Ghost writers in the sky – do they exist?

Have you ever wondered why someone might need a ghost writer? It makes sense for the celebs that can’t put two words together. But why would someone else need one? Enjoy this guest post written by one to find out. Who knows, it could enhance your skills.  Enjoy!!

THE BUSINESS OF BEING A GHOST WRITER

by Karen Cole

It can be hard to write repeatedly about being a ghost writer, as I have already written something like a hundred pieces on this topic alone. But I find my job as a professional ghost writer to be fresh and new every time. Being a ghost writer is a lot like being a car mechanic – you’re on hire to work on someone else’s “baby,” and you do the best you can to get it in good running and working order. You fix whatever you find to be wrong with it, and you send it back to the owner in great shape.

I have been ghost writing and editing on the Internet since 2003, and was freelance writing before then, since 1980 at least. I have published a magazine of my own called “The Crusader” and have been published in several newspapers and magazines, including online ones. It is my business to be published occasionally under my own name, but normally my best work is published under someone else’s name. I specialize in editing nowadays, being semi-retired as a ghost writer.

Part of the business of being a ghost writer is receiving payments properly. As a ghost writer, what with the book field being nearly glutted with books nowadays, receiving payment during the course of completing a book writing project is paramount. Of course, with proper book marketing a book can pull ahead of its competition and sell well nowadays, if its author goes to the trouble to properly market and promote it. So it’s still worthwhile to be a book author and to hire a ghost writer or editor and proper, affordable book marketing services.

I run a team of some 100 book, screenplay and music ghost writers, editors, marketers and promoters, as well as accompanying illustrators, photographers etc. These people get most of the incoming job leads, and I take a job occasionally that suits my fancy, in a manner to how Sherlock Holmes took jobs in those famous stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes never worked a job unless it “fascinated” him, and I only take what is lucrative, fresh and interesting to me personally.

But I can locate a great, affordable ghost writer or editor for nearly anyone who writes into our ghost writing services agency, and I can help take a book from the inception of its ideas to its completion as a published work, editing, formatting and doing all that it takes to come up with the finished salable product. Whether you hire my affordable professional services as a ghost writer or as the overseer of an entire ghost writing job, you are indeed hiring the best, every time.

AUTHOR’S RESOURCE BOX:

Ghost writer revealed!

Ghost writer revealed!

Hi, I’m Karen Cole, Executive Director and appointed Head of Ghost Writer, Inc. GWI is an affordable ghost writing services agency that seeks to find and hire a ghost writer, editor, marketer and/or promoter for your book, screenplay or music needs. We will find you an expert, published, recorded or optioned freelance writer for all your possible service needs, and we always charge only affordable rates.

Link up to Karen Cole here:     Facebook    Twitter  LinkedIn

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Encore: as an author are you a peacock, a mockingbird, or a hawk?

peacock spreading tail

All show and no substance?

As an author, think about this question.   Are you a peacock, a mockingbird, or a hawk?  You might be asking yourself what birds could possibly have to do with being a writer?   But let’s take a closer look at all three.  See if you can identify with some of these characteristics, because their are more similarities than you might imagine.   Bet you will be surprised.

Peacocks are pretty, to be sure.   Colorful, flamboyant, and decorative.   But even though they are showy, if you look closely at the feathers of their brilliantly, vibrant tail; there is not much substance there.    Peacocks fan out their tales to be noticed.   At first, it is impressive.  Then you realize that underneath all that show,  is nothing but air.    Is your writing all showy?   Are you writing darkness and gloom because of the popularity and success of Twilight or Amanda Hocking?   Are you running raggard to attend every literary event?  Facebooking and twittering all over social media without anything real to say?  Or are you writing what you are good at writing?  Great stories with substance.   Tales that have a beginning, middle, and end.   Characters that have depth.  Locations and plots that have been researched and carefully plotted out.    Good covers are great, but it is the quality of the pages inside that count and will make people come back for more.

Mockingbirds, on the other hand, never stop squawking.  They twitter, and tweet a variety of chirpy tunes.   Short, loud, bursts in every possible call song.  Never sticking to one, just repeating what ever else they have heard around them.   If you listen to them, it becomes apparent  they are trying to attract attention from every angle.    From anyone who will listen.  First this tune, and then that.   Frustrated and fragmented that no one is paying them heed.    So, they change tunes, mimicking some other melody.  Some new authors know they want to write, but can’t find their own voice.   They chirp from this to that, trying to find their niche.   Slow down.   Find your true voice.   Then, sing it to the rooftops joyfully as your own brand.   Your unique author platform.    And stick to it.

Hawk sizing up a mockingbird
Sizing up meaningful tweets and twitters.

Now, consider the hawk.   Eyes on the prize.    Quiet and still as he calculates just the right moment to seize and capture.    The hawk sizes up the situation, calculates the risks, and strikes to take action.    At first glance, he may appear to just blend in, but on careful inspection, you will notice this intricate, exsquisite patterns woven within his feathers.   All aligned and symmetrical in attractive patterns.   Breast full of sustance with dynamic, sharp looking wings.  Proud, confident, and sure of who he is,  no need for overt showy-ness.   The hawk takes his time, hons his skills, and strikes with near 100 percent accuracy when ready.    Isn’t this the writer we all want to be?    Savvy about the business, sharp in our craft,  eyes on the prize, confident and patient, but fearlessly ready to strike when the moment is just right.     On some days, you may feel as an author that you vasilate between all three.    But try to stay focused.   Educate and train yourself on the literary world.    When you are ready,  be a hawk!

This post was originally published in July 2012, but was so popular, it was brought back.   Favorite post of the year by stats. 

50 Shades of Shock Value: how much is too much for your novel?

When it comes to shock value,  that is nothing new.   Remember Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind?   The year was 1931.   This book was banned from many stores.   Why?  All because of its last line.   Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.   Spoken with aloof, rancor by none other than Rhett Butler.   Famously played by Clark Gable in the movie version.   We were heart broken for Scarlett and wanted to scream out at Rhett,  ‘you scoundrel.’   But it hooked the readers of the world.   The sheer audacity of using a curse word in print!   Thousands of copies with damn in black and white.   And would the producers dare to put in the movie?  Hell ya!   Are you kidding?    Just the controversy over that one word drove thousands to the theater.

What has transpired, however, is an escalation in that shock value.    In the 1950s it was rock and roll and Elvis‘s shaking pelvis.   The 60s?  Twiggy and her miniskirts.   The 70s, an entire new generation was revolting against the establishment, conventionalism, and the Vietnam war.   In the 80s, can you say Madonna?  Come on.  You know you had those leg warmers, permed hair and lace tops with jean jackets.    Her latest tour is mimicking the  overtones of 50 Shades.  She is an absolute master in shock value!   In the 90s we saw the introduction of gay characters on TV.   In the millenium, we saw them kissing.    The trend to shock has been embedded within our culture for decades.

Madonna carressed in the MDNA tour

Madonna still sells salciousness at its best.

The question becomes where do you draw the line?   Sadistic sex is nothing new.  It has been around since Egyptian times.   Its participants, just discreetly hidden in the dark recesses of culture.   Is 50 Shades that great of a book?   Is it well written?  There are those that would argue ‘No.’   Then you might be asking how?  How then did it reach the NY Times best sellers list and stay there for months, selling over 500,000 copies to date?The answer is simple.  Shock value.  For the first time, the lunching ladies of middle America were reading a salcious story about sadistic sex.    From one of their own.    Tabu was taken mainstream.   It was so shocking, they found themselves embarrassed while reading.  Yet, unable to stop.  How naughty would it get?   What was the outcome?    Not to pay the book more undue homage; but from a marketing standpoint, a writer salivates with envy.

The concern?  How far must one go?   How dark, and twisted must the shock value be to capture the attention of today’s society?   Remember, it isn’t all about shock value.  It is about a good story.    Nicholas Sparks is hugely successful.    His first book, The Notebook has now sold close to a million copies.   It is rated G.    Your grandmother could read and probably has read this story.    A good book is based on a great story, tightly written with well developed characters that generate emotion by what happens to them.

The message here?   Sure, shock value sells.  But don’t sell out the quality of your story just to outdo.  Quality is job one!

As an Author, are You a Peacock, a Mockingbird, or a Hawk?

showy peacock

All show and no substance?

As an author, think about this question.   Are you a peacock, a mockingbird, or a hawk?  You might be asking yourself what birds could possibly have to do with being a writer?   But let’s take a closer look at all three.  See if you can identify with some of these characteristics, because their are more similarities than you might imagine.   Bet you will be surprised.

Peacocks are pretty, to be sure.   Colorful, flamboyant, and decorative.   But even though they are showy, if you look closely at the feathers of their brilliantly, vibrant tail; there is not much substance there.    Peacocks fan out their tales to be noticed.   At first, it is impressive.  Then you realize that underneath all that show,  is nothing but air.    Is your writing all showy?   Are you writing darkness and gloom because of the popularity and success of Twilight or Amanda Hocking?   Are you running raggard to attend every literary event?  Facebooking and twittering all over social media without anything real to say?  Or are you writing what you are good at writing?  Great stories with substance.   Tales that have a beginning, middle, and end.   Characters that have depth.  Locations and plots that have been researched and carefully plotted out.    Good covers are great, but it is the quality of the pages inside that count and will make people come back for more.

Mockingbirds, on the other hand, never stop squawking.  They twitter, and tweet a variety of chirpy tunes.   Short, loud, bursts in every possible call song.  Never sticking to one, just repeating what ever else they have heard around them.   If you listen to them, it becomes apparent  they are trying to attract attention from every angle.    From anyone who will listen.  First this tune, and then that.   Frustrated and fragmented that no one is paying them heed.    So, they change tunes, mimicking some other melody.  Some new authors know they want to write, but can’t find their own voice.   They chirp from this to that, trying to find their niche.   Slow down.   Find your true voice.   Then, sing it to the rooftops joyfully as your own brand.   Your unique author platform.    And stick to it.

Hawk sizing up a mockingbird

Sizing up meaningful tweets and twitters.

Now, consider the hawk.   Eyes on the prize.    Quiet and still as he calculates just the right moment to seize and capture.    The hawk sizes up the situation, calculates the risks, and strikes to take action.    At first glance, he may appear to just blend in, but on careful inspection, you will notice this intricate, exsquisite patterns woven within his feathers.   All aligned and symmetrical in attractive patterns.   Breast full of sustance with dynamic, sharp looking wings.  Proud, confident, and sure of who he is,  no need for overt showy-ness.   The hawk takes his time, hons his skills, and strikes with near 100 percent accuracy when ready.    Isn’t this the writer we all want to be?    Savvy about the business, sharp in our craft,  eyes on the prize, confident and patient, but fearlessly ready to strike when the moment is just right.     On some days, you may feel as an author that you vasilate between all three.    But try to stay focused.   Educate and train yourself on the literary world.    When you are ready,  be a hawk!

What’s your movitation to write?

ImageOne of the things that some writers struggle with is writer’s block.   I guess, maybe I am one of the lucky ones; because for me, that just doesn’t seem to be an issue.   I believe that some instances of writer’s block is caused by pressure.    When you feel under pressure or under a dealine to produce something, anxiety is manifested.   Anxiety can make the brain hyperactive.  Synaptic connections, which are the electrical pathways and roadmaps for thoughts being processed in your brian, are definitely affected.  In fact, sometimes anxiety is so powerful, it blocks some connections completely.

Writing works best when it flows.   For me, blogging allows that creative expression to flow.   If I can’t talk to someone, at least I can write to someone.    That daily exercise keeps the words coming.   However, the expectation to produce, either a blog, or a newsletter, or other forms of social media can take over.   You can spend so much time on social media, that you ignore the whole reason you started writing; the creative expression of your literary works.

Balance and motivation are the key.  Balance the social media with short term goals for your writing.  If a project is overwhelming, chunk it up by splitting it into smaller parts.   Write the chapter you were dying to write first, then build the structure around it.   If you are going to write out of order, use a story board with sticky notes for the chapters to keep them straight.

Know what motivates you to write.  For me, it is purpose.   Each one of my stories has a purpose.  When I sit down to create them, I keep the purpose forefront.    My writing is a mission, a mission to change my life career.    I have short terms goals to get medical equipment for my son, as well as long term goals to be able to write full time and nurse part time.    My son has Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy.  His life is like sands in the hour glass.   Each day, we lose a little bit more.   So for me, living life to the fullest now is what motivates me to write.

Find your passion.   Balance demands on your time.  Free your mind and spirit and you wll be amazed at what begins to happen.   That was the process for my latest book, FLYING SOLO.   When I just let go, it happens.

I fired my editor! Adventures in a first release Part I

Image

Well, it is official.  I fired my editor.  Getting my first novel published has been an adventure.  Everyone wants to write a book, but do you know what the percentage is for those who actually do it?   According to popular survey from the New York Times, 81% of people believe that they have a book inside them, dying to get out.   In the same New York Times article,  Joseph Epstein goes on to disparagingly say, “Misjudging one’s ability to knock out a book can only be a serious and time-consuming mistake. Save the typing, save the trees, save the high tax on your own vanity. Don’t write that book, my advice is, don’t even think about it. Keep it inside you, where it belongs” (NYT, September 28, 2002).

I say bunk!  What an absolutely hideous, vain notion.  There are many creative writers out there waiting to be heard.  Many writers know that they will be able to paper their bathroom walls with rejection letters, until getting to that final YES!   It is that spirit that keeps the art of writing going.  I believe more in the philosophy of Toni Morrison who says, ““If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  In fact Booksinprint.com state that there were over 1.3 million books currently in print last year alone.

In fact, I would venture to say that the NYT article was written by one of the large publishing houses that know at this very moment, how their industry is being threatened by the emergence of the e-publishing and self publishing world.   In my own networking group alone, DFW Indie Publishers, our numbers grow each and every week.   That being said, self publishing takes some homework.

I personally hit a few snags in the road with editing.  I completed the manuscript, was pleased with the results and began to format.  Ugh.   What a nightmare.  Trim size, bleed, font size, dropped capitals or no.  Getting the forematter formatted.  Writing the story was easy.  Getting it to the final product for me however was hair-raising.  Not wanting to break the bank, through some networking, I got some cheap help from the professionals and made it to the galleys.  I was on the home stretch. Or so I thought.

When you read and re-read your material, your eyes play tricks on you.  You know the story so well, that sometimes you miss the most obvious errors.  Spell check is not 100% infallable!  Even doing the trick of reading it backwards, you oft miss a typo or two.   In my own case, I was so concerned about the interior that I missed two typos on the back cover text!  GAHHH!!!!  The first 150 copies were printed with them.

I wanted to find the nearest cave and hide.   That goodness it was mostly friends that had seen them.  That and one local fiction promotions group.  But the damage was done.  They still to this day don’t take me seriously as a writer.   I was gutted.   One hundred and eighty potential fiction readers would never see my work!   I wanted to cringe.

But, ever the survivor, I picked myself up, dusted off the muck and bucked it up.  I know I am a good writer.  My reviews belie that my story is worthy.   A page turning, character rich, piece!  I simply made a common mistake.   Getting so excited about the galleys for FLYING SOLO, that I did not give it a fine tooth comb with a professional edit.

So you know what?  I fired the editor.   Sat at the computer and re-worked the interior.  Reprinted with smashing success.   I finally had a finished worthy product to be seen by the critics.   And with only a few bumps and bruises to my ego along the way.   It was best to focus on the writing and leave the editing to the professional.

Yes, I fired the editor.   And the editor was me.