They say everyone has a book in them. Everyone has a spleen in them, too. Either way, you need someone with mad skills to get it out. I collaborate with celebrities and other extraordinary people on memoirs, fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays.
I've worked with Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and Obie winners, Broadway icons, film and TV stars, political and corporate change agents, doctors, designers, musicians, and survivors. In addition to my own bestselling books, I've ghostwritten a long string of NYT/international bestsellers and earned a stellar reputation for delivering high quality manuscripts on tight deadlines.
26 Critically acclaimed books
20 Plot Whispered outlines
17 Six-figure book deals
16 Big-5 publishing contracts
9 Successful self-publishing projects
2 Prestigious small presses
1 Oscar nominated screenplay
During 20+ years in the publishing industry, I've worked with major publishing houses and small literary presses including MacAdam-Cage, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Random House, Penguin, Perigee, Bertelsmann, Hyperion, Crown, Broadway, Touchstone, and others.
I've done proposals and book projects represented by top-tier literary agencies including William Morris Endeavor, Sterling Lord Literistic, Creative Artists Agency, United Talent, Aevitas Creative, Vigliano Associates, Dupree Miller, and others.
In the early 2000s, I wrote 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, Readers Digest, Huffington Post, Parade, Good Housekeeping, O Magazine, Family Circle, Redbook, Rosie, Lifetime, Houston Chronicle, Boston Globe, and others.
To learn more about collaboration process, check out my article on the Art and Economics of Ghostwriting in AOL Finance.
Here's what I do, how it works, and how much it costs:
What it is: You have a story, a message, and a unique voice. I have the writing skills to capture all that in words. Together we create 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, which can happen at your place or mine. (Mine is at the beach. Just saying.) We 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.
How much it costs: Book projects are negotiated individually, based on word count, deadline crunch, research, and other factors. Think about it on the same you-get-what-you-pay-for value scale as a car. There's a huge difference between a Lamborghini Spyder convertible and a Nissan Sentra, and the price directly reflects performance. Using that paradigm for both cost and quality, I'm between a Lexus LS and a Cadillac Escalade: high end but accessible, classy but comfortable, a dependable brand with lots of extras and durable street cred.
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: Get 'er done. Call me when you're ready to climb out of that mosh pit of self-doubt you've been dithering in so we can get serious about writing this dang book.
How it works: We start with Plot Whispering: a hands-on, rubber-meets-road process I've used 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. At that point, I can step off and assume the role of supportive friend, or we can discuss ongoing support in the form of accountability coaching and/or editorial feedback as you blaze through the writing process.
How much it costs: $2850 for the first block of 10 hours, $2400 for each ten-hour block after that.
What it is: If you're getting a consistent "close but no cigar" from agents and editors, your manuscript may just need a facelift to brighten dialogue, amp up action, and correct technical errors and superficial flaws in style. If your publisher has rejected your book and is giving you 90 days to revamp it or pay back the advance, your manuscript needs a heart transplant, STAT. If your novel or screenplay has bloated beyond optimal word count, your manuscript needs liposuction, my own special brand of "internal editing" that tightens prose and leaves the vital content room to breathe.
Project goal: A better, stronger, more compelling manuscript. I'll send you a clean copy that's ready to submit to agents or editors and a Track Changes version that allows you to see every change that's been made. At its best, this process is a one-on-one master class. You'll end up writing at a higher level than when you started.
How it works: We'll start with a manuscript assessment. I'll read, reread, and respond with a detailed 3-5 page editorial letter detailing what's working and what could be improved. We'll discuss how to implement the changes that resonate for you before I start the revision pass, and I'll send you each chapter to make sure you're getting the results you need.
How much it costs: $2850 for the first block of 10 hours, $2400 for each ten-hour block after that. For a book-length manuscript, I would anticipate 60 to 80 hours.
What it is: I live on the beach in the Pacific Northwest, where the sea air is clean, the sunsets are spectacular, and there's no such thing as writer's block.
Project goal: It's up to you. Our goal is to make your experience soul-feeding, fun and productive so you can return to the real world feeling a fresh blast of creative energy.
How it works: If you're in the crucible, powering through the first draft of a novel, memoir or screenplay, I'll take you under my wing for a week and give you the time, space, creature comforts, and support you need to do your best work. If you have a finished first draft, let's do a Table Read and take that mofo to the next level.
How much it costs: Visit www.lighthousewriter.com for current options and availability.
What it is: "Can I just hop on the phone with you for an hour?" I get this question a lot, and the answer is yes! If you need an hour 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: BOOK A SPARK SESH here. I'll get back to you with scheduling options.
How much it costs: $299