And despite the perception of the writer toiling away in his lonely garret, many ghosts enjoy working as a team. Want to know more about this lucrative field? Read on for a closer look at the skills you need to succeed as a ghostwriter—and at how to break in. Understanding Your Role The first key to success as a ghostwriter is a clear understanding of your role in the process.
That means being able to collaborate, and to set aside your own ideas about how to approach the book if your client disagrees with them. And that means your client has the final say. Depending on the project, you may be responsible for conducting interviews and research and keeping your client on schedule, in addition to writing the book itself.
As a writer, you likely already know something about the publishing industry. Breaking In Besides celebrities and subject-matter experts, everyday people who want to get books in print but lack time or ability also use ghostwriters in crafting everything from memoirs to novels to how-to guides. Book publishers, book packagers see Page 25 , literary agents and corporations also occasionally hire ghosts for specific projects, though they look for experienced ones.
You basically have two ways of getting ghosting work. The first is to search for posted gigs and go after them. Check sites like Craigslist craigslist.
Make sure your website and blog specify that you ghostwrite. Mention it in your e-mail signature. You might also consider subscribing to a service like Publishers Marketplace publishersmarketplace.
Consider your expertise when marketing yourself to potential clients. For instance, I specialize in writing about health, fitness and nutrition, and almost all of my ghosting work is for professionals in those areas. For example, you may interview your client and write the book from scratch, relying on your notes; your client may write some of the book while you write the rest; or your client may provide you with background material that you use as a starting point.
It depends on how much work your client has already done and is willing to do and how he prefers to work with you. I also like to be given a title or two that are similar to the tone and style the client wants. Some clients like book publishers and agents will already have a set fee in mind for a project; others will ask you to make a bid. See the sidebar at right for a list of questions to ask.
When it comes to how you charge, there are three basic ways—by the hour; by the word or page e. Who is responsible for doing what? Even if a celebrity or public figure has the writing skills to pen a short article, they may not know how to structure and edit a several-hundred page book so that it is captivating and well-paced. In other cases, publishers use ghostwriters to increase the number of books that can be published each year under the name of well-known, highly marketable authors, or to quickly release a topical book that ties in with a recent or upcoming newsworthy event.
Ghostwriters may have varying degrees of involvement in the production of a finished work. Some ghostwriters are hired to edit and clean up a rough draft or partially completed work, while others are hired to do most of the writing based on an outline provided by the credited author. For some projects, such as creating an autobiography for a celebrity, ghostwriters will do a substantial amount of research. Ghostwriters are also hired to write fiction in the style of an existing author, often as a way of increasing the number of books that can be published by a popular author.
Ghostwriters will often spend a period from several months to a full year researching, writing, and editing nonfiction and fiction works for a client. Ghostwriters are paid either per page, per each word or via total word count, with a flat fee, with a percentage of the royalties of the sales, or by using some combination thereof.
The division of work between the ghostwriter and the credited author varies a great deal. In some cases, the ghostwriter is hired to edit a rough draft of a mostly completed manuscript. In this case, the outline, ideas and much of the language in the finished book or article are those of the credited author. If it is agreed upon, for example in a signed contract, the ghostwriter will sign over all the rights to everything he or she adds into the work that is not otherwise copyrighted to someone else.
In many cases, a ghostwriter handles most of the writing, using concepts and stories provided by the credited author. In this case, a ghostwriter will do extensive research on the credited author or their subject area of expertise.
It is rare for a ghostwriter to prepare a book or article with no input from the credited author; at a minimum, the credited author usually jots down a basic framework of ideas at the outset or provides comments on the ghostwriter's final draft.
For an autobiography , a ghostwriter will typically interview the credited author, their colleagues, and family members, and find interviews, articles, and video footage about the credited author or their work.
For other types of nonfiction books or articles, a ghostwriter will interview the credited author and review previous speeches, articles, and interviews with the credited author, to assimilate his or her arguments and points of view. Most of this work can be done over email via the Internet, through postal mail, phone or video calls, and other methods of instant communication. Also, ghostwriters may work on accompanying documents, such as treatments for screenplays.
Often, ghostwriters will work on related projects beyond the scope of professional ghostwriting, such as marketing, promotions, sales, publishing or other related services for pay, in order to procure more clients and increase the total amount of their business.
Ghostwriters will often spend from several months to a full year researching, writing, and editing nonfiction and fiction works for a client, and they are paid based on a price per hour, per word or per page, with a flat fee, or a percentage of the royalties of the sales, or some combination thereof.
One such market is the shorter book, best represented at the moment by Amazon's Kindle Singles imprint: Writers on the level of Ian McEwan have celebrated this recent change, mainly for artistic reasons. It was once financially impractical for publishers to produce such novella-length texts they would have to charge too much ; but this new market is, by , already substantial and has been projected to be a solid part of the future of book publishing. On the upper end of the spectrum, with celebrities that can all but guarantee a publisher large sales, the fees can be much higher.
There is also the consideration of different benchmarks in different countries. Research fees are an extra charge on top of this minimum fee. A recent availability also exists, of outsourcing many kinds of jobs, including ghostwriting, to offshore locations like India, China and the Philippines where the customer can save money. In some cases, ghostwriters are allowed to share credit. Sometimes this is done in lieu of pay or in order to decrease the amount of payment to the book ghostwriter for whom the credit has its own intrinsic value.
Also, the ghostwriter can be cited as a coauthor of a book, or listed in the movie or film credits when having ghostwritten the script or screenplay for a film production.
For nonfiction books, the ghostwriter may be credited as a "contributor" or a "research assistant". In other cases, the ghostwriter receives no official credit for writing a book or article; in cases where the credited author or the publisher or both wish to conceal the ghostwriter's role, the ghostwriter may be asked to sign a nondisclosure contract that legally forbids any mention of the writer's role in a project. Some have made the distinction between 'author' and 'writer,' as ghostwriter Kevin Anderson explains in a Washington Post interview: Ghostwriters are widely used by celebrities and public figures who wish to publish their autobiographies or memoirs.
The degree of involvement of the ghostwriter in nonfiction writing projects ranges from minor to substantial. Various sources explain the role of the ghostwriter and how competent writers can get this kind of work.
In some cases, a ghostwriter may be called in just to clean up, edit, and polish a rough draft of an autobiography or a "how-to" book. In other cases, the ghostwriter will write an entire book or article based on information, stories, notes, an outline, or interview sessions with the celebrity or public figure. The credited author also indicates to the ghostwriter what type of style, tone, or "voice" they want in the book.
In some cases, such as with some "how-to" books, diet guides, or cookbooks, a book will be entirely written by a ghostwriter, and the celebrity e. Publishing companies use this strategy to increase the marketability of a book by associating it with a celebrity or well-known figure.
In several countries before elections, candidates commission ghostwriters to produce autobiographies for them so as to gain visibility and exposure. Two of John F. Kennedy 's books are almost entirely credited to ghostwriters. A consultant or career-switcher may pay to have a book ghostwritten on a topic in their professional area, to establish or enhance their credibility as an 'expert' in their field.
For example, a successful salesperson hoping to become a motivational speaker on selling may pay a ghostwriter to write a book on sales techniques. Often this type of book is published by a self-publishing press or " vanity press " , which means that the author is paying to have the book published. This type of book is typically given away to prospective clients as a promotional tool, rather than being sold in bookstores.
Ghostwriters are employed by fiction publishers for several reasons. In some cases, publishers use ghostwriters to increase the number of books that can be published each year by a well-known, highly marketable author. Ghostwriters are mostly used to pen fiction works for well-known, "name" authors in genres such as detective fiction, mysteries, and teen fiction. Additionally, publishers use ghostwriters to write new books for established series where the 'author' is a pseudonym.
Dixon ", respectively, are actually pseudonyms for a series of ghostwriters who write books in the same style using a template of basic information about the book's characters and their fictional universe names, dates, speech patterns , and about the tone and style that are expected in the book for more information, see the articles on pseudonyms or pen names.
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