Linda Leon BMP

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6.30.2018

Book Review of The Proximity of Stars by Benedict Stuart

Book Review of Amazon book - Not a Best Seller but a Good Book!

By Karen S. Cole, Head Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer and Publisher of Ghost Writer, Inc.

The Proximity of Stars


This book sings with a Britisher's true grit, determination and eternal optimism. It opened really fast, then slowed down, almost bogged down until it reached a luxuriously casual climax of sorts. I really enjoyed the English slang terms scattered throughout Proximity, it helped me appreciate the aura of UK liberalism and anti-fascism abundant in this novel.

It starts with a bang, some highly sadistic plotters alienating our heroes and causing them great harm. Then, over time, it slowly debuts into a more engaging and slower paced journey of enlightenment about the Universe and politics.

My only objections were: it's not very deep. Not a lot of science fiction details about the system being built into the book, it was too short to detail much about the Solar System's futuristic governing system. Also, the print edition was double-spaced and thus had only about 80 words per page, making it a 100 page book if it was printed in typical one or 1.5 line spacing with 12 pt type font.

Short book, not enough time to really describe all the futuristic details of the new governing system. Finally, the print edition is not well edited yet, the author is working on that.

The ideas are all relatively sound, though - with some great professional editing, this book could certainly tell a great tale about how to govern the entire Solar System, while remaining extremely optimistic about Life meanwhile.

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6.28.2018

How to Handle a Ghostwriter

Find, Train & Retain Your Ghostwriter Today


By Ron Lieback


Find and train ghostwriters
Ghostwriters offer many benefits for C-level executives, company presidents, and founders.

As I explained in the Top 5 Reasons You Should Hire a Ghostwriter to Write Your Content, ghostwriters:
Save you time.
Help build brand awareness quicker.
Are professional writers (not hacks!).
Know SEO (the reputable ones).
Create authentic content.

With the benefits in plain view, now we’ll move onto how to:
Find well-disciplined ghostwriters.
Train them to amplify your personal/company voice.
Retain the ones that help scale your business.

I must once again stress the importance of the 80/20 principle at work here.

Ghostwriters save upper management time so they can spend time on other valuable things like developing marketing plans or speaking at conferences. Plus, some just aren’t up to the task of writing.

As Perry Marshall says in “80/20 Sales and Marketing”, whatever someone is good at, they should focus on and do the following:
Invest heavily and building your strongest skills.
Find other people to do everything else. Someone else is great at what you’re bad at.

Businesses can easily do this by offloading the heavy writing to ghostwriters – especially for the high-ticket pieces in publications like Forbes and Inc.

I witnessed Marshall’s advice work for many of my past clients.

At one point, I was ghostwriting 15 pieces per month in major publications like Forbes on various subjects from finance to hardcore tech to digital marketing to entrepreneurship. To date, I have ghostwritten just over 500 articles in such top publications.

I always took pride in being a “factotum” type of writer, able to quickly grasp an industry through about 200 pages of reading, and then writing about it.

The secret is always to simplify things for readers, and get technical only when needed.

To this day, I still ghostwrite for a few of my most respected clients. I simply enjoy writing and helping others succeed in their verticals.

When I launched my agency, my experience with ghostwriting prompted me to offer ghostwriter services. But instead of impossibly doing all the writing myself (practice what we preach!), I began training a few other factotum writers that I found over the past two decades about the art of ghostwriting.

What follows are some tactics I’ve learned finding, training, and retaining ghostwriters for my clients, which can directly translate to your company’s personal need for ghostwriting.

6.27.2018

Writing a Book Series can be Fun and Profitable

What makes a book publisher drool? Can you say "series"?


By Alan Rinzler, Reading Unbound

A Series of Unfortunate Events children's book series
A Series of Unfortunate Events - successful children's book series
For a publisher, producing a successful book series is like winning the lottery. The rewards can be enormous and ongoing.

Check out the numbers

The Harry Potter behemoth towers over all the rest, with more than 400 million copies sold. Nancy Drew? The 175 installments of the beloved mystery series have sold more than 200 million. New editions of the earliest stories and the latest episodes fly off the shelves at the rate of hundreds of thousands each year.
Twilight’s four books have already sold a total of more than 100 million. And Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy has sold more than 35 million copies and counting: His publisher Alfred A. Knopf estimates that by year's end they will have sold a phenomenal 15 million copies in 2010, or roughly the equivalent of recent works by John Grisham, Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer and Stephen King combined (LATimes).
Scroll down for advice to writers on developing a series character

The trend in multi-book deals

So publishers are always working the series angle, both with authors already on the roster, and with new writers and books under consideration. If we smell a potential series in a promising new submission, we try to nail it down with a multiple book contract. That trend is apparent in the numbers of new multi-book deals listed in Publishers Marketplace over the past 12 months, with the greatest number in the following genres:

Top genres for multi-book deals in 2010

Romance - 108 deals
Mystery & Crime - 73
Young Adult - 56
Middle Grade - 53
Science Fiction - 31
Thrillers - 29
Paranormal - 27

The challenge for writers: how to keep a character alive

I’m working now with several authors who are developing series of books built around an ongoing hero or heroine. In each case these writers are confronting the challenge of sustaining reader interest in a serial character who faces a different dramatic crisis in each book, but also has a compelling personal life that’s constantly evolving in exciting ways.
One approach that works for many writers is to write an ambitious kind of fictional autobiography, not a true-to-life memoir, but a romantic idealization of the author's own life. A reader of this blog summed it up perfectly in a recent comment: “My main character is part me and part the person I would like to be. She’s allowing me to rebuild my hometown as it was–and wasn’t–when I was growing up.”
As a developmental editor, therefore, I approach the work with the perspective of an entire series. Certain editorial issues unique to writing a serial character occur repeatedly. I’ve found the following points to be useful for writers to keep in mind:

Tips for creating a serial character

Let them age – Harry Potter grows up, about one year for each of the seven books. Your characters can get older too; a little bit at a time, no matter what their age is in the first book. They can face problems left over by the last book and also increase their skills, perceptions, strategies, and deepen their relationships. As a variation, you can write a prequel, set in time before the first book. Tom Clancy did that with Patriot Games, featuring his CIA agent Jack Ryan, who was introduced three years earlier in the Hunt for Red October.
The opposite approach works too, of course, as Nancy Drew fans know.  The blond sleuth stays forever young, though she aged from 16 to 18 at some point early in the series.
Keep them close to your heart – Write from deep inside your psyche about what you know and care about the most. A mystery writer who commented recently here on the blog said, “My protagonist is my husband. His partner/sleuth is my former daughter-in-law and his girlfriend is me– only younger and sexier.”
Give them an interesting day job -- Your hero could be a doctor-without-borders or a truck driver, as long as their daily activities thrust them regularly into new situations to test their mettle and provide a chance to move forward on the public and private levels of their lives.
Make every new crisis relate to their inner development – No event can be random. When a new character is introduced, keep their identity as a savior or lethal opponent up in the air. Consider every book as if it were a self-contained mythical quest like Odysseus, and let your hero keep proving himself, overcoming his deepest personal self-doubt.
Surprise us – Avoid getting stuck in a formulaic pattern.  The heroine, for example, who’s happily married with children for the first two books, could have a marital crisis and end up leaving her husband in the third book. Whether or not she returns can depend on the new crisis she stumbles into on her day job as a bio-hazards expert or a pastry chef, or whatever she does. Or have your stalwart front-line combat reporter suffer from an episode of psychotic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that makes him violent, hateful, terrorize his friends and lovers, even join the enemy. Keep us guessing as to how it will turn out.

Are you developing a serial character?

I'd be very interested to hear how you've tackled the challenge of sustaining interest from one story to the next.  I'll watch for any questions.

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6.25.2018

White Nationalist Ghostwriter

ID sought of white nationalist’s legal ghostwriter







Attorneys for a group of Charlottesville residents suing organizers and key participants of the Unite the Right rally last summer are demanding that Michael Peinovich reveal the identity of the legal counsel who has been ghostwriting his court documents.
Since the lawsuit was filed in October, Peinovich — identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist who hosts an online radio show — has represented himself in court. At a recent hearing in the case, Peinovich joined with other defendants in the case to argue that the lawsuit should be dismissed for lack of legal standing.
The suit alleges that the defendants conspired to bring terror and violence to Charlottesville under the pretense of holding a political rally. It alleges that the defendants — whom plaintiffs name as the “masterminds” of the torch-lit march on Aug. 11 at the University of Virginia and the rally on Aug. 12 at Emancipation Park  — planned and promoted the violent acts that occurred that weekend.

6.15.2018

Ghost Blogging - A Secretive World

Inside The Secretive World Of Ghost Blogging

AMERLEY OLLENNU
12 JUNE 2018
PHOTOGRAPHED BY KATE ANGLESTEIN




I remember when blogging first began; it was like getting a glimpse into someone’s diary. People could be uncharacteristically open under the relative anonymity that the internet provided. They could rant about their boss, regale you with an embarrassing story from a night out, share the best recipe for banana bread or reveal which unexpected brand makes the perfect jeans.


Some were well written, others weren’t, but it didn’t matter much because they were personal, opinionated, raw and authentic. Now, with the takeover of social media, images and personas are manufactured and monetised, and bloggers are anything but anonymous. They have become our generation's celebrities, their sites run like online magazines.

As a writer, I've spent the last 10 years working my way up from beauty intern to editor. So when traditional print media began to peter out, I knew I had to adapt to survive. Inspired by bloggers like Grace F Victory who manage to walk the tightrope of authenticity while monetising their social channels, I decided I’d give blogging a go.

On my blog I share travel stories, disastrous dating encounters, beauty favourites and fitness tips, including expert quotes throughout so the reader gets a mix of the personal and the professional. Shortly after winning a best emerging blogger award last year, I landed a six-month stint at a women’s mag – I was thrilled, but found it near impossible to manage my blog at the same time.

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6.09.2018

Planet Alt-Sete-Nine...Science Fiction in Seattle by a Local Book Author


Book Review of Planet Alt-Sete-Nine by BJ Neblett

By Karen S. Cole of Ghost Writer, Inc.

Seattle Science Fiction
                              Science Fiction Museum at EMP

This locally set story of a Seattle-area video game developer and his lady love is completely riveting. She becomes so engaged in the game she believes it is real, and it's the task of Jake, her soulmate, to convince her otherwise. Planet Alt-Sete-Nine gives you myriad complex and exquisitely drawn-out game details as well as continuous, well-plotted descriptions of Seattle and the wonderful, ever-growing technological and natural scenic beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Locations such as the Seattle Center and Amazon get somewhat involved in their mentions.

Hair-raising frontline, up-to-the-minute game developments as well as a beyond modern technology intertwine, making it impossible to tell the real from the unreal, the game from reality, as Haley (the heroine) thrusts herself increasingly deeply into the game scenery. She becomes the powerful, artistic game character she really wants to be, so intently focused on all her imaginary surroundings that she nearly loses her human, mortal soul in the process. And her commitment to the game begins to lose her the man she loves in staid old pedestrian Real Life. Sex and love as usual occurs but is gravely threatened by the Brave New World of Virtual Reality, fantastic and mind-withdrawing in its adult but typically juvenile appeal of monsters versus people.

Scientific facts about brain use and development, as well as studied, intuitive descriptions of monsters, men and virtual scenery, and finally rawly poignant character development fill this short book. There are loads of references to familiar popular video games, and all kinds of "insider" gaming info that a true video aficionado will recognize instantly. Surprise new romances dissolve and redevelop throughout the book, couples combining and recombining until an ending that may well leave you sighing wistfully about your own relationship with video gaming, and with others too. A must-read for video game addicts and their loved ones, of both sexes and all kinds!


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6.01.2018

Academic Ghostwriting and Fraud in South Korea

South Korean apps are outsourcing academic fraud to freelance ghostwriters


WRITTEN BY


A few weeks ago, I downloaded a South Korean app called “Soomgo,” a shortened Korean word for “Soomeun Gosoo,” which means “hidden master.” Soomgo, and its rival Kmong, are Thumbtack for South Korea—a marketplace for matching users with local service providers, such as designers, movers, and English tutors, for short-term jobs.
Both gig economy platforms are very popular—Kmong has more than 25 million users as of April 2018, while Soomgo has clocked up more than 50 million as of March—and they’ve become a new avenue for outsourcing academic fraud, seamlessly connecting students with ghostwriters.
Within a few weeks of signing up as a tutor and English translator, dozens of requests piled up in my Soomgo inbox—and about 20 unexpected messages. They were ghostwriting requests for theses and dissertations. For example, one student offered me the equivalent of $2,000 to write her 80-page thesis on e-learning for Korean language education. Ghostwriting requests have made up more than one-third of the overall inquiries I’ve received.
Ghostwriting has become a lucrative market as more South Korean university graduates go on to graduate school to gain an edge, or buy themselves more time to look for a job in the country’s competitive job market. The number of South Korean graduate students has steadily increased from 296,576 to 326,315 from 2007 to 2017. The country’s youth jobless rate stood at a record 9.9 percent last year, according to government data.
While plagiarism and cheating are rocking higher education in many countries, often enabled by the internet, fraud in South Korea’s academia permeates all levels. Professors have been caught ghostwriting for their students. A lecturer accused a full-time professorof making him ghostwrite his papers. Politicians have been busted for hiring ghostwriters for their dissertations, while the South Korean education ministry recently said it found that some professors had listed their children as co-authors—perhaps to give them a head start up the ladder of academic qualifications.
It turned out that I wasn’t the only one who had received such dubious requests.
Park Hyo-jin, a freelance editor who is one of Soomgo’s more than 100,000 registered service providers, said he had received many ghostwriting inquiries since joining the platform in September last year. “I was taken back that I received more ghostwriting requests than writing class requests,” Park said, adding that he does not accept such requests. “There have been especially lots of requests lately because March to April, and September to October are thesis review season.”
On Kmong, the exchange is more subtle. Although you can find a ghostwriter who explicitly promotes his or her services for pretty much everything—from a movie review, a letter to a spouse, to an academic paper—many ghostwriters on Kmong offer a “consultation service.”
The apps add to a ghostwriting market that already includes numerous websites providing consulting services for academic papers, like Dream Sherpa, which likens itself to a sherpa “essential for climbers to conquer Everest.” The company provides a comprehensive eight-step service for an academic paper—from formulating a topic and methodology to preparing for thesis defense. While these companies emphasize the legality of their consultations, various local media have reported that some offer ghostwriting services under the table.
Two “consultants” from Kmong specializing in “researching and editing” both confirmed that they provide ghostwriting services when I privately messaged them, even though one of them explicitly states on his public profile that he doesn’t offer ghostwriting.
“I have 100% success rate. Twelve dissertations I’ve partially and fully written for the second semester of 2017 were all approved [by the school]. The undefeated track record is to be continued!” one ghostwriter exclaimed proudly in the introductory document he sent me via Kmong with a quotation. He charges $5,000 for a 50-page graduate thesis, and $12,000 for a 100-page doctorate dissertation. He said there’s an extra charge for writing a dissertation for the top three universities in South Korea—Korea, Yonsei, and Seoul National University—since these would require substantially more work.
Both apps offer almost full anonymity as all conversations take place within the apps’ chat rooms. The user has to pay the monthly subscription fee to call the service provider. The numbers are encrypted.
I reached out to several users who requested ghostwriting services from me for an interview but none responded. Soomgo’s head of marketing, Jay Lee, said dissertation writing and ghostwriting aren’t among their official service categories, and that an internal search found only two cases of ghostwriting requests. He noted it was a small fraction of overall requests but said the company would work to close loopholes and prevent misuse of the service.
Kmong did not respond to multiple emails asking if it was aware of the ghostwriting market on its app, and whether it was taking steps to curtail these requests.
Four out of ten South Korean graduates think ghostwriting is acceptable, according to a survey by local job portal Incruit in 2016. With these potential demands, it’s up to the university to weed out the bad seeds, but many are failing at gatekeeping, according to professor Park Ker-yong of Sangmyung University. “Most of the graduate schools in South Korea don’t require their applicants to take an admission test as many mid- to low-tier graduate schools are in haste to fill their vacancies—admitting students who cannot even write their own papers.”
Yi Yang-ju, a ministry of education official, declined to comment on how the government is tackling these problems. Apps like Soomgo and Kmong are definitely uncharted territory for regulators, who have been struggling to rein in ghostwriting for years.
“I think the economic activity taking place within Soomgo has the characteristics of an underground economy, making it easier for users to request ghostwriting services,” said Park, the freelancer.
Update: This story was updated on June 1 with comment from Soomgo.

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