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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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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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1 Frustrating Ghostwriting Secret: Hurry Up and Wait

By Lee Barnathan / February 12, 2024
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Before ghostwriting, I was a sportswriter, and one lesson I quickly learned was hurry up and wait. When I covered any college or professional game, there was a mandatory cooling-off period afterwards when the press had to wait before gaining access to the teams. This often extended to before the game, too. I remember covering…

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Why a Heart Defect was a Ghostwriter’s 1st Compelling Story

By Lee Barnathan / December 26, 2023
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Sixth and final (for now) of an occasional series about stories and ideas worth telling. A heart defect is not inherently compelling. As a ghostwriter, if someone pitched me to ghostwrite a story about a guy who overcame a heart defect, I’d first ask, “What else is there to the story?” and if there was…

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Why “The Impostors” is 1 Story Worth Ghostwriting

By Lee Barnathan / December 11, 2023
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Fourth in an occasional series about stories and ideas that are worth telling. Would you be interested in reading about that time a guy crashed an awards show and then was politely asked to guard the bathroom door so Elizabeth Taylor could have privacy? How about the time that same guy walked onto the Universal…

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Why Journalists Make Great Ghostwriters

By Lee Barnathan / September 18, 2023
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Nobody starts out wanting to be a ghostwriter. Something happens along the way that makes them want to pursue that vocation. For me, it came in stages.  First, I was a journalist. I wrote for two Los Angeles daily newspapers, in the sports departments, and I discovered a gift for getting people to open up…

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Ghostwriting a Marketing Plan Inside a Book Proposal

By Lee Barnathan / July 24, 2023
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When ghostwriting a book, I am sometimes asked to also write the book proposal. I remember the first time I was asked to do this. I had no idea, so I did my research. A book proposal is a plan to convince either an agent or a publisher that your manuscript should become a book.…

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“Clicking” With Your Ghostwriter

By Lee Barnathan / June 19, 2023
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I’ve written that partnering with a ghostwriter is great when your story is too important to leave to someone who isn’t professionally trained. It’s also extremely important to partner with a ghostwriter who gets you. Colloquially, I mean, hire a ghostwriter who clicks with you.  But what does “click with” mean? Historically, it’s from the…

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