Building Your Business…and Pursuing Your Passions

I’m still digesting Joey’s post from last week, “The Ghost Materializes“. Thankfully, on Friday morning, I was able to get together to hang out with both Joey and Ed over a cup of coffee. It was a great time to catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives and work, and to discuss writing and ghostwriting.

Joey’s post, as I told the guys, was poignant for me as I’ve been feeling the itch to begin writing a novel of my own. I was great to talk about how we might balance careers as ghostwriters and vocations as writers. Continue reading “Building Your Business…and Pursuing Your Passions”

How Does Ghostwriting Work?

The moment always comes. It’s inevitable. Like aging or having a second cookie. Your client will ask, “How does this ghostwriting thing work?”

The rise of ghostwriting as a respectable vocation is great. But I’m finding there’s considerable confusion out there about ghostwriting. Everyone thinks they need a ghostwriter, but they don’t know what to do when they actually catch one! Seems like every potential client I work with is curious about the process and not sure what they want from it.

That’s no worry for me really. After all it’s my job to help educate people on the process. And let’s face it, the title ghostwriter engenders mysterious mental images to begin with.

But here’s the secret: I’m not sure what ghostwriting means anymore either. Continue reading “How Does Ghostwriting Work?”

Ghostwriting Gets Cool

Seems ghostwriting is all the rage lately. Besides being thrust into the spotlight with the success of Roman Polanski’s new movie, The Ghost Writer (which Joey wrote about), there’s also now a new professional association, Association of Ghostwriters (which Joey will write about) and increased chatter in the media about the craft.

As with any profession that receives increased exposure, we have our folk heros of ghostwriting. You know the types, the wildly successful people who make ridiculous sums of money and make everything you do as a professional feel inadequate—and frankly, amateurish.

One such writer is Michael D’Orso, who was featured in an article posted at themillions.com entitled, “The Happy Ghost.” Continue reading “Ghostwriting Gets Cool”

Expand Your Business: Successfully Promote Books Online

As a ghostwriter, I’ve found that offering ancillary services to my clients that are closely related to my core business is a great way to expand my business and revenue sources—and be a more valuable resource to my clients. With my latest project, a book on entrepreneurship by an author with a decent-sized platform, I’m working with both the author and a PR agency to help formulate a marketing plan that will include a number of social media elements.

I’ve written on this blog about the future of publishing and how it helps—not hurts—those of us on the freelance side of the business, Why the Future is Now for Ghostwriters and Freelance Writers. I still firmly believe that, and this latest project is further proof.

Because of my client’s platform, he has the luxury to bypass the traditional publishing route and is self publishing. In the process, he’s utilizing myself and a PR rep to market the book. These are things that would traditionally be done within a publishing house. Now, I and other small players are scooping the business. I believe this trend will only grow, and positioning yourself to take advantage of it should be a big priority.

Given that, it was awesome to come across Chris Brogan’s latest “freebie” post the other day, An Author’s Plan for Social Media Efforts. If you don’t read Chris’ blog, you owe it to yourself to head over there and spend some time getting to know it.

I thought I’d share some of the steps Chris gives for successfully promoting a book online.

Continue reading “Expand Your Business: Successfully Promote Books Online”

The Ghost of Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer”

(A scene from Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” with Ewan McGregor)

What follows is part I of my ghostwriter’s take on the shooting script for the movie, “The Ghost Writer”. This is where you’ll want to stop reading if you’ve not seen the movie. In the very next paragraph I give details you may not want to know about out of context. Last warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Continue reading “The Ghost of Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer””

Five Ways to be a Rock Star Fact Checker

One of the reasons we’ve created this blog is because Ghostwriting is one of those get thrown in the deep end kind of jobs. There’s no university or vocational program that can prepare you for working as a ghostwriter. The only way you learn is by doing—often very clumsily at first.

For those of us who’ve taken the hard knocks along the way, I think it’s important to share those lessons with up-and-coming ghostwriters. Most likely they’ll still make the same mistakes, but at least they’ll be able to look back and say, “Ah! That’s what you were talking about.”

One of the biggest lessons I learned on my first big contract with an author whose book was picked up by a major publisher was the importance of fact checking. Once the publisher pressed me on a few claims given to me by the author, I realized that much of what an client serves up as fact is wrong at best and distorted at worst.

Since then, I’ve had a hard-and-fast rule: Don’t trust anything your client claims as fact at face value. Always fact check.

Fact check everything, including direct quotes from newspapers and magazines. Don’t trust that your client took the time and care to get it right. Clients don’t (generally) get it wrong on purpose, but they just have other things to do. That’s why they hired you. They think in ideas and concepts, not in minutia. That’s your job. Well, both are your job…but the minutia is especially your job.

Along the way, I’ve picked up some neat tricks to make you a great fact checker—and a fast one.

Continue reading “Five Ways to be a Rock Star Fact Checker”

The Full-Service Ghost: How to Think Outside the Book.

Books are collaborative projects that bring together the talents of authors, ghostwriters, editors, proofreaders, graphic designers, web designers and developers, photographers, printers, agents, publishers, distributors, and publicists—just to name a few.

As a ghostwriter, my first priority is to deliver a great manuscript to my authors every single time. But then what?

Continue reading “The Full-Service Ghost: How to Think Outside the Book.”