Things Learned While Ghostwriting

two pink ballpoint pens on table
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Ghostwriting: Things I Learned

First Time Gigs

 

Think It Through Completely

Know exactly what your client anticipates before saying yes. Are they looking for a basic transcriber? Do they expect you to take the position of a ghostwriter and a creative director? In other words, don’t assume. You may think you’re agreeing to typist when what they have in mind is full-on production. Make sure you and your client have a solid understanding of your job title.

If the client is unfamiliar with how ghostwriting, publishing, or creative writing works in general, explain the various aspects and challenges of each one. Again, get an overall idea of what the client expects for the outcome of their project.

Are they leaning toward self-publishing? Express both the advantages and downside of indie publishing along with any key points pertaining to traditional publishing. Go over any wait times or deadlines that may occur during the project.

Do you possess the time, energy, and resources necessary to complete the job? Does the client agree to all the terms and conditions, including fees and fee schedules? Will you charge per page, per word, or per hour?

Speaking of dreams…

Set realistic goals for both yourself and the client. Unless your client also designates you as marketer or promoter, you have no control over the final success or failure of sales. All you can do is present your very best work to the client and wish them success.

Translation: PLEASE have contracts in place. Make sure to include the number of revision allowances in your contract, and specify any additional cost after these limits are exceeded. This is where a pre-discussion of expectations and ideas is imperative.

You Better Recognize

The client’s voice and your voice are different

Stay true to your client’s writing voice, no matter how much you’re compelled to gut something due to personal preference. If your writing style is more scholarly than contemporary, save your style for your own work. We all have our own magic, just like we all have our own personalities. If you come in with bourgeois paragraphs when the client is more into everyday wording, it will show. It could even turn off their readers and fan base.

You need technology as your friend, not your enemy

Familiarize yourself with formatting and coding. If you’re “full-on production”, study up on trim space. Know how to format for electronic (eBook) publishing.

You WILL Fall Apart

You’ll have moments of doubt and frustration. You will periodically lose your mind and temper. You may even need a chiropractor, physical therapist, and anti-inflammatory (trust me).

They Bet’ Recognize

Fame or fortune is far and few

Very few people become famous when reaching for the dream of published author. However, there’s nothing wrong with aiming for the sky. Sometimes writers gain megabillions and movie deals, most times they sell a modest amount of copies and call it a day until their next project.

The transcriber, ghostwriter, creative director, full-on producer is not a Fame-N-Fortune Genie. They are humble servants wanting the best for their client while at the same token wanting to get paid what has been agreed upon via contract. So, be a kind client; don’t deny payment if their part of the assignment is complete.

Set a sales goal, but a realistic one

Unless your collaborator is also assigned promotionals and marketing, please don’t take it out on them if sales are lower than anticipated. Again, this is where clear job duties/title is imperative.

Blow the Most Bucks On the Cover, Especially If Self-publishing

This is one of the most crucial aspects of any project. First, potential readers and purchasers are going to examine a book’s cover. Second, they may check out the first page or paragraph. Then, they’ll flip through to see if you’re about your craft. Eventually, they might zone in on grammar, spelling, etc. The latter is where choosing a proficient and detailed transcriber or ghostwriter also comes in handy.

You’re Both in This Together

If you’re a beginner in the field of ghostwriting, or if you’ve always dreamed of seeing your words somewhere other than your notebooks and journals, don’t give up or feel inadequate. Keep going, keep writing, and continue developing various skills along the way.

 

Happy Writing! ūüėČ

*

 

 

S Sanders

aka

Whatevertheyaint

2/6/19

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Trust Issues

The last time someone told me the truth it only proved the other truths were lies

So excuse me if I rummage through old baggage in search of something new

Unpacking has taken a while I’ll admit, and most of this stuff needs a garbage

Then I could make room for something better; then I could make space for you

Is that too heavy?

Saying so won’t make me think any less. Saves us both time.

Understand I’m a little broken. Except I’m real about it. See, that’s all I’m looking for–honesty.

 

 

sms aka whatevertheyaint

august 2018

I Can Only Speak for Myself

Initially, there’s this raw space. We¬†may wonder how it got there,¬†or more importantly, why it’s there.¬†¬†Perhaps we conditioned ourselves early in life to bandage wounds and carry on,¬†so we slap a Band-Aid on it until it festers, not realizing that giving it time to breathe is better than covering it over.

Then, somewhere during the process, a scab forms. There’s this protective layer now, and we go about our daily routines as we did before. That is until we accidentally bump that spot, exposing it again.¬† Maybe we overestimated ourselves, or maybe we were just trying to…forget. In any event, there it is. And yes, it still hurts.

An undetermined amount of time passes, and we notice the scab is now a smooth scar. We run our fingers over it, remembering that unsightly place.  But we can do it now, we can run our hand across that area. It reminds us that grief cut us open.  Yet, we survived.

SSM-S

aka Whatevertheyaint

Oct 2017

 

 

 

  • I can only speak for my own experiences. Like most people, there have been more than a few negative events in my life, but I learned to just acknowledge them and allow myself to go through the process. This poem came from waiting on a sore to heal on my leg and then, at random (which tends to happen when I’m ready for my brain to SHUT DOWN), thinking how wounds are a lot like the process of grieving, or dealing with any life-changing event.¬†

 

 

For That I Am Sorry

There’s something she didn’t give you

Affection,

attention?

Whatever it was it wasn’t enough

She wasn’t scarred enough,

Didn’t understand your demons

She didn’t laugh enough, live

But what she provided was stability

Loyalty, all the boring words one looks for

Beyond adventure and fun

 

You sought solace in dark places

Hell and shot glasses

She swept broken pieces

Only to hurt herself in the end

And you’ll never honestly say,

This is why you couldn’t save me

And she’ll never really¬†know

What you needed saving from

 

*

 

sms aka whatevertheyaint

3/2017

 

 

 

 

 

Books, books, and more books!

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.
Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My aunt is one of those folks with books everywhere. ¬†In the kitchen. ¬†On the couch. In the bathroom. Basically, in every corner and crevice of her apartment. ¬†Often, I’ll drop by and find her reading one novel while stashing a sheet of folded paper in another.

“How do you do that?” I asked one evening.

“Do what?”

“Read more than one story at a time without getting lost.”

“Easy,” she replied.

Let me be the first to tell you, people. ¬†It AIN’T easy!

I bought an electronic reader with part of my short-story winnings (which is a story in itself), but my new-found toy had no books, no magazines, and very little else other than what came with it out of the box. ¬†So, I began shopping. ¬†And I chose several novels and magazines, which I determined I’d peruse later, like when stuck at the doctor’s office, suffering from insomnia, or waiting on Thing 1 and 2 to wrap up practice. ¬†Meanwhile, I also checked out reading material from the library. ¬†(Why go on a buying frenzy when you’re on a budget)

Here’s where the problem started: I began Southern Comfort, also by Fern Michaels, but it was too depressing for my light mood. ¬†The guy’s family is murdered two or three pages into the story. ¬†So, out of restlessness, I began a book I’d downloaded by Debbie Macomber called Starlight. Not one of my usual go-to authors, but hey.

Then, yesterday, I added Save Me, by Lisa Scottoline. (Talk about gripping!)

But before that, I’d begun The Last Promise by Richard Paul Evans.

Now I don’t know if I’m in a villa, a school, or the middle of a crime scene.

What I’m trying to say here is that…I can’t do three or four books at once!

***

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Can you? 

Any suggestions as to what to read next?

 

 

From the Archive: Love Games 7/2009

 

i’ve¬†searched for you an eternity,

rested many places along the way

lost and found and lost again

what tricky games to play

strange rooms, same darkness–

familiar, empty hole

heart ripped then mended

in the game of heart and soul

you hide and i wait,

or you come and i go

universal¬†mystery–

are you friend or foe?

who are you, really, love;

from where do you come;

did i pass you in disguise

in this game of hit and run?

sms/7-15-2009

*Miss Elizabeth, I think this was my first post to the WD forum:-)  I was so scared and nervous.  You made a great moderator, and you guys taught me so much.

Writerly Advice For the Freestyler

Freestyling makes for a natural¬†feel and is often used in poetry.¬† I myself prefer¬† freestyle¬†as¬†opposed to confined, traditional¬†poeming.¬† However, when it comes to story writing,¬†this method¬†may turn¬†out to be…not so fun.

Sure, initially,¬†the freedom of letting one’s story drive recklessly in the wind, with no destination what-so-ever is cool.¬† Then, perhaps somewhere down the line, chapter seven or eight maybe, one realizes the entire¬†novel has drifted precariously into No Man’s Land without so much as a¬†road sign leading the way out.

When it comes to writing¬†(anything other than poetry, and sometimes even then)¬†¬†an outline is a must.¬† (Unless you want to revise your¬†manuscript 10 or¬†15 times.¬†¬†¬†Okay, maybe 30…)

OUTLINE–DON’T START WITHOUT IT¬†