One Thing That Works For Me with guest Jevon Bolden: Maintaining the Author’s Voice


One Thing That Works For Me with guest Jevon Bolden: Maintaining the Author’s Voice

One Thing That Works For Me with guest Jevon Bolden: Maintaining the Author’s Voice



Good Monday morning, Seekerville! I (Carrie) am here to introduce today's guest for this month's 'One Thing That Works For Me' series. Please join me in welcoming author, editor, literary agent, ghostwriter, and CEO of Embolden Media, Jevon Bolden, as she shares about 'maintaining the author's voice'!
Whether in written or verbal communication, we each have our own word bank and speech patterns within which we relay our thoughts and ideas. Some of our vocabularies and patterns are expansive while others are a bit more limited. In addition to the setting, purpose, and audience, our cultures, education, and various other life experiences contribute to how we put our words together.
As a ghost or collaborative writer for authors of diverse ages, genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds, it is imperative for me to capture the essence of the author’s unique way of communicating so that their audience feels and knows they are reading that author’s ideas. The writing must authentically reflect them—a little polished for print versus a live speaking event or the like—but them, nonetheless.
One thing that works for me is to get a feel for those patterns by gathering samples of the author speaking and/or writing in variety of contexts. I listen to how they speak to me, how they speak to different audiences, if I’m privileged, how they speak to family or close friends, and to those who are older or younger. This is what I appreciate about writing for authors over the course of many years. I attend their events and work with them closely behind the scenes, interviewing them and brainstorming how the content should be delivered. Through every interaction, I am taking lots of mental notes of the words and expressions they use.

Even when an author has supplied me with written notes, transcribed sermon or presentations, and other writings, I am most likely going to see how I can gain access to audio or video recordings of their speaking to a live audience. It helps so much to listen to or watch the author engaging with real people. In doing this, I get to hear how the audience responds to things they say, and I can grab phrases and concepts that seem to resonate the most. And boom—target audience and felt need knocked out in one shot.

Often the authors I work with also have active social media platforms that they themselves maintain. This is another way I get a peek into their word choices and patterns, which I can then duplicate when writing for them or use as a guideline when editing.

Ghostwriting, collaborative writing, and editing are services centered on bringing the author’s ideas to life on the page not my own. Having this much raw data and context keeps me in line and helps me to avoid overstepping the author’s communication style and patterns by imposing how I would say something. This can easily happen if I try to rush through and just get something done. Wanting the author to feel like they are reading themselves when I write for them, I know I must take my time and resist the easy way out of leaning on my own default language patterns.

If I were asked, I would also highly recommend these practices to writers or editors who may be assigned to work with authors with backgrounds different from their own. While there are efforts to diversify publishing, we are currently working within the reality that many times white writers or editors are working with BIPOC authors. Assigning the work to a BIPOC freelance editor or collaborative writer of color would be ideal. When this is not an option and white writers and editors are solely handling content developed by creators of color, employing some of the ideas I’ve shared here will help them maintain the author’s voice and truest meaning or intent.


One Thing That Works For Me with guest Jevon Bolden: Maintaining the Author’s Voice
Jevon Bolden is a book editor, writer, literary agent, and CEO of Embolden Media Group, a boutique publishing consulting firm in sunny Florida. Jevon is also the founder of a newly formed group called Christian Publishing Professionals of Color that seeks to provide support, career opportunities, and community for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) in Christian publishing. She also serves as a consultant to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) and serves on their committee for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Christian publishing. The books she has written as other people have appeared on ECPA and CBA best-sellers' lists and have sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world. As a conference speaker, workshop facilitator, writing coach, and mentor, Jevon shares the best of what she knows with passionate, creative, and influential individuals and groups who desire to publish great books that make a difference.
What questions do you have for Jevon about ghostwriting or collaborative writing?


10 Comments on Seekerville: The Journey Continues: One Thing That Works For Me with guest Jevon Bolden: Maintaining the Author’s Voice

  • Ruth Logan Herne
    on November 08, 2021 | 04:10 Ruth Logan Hernesaid :
    "Jevon, welcome to Seekerville!

    You've brought a lot to the table today. Ghostwriting is such a unique task...

    It's an interesting choice, to write as someone else. I've often wondered how many politicians actually write their own books, and my guess is that a significant number probably use the services of ghostwriters because I know what kind of time goes into writing a book. Kudos to you for spinning so many plates!"
  • Lucy Reynolds
    on November 08, 2021 | 08:19 Lucy Reynolds said :
    "Welcome to Seekerville. I often wonder how all the TV pastors have time to also author books. I wonder how many actually use ghost writers. Have a blessed day. "
  • MeezCarrie
    on November 08, 2021 | 09:25 MeezCarriesaid :
    "that's a good point, Ruthy!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on November 08, 2021 | 09:26 MeezCarriesaid :
    "i know of at least one who does, so it probably happens a lot :) "
  • Mindy Obenhaus
    on November 08, 2021 | 10:16 Mindy Obenhaussaid :
    "Very interesting. I love this insight into ghostwriting."
  • MeezCarrie
    on November 08, 2021 | 11:12 MeezCarriesaid :
    "i agree!"
  • Debby Giusti
    on November 08, 2021 | 11:19 Debby Giustisaid :
    "Congrats on your success, Jevon! I can see a Hallmark movie featuring a ghost writer and a handsome hero. Wouldn't that be a fun story?

    Love the many ways you learn your client's voice. So hard, I'm sure. Thanks for the tips you provided today.

    Thanks, Carrie, for inviting Jevon to be with us in Seekerville!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on November 08, 2021 | 11:37 MeezCarriesaid :
    "that sounds like a great Hallmark movie idea, Debby :)"
  • Lee-Ann B
    on November 09, 2021 | 08:15 Lee-Ann Bsaid :
    "Wow! Ghostwriting is hard work! I have a new respect for them now.
    Thanks for sharing Devon!"
  • Sally Shupe
    on November 11, 2021 | 08:31 Sally Shupesaid :
    "Great post! help them maintain the author’s voice and truest meaning or intent. So true but sometimes seems like it might be hard to do. Thanks for the insight into ghostwriting. "
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