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Linda Leon BMP
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So you want to be an author. You're not alone: More and more entrepreneurs and business owners want to write a book or, more accurately, have a book written by someone else under their names, observes Larry Leichman, co-owner of Arbor Books.
"The book has become the 21st-century calling card," he says. "It presents you as an expert, a hook for publicity that gives you access to the media and to places you've never had access to before. The guy with the book is a celebrity."
People who don’t have the time — or the skill — to write a book often hire ghostwriters. Ghostwriters are abundant and relatively easy to find: Simply do a web search for "ghostwriter" or go to an online clearinghouse like Elance or Guru. You can also enlist the help of an agency, such as Arbor Books or Legacy One.
How to choose the right ghostwriter for your particular book, however, can be a challenge. Of course, the writer’s experience and references are paramount: Has he or she written about your field before? You probably don't want to hire an art historian to write your company's history unless you are an art dealer.
Before approaching a potential ghostwriter, ask yourself these questions:
Is my intention a one-off book project or a continuing relationship?
Do I want a traditional book, an e-book, or a compilation of a series of articles, perhaps for a continuing blog?
How long (by pages or word count) do I want the book to be?
What’s my deadline?
What writing style do I seek: chatty and casual, or a formal presentation for the chairman of the board?
What's my budget? (Know this before you start negotiating with the ghostwriter. There may be other expenses beyond writing, such as editing and self-publishing.)
The writer’s job is to interview the client and absorb any pertinent materials offered.
Karen Lynn Maher, a Seattle-based entrepreneur who used to be a ghostwriter, now acts as a clearinghouse for ghostwriters at Legacy One. She cautions: "The client must understand that this is a collaboration, and he must expect to exert the time and energy to edit the manuscript. The ghostwriter merely tries to reflect the client's voice and message."
Nothing is more dispiriting, she says, than when the client reads the first draft of the manuscript, dislikes it, and fires the ghostwriter because the product wasn't what was expected. "It's in revision when all of the clarity and magic happens," Maher stresses.
Leichman observes that choosing an inexperienced ghostwriter is a bad investment. "This is not a regulated industry," he says, adding that he’s seen many unqualified candidates churn out manuscripts. You'll also want to ascertain whether your ghostwriter will complete the work herself or outsource all or parts of the job to another writer.
Leichman says fees can range between $5,000 and $55,000 depending on the length and complexity of the manuscript. That also determines the amount of time it takes complete it. And of course in both cases the number of interviews between client and writer factor into the final fee. Proofreaders and editors may also be summoned to review the text.
The length of time it takes to complete a document is equally variable depending on the availability of the client and the writer. Arbor Books has seen a manuscript completed in as little as 30 days with premium prices being paid. The average is somewhere between 90 and 120 days.
But things can go for much longer if you aren't careful. Says Leichman, "My firm is often contacted by desperate, frustrated people who ask us to rescue their jobs from other writers who have dragged them out for one, two, or even three years."
(Editor's Note: This is obviously how you feel when you're totally alone. Then, because nobody else exists, you somehow are the only thing that exists. Means you're lonely, and other people do indeed exist. Except for when they need to "get a life." Which is amazingly often, so of course people who are labelled "queer" have this idea on our intellectual (and I do mean intellectual, not "queer," queers) side. Sorry I'm no Ghandi, folks. No, I'm also not maligning gays in particular; I'm maligning that crowd that needs one life between it. I've always had just mine, and those who love me do love me. You yourself?
I think, therefore I am.
We have all heard this phrase in some form or another but even when I, myself, tried typing this little sentence into google to see what would come up, I was surprised to see that no one could give an explanation that wasn’t lengthy or straightforward. So I’m going to try my hand at explaining this classic statement.
Who said it?
Rene Descartes is the man credited to these few words. The quote, originally written in french, comes from The Discourse on Method, but also appears written as the famous Latin, “Cogito ergo sum,” in his Meditations on First Philosophy, which was an attempt to find foundational truths for knowledge. The book contains six meditations that attempt to discover what is real by first doubting absolutely everything and starting from scratch. In this way, Descartes starts at the bottom and works his way up into believing in the existence of worldly things.
What else do I need to know?
In the First Meditations Descartes explains why he can call his beliefs into doubt, since his beliefs have deceived him before — I think we can all relate to one experience where our beliefs have been totally wrong and we feel the way old Descartes feels here. He argues that perhaps he is currently dreaming or that God is actually a deceiving demon, or that he is simply crazy. This gives him reason to be skeptical of all his beliefs, which leads us into the Second Meditations. Here is where he convinces himself that nothing of the world is real. He essentially disbelieves everything that can possibly be called into question and whittles existence down into nothing. Then, he says as follows:
I have convinced myself that there is nothing in the world — no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Doesn’t it follow that I don’t exist? No, surely I must exist if it’s me who is convinced of something. But there is a deceiver, supremely powerful and cunning whose aim is to see that I am always deceived. But surely I exist, if I am deceived. Let him deceive me all he can, he will never make it the case that I am nothing while I think that I am something. Thus having fully weighed every consideration, I must finally conclude that the statement “I am, I exist” must be true whenever I state it or mentally consider it. (Descartes, Meditation II: On the Nature of the Human Mind, Which Is Better Known Than the Body).
Wait a minute, Where’s the quote!?
It’s there, trust me! “I am, I exist,” is used here by Descartes to express the same thing. Meditation II is often called the cogitio for the reason that the words “I think, therefore I am,” can readily be explained with this passage. Essentialy, “I think, therefore I am” and “I am, I exist,” mean the same thing.
Okay, So what does it mean?
If you read the above quote from the Meditation II you see that Descartes has disproved everything that he is used to believing in. When there’s nothing left he still is left with himself and nothing else. Regardless of whether or not he is being deceived by some demon or his beliefs are wrong, he is able to see that even if he has the ability to doubt something he must be existing to even doubt it in the first place. The fact that he can think is what assures himself of his own existence, and a deceiving god cannot negate that. From this point on, Descartes can continue in his examination of reality without worry that he is by all means existing.
“I Think, Therefore I am” is used in most intro classes to gets across the real meaning of what the cogito (MeditationII) means — A deceiver can’t deceive me of my existence, for if he were I wouldn’t exist! Although, the true quote comes from Descartes Discourse on Method, it is easier to explain it with this example. The Meditations on First Philosophy is a wonderful piece of literature that’s extremely interesting for anyone to read. If anything I said in this post sparks your interest, then I suggest you read this whole thing through yourself. That’s all for now, I hope you all now have a better understanding of what Descartes was trying to say.
So, do our old pal Descartes a favor folks and keep thinking, lest you may cease to exist!