So You Want to Hire A Ghostwriter?

STSCoverWEBIs there a book inside of you screaming to get out? I believe every person has an interesting tale to tell, but since we’re all blessed with different gifts and abilities, not everyone can effectively write their story in a way that will sell books and entertain readers. That’s what I love the most about my work: the ability to help others bring their concept to life through the written word, whether a memoir, guide book, or historical fiction novel.

So what is ghostwriting?

Like editing (a service I also provide), ghostwriting requires an eye for detail and consistency, a grasp of the English language, and a commitment to maintaining the author’s (my client’s) voice. However, ghostwriting demands much more. In many cases I’m starting with nothing more than another person’s concept, which requires hours of brainstorming and collaboration to distill it into a workable plot with compelling characters. Although I’ve also dealt with clients who have taken the time to create an outline (thus providing at least a good starting point), I’ve learned that in order for any project to succeed, the following factors are necessary:

  • At least 80% buy-in on my part as to the client’s message, goals, and motivation for writing the book.
  • Willingness to spend time with the client via phone or in person whenever possible, to facilitate my ability to write in their voice.
  • Mutual respect between the client and me for the project (honoring deadlines, agreed-upon phone calls or meetings, etc).
  • An understanding on my part that it’s my responsibility to make suggestions for improvement based on professional experience but that the client still has the final say.
  • An acceptance of constructive criticism and disagreement (never taking anything personally).
  • The necessity of having a basic respect for the client and what he/she is trying to accomplish through the project (see 80% buy-in above). I don’t have to become good friends with them, but I do need a certain amount of passion for the project because with writing, if your heart isn’t in it, it will definitely affect the quality of work.
  • The seemingly paradoxical ability to remain detached from the project, while simultaneously pouring my heart and soul into it.
  • Flexibility throughout the entire project because the creative process is fluid, particularly when dealing with another person’s concept.
  • Willingness to conduct hours of research (depending upon the scope of the project).
  • A shared sense of urgency (when I write my proposals, I always cite a completion date of 3-4 months after the start date, depending on the scope of the project).

FACEBOOK PROFILE-600x600 copyWhen I agree to provide ghostwriting services, I know I am dedicating a minimum of 100 hours of my time for a 200-300 page book, whether fiction or nonfiction. And my time is valuable. I’ve spent countless years developing my writing and communications skills (including Writestream and social media marketing), which means every client that hires me gets my very best. My proposals not only include ghostwriting (or editing, in the case of a book that a client has already written) but also:

  • Formatting for paperback and Kindle versions (different formatting is required for each);
  • Management of the self-publishing process (from formatting to uploading);
  • Assistance with obtaining ISBN numbers (a different one is required for paperback and Kindle, even though it’s the same book);
  • Consultation with my trusted graphic designer Kia Heavey;
  • Set-up of a Word Press site and desired social media platforms;
  • Social media training;
  • Social media management (e.g. if the client doesn’t have the time to do their own marketing on a daily basis);
  • An interview on all appropriate Writestream programs (depending on the book’s content).

While most experienced ghostwriters charge a minimum of $8,000 just to write a 100-300 page book, this price does not include the services listed above. In my effort to provide comprehensive services at a reasonable cost to as many people as possible, my rates typically begin at $5,000, depending on the project. Although many ghostwriters charge an hourly rate that usually starts at $50.00, I prefer to set an agreed-upon project price at the outset, which is why I offer a 30-minute free consultation with the prospect, then carefully arrive at a project price based on estimated hours required for completion. Setting a project price avoids any perception on the client’s part of being “nickled and dimed to death” and simplifies the payment process. I offer a 10% discount on the overall project price should the client choose to pay for everything in advance.

Regardless of the fee for any given project (unless the client chooses advance payment with a 10% discount), I require a 50% advance to start working, with the balance due when all work outlined in the proposal is completed and approved.

BookStackIn terms of book credit, I never demand that my name appear on the book cover, but I do ask every client for a reference. While I’m honored to have my name appear on the book in an “as told to” or “with” capacity, it’s not required. Still, as is the case with a prospect I am currently negotiating with, I’m definitely open to the opportunity. ;)

Whether you hire me to ghostwrite or edit your book, I include the social media services bulleted above because as an independent author, leveraging the power of social media is a necessity if your goal is to connect with your readers and sell copies. However, if your goal is simply to write and publish a book to share with family and friends, I can also quote a project price limited to those services, with the option of hiring me at a future date to set-up and/or manage social media accounts.

So, is there a book inside of you screaming to get out? Contact me here and let’s get started!

UPDATE: In my original post, I’d included the photo image of the front cover of A Snobby Girl’s Guide to Dealing with Cancer, in an effort to highlight the design skills of Kia Heavey and my involvement in the project as an editor, and independent publishing/social media consultant. It has come to my attention that the inclusion of this cover in a post dedicated to ghostwriting suggests that I ghostwrote the book, which is not true. This highly recommended memoir/journal/guide was written by cancer survivor Maureen Miles Bucci. My apologies for any confusion.

 

 

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Support Writestream Radio

The Writestream Radio Network was founded in March of 2013 for the purpose of offering exposure to knowledgeable guests, and providing diverse programming and useful information for our listeners. Although Blog Talk Radio charges us $400 per year for the premium membership, we’ve never charged our guests a dime for appearing on any of our programs, and each of our hosts spends several hours per week on promotion of their guests, which includes booking appearances, creating the Blog Talk Radio episodes, and broadcasting across various social media platforms. Lisa Tarves and I put a great deal of time and energy into our individual shows Just Believe and Writestream Tuesday, and our mutual show Love Liberty & Lip Gloss – in addition to managing the Writestream and Love Liberty & Lip Gloss social media accounts. And this doesn’t include the effort we put into our individual businesses’ social media accounts.

WritestreamLogo-800x533We’re happy to do it, because Writestream benefits our guests, listeners, hosts, and individual businesses. All of this comes at a cost, however. It’s not just our time, but our resources. And for me personally, the time I devote to existing clients – whether I’m setting up a Word Press site, writing their book, or training them on social media – must be balanced with the effort to keep the client funnel full. That effort would be much easier with a marketing budget to enable me to do things like promote Facebook pages and sponsor tweets.

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So I decided to set up a Go Fund Me campaign, which you can read about in detail here. Any amount you can donate is greatly appreciated and will be applied toward our business goals. Thanks in advance!

And a big thank you to those who have already donated. I’ve reached out via personal email so I won’t mention names here but I genuinely appreciate the generosity of these individuals and look forward to making them proud with a tremendous growth year in 2015!

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For more information, visit GoFundMe.com/Writestream.

Wishing all of our listeners and supporters a very blessed Holiday Season!

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A Snobby Girl’s Professional Testimonial

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Many thanks to Maureen Miles Bucci for this wonderful testimonial of my work:

As a new author, my knowledge and contacts were limited and I was very uninformed with the process of publishing and utilizing social media to promote my book. I contacted Daria for some initial guidance and wound up hiring her on the spot. I am very pleased with her work and also impressed with her media savvy. She has placed my work on a level that I could not have achieved on my own.

Need writing, editorial, or social media services? Contact me here.

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A Snobby Girl’s Appeal

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Working with Maureen Miles Bucci on A Snobby Girl’s Guide to Dealing with Cancer has been rewarding and educational. Learning about her experience in overcoming ovarian cancer opened my eyes, not just to the physical and emotional traumas involved, but also the harsh realities of human nature and “charity.”

Author Maureen Miles Bucci.

Author Maureen Miles Bucci.

Without giving away book spoilers, I’ll just note that life’s hardships often provide illumination and discernment in terms of relationships once considered genuine and true. In Snobby Girl, Maureen discusses friends who can’t find the motivation to pick up the phone and offer specific, meaningful help — like cooking a meal or cleaning the house. Yet, they’ll walk, walk, walk for the cure or click the “like” button on Facebook in support of whatever famous charity is posting. Or some will publicly ask for sympathy when they receive news of a friend’s cancer diagnosis, yet fail to provide that friend with practical assistance.

For example, Maureen notes in her book that previously innocuous tasks like slicing vegetables in preparation for a meal, or vacuuming the carpet add an element of danger for a cancer patient. Why? The chemo and radiation treatments take a toll on the body, rendering cancer fighters much more susceptible to cuts and bruises — and therefore, infections. Compounded by other symptoms like “chemo head,” fatigue, and nausea the everyday tasks we healthy people take for granted become difficult daily challenges. For many women coping with various female cancers, a friend who truly wants to help can best express that desire by cooking them a meal or two, offering to clean their house (or perhaps paying for a professional to do it), taking them out for some “retail therapy,” and/or driving them to a chemotherapy appointment when they’re feeling too exhausted to drive themselves.

Lucy, the Snobby Cat.

Lucy, the Snobby Cat.

And they ought to take the initiative to pick up the phone and offer specific help, versus the “Whatever I can do, just ask” platitude. Be proactive and use common sense. Life doesn’t stop for the person fighting cancer: laundry still needs to washed and folded, meals still must be cooked, pets still need to be fed and walked, lawns still need to be mowed, etc. etc. Whatever else you might do, please don’t treat your recently diagnosed friend like a leper. I was incredibly disappointed to discover there are people in the 21st century who actually believe cancer is contagious, and that many of Maureen’s so-called friends would actually move to a different ¬†pew in church (church!) to avoid sitting next to her! Unacceptable. And certainly un-Christian.

Yet when it comes to public declarations of “support,” these same folks will like, share, and post about how much they care about cancer on social media, along with photos of them walking for a cure.

I can definitely relate to Maureen’s experience, though (thanks to the grace of God) I’ve never dealt with a serious health issue. Many years ago, I worked for a non-profit in a health-related field. Among other things, my job involved organizing fundraisers and schmoozing the wealthy society ladies who donated money and time to these high-profile events. While I understand the need to raise money, it became evident to me rather quickly that these women were mostly concerned with having their pictures splashed all over the society page (with the camera capturing their best angle, of course), and attracting celebrity participants (with whom they could no doubt have a photo or two taken at the event).

Am I judging them for not caring about the patients this organization was serving? Of course not. I cannot get inside someone else’s heart and mind. But I can report that none of them to the best of my knowledge ever participated in actual programs this same charity conducted — programs involving interaction with real people suffering from the disease. I wonder now if any of these patients ever shared Maureen’s feelings.

While I applaud reputable charities for raising money for research and fully understand the need for fundraisers, my appeal here is that charity really does begin at home. By all means, walk for the cure. But if you want to take your charitable giving to the next level, why not donate your time by offering meaningful support to one woman coping with cancer (or any other debilitating disease)? For many people, it’s easy to write a check. Giving of your time and energy is a much bigger sacrifice but it also carries much more meaning for the person at the receiving end.

Call your friend and offer to do something specific and useful for her. We can’t help everyone but each of us can help someone. And that person will appreciate it more than they could ever express.

Please tune in to my interview with Maureen on Tuesday, September 30 for more.

 

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Social Media, Book Sales and Managing Expectations

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Although I originally broadcast this episode back in 2011, the advice is still relevant. It’s a delicate balance between budget, time, and expectations but if you’re going to make an impression and sell books as an independent author, social media is a necessary tool (in addition to “traditional” events like local speaking engagements). As someone who manages social media for individuals and businesses, it’s always a challenge to help authors understand its value when all they can see is the bottom line. I get it. You have limited resources and need to see a return on your investment asap. I wish we lived in a world where there was a direct correlation between effort (e.g. an appearance on a Blog Talk Radio show) and results (immediately following your interview you sell 100 books). Sadly, we don’t.

Then again, with traditional print advertising, there’s never been a guarantee that an ad costing X amount of dollars would directly result in X amount of sales. Either way, it’s a time commitment for the social media consultant hired to manage your blog and/or platforms so you can concentrate on the other more important obligations in your life — such as family and day job.

Anyway, I happened across the archived episode back when I was in a different business partnership. I hope it’s helpful for anyone curious about using social media platforms for success as an independent author. And let me close by adding I am very grateful to be in business with Lisa Tarves now!

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