Q&A with Roz Morris, ghostwriter and author

Roz MorrisRoz Morris is a ghostwriter and self-published author, we asked her about the challenges of her unique path to success…

1. What was your first writing job?

An MG horror romance in a series under a house pseudonym. My husband, Dave, (also an author) was originally commissioned to write it as work for hire, but half-way through production the editors changed their mind about the series style. Dave had another commission, so I threw a plot together and wrote it for them. The editors liked it … and I was a published author. More work followed.

2. Was it/is it difficult to keep below the radar about books you have ghostwritten?

Friends and colleagues are curious about them, but they understand that if a book has been written in secrecy it should stay that way. As the writer, it can be uncomfortable to see another person take the credit for a book you’ve built on your hard drive – but that’s part of the deal. There are many unsung heroes in the creative industries, and ghostwriters are only one of them. Editors can also make a huge difference to a book and are rarely credited.

3. What are your thoughts on the recent PR surrounding Zoe Sugg and the writing of Girl Online?

I hope it’s demonstrated to the public that writing is a craft and a skill and scotched the myth that everybody can dash a book off.

4. How have your experiences as a ghostwriter influenced the way you have gone about publishing subsequently?

They have been immensely helpful. Ghostwriting has made me research subjects and ways of life that I might not otherwise have been drawn to, and broadened my horizons. I’ve worked with excellent, demanding editors and it was a fantastic apprenticeship. I’ve also had terrific working relationships with the authors I’ve ghosted. I may not get the credit in the eyes of the outside world, but I got a priceless education. I’ve carried those lessons with me when producing my own books – meticulous editing, exhaustive research and rigorous production.

5. Can you give us your five top tips for self-publishing?

1. Learn as much as you can about the editorial process. Many authors imagine their manuscript goes directly into a publishing house and comes out as a book, but in reality there’s a lot more honing and polishing.

2. Learn to write as well as possible, and find critique partners and teachers who help you be better than you could be by yourself. We all have blind spots.

3. Find a creative mentor or writing buddy who’ll keep you going when it’s getting tough, or the book isn’t going well.

4. Never, ever rush a book out. Although you can change it easily, or even delete it, you can’t undo the harm it’s done to your reputation.

5. Think long term. Create a body of work you’ll be proud of.

In 140 characters, how can someone emulate your success on Twitter?

Say ‘hello’ a lot, and ‘thank you’ more than ‘please’.

About Roz Morris

Roz Morris published nearly a dozen novels and achieved sales of more than 4 million copies – and nobody saw her name because she was a ghostwriter. She is now proudly selfpublishing as herself with two acclaimed literary novels My Memories of a Future Life and Lifeform Three. She has also been a writing coach, editor and mentor for more than 20 years with award-winning authors among her clients.

She has a book series for writers, Nail Your Novel (and a blog http://www.nailyournovel.com), and teaches creative writing masterclasses for The Guardian newspaper in London. She has a show on Surrey Hills Radio, So You Want To Be A Writer http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/so-you-want-to-be-a-writer-new-radio-show-to-get-you-started/ . Find her books here http://rozmorris.wordpress.com/my-books/

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