By Guest Blogger, Lorin Shields-Michel, Author and Ghostwriter
Writing, it’s long been said, is a solitary sport. You sit in your office or your kitchen, maybe the local coffee house, wherever your muse likes to frequent, and you stare at a blank screen. You close your eyes, willing the words to flow from your brain, down your arms and out through your fingers where they appear, miraculously, on that ghostly page. Most people don’t recognize you; you work mostly in anonymity, a ghost amongst fellow humans, observing and recording. Writing. So if you’re a bit of a ghost anyway, why not be a ghostwriter?
The fact is ghostwriting is one of the most interesting aspects of writing. You use all of your skills and talents to string together lyrical sentences – when called for – and a strong, compelling, relentlessly readable story always.
For someone else.
And if you’re lucky enough to work with an “author” who doesn’t have a huge ego, you often get a nice acknowledgement for your time and work. Because as a ghostwriter, you don’t really exist; only your talent exists. As the British craftsman, designer and poet William Morris once intoned: “His claim to his home is deep, but there are too many ghosts. He must absorb without being absorbed.” As a ghostwriter, you must write without being the “author.”
If you write simply for the exquisite pleasure of it, the high you get from those lyrical sentences and the good read, and you honestly don’t mind that your name doesn’t appear on a book’s cover or under an article’s headline, then you can be a ghostwriter.
But if you crave recognition, ghostwriting might be an apparition too frightening to entertain.
According to Writer’s Weekly¹ : “Book industry insiders estimate that 50 percent or more of all traditionally published books in today’s market are worked on by one or more ghost/book doctor/line editors. In the self-publishing world, the percentage is probably even higher – and all indications point to the situation just becoming more and more favorable for the ghost.”
Why? Because of one easy fact: most people are not good writers but most people want to write a book. Everyone learns to write in school and can craft a decent email, a business letter when necessary, but they lack the power of prose. However, if they have an interesting life story to tell, what they don’t lack is material, and so they hire a ghostwriter with the explicit understanding that said writer will not get credit even though he or she will get paid.
As a good ghostwriter, you can excel by developing a strong working relationship with the “author” and working together you can tell his or her story; together you can fly. It will just be his or her name on the plane.
“On any given week, up to half of any nonfiction best-seller list is written by someone other than the name on the book. And those authors feel enough latent uneasiness to bury the writer’s name in the acknowledgements and the percentage, according to one agent, reaches as high as 80. And ghostwriters are increasingly working the other side of the street – on the fiction list.”²
Ghostwriters, like myself, have had great experiences writing for other people. It all depends on the situation, the “author,” the arrangement and the story. And you have to check your ego at the keyboard. If all of those elements are present, then ghostwriting may be a great career or even alternative career.
If those elements don’t exist, you will not enjoy the process. You may even resent it. And that’s not good for anyone.
The Spanish novelist Arturo Perez Reverte said that “we all have ghosts, remorse, dreams, things we love and hate. One day something in life – a word, a phrase, something in a book, a beautiful woman – clicks, and part of that world takes on a special meaning. And you realize you have a story to tell.” With ghostwriting, it’s just that the story… is someone else’s.
By Guest Blogger, Anitra Frazier
Author of The Natural Cat
When I first wrote The Natural Cat, I fully expected that it would take clients away from me. I was, after all, freely giving away as much help and information as possible.
Much to my surprise, instead of losing clients, my book has greatly increased my business. Conversely, my house calls and telephone consultations help sell the book.
The Natural Cat teaches the human caregiver how to practice prevention on a daily basis, building and enhancing their cats’ immune system, health and beauty more and more over time. Seeing the splendid results, people reach out for more individually tailored information.
If a crisis arises, the conventional veterinarian may suggest a drug or surgery that sets off alarm bells in the mind of the caregiver. Many feel helpless and frightened.
The Natural Cat book supplies a wealth of information from the holistic point of view. Over 50 diseases are explained. The conventional treatments and their inherent dangers are described. The book then offers supportive therapies that minimize these dangers and, better yet, the holistic alternatives that are now available with clear, step-by-step instructions.
The knowledge of these safe holistic options goes a long way towards empowering and reassuring a concerned caregiver. This is also the time when many seek a private consultation.
Whether consulting by phone or making a house call locally here in N.Y., the private consultation gives me the opportunity to ask many individual questions and to enable the caregiver to do more for the beloved patient than they ever thought possible.
I like to put the control into the hands of the loving caregiver, where it should be. Whether used by people I will never meet or by my private clients, The Natural Cat helps caregivers avoid pitfalls and enhances their ability to ensure a healthy, happy life for the cats they love.
By Guest Blogger Lauren Solomon,
What is an author, really? Initially, an author is one who puts thoughts into writing for others to view, accept, challenge, or ponder. Ultimately, an author is (is viewed as) an expert, an authority, one who influences, specializes, teaches, permits, mandates or sanctions. An author has power in society where the average individual does not.
What is an image? An image is a picture, a visual representation, a reflection, an impression, or the way one is seen. An image has power to communicate that which the individual may not.
Authors will spend hours, days, and months agonizing over the “look” of their book, the image — the cover, the interior layout and design. Each piece of their creation must align to support the message being created by the words on the page.
Finally, when the “big day” arrives, the book is on the shelves and you, the author, are sitting in the studio of the local TV station waiting to hear the host introduce you, speak your name, YOU, author of this book, the expert, the specialist and authority…and, there you are, for all the world to see…what do they see? Does the world “see” the expert, specialist and authority? Or, do they see John, the local hardware guy, or Sarah, the lady who runs the garden shop around the corner. If your book is your hook, can you show up and reel them on in?
More and more authors are discovering the importance of “showing up” to promote their books and ultimately, themselves. Your book is only your hook. What the world really wants is YOU. They want to see you, hear you, touch you and connect with you. We want you to be one of us, be yourself, and yet be one step beyond. Engage me, intrigue me, interest me and I will buy your book. If I connect with you, I will make extra effort to connect with your book.
Your public presence is critical for your success. That presence may be reflected in a live appearance, a photo in print or electronic media, or by your voice alone. Your book will be your hook. It will introduce you. However, when you show up as the expert you truly are, your image will introduce you. It will tell the world how you see yourself and how to receive you. Let your image work for you. You will experience, without a doubt, the power of the timeless partnership between the verbal and the visual – the author and the image.
To learn more, see Lauren’s book, Image Matters!: First Steps on the Journey to Your Best Self