25 Jun 2023

Capture the Client’s Voice: 5 Crucial Steps for an Authentic Book

2 Comments

The Clients VoiceIn the realm of ghostwriting, one factor reigns supreme – the art of capturing the client’s voice. Imagine walking into a bookshop, selecting a book, and recognizing the author’s distinctive voice echoing through the pages, only it’s not the author’s pen that crafted the tale, but a ghostwriter’s. The magic of ghostwriting rests in its seamless ability to capture the client’s voice so meticulously that the reader perceives it as the author’s own.

The essence of ghostwriting is not just about transcribing ideas and narratives. It’s about encapsulating the client’s personality, their unique perspectives, and their distinctive voice into a symphony of words that reflect their identity. Achieving this requires understanding, empathy, observation, adaptability, and a deep connection with the client.

This guide unravels the art of ghostwriting, emphasizing techniques to capture the client’s voice effectively. From understanding the client’s personality to observing their communication style, from interviewing them to collaborate closely, each section provides valuable insights into making your client’s voice come alive through your words. As Orhan Pamuk once wrote in his book “The Naive and Sentimental Novelist”, “The writer’s secret is not inspiration – for it is never clear where it comes from – it is his obsession, his secret obsession.” As a ghostwriter, this secret obsession revolves around capturing the client’s voice.

Hudson Perigo: Ghostwriting: Being Someone Else's Voice

 

Join us on this insightful journey, and by the end, you will be equipped with the tools needed to not only write as your client but to write in the unique rhythm that is the client’s voice.

The Client’s Personality

Understanding a client’s personality is not a task to be taken lightly, as it forms the foundation upon which the entire ghostwriting project is built. As a ghostwriter, your main role is to adopt the client’s persona, which requires deep understanding and characterization skills.

A person’s personality is shaped by various elements, including their values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences. All of these aspects give rise to a unique ‘voice’ or communication style. This voice is what you’re aiming to capture and emulate in your writing. It’s more than just copying how someone speaks or writes; it’s about conveying their essence, their persona, their worldview.

One valuable method to grasp the client’s personality is through interviews and observations. Have informal chats, get to know their hobbies, their passions, their fears, and their dreams. Observe how they react in different situations, how they handle stress, how they celebrate success. These insights will provide a more nuanced understanding of the client’s personality and will enable you to reflect it more accurately in your writing.

Famous author Stephen King, in his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft“, has emphasized the need to understand the essence of a person to capture their voice. He writes, “You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them.” This underscores the importance of using real, tangible facts about the client to create a convincing voice.

The Client’s Audience

Knowing the client’s audience is an essential aspect of ghostwriting. This knowledge informs the style, tone, language, and content of the writing.

The audience could be anyone from casual blog readers to industry professionals, from young adults to seniors, from academics to laymen. Each audience group has specific tastes, preferences, and expectations that need to be catered to. For instance, writing for young adults would involve a more informal, engaging, and conversational style, while writing for industry professionals would require a more formal, structured, and information-heavy approach.

To better understand the audience, it can be helpful to conduct audience research. This could involve demographic research, surveys, focus groups, or studying reader comments and feedback. The goal is to identify what the audience wants, what they value, and how they consume content.

According to Paul Jarvis in his book “Company of One“, understanding the audience is a pivotal step in successful ghostwriting. He writes, “Understanding who you’re talking to and what they might need or want is essential. It’s the only way to make sure you’re offering something that’s going to be valuable to them.” This highlights the importance of audience-centric writing in ghostwriting.

The Client’s Goals

A crucial step in the ghostwriting process is understanding the client’s goals for the project. These goals provide direction and purpose to the writing. They influence not only what is written but also how it is written.

For instance, if the client’s goal is to provide in-depth knowledge about a technical topic, the writing would be more informational, detailed, and structured. On the other hand, if the goal is to inspire people to take action, the writing would be more persuasive, emotive, and compelling.

To understand the client’s goals, you must communicate with them effectively. Discuss their expectations, their vision, and their success criteria for the project.

Ann Handley, in her book “Everybody Writes“, illustrates that understanding the client’s goals helps to shape the tone, voice, and structure of the writing. She writes, “If your audience is going to invest time and/or money in what you have to say, they need to know: What’s in it for them?” This sentiment affirms the importance of aligning the writing with the client’s goals.

Interview the Client

The key to effective ghostwriting lies in comprehending the client’s voice. To capture this unique voice, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is a thorough interview. An interview goes beyond just gathering rudimentary information about your client. It’s about familiarizing yourself with the distinctive elements of the client’s voice, their tone, and style.

Open-ended questions are your best allies during this process, as they encourage the client to share personal stories and experiences. The client’s voice often shines through these personal anecdotes. Take note of how they express themselves. What phrases do they use? Is their tone formal or casual?

More importantly, strive to understand the core message the client wants to deliver through their book or article. The essence of this message is a crucial component of the client’s voice. Neil Gaiman, in his book “Art Matters”, noted, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.” As a ghostwriter, your role is to distill this unique essence of the client’s voice.

Have In-Depth Discussions with the Client Before Writing a Single Word

To effectively capture the client’s voice, you must have comprehensive discussions with the client about their objectives, goals, target audience, and the critical messages they want to convey. This step is indispensable in the ghostwriting process, as it sets the course for your writing and ensures that both you and the client are aligned in the representation of the client’s voice.

During these conversations, ask the client to share any material that may help you understand their voice and message better. These resources will provide additional insight into the client’s voice.

Before putting pen to paper, discussing the structure and format of the piece is necessary. Understanding what the client’s voice should sound like in different contexts will make the writing process more streamlined and effective.

Mark Twain, in his book “The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain”, noted, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” The truth in this statement extends to ghostwriting. To get started with writing in the client’s voice, first, ensure that you understand the client’s voice, their aspirations, and their expectations.

Write a Few Pages, Then Work with the Client Until It’s Perfect

Writing in the client’s voice is an iterative process. After collecting ample information and gaining confidence in your understanding of the client’s voice, it’s time to start writing. However, perfecting the client’s voice in your writing won’t happen in one attempt. Write a few pages, and then seek feedback from the client. Their response will offer valuable insights into how you can better portray the client’s voice.

Accept the feedback constructively, refine your writing, and repeat the process. Each iteration takes you one step closer to perfecting the client’s voice in your writing. The ultimate goal is to deliver a piece that the client feels genuinely represents their voice and message.

As noted in his book “A Moveable Feast”, Ernest Hemingway said, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.” This is especially true when you’re attempting to capture the client’s voice as a ghostwriter. Don’t be afraid to rewrite and refine until the client’s voice resonates perfectly through your words.

Listen to How Your Client Speaks

Understanding the client’s voice goes beyond what they say. It’s also about observing how they express themselves when they are speaking. This includes their body language, facial expressions, and the emotions they convey. Watching your client speak can give you valuable insights into their personality and the nuances of their voice.

One way to do this is by watching videos of the client’s public speaking engagements, media appearances, or even casual vlogs if available. Take note of their pace, rhythm, and the language they use. Do they speak fast or slow? Do they use complex vocabulary or keep things simple? These observations can help you shape the client’s voice in your writing.

Remember that the purpose of ghostwriting is to create a piece that feels like it’s written by the client themselves. To quote Harper Lee from her famous book “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” Observing how your client speaks and communicates allows you to capture their voice authentically in your work.

Listen to the Client on Podcasts and Interviews

One of the most effective ways to capture the client’s voice in your writing is to listen to them on podcasts and interviews. These mediums often bring out a more relaxed and genuine side of the client, allowing you to understand the subtleties of their voice.

Take note of the stories they share, the jokes they make, the emotions they express, and even the silence between their words. All these elements contribute to the client’s voice. Do they get excited when talking about a specific topic? Do they pause for thought before answering complex questions? These small details can help you create a more authentic representation of the client’s voice in your writing.

Stephen King, in his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, said, “Writing is about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.” As a ghostwriter, enriching lives starts with authentically capturing and conveying the client’s voice.

Pretend You Are the Client

At times, the most effective way to capture the client’s voice is to put yourself in their shoes. Pretend you are the client. How would they respond to a particular situation? What words would they use? What emotions would they express? Imagining yourself as the client can help you write in a way that authentically captures their voice.

This method requires a deep understanding of the client’s perspectives, values, and personality. The more time you spend with the client, the better you will be at mirroring their voice in your writing.

As a ghostwriter, your role is to make the client’s voice heard through your words. By pretending to be the client, you can effectively capture the nuances of their voice, making the written piece feel truly personal and authentic. As it’s said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and when it comes to ghostwriting, this couldn’t be more accurate.

Collaborate

Finally, remember that ghostwriting is a collaborative process. Work closely with the client throughout the writing process to ensure you’re capturing their voice accurately. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and edits will help ensure the final piece truly represents the client’s voice.

Collaboration is key to success in any project. The better you can work with your client, the more accurately you’ll be able to capture their voice in your writing. So, be open, be responsive, and always keep the lines of communication open.

In the words of Helen Keller from her book “The Story of My Life”, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The same applies to ghostwriting. Collaboration is the cornerstone of capturing the client’s voice effectively and authentically.

Samples of a Client’s Voice in Various Genres

Each genre of writing has its unique style and tone. Understanding these nuances can greatly assist a ghostwriter in capturing the client’s voice. Here are a few hypothetical samples from different genres that a client might have worked in:

Non-Fiction:

  • Biography: “As a young boy, John was fascinated by the myriad wonders of the universe. That fascination would later shape his path to becoming one of the most renowned astrophysicists of our time.”
  • Self-help: “Breaking free from your chains of self-doubt isn’t a one-time act. It’s a journey of continuous self-awareness and self-love.”
  • Business: “In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, staying ahead of the curve requires adaptability, foresight, and innovative strategies.”
  • Travelogue: “The quaint cobblestone streets of Paris, awash with the glow of the setting sun, offered an enchanting dance of shadows and light.”
  • History: “In the tumultuous era of the 1960s, societal norms were questioned, and the seeds of a counterculture were sown.”

Fiction:

  • Mystery: “In the eerie silence of the mansion, Detective Miller could sense a secret waiting to unfold.”
  • Science Fiction: “In the dystopian world of Zeta-9, AI ruled, and humans were mere memories stored in quantum chips.”
  • Romance: “As their eyes met across the crowded room, a spark ignited, setting their hearts aflame with unspoken desires.”
  • Fantasy: “In the mystical realm of Eldora, dragons soared, and magic was as common as the air the inhabitants breathed.”
  • Horror: “The ominous creak of the attic door sent chills down Lisa’s spine, her heart pounding with a primal fear.”

Young Adult:

  • Coming-of-age: “For Sarah, high school was a confusing labyrinth of burgeoning friendships, first loves, and the daunting quest for identity.”
  • Dystopian: “In the post-apocalyptic city of New Hope, Max and his friends were the last bastion against the oppressive regime.”

Songs, Movies, Plays:

  • Song: “In the symphony of life, our hearts dance to the rhythm of love.”
  • Movie Script: “Character 1: ‘You can’t handle the truth!’ Character 2: ‘Truth? The truth is a matter of perspective.'”
  • Play: “[Act 2, Scene 3] Lady Macbeth: ‘Out, damned spot! Out, I say!'”

By studying these different styles and tones, a ghostwriter can better understand their client’s voice across various genres and craft a narrative that genuinely reflects their unique voice.

Different Styles for Different Clients

In my journey as a ghostwriter, I’ve worked with a diverse range of clients, each with a unique voice and distinct style. Here are some instances where the same base sentence – “We need to focus on improving our sales strategy” – was adapted to cater to different client’s styles:

  • Harsh and In-your-face: “We need to get our damn act together and stop mucking about with our sales strategy.”
  • Softer, More Romantic: “Let’s gently navigate the intricate dance of our sales strategy, ushering in a beautiful era of prosperity.”
  • Formal Businesslike: “It is of paramount importance that we concentrate our efforts on enhancing our sales strategy.”
  • Informal Business: “Hey folks, let’s roll up our sleeves and jazz up our sales strategy.”
  • Academic: “Pertaining to the subject of sales strategy, an in-depth analysis and revision is necessitated for improved outcomes.”
  • Humorous: “If our sales strategy were a person, it’d be the one at the party who spills drinks on everyone. Time for a change, don’t you think?”
  • Sarcastic: “Oh, because our sales strategy is doing so well, isn’t it? Oh wait, it’s not!”
  • Questioning: “What if we turned our sales strategy upside down? Would the world come crashing down, or would we finally hit those targets?”

Each of these instances provided valuable insights into the client’s personality and communication style, thereby helping me to shape the narrative in their unique voice. Remember, as a ghostwriter, your pen must dance to the rhythm of your client’s voice, no matter how it changes its tune.

Voice of Customer Examples

“Voice of the Customer” examples in the context of ghostwriting books can take several forms. These examples help illustrate how the client’s unique style, ideas, and preferences are integrated into the final written work. Let’s look at a few scenarios:

  1. Personal Anecdotes: If a client often uses personal anecdotes in their speeches or writings, the ghostwriter may include similar anecdotes in the book to maintain authenticity. For instance, a motivational speaker known for his riveting personal stories would want these woven into his self-help book.
  2. Humor: If a client is known for their sense of humor, the ghostwritten book should reflect this. For example, a comedian might want their biography filled with humorous situations and witty commentary, keeping in line with their public persona.
  3. Language Use: The vocabulary, phrasing, and idioms a client uses are important in capturing their voice. For example, a client who regularly uses complex terminology and academic language in their speeches might want their ghostwritten scientific book to reflect the same tone.
  4. Pacing and Structure: The way a client organizes their thoughts and the pace at which they convey information can also be mirrored in the book. For instance, a client known for their fast-paced, energetic speaking style might want a thriller novel that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.
  5. Character Preferences: If a client has strong preferences for certain types of characters (like strong female leads, flawed heroes, etc.), these should be reflected in the book. For instance, an activist known for her work in women’s rights might want her ghostwritten novel to feature strong, independent female characters.
  6. Thematic Elements: If a client consistently discusses certain themes or topics in their public work, these can be woven into the book. For example, a psychologist known for his work on childhood trauma might want his ghostwritten book to explore this theme in depth.

In each case, the ghostwriter listens to the voice of the client to create a final product that accurately reflects the client’s style, tone, and message.

Voice of the Customer Template

Here’s an example of a Voice of Customer template that can be used in the context of ghostwriting books. This template aims to capture the essential information about the client’s preferences, style, and target audience.

SectionQuestions
Client’s Personal InformationFull Name:
Occupation:
Previous Written Works (if any):
Purpose and GoalsPurpose of the book:
Key messages to convey:
Goals for the book (e.g., inform, entertain, inspire):
Target AudienceIntended readership:
Demographics (age, gender, education, profession, interests, etc.):
Writing StylePreferred tone (formal, casual, humorous, inspirational, etc.):
Preferred vocabulary (simple, complex, jargon, colloquialisms, etc.):
Narrative style (first person, third person, etc.):
Content PreferencesFavored themes or topics:
Preferred character types:
Important settings or locations:
Structural PreferencesPreferred book length:
Preferred chapter length:
Use of imagery, flashbacks, dialogue, etc.:
Additional InstructionsSpecific phrases, idioms, or words the client often uses:
Anecdotes or personal stories to be included:
Any other specific instructions or preferences:

 

The answers to these questions should give a comprehensive view of the client’s voice, allowing the ghostwriter to create a book that accurately reflects the client’s style and meets their expectations.

Voice of an Author FAQ

What is the voice of the customers?

The "voice of the customer" refers to the expressed needs and expectations of customers towards a product or service. This term is commonly used in business and marketing where it includes feedback, preferences, comments, and insights from customers regarding their experiences and expectations. It's gathered through various channels like surveys, reviews, interviews, social media, and customer support interactions. The voice of the customer provides valuable insight into how a business can improve its products, services, and overall customer experience. In the context of ghostwriting books, this refers to the personal preferences, ideas, style, and tone of the individual for whom the book is being written. The ghostwriter must capture this voice effectively to produce a work that authentically represents the client. This voice can be expressed through various elements such as character development, narration style, dialogue, or thematic focus, depending on the nature of the book.

What is the importance of client voice?

The importance of the client's voice cannot be overstated in the world of business. The client's voice serves as a critical guide for understanding customer needs and preferences. It offers insights into what customers like or dislike about your product or service, thereby informing your business strategy and product development. Listening to the client's voice helps businesses to build stronger relationships with their customers, improve customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, boost sales and market share. The importance of capturing the client's voice in ghostwriting is paramount. The client's voice lends authenticity and uniqueness to the book, making it resonate more powerfully with readers. Ghostwriting is a collaborative effort, and understanding the client's voice ensures the final product reflects their ideas, personality, and intended message accurately. A well-captured voice can make the difference between a book that merely tells a story and a book that deeply connects with readers, conveying the intended emotions and insights.

What strategies do you use to write with a client's voice?

Writing with a client's voice involves capturing their unique style, tone, and language use to create content that reflects their brand personality and resonates with their target audience. A few strategies to achieve this include understanding the client's brand, studying their audience, mimicking their communication style, and incorporating their brand's values and mission into your writing. It's also important to be consistent in using the client's voice across all platforms and materials to maintain brand coherence and recognition. When it comes to strategies used in writing with a client's voice in ghostwriting, a deep understanding of the client's unique style and preferences is crucial. Ghostwriters often spend time discussing the project with the client, reading their previous works if available, or reviewing materials the client provides to understand their tone and style. Techniques like adopting the client's rhythm of speech, preferred vocabulary, or unique phrasing can help maintain consistency throughout the book.

How do you capture a client's voice?

Capturing a client's voice in ghostwriting is a multifaceted process. It begins with an in-depth understanding of the client's vision for the book and their personal style. This can be achieved through interviews, questionnaires, and analyzing any previous writings of the client. A ghostwriter may then create a "style guide" that captures the client's voice, including elements such as tone, choice of words, sentence structure, and overall writing style. This guide helps to maintain consistency throughout the writing process. Frequent check-ins and drafts shared with the client ensure the voice is being captured accurately and adjustments can be made as needed.

Conclusion

Capturing the client’s voice as a ghostwriter is an art that requires empathy, understanding, observation, and collaboration. From in-depth interviews to observing the client’s communication style, from pretending to be the client to working closely with them throughout the writing process, each step contributes significantly to effectively capturing the client’s voice. Remember, as a ghostwriter, your success lies in how authentically you can make the client’s voice heard through your words.

Please note, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through the book links provided in this article.

Richard Lowe
[top]
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
newest
oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dixie Carlton

Brilliant insights and a must-read for anyone wanting to work with a ghostwriter who thinks it’s all about just hanging over the files and checking in from time to time! Also a must-read-twice for anyone serious about ghostwriting as a serious professional service!

Royce

What incredible insights! This article could be a course in capturing a “customer’s voice” in itself!
Excellent read!

2
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x