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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Wed child loved by two mothers – Nov is National Adoption Month

Giving the greatest gift – life!

The subject of adoption brings up many connotations.   It is subject for some great stories, great characters, great reads and great movies.    Adoption is the greatest gift of love – the gift of life.   Being adopted, then having children of your own, you can relate to the incredibly difficult situation a birth mother experiences.    Or being the adopting mother or father, you understand the yearning to have a child.   The wait can be daunting.

That is why, AgeView Press would like to honor all birth mothers.   They are Belles of Steel.  They are true heros!    For you see, in today’s world, when they found they were pregnant. . . they had a choice.   Did you know that at eight days of life, a primitive heart begins to beat?  That’s right, all four chambers have begun to form.   Eight days.   Not eight weeks.   Eight days from the time of conception.   The pacemaker of the heart begins to beat and it continues to beat until that soul takes its last breath.    How can you argue that is not a life?

The birth mother had a fantasy shattered.   A relationship did not come to fruition.    Poverty intervened.    Or the timing just wasn’t right.    But a higher power was in control.  That soul created had a destiny.   A destiny to be born.    Strength was instilled within a birth mother who chose to honor life.    It wasn’t an easy choice.  It would be nine months of heartache.    It almost takes an emotional displacement, to love and care for what is within – yet distance one’s self in knowing that the choice to give their child up, is one of the most painful in life.

A heart-wrenching dichotomy occurs at the birth.   For the birth mother, it is an end.   The journey complete, time to start anew.   For the adoptive parents, the journey is just beginning.   A prayer answered.   The most precious gift now received.   It is an ending and a beginning.  The alpha and the omega, but maybe in reverse.

Both the birth mother and the adoptive mother will have to have tough skins.    Both will here how could you?    How could you give away your own flesh and blood?   How can you love a child that is not your own flesh and blood.    Simple.   Love is of a higher countenance.    Bestowed on those who open their hearts.    The new life is mourned by the birth mother, yet cherished by the adoptive mother.    The baby will grow up loving the woman who gave birth and the mother that cared and raised them throughout life.

One mother is not less than the other.    They will forever be a part of the child’s existence, whether known or not known.    The birth mother will never forget.    The adoptive mother will always remember.

If you or someone you know is considering adoption, talk it through with the experts.   They will be able to provide you with all the considerations.    Also, take the time to read some stories on adoption.     Stories that will highlight both sides of the issue.    One suggestion would be the 5 star rated novel, FLYING SOLO.    Set in 1960s New Orleans, it explores all aspects of adoption, love, and loss.    Don’t take my word for it, just read the 25 reviews on Amazon.

Two mothers, the one who gave and the one who recieved.

Two mothers, the one who gave and the one who recieved.

Bless all mothers considering adoption and those receiving and adopted child for the monumental decisions you are making in your life.  Both the giving and the receiving.  To read more about this journey from the adopted child’s perspective, try WAITING IN THE WINGS.

AgeView Press is proud to announce that Belles of Steel number 7 and number 8 are none other than the women who were brave enough to provide me with life and see that I was loved, birth mother Lenore Parks Woodham, RIP and receiving mother Edmee Hymel Baird.

 

Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press

When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

ostrich head in the sand

“Where, oh where are my royalties?”

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasaonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales descrepencies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.The author contacted Createspace customer support, who gave assurance that all sales were being accurately reported.   FLYING SOLO was now also on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select, as well as expanded distribution channels, which included Amazon affiliates in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.    Sales were being reported to the author from readers and bookclubs in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The first note of apparent discrepancy came when a dear friend of the author ordered three copies of the book from Amazon in June.    These books were ordered all at the same time, from Amazon.com direct.   Yet, that cluster of three sales was never posted as such.      Another instance in early July involved the same issue.    Again, a customer ordered three copies, yet no sales were trackable through Amazon’s channels for three sales purchased on the same day.

In the meantime, the author was making public appearnances, being featured on blogs and radio, and rounding with booksignings.   During the months of June and July, no expanded distribution channel sales were posted on the royalty report, yet customers were emailing the author letting her know how much the book was being enjoyed overseas.   More than 15 five star reviews for the novel were posted on Amazon.

What should have shown as a surge of sales, as the book peaked, never appeared on the royalty reports.   The author was suspect.   She contacted Ingram directly, only to be informed that they were not supposed to reveal information to an author directly.  So, the Indie publisher, AgeView Press made the call.    Ingram showed 16 copies of the book ordered through their system total since May.   Those sales never showed on the June or July royalty report.    The author filed formal complaints with Createspace customer service, but received only canned letters in response explaining  that indeed there was an issue with reports in Expanded Distribution and it was being investigated.   Advice to the author from Createspace?  Please be patient.

By August, it was clear there were gross inaccuracies.  The 30 copies ordered from Barnes and Noble never showed up.   Few, if any, sales were listed for August.    Yet. the author had confirmation of over 4,000 copies in distribution worldwide.    The crowning blow came in September.   A plan was devised.    A friend, agreed to help with the investigation.   She ordered a copy of FLYING SOLO on September 7th, taking screen shots of her order and confirmation of payment directly from Amazon.    She printed out her receipt showing date and time of purchase.   The book arrived on September 13, to San Jose, California.   Photos were taken.   The sale was complete.    Copies of all screenshots and receipts were scanned and sent to the author.    By September 20th,  no sales were shown at all on Createspaces report.    Phoning Createspace, the author was informed that no sales were showing for Amazon for the month for that title.    It was time for outrage!     What had been suspected, had now been proven.  Not once, but twice!

Time to climb up the foodchain.  After many phonecalls and emails to Createspace, a Senior customer service “executive” phoned personally and stated he would investigate.    Talk about a wacky result.    Due to the print on demand status of Createspace books, sometimes they are one or two books ahead.   Thus even though your book was printed in one month, but sold in another, a royalty might actually show up in the prior month for that sale.   What???

No one expects to get rich off of writing a book.    Few and far between experience the Oprah Bookclub golden orbs of success.    But how are authors to trust a system, happy to take their money for assisting to create and publish a book, which does not thoroughly, detail accurate sales?    Simply outrageous.   What options does that leave the Indie publishers?     How can they possibly track the success of their marketing efforts.   Is the publishing world doomed to be controlled by the big six?     Are small bookstores and Indie presses to be overrun by powerhouse chains which offer the Indie published writer no turf?

How can the press or the author be sure those sales are accurate with no detail?   Rise up Indie authors!    Repost this story!    Tweet it, facebook it.    Make it go viral.   Print it and send it to your local newspaper and the Associated Press.   This abject fraud is outrageous and MUST STOP!

John R. Clark, Managing Editor, AgeView Press

Facebook. . as an author your friend or foe?

Facebook logo in words

Friend or Foe?

This post may rattle some cages, but that’s okay.   Controversy oft makes for good journalism.   Facebook, the hugely successful, social media platform can be an author’s friend or foe.   There are many advantages to utilizing Facebook as an author.    Mainly, it gives you a free platform to post a fan page, a small Indie press page, even individual pages for your book.    Free is great.   Electronic exposure even better.   But you have to understand Facebook’s limitations.   Unlike Twitter, not everything you post is going to be available to all of your friends at the same time.    In fact, some of your “friends” may never see your posts at all.

Despite how public or private you make it, Facebook randomly determines which “friends” it thinks should see your material.   Example, you may have close to 500 friends or fans, but not all of your posts will populate their newsfeeds.    You can customize your newsfeeds, in order that your material is seen frequently by key people posted, but many folks on facebook do not take the time to choose these preferences.   The Harvard Business Review posted an interesting article on this fact.

Another drawback of Facebook is legitimacy.   Anyone can post almost anything on Facebook.   It’s validity, however, may not be guaranteed.   Prime example recently?   The Morgan Freeman death hoax.    Many received notice via Facebook newsfeeds that Morgan Freeman had died of an abdominal aortic anuerysm on Sept 6th.  Within minutes, like rampant wildfire,  Facebook and Twitter exploded with posts.  There even was a RIP Morgan Freeman page on which thousands posted memorials, retweeted, and reposted on Facebook.  Interestingly enough, despite Morgan Freeman’s publicists’ staunch and very public denials that he was alive and well, this rumor persisted for more than seven days!     Yet, no major news outlet was reporting the story.

Point?   Many people rely on Facebook as their official report of news.  They don’t bother to check out their sources before reposting like wildfire on the gossip grapevine.    Reliable news sources simply were not verified.   Folks were just keen to “share” the juicy gossip.   Thus, the danger of facebook.    Not one of these people who tweeted and fb’d bothered to check a real news source prior to hitting “share” or “like.”    The problem with that?   Rampant gossip without validation of fact.    Wendy Bauder, a columnist for the Independent Voice warns that frivolous facebookers will end up eating a lot of crow.

How does that harm you as an author?    Another case in point,  the Lend Ink debacle.   Lend Ink was a legitimate lending site.   But when a few fearful and uninformed facebookers grabbed hold  accusing them of piracy of their ebooks,  Lend Ink was dismanted within days.  Many were  guilty of not checking their facts.   As backfire, bloggers launched an counter assault.   Many authors as a result, negative reviews that cannot ever be removed were posted on author’s Amazon and Goodreads pages.

The same wildfire inflation occurs with mutual author “like” pages.    Authors go down a list and randomly “like” everyone’s Amazon, Facebook, and website pages.    As an author, you are working to establish your brand.  By randomly “liking” each book posted on these pages,  you are watering down your brand and word.    Be careful!!  Only “like” books which you are sure are well written.    Also, only “like” books which are in line with your brand.    A woman’s Christian fiction writer certainly wouldn’t want to be “liking” a sadistic slasher novel.   You get the idea.

The concern with all of this?    Superficiality.    Authors should indeed support authors.   As small Indie press authors, you could be at risk to water down the Indie press brand.    Only back quality!    But remember, first and foremost, your buying public are readers.

Make sure you are spending your time wisely on Facebook, doing what you can to research and find means to reach and grab the fleeting attention of your readers.    Book clubs,  genre specific events.    Unusual places to do book signings.   That is where your time would be well spent.   In the end, that genuine word of mouth pathway will make all the difference in the success of marketing your book.

Strength through adversity at 90 shines through in June Clark, Belle of Steel # 3

June Clark, age 90 and still perking along!

What would you do if you were widowed with eight children in 1979?   June Spitler Clark knows . . . find a way to survive.   June Clark was born as a child of the Great Depression in Tecumseh, Michigan on January 31, 1922.  In June of 1940, she married the love of her life, Jim, who became a dashing young pilot of the United States Army Air Corp.   Head over heels and ready for adventure, they embarked on a life of military service.

June was originally raised a Quaker, but then became Episcopalian.  She bore two sons under that religion.    She became a brave young pilot’s wife and boarded a ship to Japan with her two young sons.  The time was just post Hiroshima.   Countless lives lost from the bombing.  What a site it was to see the gorgeous country of Japan leveled.   She was called a round eye by the Asians, as she was one of the few Anglo women in that part of the world.   Despite the culture shock, June immersed herself in the traditions of this strange land, desperately trying to understand and relate to the differences during countless hours alone, while her husband flew missions.

They returned for a brief time to the United States and were at Spokane, Washington.   Her third son was born there.   But Jim’s overseas assignment then brought them to Guam.  During her travels as an expat with her pilot husband to these faraway lands, June was introduced to the concepts of Catholicism.  So distant from home, June began to embrace the staunch and solid beliefs of Catholicism, finding comfort in the rigors and rules of the faith.   She became a convert in 1956.   Dutifully following the Catholic traditions of natural family planning, June subsequently produced another five children,  two boys and three girls.  Interestingly enough, all of June’s children are have a middle name that is of an Air Force base.   She chose their first name and her military husband their middle names.

The family were then off to Spain.    It was exciting to be in Europe, but the first of several tragedies loomed to burst the bubble of her idyllic, exotic lifestyle.   In 1962,  one of her young daughters was stricken with spinal meningitis whilst being cared for by a Spanish maid.   In a matter of months, not only was the three year old’s life threatened, but her brain permanently damaged.   June’s previously healthy, beautiful, blonde, baby girl would live mentally retarded for life.  It knocked June to the core.    Could she?   Would she?  Ever forgive herself  for leaving her child with a caretaker?

Devastated, she turned to her faith;  resolutely determined to carry on for her other children.     By that time, her oldest became a Coast Guard communications expert.    Upon their return to the states, her second son, was sent off to Vietnam.   The 1970s were rife with unrest.    June experienced the horrors of the Vietnam conflict first hand, when she received her brilliant second son home as a shell-shocked, Vietnam vet,  suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.    Not only that, but her ill daughter was in a state of massive decline.   At the same time, her husband’s military service became illusive and secret, with him becoming part of the CIA and cold war conflict.   Again, her husband’s assignments took him away to foreign lands.

June was left to care for her severely crippled daughter by herself.    Jim was away much of the time.    June’s children were now mostly teenagers;  all trying to find their way during the turbulent 1970s.    The burden of the care became too much, and her daughter had to be institutionalized.   One would think that life had brought her enough tribulation to endure.  But there were two more tragedies hidden in the wings.

In November, 1979, June’s young adult son was killed in a flying accident while joy riding in a small plane.   Her husband flew home from his distant and clandestine overseas assignment.   The family was photographed, symbolically as one, planting a tree in the young man’s name.   But there was more sadness to come.   Just one month later, June became widowed on December 14, 1979 when Colonel Jim Clark was fatally wounded in a terrorist attack while on duty as a government contract engineer in Istanbul, Turkey.   It was almost more than she could bear.    Abject and lost, it nearly did her in.   Christmas presents remained untouched.    A dark depression loomed.

She relied on the strength and fortitude of her third son, who was devoted to his faith within the Catholic church.   John and the rest of her children became her rock.   Her only source of survival.  She cottoned onto John’s mature strength of character as he navigated the complications of a CIA agent being murdered overseas.    Not willing to succumb to life’s devasting blows, June turned to inward to her talents.   At the encouragement of John, June enrolled in university and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education.   By rekindling her cognition, she overcame her desperate grief.

Unfortunately, there was one more funeral in which she had to attend in 1983.  The demise of her brain-stricken daughter.     Bittersweet relief was realized.   June wrote a poem, entitled Tiny Tita about how her daughter, who once loved to dance, now finally could in heaven.   Her child’s pain was over.Yet again, June turned to her faith.    The power of prayer got her through.

Donw the lane book

Published at age 80!

By this time, her children were grown adults, navigating their own trials and tribulations.   June continued with her art and creativity.  In the early years of the millenium, around 2000, June wrote and published a book.  Down the Lane is about her childhood, describing the Great Lakes legend of the Ogo Pogo.   That book is still in publication today.  June’s large family has grown.  She is now is the grandmother of  10, great grandmother to 11, and has one great-great grandchild on the way.  Just this month, at age 90, June was the featured author at Benbrook Library, doing a special reading to children on her book.   She still attends Catholic mass each week at St. Peter’s in Fort Worth with one of her children in attendance.

For her strength and fortitude; sheer determination and courage. . . AgeView Press names June Elizabeth Clark as Belle of Steel number three.    To read about Belles of Steel number one and two, click the link Belles of Steel in the category margin to the left.

Humility and the high road for Indie Authors

FLYING SOLO in the window at Barnes and NobleShock and disbelief are the two verbs that resonate related to the “angry mob mentality” that has characterized the recent LendInk debacle.   It illustrates how the exponential power on the internet placed into the hands of a crazed set can be turned spiteful.   Two bloggers,  one an Indie author herself,  recently blamed the dismanting of LendInk, a questionable book lending agency, on Indie Authors.   Soley, on Indie Authors.   Yet, many of the authors who complained about the fact that they were not informed of about their books being lent on this site were in fact published in the traditional fashion.

Myths and mayhem ensued;   including libelous comments and infantile name calling.    The community of authors, whether self published, Indie published (and there is a difference) or traditionally published should ignore this blatant, angry rant.   Unfortunately, when the livlihood of their sales is threatened, as is in the recent blog post by A.B.DADA that is hard to do.

Any author knows the painstaking work they applied to their material.   Their book is their baby.  Cherished and held in a hopeful regard that a reader will find it interesting.   How cruel, for a few bloggers to slam and threaten Indie authors as a whole by posting on their blogs how they intend to post bad reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, put pictures of writers books on their blogs and recommend not to buy them.   There have already been such postings.

Here is my attempt to take the high road.    All the facts need to be on the table.   Authors were crying out to the owner and manager of LendInk and other such sites to come clean about their business practices, inform authors how they were able to obtain the books.   Some bloggers quoted the FAQ section of Amazon Kindle (KDP) Select and Amazon Prime.     These electronic sections give very little explanation to exactly what is considered a “lend.”    Is a “lend” from one KDP user to the next?  A one time thing?

It appears for many authors, me included, that was our understanding.   If misinformed, we quickly got the facts.    When royalties are so scant on ebook formats, sure the hair is raised on any author’s back when hearing about a site possibly lending books without permission.    Most were horrified.    Despite the valiant efforts of some bloggers to explain the “lend” phenomenon, it is still not clear.

What is clear, is that  higher road must be taken.   I sincerely apologize if I was misinformed.   What I sought was answers.  Concrete explanations from the owners of these sites.    If I was wrong, I am the first to admit it.    Do Indie authors as a group deserve to labeled an angry mob?   “Ax wielding, #ssholes?”   A resounding “NO!”    Just FYI, slander is of the spoken word in a public forum,  libel is degradation in a written domain.     Blogs that have slammed and childishly called Indie authors by name degrading adjectives are committing libel.

Stop.  Just stop.   Let’s work together as a cohesive and worthy force.   For none other reason than to bring together delight in a reader’s eyes at your written word.    Take a deep breath.   Pause.   Hug a fellow writer.    Let’s better understand copyright, and lending policies.   There are some good people and great writer’s out there.