Often in my practice, a harried executive—under pressure of a deadline—has time only to sketch a presentation, perhaps create a bullet list, then will ask me to transform notes and bits and pieces into a coherent document in the correct style and voice. My nearly thirty-five years as a journalist have trained me to write/edit swiftly and accurately. I’ve written a number of speeches this way, easily mimicking the client’s voice and tone. The longer I work with these clients, the easier this kind of shadow writing becomes.
Other shadow writing clients are writers for whom English is a second or third language. Before they send their letters, essays or books out into the world, I become a sort of linguistic insurance policy for them, a behind-the-scenes writer—and usually editor, too—who ensures that their English is correct, consistent in diction and properly idiomatic yet still, essentially, their own.
My basic fee for shadow writing is $150 per hour.