INVISIBILITY IS MY SUPERPOWER
They say everyone has a book in them. Everyone has a spleen in them, too. Either way, getting it out requires mad skills.
As a ghostwriter, book whisperer, dialogue doctor, and story consultant, I collaborate with celebrities and other extraordinary people on memoirs, fiction, narrative nonfiction, and screenplays. I've worked with Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and Obie winners, political and corporate change agents, sports heroes, survivors, and just folks.
I've written a long string of NYT/international bestsellers and earned a stellar reputation for delivering high quality manuscripts on tight deadlines with minimal drama. Cover credit is negotiable. Craft standards are ironclad.
Scroll down to see what clients, critics, editors, and agents say about my work or contact my agent to see if I'm a good fit for your project.
“Joni Rodgers, my stalwart Sherpa and friend throughout the writing process, helped me build a vehicle for my vision and opened my eyes to what I'm capable of on my own.”
Elizabeth Smart, NYT bestselling author, activist, and advocate
“Joni Rodgers, you are the light in the dark room I was in. Thank you for hearing and helping me with my story. The grid is real!” Mayte Garcia, choreographer, dancer, former wife of Prince and member of New Power Generation
During 20+ years in the publishing industry, I've worked with major publishing houses and small literary presses including:
Simon and Schuster
I've done proposals and book projects represented by top-tier literary agencies including:
William Morris Endeavor
Sterling Lord Literistic
Creative Artists Agency
In the early 2000s, I did an advice column for a national magazine, and my syndicated column "Earth to Joni" ran for three years in papers across the USA. My articles, opeds, and book excerpts have appeared online and in print in regional and national media outlets including:
New York Times
To learn more about collaboration process, check out my article, The Art and Economics of Ghostwriting in AOL Finance.
HOW MAY I HELP YOU?
I'm able to take on very few projects each year. Lately, those tend to be
with a compelling story and significant budget. Book project fees are negotiated by my agent, based on word count, deadline crunch, research, and other factors.
To start a conversation about your project, contact my agent:
What it is: You have a story, a message, and a unique voice. I have the writing skills to capture all that in words and structure a book that engages readers, advances your brand, and opens a broad realm of possibilities. Every collaboration is different. Sometimes I'm a copilot; sometimes I'm the chauffeur. If you want to lay hands on every word, I'm happy to guide the process from development to delivery. If you need a top-drawer manuscript on a tight deadline, I'm happy to do the heavy lifting.
Project goal: A well-written book-length manuscript, ready for submission to agents and editors or for the production phase of self-publishing.
How it works: I build project strategy around your unique needs, hectic schedule, and chosen publishing path, making sure that your agent and publisher are on the same page every step of the way. We start with a lengthy interview process. I develop a detailed outline and chapter structure. Then I write, you read, we talk, and I make changes as needed to process each chapter and create the full manuscript.
What it is: You have a great idea/rough draft for a novel, memoir or screenplay, but you're struggling with the creative process. I have the clear eye and craft skills to help you excavate creative and commercial potential, reality-check your wildest dreams, and define your fundamental purpose for this project. And I have the publishing industry experience to help you accomplish all that in a practical, yes-you-can, bird-by-bird fashion. Just the right combination of molly-coddling and kick in the pants.
Project goal: A detailed chapter outline with well-defined story arcs, fully fleshed characters, and integrated themes and a detailed project strategy for getting it done.
How it works: I've used this hands-on, rubber-meets-road process for fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays. We dig deep, build a solid chapter/scene structure, develop characters, clarify your message, set creative and technical goals, and form a workable week-to-week strategy for execution.
What it is: Reading a manuscript aloud is the most powerful way to experience the book as it will be experienced by the reader. It shines a light on the manuscript, line by line, word by word, revealing hidden typos, continuity boggles, and other technical errors.
Project goal: A better, stronger, more compelling manuscript that's polished and ready for handoff to your agent, editor, or self-pub professional. At its best, this process is also a one-on-one master class that leaves you writing at a higher level than when you started.
How it works: You and I take notes on a hard copy of the ms while a reader reads the entire book out loud. Then you and I sit down and go through notes page by page to create a master manuscript with all changes marked. Next steps depend on your chosen publishing path.
What it is: "Can I just hop on the phone with you?" I get this question a lot, and the answer is yes! If you need 90 minutes of brain-tap, micro-mentorship, or publishing consult, let's get on Zoom and thrash whatever needs thrashing.
Project goal: Tell Mama.
How it works: Email me with a brief note about what you need, and I'll get back to you with scheduling options.
COLLABORATION KUDOS AND CLIENT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Mayte Garcia, choreographer, dancer, former wife of Prince and member of New Power Generation: “Joni Rodgers, you are the light in the dark room I was in. Thank you for hearing and helping me with my story. The grid is real!”
Elizabeth Smart, NYT bestselling author, activist, and advocate: “Joni Rodgers, my stalwart Sherpa and friend throughout the writing process, helped me build a vehicle for my vision and opened my eyes to what I'm capable of on my own.”
Aaron Sorkin, Oscar winning screenwriter of The Social Network: “Joni Rodgers is a pure storyteller. She writes with a wit, lyricism, humanity and joy that make her books impossible to put down.”
Amie and Jolie Sikes, cofounders of the Junk Gypsy retail/design empire: “Oh, the magic you weave with bulk quantities of Post-it notes. Behold, the STICKY-GRID MOJO, without which we would have been lost. You were able to wrap your heads around a project that has seemed insurmountable to us for ten years. You tamed my ellipses and run-on sentences and Amie’s infinite brainstorms. We could never thank you enough for your guidance, your organization, your help, and most of all, your patience and your friendship.”
Swoosie Kurtz, Tony, Emmy, Obie, and Drama Desk Award winning actress: “Joni Rodgers, if I could write like you, I would have the words to tell you that your genius vision turned black and white into Technicolor, amusement into hilarity, touching into heartbreaking, and a very interesting life into a literary page-turner. That is what I believe they call art. You promised to be my Sherpa on this mountain climb. You have also been my friend.”
Tom Brokaw, broadcasting legend: “Part Swan, Part Goose is a brave and riveting book about family, fame, theater and life. It is witty, wise and irresistible. I loved it.”
Carol Burnett, comedy icon (on PSPG): “I laughed and cried (sometimes at the same time) reading this extraordinary story about Swoosie and her parents and her work and her loves. Swoosie has the beautiful gift of a seasoned storyteller. Her observations about love and loss had me dog-earing several pages to re-read again and again. I feel blessed to know her.”
Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure: “Joni Rodgers is a talented, compassionate writer with an uncanny ability to see connections between anecdotes and ideas. She really listened to me, then used my memories and my message to create a beautifully woven tapestry of emotion, science, history, and meaning. Both I and my publisher have been blown away by Joni's project strategy, vigilant research, and professionalism every step of the way. I grew to trust her as a collaborator and value her as a friend.”
Kristin Chenoweth, Emmy and Tony Award winning actress/singer: “When S & S talked to me about doing a book, I wanted to find a ghostwriter to help me say what I wanted to say clearly and honestly. I met with many people, but I believe God plopped Joni Rodgers in my lap on purpose. She never missed a deadline, laughed at all my jokes, and became a member of my family, someone I trust implicitly.”
Rue McClanahan, Broadway actress and star of TV's Golden Girls: “I'm so glad my editor recommended Joni Rodgers to be my book Sherpa. Joni made gorgeous cream pies out of my curds and whey. An enormously talented writer, a wonderful friend.”
Mehmet Oz, M.D., host, The Dr. Oz Show: “Promise Me emotionally and elegantly chronicles how sisterly love changed the course of modern medicine...”
Linda Armstrong Kelly, mom of embattled sports icon Lance Armstrong: “It was truly an illuminating experience... and for that, I'd like to thank my memoir guru, Joni Rodgers. She is simply the best.”
Ellen Rogers, author of Kasey to the Rescue (featured in O Magazine): “A giant and heartfelt thank you to Joni Rodgers for your compassion, talent, and humor in helping me bring our family's story to life. Stay frosty, as I learned from you.”