Ghost-Writing Reaches the Gig Economy

2567318706_f6fc75e502_bGhost writing is an established practice in the book publishing industry (who cares whether the name on the cover is the actual author, amirite?) but now the practice has entered the digital age and is getting a new polish and a new layer of marketing.

Forbes has a report on a startup which has formalized ghost writing into a system called "The Book in a Box":

... I became especially interested in a new book and solution called The Book In A Box. It’s a company founded by Zach Obront and Tucker Max. (If that last name sounds familiar, yes, it’s that Tucker Max.)

Max and Obront developed a process that allows you to get your ideas into a book—in your words and even your voice—and it just takes you talking to them on the phone for about 15-20 hours, spread over 6 months. The process is centered on conversational interviewing, and they’ve already helped more than two hundred entrepreneurs, C-level executives, and other professionals write their books using this process.

They charge a flat fee of $20,000 for their writing and publishing services (which includes cover design, interior layout, distribution through all major channels and even limited marketing support). While this fee may seem like a lot, professional business ghost writers routinely quote $50,000 to $80,000 for writing services alone.

Cleverly, Obront and Max actually wrote their own book about the Book In A Box method. This is an excellent book you can buy online or download free from their website that explains the exact process they use. And they freely admit that you could always try this process on your own without their help. They break down their methodology into five key steps:

The company launched in late 2014, but aside from the Forbes article and a piece on the Melville House blog there hasn't been much coverage.

That could be because the idea isn't new, or a result of the infomercial quality smarminess vibe Tucker Max gives off in this video (and probably in person):

What do you think of his approach? Is it a novel idea, or simply a variation on how books have been ghost-written for decades?

image by luisar

About Nate Hoffelder (11467 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

1 Comment on Ghost-Writing Reaches the Gig Economy

  1. Call it what it is–book packaging–and you’ll see it goes back generations. Closing in on a century, if not already exceeding it.

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