're getting the words in the journal properly. Or into a textbook. If you need a medical editor, especially if you speak a foreign language. I cannot rave about Katherine enough. And she did not grow up in the 21st century. You know, starting in the 21st century, she's like me, she goes back a little bit. And she became one of the great Twitter experts. She won awards with what she's done with copy editing on Twitter.  

 Alexandra Howson  49:02 

So editing is a very precise skill set. It's interesting when people say they’re editors and they clearly haven't had any training. We are kind of wrapping up but were talking about how clients can find ghostwriters. How can listeners of Write Medicine find you? 

 Wendy Meyeroff  49:18 

Okay, well, my website I'll mention again, I mentioned briefly before, but you can look me up on https://www.wmmedcomm.com. You can also contact me at ​​wjmeyeroff@gmail.com and though I'm in Baltimore, I have worked with clients around the world and across the US, of course. And that was when we just did it by phone. Since then, we've got Skype, we've got zoom, we've got Google Chat, we've got God knows what. And if you want to be interviewed, I just posted an interview I did with a guy--Mark Agnew, who founded Eyeglasses.com, just at the end of the 20th century. And because I have the background with 2020 magazine, Mark and I had fun chatting, so if you want to read that profile, I put them up on LinkedIn, and I put them on my blog, and that might inspire you as to how you could get started and what would be important for you to convey to people. So you know, contact me at wjmeyeroff@gmail.com and there you go. I don't give out my phone number because that can get crazy. 

 Alexandra Howson  51:08 

I think everybody's using email these days when things are off. Thank you so much for telling us about your experiences as a ghostwriter. 

 Wendy Meyeroff  51:17 

Well, thank you so much for having me, Alex, you're a joy to talk with. Thank you.  


Wendy's background
What is ghostwriting?
Trends in ghostwriting
Where does ghostwriting fit in continuing healthcare education?
Writing in voice
Opportunities to learn the craft of ghostwriting
Key take aways