Ghostwriting

1 Certain Ghostwriting Secret: Publishing Not Included

By Lee Barnathan / May 13, 2024
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Clients want publishing deals. I’ve recently had conversations with a client and a prospect. I ghostwrote the client’s manuscript, which she appreciated tremendously. Now, she’s trying to get it published and is finding it very difficult. She showed me how one publisher wanted $50,000 to edit, publish, and market her manuscript. “I can’t believe how…

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Ghostwriters Take Percentages at Their Peril

By Lee Barnathan / May 6, 2024
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I recently wrote about why ghostwriters don’t work on spec. It’s also true that ghostwriters don’t usually take a percentage of an author’s advance, sales or profits on the books they ghostwrite. Just like in my previous post, one reason comes down to money. Ghostwriters want to get paid. They want to guarantee the revenue.…

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Refining that 1 Foul First Draft

By Lee Barnathan / April 29, 2024
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As I recently wrote, all ghostwritten work has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is the first draft, that often ugly, messy, incomplete, error-ridden, Frankenstein’s monster of a draft. Ghostwriters must impress upon clients that the first draft is just that: a beginning. Then comes the shaping, molding, building, forming, forging, and producing the work…

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The Good, Bad, and Ugly of 1 First Draft

By Lee Barnathan / April 22, 2024
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Ghostwriting is one of the truest forms of collaboration there is. On one side, there’s the story expert: the person who has the compelling story that simply has to be told for whatever reasons the person wants to tell it (also known as the client). Joining that person is the storytelling expert, the ghostwriter, who…

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1 Reason Quality Ghostwriters Shun “on Spec” Work

By Lee Barnathan / April 15, 2024
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Recently, I turned down a potential ghostwriting client because he clearly didn’t have the money to pay me. He then asked me if he could pay me after the book sells. I responded, “No, I don’t work on spec.” That pretty much ended my conversation with him, but it made me realize that maybe not…

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2 Times a Good Ghostwriter Was a Therapist

By Lee Barnathan / April 8, 2024
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“I’m not a licensed therapist, but sometimes we must all act that way.” —Jodi Lipper, six-time New York Times bestselling ghostwriter I find these words, spoken during January 2024’s Gathering of the Ghosts conference in New York City, to be so true. Writing a book—with or without a ghostwriter—is a monumental undertaking. People who hire…

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1 Missed Chance to Ghostwrite a Story Better

By Lee Barnathan / April 1, 2024
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To ghostwrite is to have tact. Early in my ghostwriting career, I was not as tactful as I should have been with people I needed to interview to flesh out the story. This stemmed from my newspaper journalism days when I often strong-armed and aggressively got people to talk to me. This earned me several…

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2 Ghostwriting Stories of Why Defending Yourself is Worthwhile

By Lee Barnathan / March 25, 2024
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Ninth in an occasional series about stories and ideas that are worth a ghostwriter’s time. Ghostwriting about clearing one’s name and placing the blame on the correct person are two types of stories that interest large numbers of people, including ghostwriters. In movies, there’s Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man” from 1956, in which Henry Fonda…

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1 Interesting Ghostwriting Secret: Expertise Not Needed

By Lee Barnathan / March 18, 2024
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Recently, I took on a new ghostwriting client. A Pennsylvania-based personal injury lawyer hired me to ghostwrite some chapters into an already existing book about depositions. In our early conversations, I asked him if the writing will be technical and legal, since the target audience is attorneys. “No,” he said, “it needs to be written…

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Why 1 Excellent Marketing Book Mattered

By Lee Barnathan / March 11, 2024
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Eighth in an occasional series about stories and ideas worth telling. “It takes a complete recipe to make the best cakes,” Guy Powell wrote in the preface to his book The Post-COVID Marketing Machine: Prepare Your Team to Win. “If one ingredient fails, the cake will be a dud. Running a business is exactly like…

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