The list of celebrities that David Ritz has worked with is daunting: Ray Charles, R. Kelly, Aretha Franklin and Joe Perry, just to name a few. But the man who has ghostwritten so many autobiographies never set out to do that. In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s Hey, How’d You Do That? series, Ritz tells how he became a successful ghostwriter and gives advice to those with similar aspirations.
“When I first met Ray Charles, I didn’t know about ghostwriting; I was just going to do a biography of him,” Ritz recalled. “And then his agent asked me, ‘Which book would you be more interested in reading: a book about Ray Charles written by an egghead or a book written in his own voice?’ I told him that I would much rather read the book written in his own voice, and he told me, ‘You should write the book you would want to read, not the one you believe you should write.’ And that was a big turning point for me.”
For more, read Hey, How’d You Build a Successful Ghostwriting Career, David Ritz? [subscription required]