Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/10/2011

There’s No Such Thing as Easy in the Writing Biz!


Joanna Penn is one of my favorite mentors and I have learned a great deal of insight from her. Two days ago she had a guest post on her Creative Penn site by Grant McDuling titled “Write For A Living In Seven Easy Steps”

While reading this post, two things struck me right off…First, I thought, NOTHING is easy in the writing business world; unless it happens by accident, it seems!

And second, after Mr. McDuling lists his seven easy writing steps (which I respectfully disagree with as being easy and are much too broad and generic), he goes on to say (and rightfully so) that “Launching out on your own in business – any business – takes courage and a great deal of faith in your own abilitiesJohn’s Note: and here comes the kicker: But it also takes a whole lot more; money, discipline, dedication and even, some would say, madness. But there’s another absolutely important ingredient that no university, school or college teaches, and that’s ATTITUDE. You have to think of yourself as a businessperson and not a writer. You are a businessperson whose business happens to be making a profit – through selling words.”

All true enough. But even MORE true is Mr. McDuling’s statement about it taking a lot more than intimated in the seven easy steps…and included in this “more” is money, discipline, dedication and even, some would say, madness…The money part is especially true. 

I loved the post, though, because it got my juices going!

Write For A Living In 7 Easy Steps (from the Creative Penn):

This is a guest post from ghostwriter Grant McDuling. You can also listen to an audio interview with Grant on making 6 figures as a writer here.

As a full time writer, I get asked so many times by all sorts of people what it takes to give up the day job to become a full time writer. This was a question I too had pondered long and hard years ago.

You see, I had been dabbling in writing since a school boy back in the 1960s and always felt this inner urge or compulsion to write. But as time went on and I grew up, realizing this goal became harder and harder because I found myself going down a path I didn’t want but had to pursue because commitments came along that had to be tended to. Commitments like paying the rent, buying food, paying off a car, to mention but a few.

The road to becoming a full time writer seemed to be an impossible one to follow — until I couldn’t resist the urge any longer and decided to do something positive about it.

My experience in the business world convinced me that, if I was to be serious about it, I would have to treat writing just like any other business. I was going to have to set about developing a plan of action.

This I did, but mostly by relying on non-business-like behavior; a healthy dose of enthusiasm mixed with gut feel and a liberal sprinkling of trial and error got me to the point where I at least had a system to work with. And it was a system based on business lines.

This gave me the courage to take the proverbial plunge, and I have never looked back.

So what was my system?

In simple terms, it consisted of 7 basic steps:

(1) Take control of your own future. Here I am referring to assuming responsibility for your own future. And become accountable. Have a plan to get rid of debt. You can read more about this in my Kindle book Write for a Living in 7 Easy Steps

(2) Getting into the writing profession needs the right ATTITUDE. It’s about seeing yourself as a professional writer.

(3) Become a PRACTICING writer. Just like lawyers or doctors are in private practice, so too must you be. Understand and make use of the principle of leverage to achieve more with less. Syndication is a good example here.

(4) Concentrate on sales and marketing. Understand that, as a practicing writer, you should be spending around 50% of your time on sales and marketing.

Read and learn more

06/08/2010

Ghostwriting

Filed under: ghostwriting,Laura College,writing — gator1965 @ 3:54 pm


Ever thought about ghostwriting? It is a way to make some money and polish your skills. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are real professionals in this field with many years experience. BUT, I have read some awful stuff supposedly written by some minor celebrity, that in fact was written by a ghostwriter.

If awful ghosts can get into the game, why not some pretty good ghosts too?

Here is an insight into the ghostwriting arena by former ghostwriter, Laura College (pictured), who wrote this for Wordpreneur:

ED. NOTE: Want to be in the market as a ghostwriter? Here’s a piece that’ll help your prospective clients know what’s generally involved in working with one.

I am often asked how the ghostwriting process actually works. What comes first? How does the book progress? Do you have a specific schedule? Although I am only one ghostwriter, I would imagine that all of them work differently. However, for all of you out there who are considering hiring a ghostwriter, this is essentially how the process works.

The Ghostwriting Process Step #1: Consultation

Your ghostwriter should ask to speak with you on the phone to have an initial consultation. During this 15-20 minute conversation, he or she will ask you various questions about the manuscript. How long should it be? What is the subject or genre? Will there be any research involved? This consultation is meant to give the ghostwriter a basic understanding of what you are looking for.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you’d like during the consultation, but answer the ghostwriter’s questions as well. This should give you both a general idea of how well you will work with each other in the future.

The Ghostwriting Process Step #2: Agreement

Once you and your ghostwriter have talked about the proposed project, it is time to make the agreement. Most ghostwriters, myself included, have a standard contract that we use for each and every project. The only specifications are the price and the deadline, which you and your ghostwriter will have to negotiate.

A word to the wise, however: Most ghostwriters will not do much in the way of negotiation. The price is set by the ghostwriter’s experience and skills, and if you can’t afford to pay the asking price, you’re better off finding another writer. And as far as deadlines go, your ghostwriter will finish your manuscript as quickly as he or she possibly can. It is rare that we can pinpoint an exact date of completion.

Once you have solidified the terms, you should both sign the contract and keep a copy for your records.

The Ghostwriting Process Step #3: Research

Once the ghostwriting process has officially started, it will be time to compile all of the necessary research. This must either be provided by you (the client) or performed by the ghostwriter. You will typically pay a lower price if you are able to provide the bulk of the research to your ghostwriter.

Obviously, non-fiction ghostwriting will require substantially more research than fiction ghostwriting, though novels often require a fair bit of planning. If no research is required at all, skip ahead to the next step.

The Ghostwriting Process Step #4: Outline/Planning

Some ghostwriters (and writers in general) outline, while others don’t. I personally abhor the entire outlining process, and I never do it. If my clients offer me an outline from which to work, I won’t say no to it, but I’ve never been inclined to plan out my books in that fashion.

That said, however, planning in general is an integral part of the ghostwriting process. For example, if your ghostwriter is penning a fiction novel, he or she will want to know if you have any specifications with regard to:

•Plot Sequence
•Characters (i.e., names, physical descriptions, etc.)
•Setting (i.e., city or town, winter or summer, etc.)
•Pace
•Length
•Point of View (i.e., first person omniscient, third person, etc.)
•Tense
•Anything Else
Most ghostwriters will allow you to specify as much as you want about the novel. If you know exactly how Chapter One, Chapter Two and all of the rest of the chapters will progress, feel free to give those details to your ghostwriter.

The Ghostwriting Process Step #5: First Draft

Different ghostwriters handle the first draft in different ways. Some will write the entire first draft of the script with absolutely no input from their clients, then ask the client to review it when they are finished. Others, such as myself, will submit the first draft in small increments so that you can monitor the progress. If you have a preference, be sure to tell your ghostwriter.

Depending upon how your ghostwriter works, the first draft could take three weeks or it could take three months. Some first drafts might take up to a year with certain ghostwriters. I typically finish the first draft of a fiction manuscript within two months, then spend the subsequent month with revisions.

The Ghostwriting Process Step #6: Revisions

If your ghostwriter is worth his or her salt, free revisions will be included in the price of the manuscript. However, don’t expect to be afforded unlimited revisions. The standard is 3-5 revisions per chapter, as long as the revisions don’t significantly alter the course of the plot. For example, if your ghostwriter finishes the entire novel and you decide you want it to be set in New York City rather than San Diego, your ghostwriter is probably going to charge you for those changes.

The Ghostwriting Process Step #7: Final Draft
Once you have requested all of the revisions and made your peace with the manuscript, your ghostwriter will conduct a final read-through and make any grammatical or syntactical revisions. You will then be provided with the final draft (usually electronically, unless specified otherwise) and you can enjoy your manuscript!

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