Posts Tagged ‘graciela sholander’

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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Hello Writers,

I hope everyone is having a productive writing season!

I’d like to share with you a review of my eBook, Where Are The Ghostwriting Jobs, written by Christy Birmingham of PoeticParfait:

Book Review: G. B. Sholander’s Where Are The Ghostwriting Jobs?

When you have a moment, please visit her website, www.poeticparfait.com. Christy is a delightful writer with a special talent for poetry. Her collection of poems in her book Pathways to Illumination is insightful and helps readers find the strength to overcome life’s challenges. I recommend you check it out:

Pathways to Illumination

Wishing each of you happy writing,

Graciela Sholander

Join a growing Ghostwriting Community for support and info!

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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.


  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.


  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,


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Recently I read a mainstream media article related to (in part) the writing life.

It was about “careers for people who don’t like people.”

Hmm, that seems harsh, doesn’t it? I mean, do people like this really exist? To be sure, there are people who prefer working independently, or who like to be alone most of the time, or who prefer spending time with one trusted individual instead of hanging out with a horde of people.

These, however, are not “people-dislikers.” They like people enough. They just don’t need to be around them 24/7.

When I saw the description, I knew immediately that a writing career had to be on the list.

I mean, isn’t that how the world sees us? Solitary figures hunched over our keyboards in dimly lit rooms, huge “Do Not Disturb” and “Keep Out!” signs plastered on locked doors?

Sure enough, one of the six careers mentioned in the article was Technical Writer.

“Ha!” I thought. “There is NO way a technical writer would survive in this field if she or he disliked people!”

A technical writer has to communicate well with people from a variety of backgrounds, including managers, technical experts, graphic designers, marketers and salespeople. No, not constantly, but it is an integral part of the job. If a technical writer truly “doesn’t like people,” it’ll be hard for her to enjoy her job.

No, I’m not dense. I get what the author of this article is saying, namely, that certain jobs suit introverts better than extroverts. I just don’t like the words she chose to deliver her message. I don’t like perpetuating myths and stereotypes about writers (or anyone, for that matter).

Writers are not people-haters, folks. We love people! They fascinate us. We love our loved ones. We enjoy the company of others. We enjoy meeting people and making lasting friendships. We value our professional relationships.

Come on, world, get it right.

And the irony in all this? A writer wrote the article.

Surely shoe doesn’t dislike people, or does she?

Keep on writing,

Graciela Sholander

Join a community of ghostwriters on Facebook

Check out my co-authored ebook about following dreams and reaching goals


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Introverts like living in a world of their own making.

And what’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.

Because they know how to immerse themselves in a project, putting their heart and soul, sweat and labor into it, introverts are the ones who write music, invent gizmos, develop cures, and architect communities.

And yes, write books. Or ghostwrite them.

Ghostwriting is an introvert’s dream job because you immerse yourself into creating a book, a page at a time, day in and day out. It’s another person’s book, but you get to build it. Your words are going into this collaborative creation.

And so, when you choose your clients and your topics carefully, you can influence the world in your own quiet but powerful way.

Ghostwrite a self-help book to help others find their passion. Ghostwrite an inspirational book and make people feel better. Ghostwrite about a little understood topic to shed light and even pave the way.

Never underestimate the power you have to change, expand and improve our world through your ghostwritten words.

That’s right, my introvert friends, ghostwriting comes with the power to create something better. Don’t throw this chance away.

Keep writing those powerful words in the quiet spaces you create for yourself. Be thankful you don’t need to deal with book signings, radio interviews, or any other limelight role. Just write … and live the dream.

All the best to you,

Graciela Sholander

Join a growing community of ghostwriters on Facebook

Check out my co-authored book, Dream It Do It (Amazon Kindle)

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Here’s a short, to-the-point Q&A article written by ghostwriter Roz Morris with additional tips on breaking into ghostwriting:

How To Break Into Ghostwriting

While you’ve heard much of it before, you’ll find a few new tips and insights.

One involves using journalism as a springboard for a ghostwriting career (near the end of Morris’ article).

I also like this point the ghostwriter makes: “I find it liberating to work on a book where I don’t have to be me.” One of the many joys of ghostwriting — pretending you’re someone else. Like acting, only on paper.

By the way, what are you working on these days? I’m ghostwriting a romance, ghostwriting a self-help book, and doing technical writing for an engineering firm. I also write articles here and there. When I’m not writing, I’m enjoying life with my husband and our young adult kids. And our energetic Jack Russell Terrier.

Have a productive week,

Graciela Sholander

Join my Facebook page about ghostwriting


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It’s true. Publishers hire ghostwriters.

A competitive arena, no doubt. So how do you break in? Start by publishing something of your own. After you’ve written your own book (or eBook), you have something to show. You have proof that you can handle writing a full-length book.

With one or more published books under your belt, you can approach publishing houses directly … but always do so professionally. Update your website before contacting publishers. Then submit a polished resume and cover letter expressing interest in writing for the company and highlighting your accomplishments.

When deciding which publishers to contact, find the best matches to your background, experience, ability and expertise.

Traditional publishers aren’t the only ones looking for ghosts. Many book packagers and self-publishing houses utilize the services of ghostwriters. Here are three you may want to contact:

Arbor Books

Outskirts Press

Tabby House

If you get a rejection, find out why. If the company or agency is not interested in what you have to offer, move on. If the reply is that they’re not hiring right now, try again in six months to a year.

Happy writing,

Graciela Sholander

Join a growing community of ghostwriters on Facebook



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What you charge as a ghostwriter depends on how much money you need in order to make a living (or for some of you, your desired part-time income) and what the market will bear.

I always urge U.S. ghostwriters to charge at least $25 per page. The going rate will differ from country to country, and even client to client.

There are many factors to consider when deciding what to charge and whether or not to take a project when the client can’t afford to pay much. This article by ghostwriter Kim Pearson covers many of those considerations:

How to Pay a Ghost

(Many thanks to writer Maryann Miller for posting this at Google+)

Once you come up with terms you and your client can live with, put them in writing — either a contract or an agreement:

Ghostwriting: What You Must Include In Your Contract

With these details taken care of, you’re free to tap into your talent and creativity to develop a winning manuscript your client will be happy with — and you will be proud of.

Wishing you productive writing days,

Graciela Sholander

Join a growing community of ghostwriters at Facebook

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If your goal is to ghostwrite books, the day will come when you land your first assignment.

It could be a memoir for a friend, an acquaintance, or a relative of someone you know. It could be a how-to guide for an expert in some field. Perhaps it’s a work of fiction based on actual events, or a self-help book.

Whatever the project may be, you might find it intimidating – especially if you’ve never before completed a book-length assignment.

Where do you start? How do you tackle such an enormous job?

The first thing to do is create an outline. I’ve never been a fan of long outlines, so mine are not very detailed. They include chapter titles and a one- to two-paragraph description of each chapter. Other writers like to create longer outlines with chapter subheads and stream of consciousness narratives that will serve as raw data for the book. Some people’s outlines are comprehensive bulleted lists. There is no right or wrong way to write an outline; do what’s most comfortable for you. Anything that will serve as your roadmap is fine.

Before starting on the actual writing of the book, share your outline with your client to make sure you’re on the same wavelength. Make any revisions as needed.

Now you’re ready to write. The trick at this point is to treat your budding manuscript as a series of shorter pieces. If you’re used to writing articles, then think of your manuscript as a string of articles. All you have to do is write one article at a time at whatever pace you’re accustomed to – one a day, one a week, whatever works for your schedule and your client’s schedule.

Let me back up a moment; breaking up a long project into a series of shorter works (articles, posts, scenes) will help you come up with a time estimate for your project. Do the math before giving your client an estimated schedule. Figure out how much time you can devote to ghostwriting this book each week in light of your other projects and responsibilities.

For example, say you have twenty hours a week to devote to this book project, and you typically complete a 2,000-word article in six to seven hours. In a week, then, you can write the equivalent of three articles, or a total of 6,000 words. If you’re aiming for a 60,000-word manuscript (approximately 200 to 240 double-spaced manuscript pages), it might take you approximately ten weeks to complete just the raw writing.

But don’t tell your client you’ll finish the book in ten weeks. There will be lag time as you wait for feedback … or for an invoice to be paid. Until I’ve established a good working relationship with a client built on trust, I wait to receive payment of the previous invoice before continuing. Once the client has established herself as someone who can and will pay for the work in a timely manner, then I feel free to keep going without pausing.

Add three to four weeks to factor in these delays, and then add another two to three weeks for edits, rewrites and revisions, and one more week for final changes and proofreading. The estimated schedule now is 16 to 18 weeks. In this scenario, tell your client it’ll take you about 20 weeks to write the book.

If you have to do substantial research or interviewing to gather information, you’re probably looking at closer to 40 weeks. Offer this as your estimated length of time to complete the project. Always clarify that you’re providing an estimate, not an exact schedule, because too many factors are involved – some of them out of your control.

And if you get done ahead of schedule, good for you. You’ll be a hero.

So remember, treat a book project as a series of individual articles, or blog posts, or scenes, and tackle each smaller piece one at a time. This is how to get a handle on a big project. One “article” at a time, one step at a time, you’ll work through it. Four or five months later – or seven or twelve months later, depending on the scope of the project and your best calculations – you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished. You’ve ghostwritten an entire book!

Until next time,

Graciela Sholander

Join a growing community of ghostwriters on Facebook

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