RSS

9 Things to Know About Your Ghostwriter

Ghostwriting is a secretive, thriving industry that has slowly gained more attention over the last several years. With the mainstream controversy created by cookbook ghostwriter Julia Moskin in the New York Times, suddenly, everyone is curious about this field.

If you are interested in hiring a ghostwriter, watch out! There are plenty of wonderful ghostwriters who are professional, but there are plenty of those who aren’t. This is your life, your work, your story. You want to make sure it’s in the proper hands. Here are nine things to consider before signing that contract.

1. Cost

Your potential ghostwriter should be able to give you a thorough estimate for the cost as long as you are honest about length and the amount of work that goes into it. Don’t try to “fool” the ghostwriter by pretending they won’t need to do as much research as is required or making it sound like it’s a 100 page project when you know it’s a 300 page project. Likewise, a professional ghostwriter should be realistic with the costs. Ghostwriters do not come cheaply, and you get what you pay for. I once saw an advertisement for a ghostwriter to write a 300 page book for $250! I can only hope it was a typo, because even with a share in royalties, a quality ghostwriter wouldn’t accept a job like that for under $3000. Remember, you get what you pay for, and if you want professional quality, expect to pay $10-500 per page dependent upon the length, whether or not you are offering a share in royalties, and the amount of research required to complete the project.

2. Experience

Ghostwriting is full of non-disclosure agreements, making it hard for a writer to share their resume. However, they should be able to provide writing samples through articles or blogs they have written that are not confidential, as well as inform you of the type of work they can do.

3. Good Listening Skills

A good ghostwriter should be able to tell your story or convey your information in your voice, not theirs. This requires great listening and interviewing skills. If at any point you feel you are not being listened to or that your message isn’t getting across, find a new writer.

4. Timeliness

For many creative types, deadlines are a challenge. Ask the writer how they do with deadlines. If they seem distracted or disorganized, check with a reference to see how well they handle getting their work in on time.

5. Discretion

It goes without saying that a good ghostwriter is discrete. Nondisclosure agreements can help cement exactly what is and isn’t allowed. Some clients won’t mind if the ghostwriter puts projects on their resumes, but others will. Make sure you are up front with your discretionary expectations, and get them in writing.

6. Contracts

Speaking of writing, along with nondisclosure agreements, contracts can help prevent misunderstandings. They should convey the amount to be paid and when, expectations, etc. Seek out legal help for this area, particularly for larger projects.

7. Length

How long will the project take to complete? While it’s often hard to nail down an exact day, make sure both you and the writer has realistic expectations. No one can complete a 500 page book in a month for under $500. If the writer claims he or she can, or if you expect them to, get out your advil: you’re going to need it. Setting realistic goals up front will keep your expectations realistic and the writer on track.

8. Eagerness

Watch out for the overeager ghostwriter. Enthusiasm is great, but the overeager, desperate for money writer may not be a good fit. Ghostwriting is more than writing words on paper. It’s your life, your story, your work. You need someone who is honest enough to refer you to another writer if they don’t feel that they are a good fit for your project. Not every writer is good for every project.

9. Professionalism

There is a misconception that every professional writer must have an English degree. This is not true. I actually have a psychology degree, which has proven far more useful in cultivating listening and marketing skills than an English degree would have been. However, you want to make sure the writer is qualified for the task. A far more useful set of questions to find out educational qualifications is: Where did they go to college? What was their major? How has their major helped them become a better writer? What professional associations do they belong to? Are they members of the Association for Ghostwriters? Have they completed Claudia Suzanne’s Ghostwriting Certification Course? While all of these things aren’t necessary for great ghostwriting, it does help to know what they do and don’t have.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Ghostwriting

 

Tags: , , ,

June Books

Is it July already? Time flies when your’e working 40-50 hour weeks and trying to get your career off the ground!

If I am not working, sleeping, or eating (or any combination of the three), I am reading. Nevertheless, June was an extremely busy month for me, so I didn’t read quite as much as I normally do. Still, three novels is above average.

Micro, Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Rating: 2 stars

Review:

I did finish this book, though it was certainly painful at times. The cardboard characters and sloppy writing style that can only be attributed to an unfinished work completed by another made this my least favorite Crichton novel. I love Crichton and enjoy Preston, but not together.

I did find the plot intriguing, however. It had good potential; the writing just didn’t follow through. Recommended to die-hard Crichton and sci-fi fans who don’t mind trading low quality writing for a good plot.

Empty, Suzanne Weyn

Rating: 2 stars

Review:

The plot is unarguably intriguing, thought-provoking long after the books is finished. But the writing style, dialogue, and characters desperately needed work. A good revisions editor or ghostwriter could have easily taken this from a two-star book to a five-star book.

Uglies, Scott Westerfeld

Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

Keeping in mind that this book is intended for YA audiences, I really enjoyed it. I did find the overuse of “bubbly” and “bogus” annoying, though I do understand their purpose. It also took me awhile to get used to terminology like “New Pretty Town” and “Uglyville”, as I can not imagine a less imaginable name for the sectors. However, I found the technology fascinating, plot exciting, and history interesting enough to make up for it.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 3, 2012 in What I Read

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

May Books

I read quite a few books in May! Some I had started months ago and finally finished, but I still read quite a lot. Here’s the list!

The Paleo Solution, Robb Wolf

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Review:

I definitely need a dietary change, and found this quite interesting. The overall tone grated at times, but the information was convincing. Now if I could only discipline myself enough to follow the advice!

Wicked, Gregory Maguire

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

I love books that ask big questions, and this book delivered. I desperately want to see the musical, but living in the middle of nowhere affords little opportunity. Reading will have to suffice for now. Though slow at times, I definitely enjoyed the read.

11/22/63, Stephen King

Rating: 3.5

Review:

I am not always a huge King fan because the paranormal horror genre just isn’t my cup of tea. However, he definitely knows how to spin a good story, and I did enjoy the plot twists and suspense.

****SPOILER ALERT BEYOND THIS POINT!!!!***

I did find the ending rather cliched. Every book, it seems, focuses on how much worse the world is if one thing changes. It’s like JFK had to die or the world fell to pieces. I don’t buy that. Things might be different if details change here or there, but planet altering chaos? Meh. Maybe. But probably not.

A Stolen Life, Jaycee Duggard

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

I was absolutely blown away by Jaycee’s account of abduction. I seriously cannot even imagine what it must have been like. The book left me speechless.

The Purity Myth, Jessica Valenti

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review:

I am in absolute agreement with Valenti’s eloquent opinions. However, the book read more like a blog post; full of opinion with little fact to back it. I felt slightly disappointed in that, but still enjoyed reading the work and finished it in one day.

Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

Highly fascinating, Gladwell’s ideas are definitely worth pondering. Do I agree with it entirely? I don’t know. I am still musing the deterministic ramifications. I would definitely like it better if he had fleshed out some solutions; how people can learn to network and get the help they need, etc.

Savvy, Ingrid Law

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

This imaginative juvenile/YA novel was a delight to read. I love Law’s writing style.

Legend, Marie Lu

Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

I enjoyed this YA novel more than I anticipated. I read the entire thing in a day; I couldn’t put it down. If you are a fan of dystopian literature, this is a must-read.

Guerilla Marketing for Writers, Jay Conrad Levinson

Rating: 3 Stars

Review:

While I did find a few helpful hints for selling my future non-fiction books, I found little help for fiction. This book is tailored to writers who have published multiple books with traditional publishers and a good platform. Beginning writers may not find it as useful. Suggestion: check this book out from the library before purchasing to make sure you are the target writer.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 6, 2012 in What I Read

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

April Reads

I am a bit late getting up this post, but here it is!  These are the books I read in April:

The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 3 Stars

Review:

This book was interesting, though a bit dry in places. I am not a horse lover or I think I would have liked it more.

Divergent, Veronica Roth

Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

This was a light, easy read, full of action and suspense. I can’t wait for the next one to come out!

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

I read this book because it is a classic. I didn’t expect to become so caught up in it. It is extremely interesting and horrifying to imagine.

The Everything Glycemic Index Cookbook, LeeAnn Weintraub Smith

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

I’ve made a few recipes from this and liked them all so far!

Green Angel, Alice Hoffman

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

This is the first book I ever read that falls into the category of “magical realism”. I noticed reading other reviews that many people didn’t like the story. It’s definitely a “feeling” book more than a book full of interesting plots; it’s a story of loss and healing and it is beautiful in that way. I really enjoyed it.

How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To, Janice Abrahms

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

We’ve all had a hurt in our lives that is extraordinarily hard to forgive. This is the best book on forgiveness I have ever read. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. She outlines several paths of forgiveness, each dependent on the hurt and the reaction of the offending party. There is no one size fits all approach, and Abrahms is the first to recognize that. She also recognizes that not everything is forgivable, and gives the reader a solid plan to reach emotional health when that happens. For those of us steeped in a culture of “forgive people or God won’t forgive you,” you can call this plan a different kind of forgiveness so you aren’t breaking your religious code; it entirely depends on your own definition of what forgiveness is. Either way, this is a freeing book I think should be on the shelves of everyone.

The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch

Rating: 2 stars

Review:

I am going to hell for not liking this book as much as everyone else, but I did not find it all that profound. Middle class white guy achieves all of his dreams before succumbing to cancer. That’s very sad and I do feel much empathy for his situation, but I don’t understand how the book has become as popular as it has. It’s rambly, repetitious, and not at all deep. Maybe because I read this after reading Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, it just sounded shallow and dull.

That’s it for April! Hopefully, I’ll get May’s post up before we are in the middle of June!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in What I Read

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Solitary Heaven

I used to wish I had a “happy place” to go whenever I felt anxious or angry. The beach is a common place people find themselves when they are worried. It never worked for me, though. However, the last few weeks have brought me to a point where I finally invented my happy place. It is a solitary cabin off the grid in a remote area of Canada. For 6 months of the year, I am here. I write, play the piano, garden, and read to my heart’s content. Only a generator provides electricity for the sole purpose of powering my laptop so I can write. No phones. Just peace. However, I am a wimp when it comes to cold, so for the other six months, I will travel the world. I even had an idea for a novel based on this.

I read somewhere that this was in Finland? Found here: http://weheartit.com/entry/25525008/via/AkOrtron

 

I know in reality, I would be too lonely. I would miss my family terribly. Even during the most chaotic times, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But in the moments when the house is a mess and I can’t seem to get anything done no matter how hard I work, it sounds like a solitary heaven.

I found this on Pinterest. The link goes here, but I can't find the picture on this page.
http://awelltraveledwoman.tumblr.com/page/6

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Thoughts

 

Tags: ,

March Reads

I found a ton of good books in March! Here’s what I’ve been reading.

Library/physical books:

Jezebel, Leslie Hazleton

Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

Not for the Biblical literalist, this extraordinarily fascinating book examines the history and culture surrounding the Jezebel story. Definitely recommended as Hazleton expertly reminds her audience why Jezebel’s story is still relevant today.

99 Ways to Get Your Kids to Do Their Homework (and Not Hate It!), Mary Lionheart

Rating: Two Stars

Review:

Mostly common sense, but a quick read and useful if your child really struggles with homework.

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Rating: Four stars

Review:

This was the first piece of fiction I read after Hunger Games, which has turned into my favorite series of all time, so take this review with that in mind!

It’s hard to find a perfect book. The books that are heavy on philosophy are often short on plot, and vice versa. The Twilight Series contains an interesting plot, but employs little literary substance. On the other hand, The Fault in Our Stars was beautifully written, but the plot lagged in a few places, and the characters were hard to believe. The average, middle class teen does not have that extensive of a vocabulary, and should one understand the words, it is rare to hear them employed in actual conversation. They discussed deep literary analyses that transcended a high school or even early college level. I can believe the philosophical part: they are not average teens; however, while cancer may increase your level of thoughtfulness on death and the meaning of life, it does not increase your vocabulary. It was a detail that bothered me greatly. That said, I still enjoyed the book and read the entire thing over the course of one Saturday.

Playful Learning, Mariah Bruehl

Rating: Five Stars

Review:

I am not completely finished with this book, but I love it so far.

On my Kindle:

Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

I sound like a crazy teenage fan girl, I love these books. I do not love all the commercialism around them. I do not love the people who completely miss the point. I do, however, feel insanely jealous of Collins’ writing talent! She managed to weave an absolutely brilliant story with a highly relevant message. Like I said on the review for The Fault in Our Stars, it seems most books are heavy on one or the other: they either focus so much on philosophy that the plot lags, or they focus on entertaining stories that wind up mostly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. These books, however, are a perfect mix of both.

Mockingjay

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

I loved Catching Fire so much, that I immediately read the third book in the trilogy and finished it in one day.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review:

There was plenty like and dislike about this book. I do like the overall idea, but the found the repetitiveness sleep inducing. I did glean some good advice, though, so hence the 3.5 stars.

As you can tell, I am a very avid reader! I don’t watch a lot of television, and when I do, I am usually doing something else such as folding laundry or working on crafts.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 2, 2012 in What I Read