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Like any job, ghostwriting comes with drawbacks. Knowing them in advance will help you manage them so they don’t become stumbling blocks.

Underestimating The Scope Of The Project. There’s a lot that goes into ghostwriting one page. It isn’t just about the writing. You have to do research. Conduct interviews. Review whatever material your client provides. Develop an outline. Look up meanings of words and idioms. Check facts. Look up the correct spelling of names of people, places, departments and agencies. Check timelines. Proofread. Do revisions based on your client’s feedback. Then do more revisions to repair the writing flow that inevitably breaks when you insert new information.

The final written page that your client sees is just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t underestimate all the research, fact-checking, phone calls, emails, reading, structuring, editing and rewriting you’ll have to do to create one perfect page. If you’re writing a book, multiply this process by 200 or so. Only then will you start to grasp the real scope of your project – something you must know for scheduling purposes.

Ending Up With An Income That’s Too Low. In general, ghostwriters don’t charge enough for the projects they complete. Adding up all the hours that the writer spends on tasks beyond straight writing, like research and revisions, it can easily come to multiple hours to finalize a single page.

Let’s look at a simplified example. Say a ghostwriter is aiming for $25 per hour, working 40 hours a week and taking three weeks off per year. This would yield an annual income of $49,000.

She decides to charge $25 per double-spaced page. But if it takes her 30 minutes to study material pertinent to that page, 15 minutes to look up information about the places that will be mentioned on the page, 30 minutes to write the first draft, 15 minutes to edit and proofread it before sending it to her client, and 30 minutes to revise and finalize the page after getting feedback, then she’s earned $25 for two hours of work. Her actual hourly rate is $12.50, yielding an annual income of $24,500.

An actual income that’s significantly less than what you’re expecting is a recipe for financial failure. You might have to charge more per page, per hour or per project to avoid this pitfall.

Not Getting The Client’s “Voice” Right. The best ghostwriters are like chameleons, able to change their writing style and tone to sound like the client. The writing must be top-quality and eloquent, but it can’t sound generic. A reader has to hear and picture the author, not the writer in the background. A good ghostwriter, then, must be able to inject a dose of the client’s personality and flair into the writing.

Undoubtedly, capturing the author’s voice in writing can be tricky. It takes practice. Learn to really listen to your client in order to capture all the quirks and nuances that come through. Revise your writing until it sounds more like your client, less like you.

Trying To Hit A Moving Target. In the beginning, your client may not have a good grasp of the scope or direction of his book. He may ask for a memoir only to change his mind a couple of months later and want a fictionalized account of his life instead. Or he’s constantly tweaking the outline or asking for revisions.

It can get difficult and frustrating when the parameters are constantly changing. One way to protect yourself is to charge per page that you write, and also to charge for revisions (beyond one or two). This way, whenever your client changes his mind and wants something different, it’s on his dime, not yours. If you have to write one page five times simply because your client hasn’t figured out what he wants, then you’re really writing five pages, not one, and you should be paid accordingly.

Avoid Pitfalls With A Solid Contract. The best way to protect yourself from all ghostwriting pitfalls is to draft a thorough contract that clearly addresses these cases. Before starting a project, go over the contract with your client and make sure both of you sign it. A well-drafted contract will protect you and your client in the long run.

Happy writing,

Graciela Sholander

Discover where to find ghostwriting jobs.

Read what real ghostwriters say about the field.

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Hi Writers,

I want to let you know that I revised my eBook, Where Are The Ghostwriting Jobs, available through Amazon. As with any industry, markets come and go. Links break. So I went through and made changes as needed.

I removed several entries that either are no longer in business or have stopped posting jobs, and I replaced them with other markets I’ve uncovered.

In a few places I included new excerpts from recent ghostwriting job posts.

Links that had changed and were broken are now fixed.

In a few cases the sites’ content, structure or scope changed, so I revised the site descriptions accordingly.

If you already have a copy that reads *Revised Edition* under my byline, you have the updated version and you’re good to go.

If you have an older edition, please send me proof of purchase and I’ll be happy to send you a PDF version of the updated eBook, free of charge. You can email me at services@ghostwritingplus.com.

And if you haven’t yet purchased this title, now’s a great time to do so because you’ll get the most recent details about today’s ghostwriting markets.

To your success,

Graciela Sholander

Where Are The Ghostwriting Jobs

Ghostwriting Plus Facebook Community

 

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Hi Writers!

I hope everyone’s enjoying good weather and fun, productive days.

I want to share with you three ways you can collaborate with your client as a ghostwriter:

1. Rewrite A Raw Manuscript

These days, this is my favorite way to ghostwrite a book. If your client has written most or all of her manuscript, you’re in a great position to help her reach the next level. She’s written down her ideas. Now it’s your turn to do your magic.

Starting with what she’s put together, rework it to produce the most engaging, professional product possible. Hack away! Create new chapter titles and section headers. Rewrite to your heart’s content. Remove redundancies. Expand points. Add anecdotes and examples to support her points.

Keep the main messages, and make sure your client’s voice comes through. But use your own savvy to rework the manuscript, transforming it from amateurish to a highly professional work of art, with every sentence a joy to read.

2. Write A Manuscript From Interviews

At the other end of the spectrum is the client who has written nothing and has a million ideas floating in his head. He’s brilliant, and his ideas are worth sharing with readers, but as soon as he tries writing anything down, he loses them. He’s an eloquent speaker, not a writer.

In this case, schedule a series of interviews. They can be conducted in person, by phone, or through Skype. I interview clients by phone, and since I’m a fast typist I go ahead and type what they say, creating a written record in real time. This saves me the expense and extra step of having an audio interview transcribed. Then as I piece together a manuscript from scratch, I simply copy and paste sections from the written record, rewriting and expanding them as needed.

By the way, in this case it’s a good idea to charge separately for the interviews. I typically charge clients a per-page rate for ghostwriting plus a per-hour rate for phone interviews.

3. Piece Together What You’ve Been Given And Gather More

In this approach, the client has some material to give you. For example, she might hand you 19 pages she’s written with rough ideas for her book, plus five articles published about her in different magazines, and two YouTube videos of her being interviewed on the subject you’ll be ghostwriting about.

Your job is to take this hodgepodge and incorporate it into a new work. In addition you’ll need to figure out what’s missing and schedule a few interviews to gather more information.

Since I enjoy writing a hundred times more than I enjoy talking, I try to conduct email interviews whenever possible. This won’t work for clients who love to talk and hate to write. It does tend to work for very busy professionals, though, since they can sit down and address your emailed questions at their leisure.

When I conduct email interviews, I do not charge extra. I charge only a per-page fee for ghostwriting the manuscript.

*****

I hope you’ve found this information helpful! If you need specific guidance, feel free to contact me for a consultation. And be sure to check out my ghostwriting (and other) eBooks on Amazon.

To your writing success,

Graciela Sholander

What Does The Ghost Say?

Where Are The Ghostwriting Jobs?

Tom Hiddleston Trivia!

 

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Hi Ghostwriters,

It’s important to learn everything you can about the business of ghostwriting and practice being the best ghostwriter possible.

But sometimes, you need to step back and try a new challenge. Why? Because trying things you don’t ordinarily do expands your awareness and, ultimately, makes you a better writer.

Armed with that philosophy, I decided to take the “Spam Poetry Challenge” created by poet extraordinaire Christy Birmingham. Leave it to Christy to turn unwelcome spam into something glorious!

Riverside Walk

The challenge is to use any four lines from comments found in your blog’s spam filter as a springboard for your own poetry. At least part of each of the four lines must make it into your poem. So here goes …

These are the four lines I pulled out of my blog’s spam filter:

Hi, I think that I saw you visited my site.

Today I went to the beach.

I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone.

I suppose it’s ok to use some of your ideas.

And here’s the poem I wrote using the selected spam:

Was It You?

It was windy cold at the shore,

The kind of day for a cup of hot tea

And warm toast with strawberry jam

By the silent flickering glow of the fireplace.

But I went to the beach anyway,

And searched through the fog for answers,

For questions and meaning,

Before the breeze blew everything away.

That’s when I think that I saw you.

Was it you?

I don’t know. But what does it matter?

It looked like you.

I had to tell someone about, you know,

That thing that’s been on my mind,

For days or maybe decades,

I’m not sure anymore.

Because it was you there at the beach,

(Or was it? Who can tell?)

I decided to drop my teacup into the sand

And watch the liquid disappear.

Because I want you to know that, hey,

I suppose it’s ok, after all this time.

 

I have to admit, that was fun! Now you try it. And be sure to link back to Christy’s blog and leave a (non-spam) comment on her post.

Keep writing! Until next time,

Graciela Sholander

Join a growing community of ghostwriters on Facebook

Find out where the ghostwriting jobs are

 

 

 

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Recently I ran across two compelling posts, which I’ll share with you in a moment, that discuss raising your fees.

Both pieces encourage freelance writers to charge more. The reasons given are sound. They include:

1. Low-paying clients tend to be difficult to work with.

2. You will burn out quickly – and possibly quit writing – if you’re constantly working long hours and receiving small paychecks.

3. Higher-paying quality clients will see you as an amateur if your rates are too low, and they’ll end up hiring someone else.

4. With better rates your attitude (and your self-esteem) will improve, raising the quality of your life and your writing.

Lights

If you’d like more reasons to increase your writing fees, read the following. The first comes from the International Freelancers Academy and focuses on why you should raise your rates. The second, which I learned about through Gotham Ghostwriters, comes from Freelancers Union and explains how to charge more.

Seven Great Reasons Why You Should Raise Your Fees Starting TODAY

How To Raise Your Freelance Rates

You and your services truly are worth it. If  specialists in other fields can charge more for outstanding skills and service, why not you?

All the best,

Graciela Sholander

Find out where the ghostwriting jobs are.

Learn what three successful ghostwriters want to share with you about this business.

 

 

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Many clients – and a number of writers – aren’t sure about the distinction between a ghostwriter and an editor.

So I’ve put together these brief lists outlining the specifics of each role in order to highlight the differences.

Editor:

  1. A person who has completed a manuscript would hire an editor.
  2. The editor goes through the manuscript draft systematically, page by page.
  3. Each page is revised as needed, at the level required (light revisions to major changes).
  4. Light revisions may include correcting typos, substituting certain words with better choices, and fixing sentence structure here and there.
  5. Major changes may include revisions mentioned in #4 plus complete rewrites of large sections of text, and reorganizing portions of the manuscript (or possibly doing a complete reorganization of the draft prior to starting the page-by-page edits).
  6. An editor is often (but not always) acknowledged and free to discuss the project with others.
  7. Because she starts with a completed draft supplied by the client, the editor charges less than a ghostwriter would.
  8. Editors typically charge a lower fee for light editing and significantly more for an editing job that requires major revisions.

Ghostwriter:

  1. A person who wants to author a book but has not yet written a manuscript would hire a ghostwriter.
  2. Prior to starting the writing portion of the project, the ghostwriter spends considerable time gathering information via various means, including interviewing the client by phone and/or email, collecting notes the client has written down, and researching the topic to be covered in the manuscript.
  3. Typically, the ghostwriter develops a book outline with the client before moving forward.
  4. Working from this mutually agreed upon outline, the ghostwriter begins the writing process, completing one chapter at a time.
  5. Before proceeding to write the next chapter, the ghostwriter generally waits for feedback from the client and makes needed revisions to the previously written material.
  6. A ghostwriter usually (but not always) cannot discuss the project with others and must adhere to a confidentiality agreement.
  7. Because she starts from scratch and must do a great deal of time-consuming work in many areas, including interviewing, researching, outlining, content development, writing, revising, editing, and proofreading, a ghostwriter charges considerably more than an editor does.
  8. A ghostwriter may charge varying fees based on the complexity of the subject being written about, the time it takes to do interviews and research, and how many revisions need to be done, among other factors.

So the next time somebody approaches you to edit or ghostwrite for them, find out what the person really needs. Factor in the time, complexity, workload, and duties involved. Then determine what your role would be – editor or ghostwriter – and charge accordingly.

If the client wants to hire you as a ghostwriter but can’t afford your ghostwriting fees, don’t lower your rates. Instead, switch roles. Suggest that he or she complete a manuscript first, which you can then edit (instead of ghostwrite) for an appropriately reduced fee.

Happy writing,

Graciela Sholander

Where Are The Ghostwriting Jobs?

What Does The Ghost Say?

 

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For the longest time, I avoided LinkedIn. Invitations to join came, and I ignored them. I wasn’t convinced it was a worthwhile site.

What would I get from joining? Would it help my career in any way? Would it connect me to the right people? Or would it be nothing but a colossal waste of time?

Only recently did I decide to plug in and see what happens. And while I haven’t secured any jobs from LinkedIn, I’m starting to see its merit as a professional networking site.

For me, the best part about LinkedIn are the groups. I’ve joined a number of writing groups including Ghostwriters Worldwide and I’m enjoying taking part in some of the discussions. In addition to learning how others manage the business of writing, I get to share my own expertise.

Being active in a LinkedIn ghostwriting group is a great way to discover tips and tricks of the trade, see what other ghosts struggle with,  and offer a piece of advice now and then.

Based on my limited but growing experience with LinkedIn, I’d say that yes, it can be a useful site for ghostwriters, especially as a means to connect with others and share our knowledge.

For a profession as isolated as ghostwriting, being part of a professional network can help all of us grow by leaps and bounds.

To your success,

Graciela

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