What do ghostwriters have in common with record producers?

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I’ve been watching The Defiant Ones, the terrific documentary on the two great record producers, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

The four-part series is hugely entertaining, but it also reveals a lot about the collaboration between these record producers and stars like Bruce Springsteen and Bono.

We’re obviously not rock and roll stars, but we do have something in common with the record producers.

In the documentary, Jimmy says his sole aim is to bring out the greatness he sees in the musicians. We see how he works intensely with them to bring out the best.

So do we. Creating a non-fiction book, as our authors know, is a group effort. The author is without question the star. Our job is to bring out the best in the author’s voice and thinking, and do it in a way that fulfills his or her mission.

Our writers act as editors, confidants, and thinking partners for the author. It’s deep a collaboration, and it works differently for each project. Sometimes writers interview authors and create the first draft. Other times, the author starts with a first draft, which is then edited by the writer. Other members of the team make sure that the book is properly positioned for sale in stores, if that’s what the author aims to do.

Whatever the process, it’s ultimately the author’s work.

And like Jimmy Iovine, we get profound joy out of this collaborative process, and the book that is created as a result.