The writing process begins with the writer but will include others as the work progresses. Choosing the appropriate editor can mean the difference between a ho-hum volume and a successful book. Editor and ghost writer Laura Anne Ewald knows how important the editor’s role becomes in the birth of a book. She is a published author herself. When a writer entrusts a manuscript to the former academic librarian, the resulting book or story delivers a more polished version, but true to the author’s vision.
In 2011, Ewald left academia to pursue a full-time freelance career. She began with book indexing, the process of creating those handy indices at the back of books to help readers locate references within the volume. From there, she moved into abstracting, including work as a subcontractor to a big publishing house. By 2013, she was referred to Elance*, an online employment service, as a place to find more indexing jobs.
“I didn’t find indexing jobs but I did find editing jobs,” she says. Her subject matter has included short stories, children’s stories, science fiction novels and personal memoirs. She finds her clients all over the country and in her own neighborhood.
“Fiction, I think, I like best,” she responds when asked about her favorite genre to edit. “Nonfiction is easier, in the sense that you’re just looking at grammar and syntax.” But Ewald enjoys working in other people’s characters and universes, a joy which shows as she discusses assignments. Fiction poses the extra challenge of staying in the authors voice, one of Ewald’s strengths. Another strong point is her ability to follow the thread of the stories through the volume and recognize bumps or weak spots which need work.
“I know a lot of authors are afraid of using editors,” she notes, fearing their work will be “swallowed up” or changed beyond recognition by the editor. Ewald’s strength in preserving the author’s voice provides her a special place in the editing world.
While editing involves polishing another author’s work, ghostwriting means writing from scratch as someone else. As a ghostwriter, Ewald receives assignments of particular subject matter, time frames and length. Some jobs include detailed instructions as to the theme of the finished piece while others are more general. An aspect of her ghost writing is the research required to complete the assignments.
“The reason I became a librarian in the first place is, I love research,” Ewald admits. Her ghostwriting jobs give her the direction to follow with the research and the target of the finished article or book. Her clients get a completed work for whatever use they wish.
Ewald prefers to work on short assignments, such as articles, short stories or novellas. Her work includes Old Order Amish romance stories, children’s books and historical fiction. Some of the jobs are for publication by the person who contracted the job. Others are destined for a family member or special group.
She bases her fees on a per-word basis for both editing and ghostwriting. Contact Ewald through her website or by email (LauraAnneEwald@gmail.com) for quotes on assignments. Her availability varies according to her workload, but she welcomes hearing from new authors about their needs.
*Author’s note: Elance has since merged with Upwork.