Last decade’s print-media implosion left an awful lot of good journalists, writers, and editors out of work. And scads of them turned to what Marty Nemko predicted in a 2009 US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT article would be—and, indeed, is–the #1 occupation for writers in the current marketplace: ghostwriting.
This proliferation of ghostwriters is a major boon to the vast majority of people who want to write a book but either don’t have the time, don’t know how to get started, or have already written a first draft and realize it needs help. Such aspiring authors can find that help in many places on the Internet, through many off-line connections—and on many tiers of competency and sheer raw/polished talent.
Since finding a ghostwriter is almost as easy as finding a self-publishing service these days, let’s talk about those tiers of ghostwriters, and how what you’re willing to invest affects what you’re likely to get in return.
Just like in any other endeavor, ghostwriting is very much a “you get what you pay for” proposition. If you put your faith in someone willing to write your book “on spec”—i.e., they’ll wait to get paid until you sell the book and start making money from it—you might as well go to Vegas and watch the roulette wheel spin without laying down any chips. You have no one to blame but yourself when you don’t win.
Can they guarantee a bestseller? Are you interested in some wonderful Florida swampland?
When you pay someone peanuts to write your novel, memoir, or nonfiction book, chances are the resulting manuscript will be worth just that: a couple jars of Planter’s. People who work for clerk’s wages are trying to break into the business, not offering experienced, professional editorial services. Can they guarantee a bestseller? Hopefully, they’ll guarantee to finish the project.
You can go ahead and lay down the cost of a new washer and dryer set, and the relatively inexperienced ghost you attract will hone his or her skills on your manuscript. Your project will be an immense learning experience-for the ghost. They’ll not only absorb all you have to say in the book, but they’ll learn about how to work with clients (from working with you) and how to put together a real book (from putting together yours). What will you learn? That not everyone who calls themselves a “ghostwriter” has the same ability to deliver a marketable product. Can they guarantee a bestseller? Are you really asking?
Pop for the cost of an SUV, and you’re likely to find someone who understands what they’re doing, has done it successfully a number of times, and has a fair amount of expertise under their hands. They may not have myriad New York publishing connections, but they know how the game is played, and they can lay out your options and guide you along the path from development to print or eBook production. Can they guarantee a bestseller? No, but they should be able to guarantee that your manuscript will be given the serious consideration it deserves by the industry, critics, and the reading public.
Invest in what Princeton’s Angus Deaton, Ph.D., and Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D. tab “The cost of happiness,” (The cost of happiness is exactly $75,000) and you’ll be dealing with a top professional, someone who can introduce you to agents, printers, and publicists and help you work out an effective plan to get your title into as many readers’ hands as possible via as many distribution/marketing/promotion channels as possible. Can they guarantee a bestseller? No guarantee, but they’ll give you all the tools and resources you need to pursue that prize.
When you get into the government-grant-to-study-something-everyone-already-knows arena, you’ll be able to land a hi-status, high-profile ghostwriter with a lot of industry and crossover (film, TV, etc.) connections. They may even have their own small presses or be affiliated with leading agents and publishers. Can they guarantee a bestseller? Keeping in mind that a random act of terrorism, Mother Nature, global economic or political upheaval can derail your buzz— yeah, they probably can. But then, you’re paying them the cost of a “starter home” to make it happen!
Claudia Suzanne is the first ghost to deconstruct (Secrets of a Ghostwriter) and teach (Ghostwriting Certificate Program, CCPE/CSULB) how ghostwriters do what they do. Her next online program begins February 16; registration is open now at California State University – Long Beach. She is also the founder/creative Partner of Wambtac Communications LLC, a family partnership dedicated to raising the literacy bar of the book industry and professionalizing the field of ghostwriting through education, community, and editorial-service excellence. Wambtac Communications LLC is producing Ghostwriters Unite! on May 3-5, 2013 at the Hilton Hotel in Long Beach, CA.
- Claudia’s services: Claudia Suzanne’s website
- Ghostwriting Certificate Program: California State University – Long Beach (search for “ghostwriting”)
- Ghostwriters Unite! conference: Ghostwriters Unite! conference
- Toll-free phone: 1-800-641-3936
- Email: Claudia’s email address
Academic and business blog posts
Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine. – Rand Kemp
Why so many blog posts about kids? Because we have too many US mass killing sprees. Perhaps some good articles on proper childhood care can cure this current and future trend?
- Engaging versus entertaining the kids
- 10 iPhone apps to help you track nutritious eating on the go
- How to raise responsible teens
- 15 blogs that feature the best bridal hairstyles
- How nannies can use the resources for infant educarers approach
- 3 activities that build character in kids
- 40 blogs that breakdown how to buy a home
- 10 reasons to not let your child ride his bike to school
- 9 crazy things for sale on Craigslist
- 35 blogs for low carb living
- 40 blogs for couponing your way to vacation
- 25 blogs featuring fashion advice for plus-size women
- 9 ways to recycle your Christmas tree
- How to get food out of your child’s hair
- Top 5 tips for parents working with a placement agency
- Ways to beef up the experience section of your resume
- 10 iPhone apps that remind you to pray
- 40 blogs with the best professional sports insights
- 25 blogs featuring winter maternity fashions
- 10 blogs that feature tips for saving money on your heating bill
- 10 ways to exercise when you have kids
- Expert insights with Christina m. H. Powell, Ph.D of question your doubts
- 30 blogs on tried but true toddler care
- Top 5 tips for nannies working with a placement agency
- 10 iPhone apps to help manage medications
- How to know how safe your child is at school
- 30 blogs with tricks for getting kids to eat healthy
- 10 of the best iPhone apps to keep handy for the kids in your life
- 30 blogs with sample scrapbook pages
- How being paid under the table hurts nannies
- Revelations from Downton Abbey
- Helping kids learn to deal with disappointment
- 10 easy car repairs you can do yourself at home
- How to know if you can trust your child’s teacher
- 30 blogs with tips to actually cut your grocery bill
- 35 valentine’s day inspired party ideas for kids
- Expert insights with early intervention specialist Bambi Rosario-Wyatt
- How to gain your teenager’s respect naturally
- 9 things parents should know about cats and kids
- How to keep safe while walking home at night
- 10 iPhone apps for recording and editing audio
- How to be sure your child behaves on the bus
- How to nanny for a divorcing couple
- 30 blogs for the novice photographer in you
- 10 reasons why dad’s should have date night with their daughters