Become a Writer Today

What It Takes to Become a Successful Ghost Writer with Ruby Peru

June 21, 2021 Bryan Collins Season 2
Become a Writer Today
What It Takes to Become a Successful Ghost Writer with Ruby Peru
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Become a Writer Today
What It Takes to Become a Successful Ghost Writer with Ruby Peru
Jun 21, 2021 Season 2
Bryan Collins

In this episode, I interview author, biographer, and ghostwriter Ruby Peru. 

She's written an astonishing 19 books to date, and she spoke to me about how she balances working on her craft whilst working on books for her clients. 

She also has to juggle this with finding her next client, which can be a painful lesson to learn as a freelancer. It's great to get the paycheque at the end of your commission, but then you have to find your next client.

I wanted to know what got Ruby into writing memoir, non-fiction and ghostwriting, and she also talks about how she is in the process of building up her publishing company.

In this episode we discuss: 

  • Are there any rules to follow when writing a memoir
  • The difference between self-help books and memoirs
  • The process for writing a memoir
  • Ruby explains her editing process
  • Setting expectations at the start of the project
  • How it feels to ghostwrite a book and see someone else's name on the front page
  • Ruby's promotion strategies


Resources:

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/becomeawritertoday)

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I interview author, biographer, and ghostwriter Ruby Peru. 

She's written an astonishing 19 books to date, and she spoke to me about how she balances working on her craft whilst working on books for her clients. 

She also has to juggle this with finding her next client, which can be a painful lesson to learn as a freelancer. It's great to get the paycheque at the end of your commission, but then you have to find your next client.

I wanted to know what got Ruby into writing memoir, non-fiction and ghostwriting, and she also talks about how she is in the process of building up her publishing company.

In this episode we discuss: 

  • Are there any rules to follow when writing a memoir
  • The difference between self-help books and memoirs
  • The process for writing a memoir
  • Ruby explains her editing process
  • Setting expectations at the start of the project
  • How it feels to ghostwrite a book and see someone else's name on the front page
  • Ruby's promotion strategies


Resources:

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/becomeawritertoday)

Ruby: The worst thing for a memoir is when people try to characterize themselves as a hero, the hero of every story, you know? “I did this, I did that, I’m so great.”

Bryan: How great I was.

Ruby: Very boring. 

Bryan: Yeah.

Ruby: And I have to sort of teach them like you can’t be the hero of every story, people don’t want to read that. So, that’s kind of the trick to writing a memoir is sort of being able to have a sense of humor about your life, really.

Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan: What does it take to become a successful ghostwriter? Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins, and welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast. And after this week’s interview with Ruby Peru, I noticed some comparisons between working as a freelance journalist back in the day and also between Ruby’s experiences as a ghostwriter. 

When I was a freelance journalist, I used to get commissions for publications in Ireland, I used to write technology pieces and the pieces will be several thousand words in length and if I had one or two of them on the go, it would pretty much take me all month and that will be enough to pay the bills. But then, when the end of the month would come, I’d send a piece to the editor, the piece would get published, and if I didn’t get another piece from that particular publication, I wouldn’t have any work and I learned a painful lesson about freelance journalism back then, which is that you need to spend some time working in your craft and doing the work, as in writing up the pieces, but you also need to spend some time finding your next job. And even if you’re not a journalist, the same applies whether you’re a freelance copywriter, a freelance content marketer, or even if you’re an author, you also need to spend a bit of time planning what book you’re going to write next.

Now, this week, I interview Ruby Peru. She’s an author, biographer, and ghostwriter and she’s written over 19 books and in this week’s interview, she talks about how she balances working on the craft and working on books for her clients with also finding other clients that she’s going to help next or that she is going to work on next to use to build up her publishing company.

But before we go to this week’s interview with Ruby, if you enjoyed the show, you can support the show on Patreon. For just a couple of dollars a month, I’ll give you discounts on my writing books, courses, and software. Or, alternatively, you can leave a short review or share the show on iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you’re listening.

Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Ruby and I started by asking her how she got into ghostwriting and into writing memoir and narrative nonfiction in the first place.

Ruby: Sure. Well, I’ve always been a writer ever since I was a kid. When I was a kid, I was really into those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Remember those?

Bryan: Oh, they’re great, yeah, I know.

Ruby: I used to write them for myself. So, I’ve done a lot of different types of freelance writing, writing for different magazines, stuff like that, and a freelance job that I got one time, just sort of out of a series of coincidences, was a memoir for a guy who was escaping from a cult, for real, and ended up in prison in India, actually, because of like a wacky series of crazy events and I happened to live in the town where that cult was located and I had lived in India as well so I had a lot of weird things in common with this unusual person and —

Bryan: Sounds like you were meant to write it.

Ruby: Yeah. So, I got the job of writing it and it was the first time that I had done a memoir so I did a lot of interviews with him and it was really weird because he was sort of still one foot in the cult and one foot out. It was a bit too early for him to really write the memoir that he wanted to write because he was pretty confused on what his sort of life philosophy and spiritual philosophy was but he wanted to write about that. 

So, the book took a few years actually to write overall, but by the end of it, I really enjoyed the process because part of the process — he was a strange and hard-to-like person but in order to write a memoir, you have to make the person relatable, not necessarily likeable but somebody who people can go, “Oh, I see myself in that,” you know? So I worked with a lot of editors to try to figure out how to take a story like this and make it more relatable and make people see things from his point of view and it was a fascinating process and, after that, it was sort of like trial by fire with writing memoirs, definitely the hardest one I’ve ever done. Then I said, you know, “I wanna do more of these,” so I built a website around writing memoir and I studied it more and then I started getting more and more memoir jobs. So that’s kind of how I got into it.

Bryan: Do you find that there are any particular rules or conventions of memoir specifically that a new writer should follow if they wanted to break into this discipline or this genre?

Ruby: You mean to write their own memoir or to write memoirs for other people?

Bryan: Both.

Ruby: Okay. Yeah, well, to write your own memoir, what it takes is you really need to allow yourself to be vulnerable. You need to be able to talk about your successes as well as your failures. Essentially, you need to think about your path in life in terms of who you were, what you went through, and then how you became the person that you are now. So, what were the transitional moments in your life? 

What were the moments where you had some kind of epiphany or you went through some kind of really difficult time and you learned something from that? So you need to sort of be able to remember those important moments and have a sense of humor about yourself and foolish mistakes that you’ve made, be honest about it. 

The worst thing for a memoir is when people try to characterize themselves as a hero. The worst thing for a memoir is when people try to characterize themselves as a hero, the hero of every story, you know? “I did this, I did that, I’m so great.”

Bryan: How great I was.

Ruby: Very boring. 

Bryan: Yeah.

Ruby: And I have to sort of teach them like you can’t be the hero of every story, people don’t want to read that. So, that’s kind of the trick to writing a memoir is sort of being able to have a sense of humor about your life, really.

Bryan: So memoirs are quite popular today, I think partly thanks to blogging and the internet. People like to talk about themselves, where better to do it than online. What do you see is the difference between self-help and memoir?

Ruby: Oh, well, there can be a crossover, for sure, because sometimes people write their memoir in such a way that it’s like, “Here’s what I went through and here’s what you can learn from it,” you know? “I learned how to be a more spiritual person,” or something like that and then, “You can learn from that, here’s, you know, if you wanna be like me,” but a lot of times, a memoir isn’t necessarily — and sometimes memoir is also combined, like a businessperson might write a memoir that is sort of his self-help book because it’s about, “How to be successful in business like the way I was successful in business,” so they give their self as an example and then they extrapolate tips, you know, whether it’s spiritual tips or business tips so there’s often a crossover, but not always. 

Sometimes, a memoir is just the story and it’s written to entertain or to inform. All my memoirs are written to entertain, you know? So I write it like it’s a novel. That’s sort of my aim with everything is that it should be page-turning, it should be where you can’t put it down, it should be where a person’s life is as interesting as reading a suspenseful novel. The key to that is finding the parts of the story that are the interesting parts and leaving out the parts that are that are not so much.

Bryan: Yeah, that’s good advice. So your latest book is called Business Cards and Shoe Leather.

Ruby: Yeah, that’s one of my most recent memoirs that’s been published.

Bryan: Could you describe your writing process for this particular book?

Ruby: Yeah. Well, this book was for a gentleman named Larry Vaughn and he’s a dyslexic and he’s in his seventies now, but — so when he was a kid growing up in a small town in New Mexico, they didn’t know what dyslexia was, he had no diagnosis, it was long ago, and so he was a very smart guy who couldn’t read, nobody understood why he couldn’t read, and so he learned to hide it, as a lot of dyslexics do and especially did before they had diagnostics like they do now. 

So his life was all about learning how to hide his inability to read and write and he became very good at it and then he — ultimately, it’s a very like pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps story, he became very successful in business, the whole time hiding the fact that he couldn’t read and write from everybody, including the woman that he eventually married.
 
And, eventually, I think he was 50 when he decided — he had an embarrassing experience where he was on stage and he was asked to read something and he had to just sort of BS his way around it and he realized everybody — he heard people talking about it like behind his back going, “What’s the matter with Larry? Why isn’t he reading that?” and he realized, “I need to learn to read because this is getting embarrassing, like I can’t hide this as well as I thought I could.” 

So he started doing research on it and, at that point, he understood that dyslexia was a thing and it was now diagnosable and there was all kinds of technology for people with dyslexia. I mean, he had learned to get by without it for so long that it never occurred to him to look into his situation until that point. 

And then he learned about all the technology you can use to help you and he learned that you don’t have to be ashamed of it, it’s a diagnosis that a lot of people have now that is okay and it’s common and it doesn’t mean you’re stupid, you know? So, I found it to be a very interesting story because here you have a grown man dealing with something that kids today don’t have to deal with because they get diagnosed and they are already taught at a very young age that it doesn’t mean you’re stupid and that you have technology that can help you and stuff like that.

Bryan: Did Larry approach you to write the story or did you come across it?

Ruby: He approached me. He wanted to get into doing public speaking about his journey on that, regarding dyslexia and stuff, so he wanted to write a book, you know, to help. That’s how a lot of people want to write books, memoirs to sort of support a public speaking gig sometimes because that can be helpful.

Bryan: It can, yes, especially in the business world. Also, people like Larry, everybody, I would say, feels like they have a book inside of them. 

Ruby: A lot of people do.

Bryan: That they want to get out but maybe they need help from somebody like you to do it. 

Ruby: Yeah. A lot of times what people think is interesting about their lives is not actually the most interesting thing and so I’ll listen to them talk about their lives and I’ll go, “Okay —” actually, for instance, I wrote a book for a guy who had lived for 10 years in Africa as a wildlife researcher but most of his life had been as a businessman in the U.S. and he was such a — so into being a businessman that he thought being a businessman was much more interesting than being an African wildlife researcher. 

Bryan: But there’s lots of businessmen.

Ruby: Yeah. I was like, “Dude, there’s no way I could leave that out of the book. That’s much more interesting.”

Bryan: It is. It certainly is. So, when you’re interviewing somebody like that African wildlife researcher or Larry for the book or for the first draft, do you like interview them for a couple of days and take notes and record them or like what’s your process for getting their story onto a first draft?

Ruby: The process I use, I actually interview them for a month, usually an hour a day, sometimes two hours a day. It tends to be 30 to 40 hours overall, based on whatever their schedule is. Some people can talk for an hour, some people just have to talk for at least two hours, you know? It just depends on your style. And I record all the interviews and then I transcribe them later. 

Bryan: Do you transcribe them yourself or do you have the help of an assistant or a service?

Ruby: I have transcribers that I — if I’m too busy, I’ll have other people do it but I actually like to do it myself because it helps me internalize all the information into my head so then I don’t have to do as much research while I’m writing.

Bryan: Yeah. A couple years ago, I used to work as a journalist but transcriptions used to drive me nuts because I spent hours typing out what somebody said and listening to it back on a Dictaphone but I guess it’s different if you’re writing a memoir.

Ruby: It’s just as boring, but, like I said, I like to have the information in my head as much as possible because then the writing goes faster.

Bryan: So you’ve transcribed a month’s worth of interviews or a couple of days’ worth of interviews with Larry or another subject, what’s the next step?

Ruby: Then the next step is I take a month to do all the organizing. I have all the information and I’ll create a little subheading so I can organize it all. People don’t usually remember their life in order so I’ll create a timeline that puts all the events of their life in order. That way, you can see the cause and effect. This happened and, because of that, the next thing happened, and because of that, the next thing happened, then I made this choice and, because of that, one thing happened instead of a different thing happened so you can see the cause and effect relationship of all the events in their life. 

So, I’ll create the timeline and then I’ll also create a synopsis of the book because the book is usually not told exactly in chronological order so the book will — the synopsis will show like where are we going to start in the book, we’re going to start at some dramatic point in the middle and then backtrack to the beginning? Are we going to do alternating timelines, if that’s a story that requires that kind of thing? So the synopsis will show you the order the book will be told in and also it’ll show you which parts of the story I’m going to highlight, which are the internal conflicts the person went through, what are the external conflict, where’s the climax of the story, you know? It’ll really show you all of the technical parts of the story. And then, the following month, I start writing it.

Bryan: That’s quite a lot to arrange, especially from such raw material. So, are you doing this on index cards or just writing it down on a piece of paper or in Word or just some other process?

Ruby: I usually use a program called Scrivener.

Bryan: Yeah.

Ruby: I mean, I always use Scrivener but sometimes I also use other things. It’s a useful program. I would never tell people you have to have any kind of particular software in order to write a memoir because, really, it’s just a matter of — it helps you organize your stuff but you can organize your stuff with an MS Word file or a series of files, you know? So a lot of people feel like, “Oh, I have to have the right software,” you really don’t. And Scrivener is a great software but there’s so much to learn —

Bryan: There’s a lot.

Ruby: — and it gives you so many options, it’s almost too many options, takes up a lot of time to learn all of the how to use it and stuff so I’m not 100 per cent sure if I would recommend for somebody to add that burden to the burden of also learning how to write, you know what I mean?

Bryan: Yeah. I use it for long-form writing, I find it’s great for that. I’ve been using it for quite a while but I still wouldn’t say I’m an expert in it because it’s just — there’s so many different things.

Ruby: Right. You know what I mean, right? It can be pretty complicated if you’re like, “Oh, I wanna compile it in this way or that way and why isn’t this working?” and then you sort of have to deal with all the technical aspects of it. 

Bryan: So when you’ve outlined the memoir and you have the synopsis, is the next step to write the first draft?

Ruby: Yeah. So then I typically spend 3 months writing 80 pages a month because I typically write a 240-page book. That’s just a really nice length if you want to sell your book, not too long, not too short. Then I have 3 months of just writing and because I’ve organized it so well to begin with, it’s a somewhat relaxing process to go through and just be able to apply creativity during that time and not have to deal with the structural aspect of things.

Bryan: And are you working on this for like 8 hours a day or just in the morning time?

Ruby: That’s a good question. You know, it totally depends. Some chapters are difficult and take a long time. Some days, I’ll work 12-hour days; some days, I’ll be like, “I can’t take it, I’ll take a day off.” I mean, I’m — what I do is I have a deadline, you know? I give my clients hard deadlines. At the end of each of those 3 months, they’re going to get 80 pages so I do what it takes to make those 80 pages happen. If I get ahead, I get some time off. If I get behind, I’m working 12-hour days ’til I get caught up.

Bryan: You’re kind of giving yourself a deadline.

Ruby: Yeah.

Bryan: Do you just work on one project at a time or do you work on multiple projects?

Ruby: Typically, I do work — I mean, ideally, I get my year set up in advance where I do two books a year and then I’ll start with one book, 6 months later, it’ll be done, and I’ll start with the second book. It’s seldom is life that simple and straightforward but that’s —

Bryan: I wish it was.

Ruby: — ideally what I would like to do, you know? So I shoot for that every time.

Bryan: Yeah. Yeah. So, I’m in the middle of editing a book at the moment so what about your editing process? You’ve sent it to the client and they read through it and what do they normally say?

Ruby: So they get their pages at the end of each of those 3 months and then sometimes they have — you know, they’re not in charge of doing like copy editing, I have somebody else who does that for me, but they’ll check it out and if I got anything in the wrong order or if they don’t like the way I characterize a character or something like that, they’ll let me know and ask me to change stuff and then I do all those edits during the last month. That’s what enables me to write a full book in 6 months. I don’t stop and edit and go back. I write, write, write until that first draft is done, and then during the final month, I’ll do all the edits they asked for.

Bryan: Okay, and do they tend to have a lot of edits?

Ruby: Usually they don’t. I’m not usually hired by writers, I’m hired by people who aren’t writers who have other specialities so, you know, if there are factual things that I got wrong, it’s usually easy to fix it. 

Bryan: Okay.

Ruby: But they don’t usually have a lot of edits. 

Bryan: Okay. I thought maybe somebody might say, “I don’t sound like that at all, can you change that?”

Ruby: If they explain that, they’ll say that during the — like when they get their pages in the first month — see, during the second month when I do all the organizing, I also write a couple pages just to show them what the style is going to be and I’ll model the style either after their particular way of talking or after an author that they like, that they asked me to model it after. So it’ll be like, “This is the style we’re gonna write it in,” and if they like it, we’ll stick with that and we can tweak it until they like what they’re getting. So then they’re never surprised at the end of the first month when they get their pages, but if there’s anything they don’t like about the style, if they feel like it doesn’t sound like them, I can tweak that immediately so that it doesn’t accumulate into a big problem, you know? 

Bryan: Yeah. Yeah, I guess it’s good to set expectations at the start of a project.

Ruby: Yeah, I like to. I hate — I don’t like people to be surprised or feel like they don’t know what they’re getting into, you know?

Bryan: Yeah. You’ve done the edits, client is relatively happy, you mentioned a copy editor, would you be able to describe what their role in the process is?

Ruby: Well, it’s really a proofreader.

Bryan: Okay.

Ruby: Yeah, well, before I — like I don’t want to hand them a manuscript that still needs to be proofread before it’s published. It’s ready to be published. So I finish it, they give me their edits, I do their edits, then I send it to a proofreader who — typically I use Chicago Manual of Style and they’ll proofread it just to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed and everything is conforming to Chicago Manual of Style, you know? So it’s ready to be published. 

Bryan: You do the client’s edits and then you send it to the proofreader or is there somebody else in between those two steps?

Ruby: No, there’s nobody —

Bryan: No? Okay, gotcha. Yeah, because sometimes, some writers get a copy editor and a proofreader and sometimes the proofreader will do both.

Ruby: Yeah. I mean, I am a copy editor so I don’t really —

Bryan: Yeah, you don’t need it, yeah, that would make sense. Does the proofreading take long?

Ruby: No, it doesn’t usually. I let them know ahead of time when it’s going to be done because it’s never a surprise. I know when my deadlines are and I make my deadline so the proofreader is ready for it, you know?

Bryan: So you’ve — I mean, you’ve done over 19 books. Are you working with the same proofreader each time or do you find someone new? 

Ruby: No, I’ve gone through different proofreaders. Sometimes, the book will have technical things like I wrote a book for a neuroscientist once and I wanted a proofreader that was more of a specialist in some of the medical terminology, stuff like that. So, you know, I find freelancers through freelancing websites and through other writers that I know and so I’ve bopped around to different proofreaders. I used to use a copy editor. I used to use a heavier editing service, like more of a copy editing and proofreading, and then I realized I really don’t need it because I don’t make that level of mistakes so I might as well not pay for it so now I’m at the level where I just use a proofreader. 

Bryan: Okay, okay. Yeah, that would make sense if you’ve done that many books as well. So one thing I’ve always wondered about ghostwriting is how the ghostwriter feels when you’ve spent so long on a book and then there’s somebody else’s name on the book cover.

Ruby: Yeah, that’s a question I get a lot. At this point in my career, I have somewhat of a following so, oftentimes, people will give me a with credit. They choose to because it helps them sell the book because then they can piggyback on my following.

Bryan: Okay.

Ruby: And sometimes I don’t give people — like nowadays, I mostly work for credit but if somebody is just adamant that they don’t want to give me credit, it’s really fine. I’m really used to it, you know? Because the way I see it is, it’s their story. It’s not like I made up the story. If it was fiction, that would be different. It’s their life story and I’m sort of a creative technician who’s helping them be understood and get their work out there and help the world understand who they are, you know? So, everybody — I feel like everybody deserves to be understood. 

There are a lot of people who, you know, you meet them and you go, “Oh, this person, they seem terrible,” but if you really look at the world from their eyes or from their background, you understand why they are that way and why it all makes sense to them. Everything they’re doing makes sense to them. And I feel like everybody has the right to be understood, whether you agree with the conclusions they’ve made in life or not. So I’m happy to help people do that.

Bryan: Okay. So, when I was a freelance journalist, I used to do a lot of writing for different publications and I get buried in a project, get the project over the line, and then, because I’ve spent all month on it, I wouldn’t have any other projects because I didn’t spend any time looking for work. So, how does a ghostwriter find more work, especially when they’re in the middle of a book that takes six months? 

Ruby: That’s an excellent question and shows that you’re really in the business because that is, of course, the hardest struggle, being an entrepreneur and also a creative person, like how can you be running a business at the same time that you’re doing the work? And it is also a struggle for me because then, there you are at the end of the book going, “I hope I didn’t spend all my money because now I have to spend a month trying to get my next job,” right? Lately, it’s been funny since the pandemic started because a lot of people, I don’t know if you find this, but a lot of people are finding, “Hey, this is a good time for me to stay home and finish my book that I started a long time ago,” you know? 

So I have had actually a lot more work just coming at me without me having to look for it. But when it doesn’t come, yeah, I have to beef up my social media. I have to like look out — look for connections. I have to go on freelancing websites. I have to, you know, do all kinds of things to get my name out there and stuff like that. That actually hasn’t happened to me in a while but it’s always looming on the horizon. You never know when it’s going to dry up and you’re going to just start from scratch. 

Bryan: If I was going to approach a ghostwriter to write my book, what type of things should I get ready for the ghostwriter?

Ruby: Well, when you work with me, all you have to do is just tell the story, you know? A memoir isn’t an autobiography, meaning that it isn’t every single thing you ever did and thought and saw. It’s a part of your life that you want to talk about, a specific aspect of your life or a specific time period in your life. So, you’ll want to think about that and some people like to take notes on it so they can think about it ahead of time but the way I work, because I work by interview mainly, it’s fine with me if people just want to sort of do a stream of consciousness talking about different stuff because I’ll ask them questions. Well, here’s something that people could prepare, like what I really want to know is specific memories, transitional moments, memories of moments that changed your life. Those are the things I’m really looking for.

Bryan: Okay, okay. So you also write fiction. You’ve written romance. Do you write that because it’s something creative or because it’s part of your business or for another reason?

Ruby: I have a novel out called Bits of String Too Small to Save and it is not a romance, it’s just a literary novel. I’ve written romance but the romance that I wrote was actually a memoir for a client whose life was like this crazy romance. It was like a romance novel so I wrote his memoir in the style of a romance novel. 

Bryan: Okay. Okay. It must have been an interesting life or memoir.

Ruby: Yeah, it was. It was like a — the tale was he met his wife in the ’50s, they fell in love, they married, their parents didn’t get along, and it’s a story about two people that are both Jewish but from different sects of Judaism and that’s a big part of why their parents didn’t get along and their parents actually sort of forced them to get divorced and she was pregnant at the time, they got divorced, they went on, married other people, had their own kids. Twenty years later — or 18 years later, when their child is 18, he is legally allowed to seek out his father and his mother’s family had prevented him from ever knowing who his father was or anything like that so then the child seeks out the father, the father ends up getting back in touch with the mother, they fall back in love again and then they both divorce their spouses, re-marry each other, and he has this big cancer scare where he almost dies and so they go on a vacation to celebrate, which is a safari in Africa, where she catches this terrible form of malaria and instantly dies. So, the wrong person died —

Bryan: It’s not a very happy book.

Ruby: It’s not a happy ending but it’s a very dramatic ending.

Bryan: Yeah, yeah.

Ruby: And — so sorry, I just totally spoiled the ending but it’s called Broken Contract, which is not a good title. I did not want that title but sometimes I don’t have control over that.

Bryan: Do the clients pick the titles? 

Ruby: Yeah. What happened with that is actually part of the reason why I have my own publishing company now because, with that, he got picked up by like an independent publishing company and they didn’t seem to understand that it was meant to be like a romance, like an intense romance that should have a cover that looks like a bodice-ripper, you know? So they changed the title to something boring and the book cover is boring. I was so unhappy with the way it got published that I realized I needed to take control of that for my clients.

Bryan: Yeah, that makes sense. So I guess the same question then but for your novel, Bits of String Too Small to Save, did you write that for something creative or for your business or for another reason?

Ruby: Oh, that was just a creative expression of mine. I actually wrote that because — I really started writing that before I even started my career as a ghostwriter. I mean, I started that book like 15 years ago, like right around the same time that I started doing ghostwriting. I was just doing it because, at the time, I had a job working for a magazine and I hated it and I felt like I am — my creative soul is dying in this place. So, it was across the street from the public library so every day after work, I would go to the library and I’d work for an hour on my novel to keep my creative juices flowing and the rule was I have to be having fun. This is my hour of fun every day. It’s a wacky novel full of like kooky characters and talking animals and all kinds of stuff that — fun dialogue and action and suspense, because I was just determined, this is going to be fun, whatever it is. So that’s how the book got started and then it just sort of turned into what it is today. 

Bryan: And finally, are there any book promotion strategies that are working well for you?

Ruby: Yeah. I have different promotion strategies for different types of books. Fiction is one thing, non-fiction is another. Most — I’ll talk about non-fiction since that’s what your podcast is mostly about. I typically do a launch of the book when it’s first published, lower the price, invest in a whole bunch of advertising. I use BookBub a lot for non-fiction, that works great. Facebook ads also work great for non-fiction. And I have a whole sort of database of different kind of book companies that do different types of book promotions and none of them are sure things. Sometimes they work great; other times, they don’t. I haven’t really figured out exactly which type of books work with which promotions. It’s always a bit of an experiment. But that’s kind of what I do, I experiment with all these different types of promotional things and see what works for each book. 

Bryan: Okay. I thought BookBub was more for fiction. Interesting to know —

Ruby: BookBub — oh, no. Fiction does terrible on BookBub, in my experience.

Bryan: Okay. Yeah, I haven’t used BookBub much but, yeah, maybe something I should look out for the next one. So, Ruby, where can people find you or where can they buy some of your books?

Ruby: Well, my website is rubyperu.com and you can learn a lot about me, my ghostwriting, see the books I’ve written for myself and for clients. You can find my book, Bits of String Too Small to Save, my novel, on Amazon or any other. You can order it through your local bookseller and you can check out Pangloss Press where a lot of my clients, my marketing clients have published their books. And you see my pictures of Trinity College Library.

Bryan: Yeah, fantastic library, if anyone’s in Ireland. Thank you, Ruby. It’s very nice to talk to you today.

Ruby: Thank you so much, Bryan.

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