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Hiring a Ghostwriter

Hiring a Ghostwriter: Because Your CEO Has Big Ideas and Very Little Time

by  | Dec 6, 2016

Hiring a Ghostwriter

Ever wonder how all those industry experts and business leaders find time to write? When they’re so committed to running successful businesses, how do they manage to compose thought-provoking articles that build their personal brand and show their companies as cutting edge pioneers in their respective industries...

Hiring a Ghostwriter: Because Your CEO Has Big Ideas and Very Little Time



Make Money in Self Publishing

5 Ideas To Make Money In Self-Publishing 

Without Writing A Book

December 8, 2016 | Self Publishing | By CT Mitchell

Make Money in Self Publishing

Why Self Publishing?

Self-publishing is great! There I’ve said it –  I love self-publishing. It’s the vehicle I use to publish my books and its existence is the reason why I am an author. I’ve looked at traditional publishing but have been put off by all the obstacles one has to go through to get published. I wonder if these hurdles are why so many would be authors remain just that, unpublished.

As well as creating a book, authors going down the traditional route need to source publishing contacts, design the perfect pitch, submit their manuscript (often to people who’ve had all emotion sucked from them at birth) and then wait for the agent or publishing house contact to get back to them, when they feel like it, if ever.

It’s crazy. And if everything thing lines up, you could be offered a contract that you can’t read let alone understand, offering you a 10 – 15% royalty once the advance has been repaid and only after the book appears in bookstores which maybe a year away. All that blood, sweat and tears for a few cents on the dollar, assuming the editor who read your work six months ago had the coffee how she liked it that morning and she hadn’t found out her husband was having an affair with the girl in accounts, otherwise there would be no contract for you even to consider.

There has to be a better way. A way that eliminates these hurdles. And there is. It’s called self-publishing and you can do it yourself. And it’s booming. In the five years from 2008 to 2013, the self-publishing industry grew by 413%.This platform has given authors a voice. And it’s not all eBooks or digital products either. With companies like CreateSpace  or Ingram Spark, you can turn your masterpiece into a paperback with their print on demand services.

There’s no need to print a thousand books, drain your bank account of thousands of dollars all for your creative work to gather dust in your garage because you can’t sell them. Your mother can only give away ten copies to her friends at the nursing home and your brother has no interest whatsoever in helping you since you stacked his bike in third form.

But how do you make money in the self-publishing industry if you can’t write or don’t want to write? Well with a growing industry comes growing opportunities. Let’s look at five ‘back door’ ways to capitalize on this booming phenomenon.

Ghost Writing Service

Not all authors write their own material. The most famous writer who uses this approach to some degree is James Patterson. He outlines the story he wants written and he co-authors a lot of his books. The joint author writes the book off the back of Mr. Patterson’s regular critiquing and the finished product hits the book stands usually making the New York Times bestseller list.

Let’s suppose you are good at organising things. You do that in your current job in logistics or you run a team of people, maybe as a sales manager. Being a mum also requires great co-ordinating skills. What if you could put those skills into action by providing a service that wrote stories for authors? You find the writers, bring them under your service umbrella and then market your business to potential authors.

You don’t need to be a writer, just a good co-ordinator of writers to provide a desirable product for clients. And you take a percentage of every job. Sweet.


You love reading, got A’s in English at school or you studied an English major at university. Then editing might be a great career choice for you. The service is essential with all decent authors using editors to fine tune their work. And it’s repeat work once you’ve established yourself with a happy customer.

You won’t need a stuffy office; you can work from home, in an around the kids. The pay is pretty good as well. Authors expect to pay $200+ for a ten thousand word manuscript for a reasonable quality or new editor. If you are established or perhaps have worked with a publishing house or editing service and have a decent rolodex of contacts, then the sky is the limit.

Book Cover Designer

A cover can make or break a book. A masterpiece wrapped in a poor cover will remain on the shelf unread. People buy with their eyes. Think about your own experience in a bookstore. A book grabs your attention. Perhaps it’s the colour, maybe the image or even the title. You are drawn to a book by its cover. It tempts you to pick the book up, study it and perhaps flip it over and read the description before you make the decision to buy.

A cover needs to fit the genre the book is in. It would be unlikely to see a bright yellow cover on a mystery thriller book. That genre typically has covers that are dark, possibly gloomy.

So if you have an eye for what works in each genre and can produce artwork with creative flair that will draw readers to a book, then a book cover designer might be a viable business for you. Every book needs a cover. You can get covers for $5-$10, but most newbie authors are willing to spend $50 – $100 for a cover. Top flight authors know the value of a great cover and will spend $500+ to subliminally sell their books to readers.

Audiobook Narrator

Remember that brother whose bike you stacked? For years he’s told you that you have a great head for radio. He laughs at his own jokes letting out a mousey little squeal. While you don’t agree with him, you do have one advantage over him. Your vocal chords could melt a peak off Everest and your impersonation of Sean Connery over the years can now be put to good use.

Audio books are on the rise. Whether the customer is visually impaired or is a travelling salesman craving for some stimulating listening material, audio books answer the need. The sound quality has to be brilliant. No background noise or static and the voice has to grab the listener with every word.

Audio book narrators charge around $2500 for a book. How many can you do in a month

Social Media Manager

There are two basic parts to a book; writing it and marketing it. As a self-publishing author that usually means you need to do both. Most authors suck at marketing. They think that in this social media dominated world that all they need to do is to post their book cover to Facebook or tweet a price reduction on Twitter and book sales will flood in. Not so unfortunately.

Authors need a social media brand strategy. Who is their target market, what will they post, how will they create their material and when will they post. All of this takes time, time better spent writing.

A social media manager can do all of the above and they are in demand.

So as you can see, there is a burgeoning ‘back door’ industry within the self-publishing world. You don’t need to be a master wordsmith to make a living either. The above five opportunities are only the tip of the iceberg. Stake your claim now and join the revolution!



Ghostwriter Maya Sloan

Death of the Author: Ghostwriter Maya Sloan Gives Life to Celebs' Stories

By Lauren Oyler for The Vice

Ghostwriter Maya Sloan

Maya Sloan's intensely collaborative writing process defies conventional understandings of ownership, authorship, and the personal brand.

Although she makes her living as a writer, Maya Sloan has a problem with pronouns. Specifically, first-person pronouns. When Sloan talks about her job as a ghostwriter, it's unclear if she should say I or we--or even if she should call herself a ghostwriter at all.
My relationship with Sloan started with her correcting me on a couple of things. First, the thing about what to call her job: I emailed her to talk about her career as a "celebrity ghostwriter"--she's not a celebrity ghostwriter. "Not that there's anything wrong with the title," she wrote, "but all my books are co-authored (except one), and I do write my own novels as well."
Then, there was the fact that I had, unwittingly, already written about her. "When you work on some of the projects I do, you learn to harden yourself to negative press," she wrote. "But in this case...well, I did want to say something regarding what I posted below." I was nervous.
What Sloan had posted below was a quote from a link round-up I had written for a literary blog I used to run. There were so many layers involved that I had to read both the post and Sloan's criticism several times before I knew a) what I had been talking about or b) what she was talking about. Basically: I had posted a recommendation for a critical review of one of Sloan's books, in a snarky and flippant tone. I hadn't actually read this book, an eponymous novel based on the viral, anonymously run Tumblr Rich Kids of Instagram, or even, apparently, really paid attention to the part of the review that explained that the book was an eponymous novel based on the viral, anonymously run Tumblr Rich Kids of Instagram. Given that I feel a particularly bitter distaste for the type of human lampooned by that Tumblr--and that I love finding apparently legitimate reasons to hate things--I jumped at the chance to assume what many people had assumed about Sloan's novel: that it was an inside joke among rich kids and the adults that make them that way. I also don't think I realized it was fiction.
Over coffee, it was clear there were no hard feelings. These kinds of interactions are common in the life of a sort-of ghostwriter, a glamorous-sounding job that, like most glamorous-sounding jobs, is widely misunderstood. Besides, Sloan is effusive and energetic, always willing to offer another story, a further telling detail. She had gotten her sweater--it had some cool-looking faux fur around the sleeves and collar, reminiscent of the Lizzie McGuire wardrobe closet (a good thing)--for $2 at the Salvation Army, which is the same price she cited when a staff member at the Chateau Marmont complimented Sloan on it.
Sloan's anecdotes often involve places like the Chateau Marmont, or the Hamptons, or riding alongside a paparazzo chasing Katie Holmes; if you imagine the novelist's life as hours of quiet contemplation hunched over a computer screen, meeting Sloan disrupts those notions very quickly. There are many ways to describe the collaborative writing work Sloan takes on--co-writing, co-authoring, "with" credits, and "as told to" are the most common--and they all mean slightly different things. Her past projects include helping Will Smith's dad write a novel, ghosting a sci-fi YA thriller with Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and the blogger-confusing Rich Kids of Instagram. To complicate matters even more, Sloan doesn't only collaborate with her clients; she also works with her husband, the Danish illustrator Thomas Warming, whom she asked to bring along to our meeting, on everything she does. He calls himself "the ghost to the ghost!" She alternates between calling him a "co-creator" and "baby."
Although she says she "wouldn't trade [her] job for anything," the prevailing understanding of what Sloan does--I'm going to keep calling it ghostwriting, for ease rather than accuracy--is tinged with indignation and injustice. In a Washington Postarticle about the practice, the "lot" of a ghostwriter is added up to be...not much. The peg for the article is the release of Hillary Clinton's book, Hard Choices, which was written by a "book team" who reportedly churned out 635 pages in exchange for $500,000 and a tepid, vague acknowledgement near the conclusion. At times the article reads as if Clinton had enlisted servants to produce her book, rather than hired free-willed professionals to provide a service (the terms of which were, no doubt, outlined in a detailed contract).
Sloan had thought her life as a writer was going to go the way so many MFA graduates' lives do: a smattering of stories in literary magazines, a debut novel, teaching to fill in the financial gaps--though she did "sa[y] 'Fuck you'" to a full-time, tenure-track job. (For his part, Warming quit a high-level advertising job in Copenhagen to pursue creative work less rigidly defined.) But when she started the teaching part of that path, adjuncting a class on African Americans in film, her charisma landed her an unexpected opportunity. She invited the actress Sheryl Lee Ralph to speak to her students, and after a rousing lecture from Ralph, the star jokingly suggested that her life was so dramatic, she should write a book. Sloan volunteered to help immediately.
Still, despite her portfolio's star-studded cast, Rich Kids is by far the most interesting thing Sloan's done, inasmuch as it fucks with everything we think about being an author. It's sort of like a ghostwriting project in reverse: The creator of the source material remains anonymous, Sloan's name is on the cover, and it's best described as inspired by the blog, sponsored by the creative agency managing the anonymous blogger. "They go, 'What can you turn this [the RKOI Tumblr] into?'" Sloan says. "That's literally what it is: take these images and turn [them] into a novel." Warming storyboarded the whole thing, as well as provided illustrations for each chapter.
Research is a key component of Sloan's work. That Sloan had dug up a particular throwaway blog post among months of my throwaway blog posts is indicative of her thoroughness. (During our conversation, she also referenced no fewer than four of my past pieces for other publications.) Sloan insists all her clients meet her in person; she has them fly her to wherever they live/work, and she conducts hours and hours of interviews that she then transcribes herself, so she can "get the person's voice under [her] skin." Before and after, she immerses herself in secondary sources. For the Jenners' book, that meant reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy; for Rich Kids of Instagram, it meant, tragically, crashing parties in the Hamptons.
Warming jumps in. "I think one of the interesting things is that it's things that we don't know anything about. I didn't know anything about Rich Kids of Instagram--"
"I didn't know anything about rich people!" Sloan laughs. "We had informants! It's amazing how hard it was to get within the rich community." They only got busted once.
This is not how all ghostwriters work, Sloan says. "This is hearsay," she says, lowering her voice conspiratorially, "but the guy who wrote Snoop's book--this is a very high-level ghostwriter--apparently that book was written entirely based on internet research. I will never do a book like that."
Sloan talks a lot about how growing up in Oklahoma may have influenced her current preoccupation with celebrity, notoriety, and wealth. Still, she says she only gets starstruck around writers; she's a fan of people like Margaret Atwood, who "isn't confined to one genre."
"I met Jay McInerney," she says. "Thomas said I was acting nervous and giddy. And he kissed me on the cheek."
"I almost punched him!"
This line about succumbing to only the most intellectual of celebrities sounds good, though I don't totally believe it. When Warming playfully begins to tell a story about how the pair once ended up at a party in the Meatpacking District and ran into, as he puts it, "all the Housewives," Sloan gets a little pink in the face.
"Baby, really?" Sloan says, mock desperately. "You're going to do this? Really?"
"The Real Housewives, you mean?" I ask.
"Babyyyyyyyy," Sloan moans.
"The Housewives," Warming confirms. "All of them. And this one dude--"
"His name is Slade, and how embarrassing you are," she says.
Warming gets serious. "The point is that he was way more interesting to you than meeting, like, Will Smith and all these people."
Sloan's ears do seem to perk up more for notoriety than for glamour. When we met, Sloan and Warming were working on a couple of things they couldn't talk about, or could only talk about in broad terms, and I suspect she took pleasure in telling me she couldn't talk about them. Throughout our conversation, the self-proclaimed lover of US Weekly would periodically lower her voice, lean in to the table, and interject things like, "Don't you just love what's going on with Nicholas Sparks, by the way?"
Ghostwriters have a unique relationship to gossip: They are often privy to information they legally can't talk about in public, yes--it was hard to find ghostwriters willing to talk to me for this reason. But if the non-disclosure agreement doesn't go both ways, a ghostwriter can also become the subject of speculation. Last July, Sloan woke up one day to discover her name "on the web two million times"--thanks to @kyliejenner, who'd Instagrammed a group picture of herself, Kendall, their creative director, and Sloan, revealing Sloan to be the woman behind the sisters' book. Sloan didn't know her name was going to be released. (And the picture has since been deleted.)
Giving up authorial agency is a prospect that would make many writers balk--especially writers who have two MFA degrees in writing, like Sloan--so the Jenners' acknowledgment of Sloan's work may seem valiant. We think very, very highly of books, and art making in general; it's surprising--though not necessarily from the extended Kardashian klan, who have made their name by offering the public access to the ins and outs of their celebrity--that the sisters would so openly admit they "obviously can't write a sci-fi novel on [their] own." However, as in the case with the Clinton memoir--and with my stupid blog post--here a standard publishing open secret became a funnel for resentment of celebrities and wealth. The press and its commentariat quickly turned Sloan into a victim in order to slam the Jenner sisters in the process. (A post about the book on Perez Hilton went: "We find it kind of rude that in the acknowledgement area, Kendall & Kylie only mention Maya by thanking her for her 'tenacious and creative spirit.' But not thanking her for, ya know, WRITING THE ENTIRE BOOK??") It didn't help that the book-called Rebels: City of Indra, about two sisters (who turn out to be twins!) who live in a future dystopia and have superpowers-did about as well as you'd expect it to.
In other words, ghostwriting is not necessarily the kind of thing that deserves even a tepid, vague acknowledgment near the conclusion. Whether the ghostwriter(s) receives credit depends on several factors, all of which should be negotiated in a contract before the beginning of the project. Particularly in this age of the personal brand, if a ghostwriter has a public writing career of her own, taking credit for writing a book on behalf of another person might create a conflict of interest. A PhD in gender studies, in need of extra cash, might decide to do a memoir for an athlete that includes his unapologetic stance on, say, domestic violence. An editor specializing in literary fiction, in need of extra cash or just because he wants to, might ghost a pulp romance novel with flat characters and gross dialogue. If the client wants a boring protagonist who is ambivalent about hitting his wife, the ghostwriter has to cede authority to the person whose name is going to be accountable for the book (and for the ghostwriter's paycheck).
Neither of these reflects Sloan's experience, though. Far from expressing resentment about the Jenners, she is fiercely protective of them, to the point that she refuses to talk about them. Even when we get into what I think is a pretty theoretical discussion about the difference between fame and notoriety and I ask about where the Kardashians would fall on that spectrum, she shakes her head and says, simply, "Girlfriend, I'm not. I can't."
"As controversial as some of my clients are," she says, "I like them!"
Popular ideas about the relationship between celebrities and their ghostwriters--that celebrities are idiots who are incapable of articulation, that the ghostwriter is simultaneously both being taken advantage of and sacrificing her integrity to make a quick buck--oversimplify the industry significantly. At the end of the day, ghostwriting can involve both, as Sloan says, "artistry" and paying the bills. "I know that there are writers out there who do this work and feel like they're degrading themselves and secretly want to just be publishing their own novels," she says. "It is work for hire. But even when my name is not on something--which happens--I am doing the highest quality work I can."
"If I ever felt bitter about what I was doing or didn't like what I was doing," she says, "I would f---ing stop doing it."


Hire a Ghost Writer

Putting Your Spirit Into Ghostwritten Work

It's fine to hire a ghostwriter to tell your story, but make sure your voice isn't left out.

Craig Corbett | Published Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hire a Ghost Writer
Photo: Shutterstock

“There's an old saying that you should never judge a book by its cover. Today, perhaps, that conventional wisdom has rarely had more meaning.” -- Robert McCrum, "The Guardian"
A book or guest article in a leading publication will take any expert and turn them into a thought leader in no time flat, right? It’s not quite as simple as that.
In the world of PR and business, “thought leader” is a term which is thrown around quite loosely these days. Many industry leaders are publishing guest articles and books with the aim of raising their online social proof and reinforcing their personal brand. However, while business experts have piles of valuable information they want to share, few have the skills, time or energy needed to put pen to paper and write the book or article. Consequently, more than ever ghostwriters are being hired to shoulder the burden of extraction, ideation and writing. And all too often, authors’ books are being left devoid of their own voice and personal brand.
We are living in the "on-demand" era. As thought leadership and ghostwriting is on the rise, so are platforms and startups like CreateSpace and Upwork, which are offering the option of hands-off, "book in a box" style ghostwriting or self-publishing contracts. Through these services, clients can pay for a finished piece of work on a set theme or topic, with very little input or inclusion on their part.
But if someone else writes your book or your content without meeting or speaking to you, what are the chances of that material conveying your true voice and expertise? I spoke to TED Talk contributor and Blooming Twig founder, Dr. Kent Gustavson about the best tactics for “working with a ghost” to create valuable content that will really make an impact.

Write for a reason.

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of print books published per year in the United States rose from 114,215 to 573,965. This massive increase of books published can be explained by a number of factors, including on-demand printing providers, such as CreateSpace, Lulu, or LightningSource, which enable users to print books inexpensively, as well as  the rising popularity of on-demand service providers, like UpWork, or even Fiverr, where users can pay as little as $5 for editing or copywriting services. Nowadays, pretty much anyone with an idea, story or in need of a shot of publicity, can directly contract writers to write content, whether for guest articles in leading publications, or full-length ‘traditional’ books.
Just because you publish a book, however, it doesn’t mean that anyone is going to buy it. U.S. publishing industry sales peaked in 2007 and have either fallen or been flat since then. In a market inundated by hundreds of thousands of new titles each year, sales per title have plummeted. Once friends, family and clients have purchased a book, there isn’t much market runway left.
However, for many people who hire ghostwriters -- be it for an article for a leading publication, a business text or an autobiography-- it is not sales that they are interested in, but more-so the reputation which comes from having their name placed in front of the wider audience as a thought leader.
Kent Gustavson talks about the “priceless yet worthless” value of well-written and well-crafted books. He argues that a book can be priceless for the thought leader who sells their book in the back of the room. But the book will also be worthless if it is poorly written, poorly marketed, and sits alone in the author’s basement, or at the bottom of
Ultimately, value comes from the content: “Many business books and articles are now being written with next to no input from the so-called author,” says Gustavson. “This ‘book in a box’ approach is not designed to create valuable material which offers real takeaways to the reader and unique thought and expertise. It is meant to stroke egos.”
The first step is to ask yourself: “Why am I writing this content and are my views, experiences and opinions going to be useful, interesting and new to the reader? Will this make an impact on the world?”
Gustavson leans on an example of Eric McElvenny, a former U.S. Marine who lost his leg to an IED in Afghanistan, and has since gone on to become one of the top Ironman competitors in his class.
While his story is amazing in itself, Gustavson advised McElvenny that without a target demographic and a deep reason for writing, there would be little value to his upcoming book, despite the incredible challenges he has overcome. This allowed McElvenny to write for a reason, tailor his story into an inspirational text which offers advice as to how to move past hard times, and keep on moving even when it seems impossible. In doing so he gives people a reason to read his book, and is able to channel his true voice through sharing his anecdotes and opinions.

Speak to a targeted group of people.

When writing any type of content, it is important to have a clear idea of who your audience is. If your content has real takeaways, the chances are that it is not going to be suitable or interesting for everyone.
“In ghostwriting, the cart comes before the horse,” says Gustavson. “The purpose and target audience should be set in stone before any content is created. Ask yourself who you are speaking to, why you are qualified to do so and whether your chosen writer is suitable to spread your message in an interesting manner.
Highlighting your target reader demographic should be the first step in the process of working with a ghostwriter. It is important to choose someone who has experience in this style of writing, and who has preferably published this type of work before. Your target audience, and the strong takeaways that you want to place in front of them, should be obvious to both the ghostwriter and the reader themselves, from the very first page.
People shouldn’t have to dig through hundreds of pages to find something useful to them,” continues Gustavson. “Not knowing who you are speaking to is the tell-tale sign of a vanity piece, which doesn’t really offer any value to anyone.

Be part of the process.

Ghostwriting traditionally required a close relationship between ghostwriter and his or her employers. Testimonials from ghostwriters for public figures like Julian Assange and Donald Trump paint a brutally honest picture of the challenging and draining process of pulling out the information for the book through months of lengthy interviews, phone calls and transcripts.
However, in the era of "pay to play" ghostwriting, many clients are looking to make the process as ‘hands off’ as possible. But while not everyone has weeks to devote to the process, it is important to put aside time to converse with the writer, and give them as much material as possible -- be it previously published content, diaries, memoirs, blogs and social media posts, YouTube videos or recordings of speeches or presentations -- that will allow the writer to tell your true story.
Rather than simply waiting to be presented with a nicely wrapped final copy, those who hire ghostwriters should ask for regular updates. In the media and publishing industries, professional writers are used to rigid editorial processes including drafts, edits and changes, so ghostwriting should be no different.
A tell tell sign of "book in a box" style pieces is that they follow generic templates and lack an original style or flow. Gustavson states that a great ghostwriting or editorial team, if they are doing their job properly, will extract rather than contrive content. He says that great ghostwriters are able to  channel their author’s voice and style, but that even the best ghostwriters should insist on an author’s candid feedback and rewrites.

Find the right match.

While you might not go as far as classic authors from the past, who often had live-in editors, it is important to have a close relationship with your ghostwriter throughout the writing process. The writer you choose should be experienced in writing the type of prose you want to publish, and more importantly resonate with the message you want to share.
On-demand services might streamline the process of finding affordable writers, but they also make the experience more impersonal. In the same way as Tinder makes it easier to meet new people, but dramatically increases the chances of uncomfortable dates, misleading photos, and bad matches, hiring a writer you have never met before based on an unqualified profile and potentially fabricated work history has its risks too.
Leaning on the dating reference once more, Gustavson states:
“You should put as much effort into finding a good match for a writer as you would a potential partner. In the same way as you are more likely to trust a date recommendation from your mother, or friend, you should lean on personal and industry contacts for writer recommendations.”
But as anyone who has ever been on a blind date will know, just because your mom thinks you’re a good match doesn’t mean you will really hit it off. Gustavson continues, “Finding a good match goes further than a strong resume, there should be some sort of connection there on a personal level, too.”

Leave a legacy.

Great content should outlive its author. For this reason it is important that content not only shares a strong message which is of value to the reader, but also that this message is conveyed in the style and character of the author.
Getting a book, article or any content written in your name is like getting a stone sculpture made of you, which will sit in public view for hundreds of years to come. You want the likeness to be flattering, but the finished piece has to resemble you. If it goes too far in either direction, ending up more like a badly-crafted Picasso or a Greek Adonis then eyebrows will be raised.
Always remember that the end goal should be for people to read and engage you about your content, so it is best that your true opinions and voice are included. It will change your impact on the world, and it will cement your legacy. It’s not every day that you publish a book or write an article for a leading publication, so put in the time and effort to make sure your voice and your vision remain at the center of the final piece.
Copyright 2016 Inc., All rights reserved

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