For fifteen years I have found joy, purpose, and great inner reward in helping people tell their stories, share their expertise, and express themselves well through the written word. As a ghostwriter, I work with busy executives, subject matter experts, and mountain athletes to bring their book into the world.

handwritten text reading J Mackay

Jane’s listening skillset and accuracy are on point and the finished product is amazing. She simply is a one-of-a-kind ghostwriter and I would highly recommend her. She captures the truth.

KB
Ghostwriting client

Tell your story. Share your expertise.

Company founders & C-suite executives

Subject matter experts

Mountain athletes

Who am I?

I am a ghostwriter and copy editor with over fifteen years of professional experience and a lifetime of formal and informal practice and learning.

My professional experience includes five years on retainer as a full member (writer and editor) of the marketing team of a 9-time Inc. 5000 honoree; three years’ ghostwriting white papers and op eds for UCLA Extension; several years’ writing customer success stories for Microsoft and Twitter; and several years of journalism. In addition I have fifteen years’ experience copy editing business, memoir, nonfiction, and fiction books; research papers in the social sciences; and business communications. My work copy editing research papers by non-native English speakers for publication in peer-reviewed journals has given me extensive experience in helping people with a different first language express complex ideas and information accurately and well in English.

Learn about how ghostwriting works here.

 

Strengths I bring to your book project

  • Adroit wordsmith
  • Strong and clean first drafts
  • Adept at synthesizing new information and expressing it in the best way for the purpose and audience
  • Proficient at coherently organizing a great volume of material
  • Able to write in a variety of registers and styles
  • Strong research and interviewing skills
  • Highly practiced at revision and editing
  • Extensive general knowledge and interests
  • Logical and intuitive
  • Responsive, clear, and compassionate communicator
  • Intelligence and sensitivity

Current ghostwriting project

A business memoir for the founder of a company that experienced skyrocket success in a short time. The book is a memoir of the company blended with relevant elements of the client’s personal memoir.

A partial list of subjects about which I have deeper knowledge

— knowledge that I bring to your book project

I’m a lifelong knowledge omnivore, and these are a few of the subjects that have captured my interest over the decades:

  • business & entrepreneurship
  • nutritional science
  • human nature & behaviour
  • languages
  • mountain and endurance sports; the science of endurance and training for endurance sports; exercise science – I train for mountain/trail running and I’ve done some rock and ice climbing
  • European cultures, languages, and history
  • social sciences
  • Buddhism – ongoing learning and practice under the guidance of the Thai Forest tradition
  • outdoor sports – for 20+ years I was a baseball devotee; at the coach’s invitation, I spent 12 years in the dugout with a high school team as unofficial bench coach and photographer.

Multicultural and multilingual

I am from New Zealand, lived in the greater California Bay Area for over twenty years, and now live mostly in central and southeastern Europe. Since March 2016 I have spent periods of time in Italy, Croatia, Sarajevo, Serbia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Georgia, Greece, the UK, Ireland, Slovenia, Montenegro. I’ve also visited Austria, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, and Finland.

Thanks to this variegated background, I am linguistically ambidextrous, able to write in US or UK (or NZ) English, and I could manage other varieties with a bit of study and practice.

Language and languages are not only at the heart of my professional vocation, they are my lifelong avocation. Nine years’ study of German culminated in a BA in German Language & Literature. Since I’ve been in Europe, self-study — and use! — of Italian has brought me to an intermediate level. Wherever I find myself, I listen, read, observe, and pick up bits of the language — it’s like a game of piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

The love of words and language also led me to earn an MA in Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston. Those interviewing and research skills are perfect for ghostwriting!

How does ghostwriting work?

It’s not necessary to be a practitioner of a subject to be able to write about it. As writers of thrillers like to point out, just because they can write realistically about murders and psychopaths, that doesn’t mean they are psychopathic murderers.

That being said, one of my strengths is my extensive general knowledge. If you have expertise to share, you’ll provide the depth of knowledge and I probably already know enough to get started; I’ll flesh out my knowledge as necessary. If you’re writing for a general readership, it can be an advantage to work with a writer who is not expert in your subject, because the writer will know which concepts need to be explained so they can be understood by non-experts.

If your book is a memoir, I am able to imagine myself into your story, as broad life experience has given me a deep and compassionate understanding of human nature. That’s what draws me to spend time in different places and cultures — not to see things, but to observe and experience how life is for people with different experiences and situations than mine.

I have written in the guise of a multimillionaire entrepreneur, the dean of a major university extension, a logistics professional, and more.

What's the process?

Ghostwriting a book is an intimate collaboration between writer and client (the author), so the first step is to make sure we are a good fit for each other. You need to be sure you will enjoy working closely with me for a number of months and, crucially, that you trust me. And vice versa.

Once we’ve agreed we’re a good fit and settled on the price and time frame, we’ll determine the way of working together that will suit us best.

Here’s a high-level look at the typical process.

 1. I’ll conduct a series of interviews with you and other people relevant to the project (if any).

2. You’ll send me any supporting materials.

3. I’ll get an idea of the shape of the story (memoir) or a logical organization of the material (nonfiction) and create a rough outline. If you’re a subject matter expert, you’ll likely already have an idea of how you want to organize the material, so I’ll work from that. The outline is subject to revision (see below).

4. I’ll start writing and send you some initial chapters for review.

5. I’ll come back to you with questions or requests for more info on anything I can’t accurately or sufficiently find the answers to myself.

6. I’ll keep writing.

Note that steps 3-6 will occur and recur. Writing is rarely a strictly linear process and the material will be the largest dictator of the process as it actually takes place. Deeper understanding of the material will lead to more questions, new perspectives, the need to revise and/or reorganize earlier sections, and so on. All along the way I will keep you updated. I love when the author I’m working with is engaged in the process and part of the discussion (without micromanaging) and I’m equally happy being largely left to myself (except for my requests for more information) and presenting the author with a completed first draft for review, if that’s how they prefer to work.

It’s your book.

My clients say . . .

We have nothing to discuss — your editing is perfect as ever.

Denis Boltaevskiy – Board Member

Thank you very much. You did a wonderful job and I appreciate it.

David Bunnell — Founder

Jane is like my producer — I write and she makes sure what comes out on the other end is polished, presentable, and powerful. I can always rely on receiving the most articulate attention and inspection without worrying about my words losing their heart; Jane knows how I like to write and she always keeps that intact with her editing. She is thorough, professional, and a pleasure to work with. It is a privilege to have her as my editor.

Sharkchild

IRPA has been very thankful for your prompt and thorough work.

M Jae Moon
(former) Editor in Chief, International Review of Public Administration

Jane has become an integral part of my business. She quickly learned the ‘lingo’ of several industries I write for, and always makes improvements where needed. She’s a great communicator, fast, accurate, and very reasonably priced. I’m glad she is part of my team.

Brian Dobler

Jane provides thorough, knowledgeable, and elegant editing. Her services are done in a timely and professional manner. She gave suggestions that made my manuscript far more fluid and cohesive, greatly enhancing the overall style. Jane’s services are a tremendous value.

Barbara Hayes

It was Jane Mackay’s passion for language that appealed most to me. I was in search of a professional copy editor who offered more than just technical expertise. Jane immersed herself into my text and offered the perfect blend of creative input and highly skilled proofreading.

Ron DeLelles

I have worked with Jane for around ten years. Her knowledge, professionalism, attention to detail and creativity are unbelievable! Jane has a unique talent of being able to ask questions and probe to bring out ‘the story’ and eloquently document in such a way that is so detailed and organized.

KB
Ghostwriting client

Jane, I’ve quickly read through your ‘clean’ version, which has accomplished what I wanted. I’m looking forward to seeing what you removed and changed, because I have barely noticed the missing 700 words.

Peter Sagues
Writer

Thank you! I have had a lifetime love and appreciation for ‘you people’ who can clearly organize subjects which are probably new to you, and put them into easily readable form. It has been a pleasure working with you.

Peter Sagues
Writer

Thank you so much. It is so delightful to work with someone as reliable as you! I just integrated all your corrections in the text. I am really impressed at your work —​ I think you really understood what I am trying to convey. Thank you especially for the lovely suggestion ‘to take something with a grain of salt,’ which perfectly renders what I meant.

Francois Mirguet
Assistant Professor, Hebrew, Arizona State University