Ghostwriting and folding egg whites in batter: a tale of two Julia Childs

How do you blend the idealist writer in you with pragmatic demands of  ghostwriting? Kristin Johnson draws inspiration from none other than Julia Child.

In ghostwriting, how do you blend your own ability and insights with your client’s story and voice? You could learn from America’s greatest ghostwriter, who has a hit musical named after him.

Also, you can learn from Julia Child (we’ve already discussed in this post on how Joan Rivers can help you become a better writer), and from the movie “Julie/Julia,” starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. [Read more…]

What’s it like to be a ghostwriter?

Do you wonder what it’s like to be a ghostwriter? In this post, we spill the beans.

I’ve seen this question from time to time in forums and social media groups, so I would like to provide a complete answer: What’s it like to be a ghostwriter?

The short answer is that being a ghostwriter is many things.

I’ll assume you already have some idea what it’s like to be a writer, and most likely you already write. So I won’t cover that off.  Rather, I’ll compare what it’s like to be a ghostwriter with what it’s like writing for yourself. [Read more…]

Authors, sell your rights

As an author, you have more rights than you might think. Get more out of your writing; sell your rights.

Most authors don’t think too much about their rights. They think about copyright, for sure. They often mail themselves a copy of their manuscript, making sure that the date of mailing is very clearly displayed in the cancellation, as proof of copyright.

Most authors also register their work with their national copyright registry. Many authors even believe that registering their work grants them copyright. It doesn’t; registration is just registration. Copyright is created when pen hits paper or fingertips hit keyboard.

But once the work is complete, there are many additional rights that you own and might be very valuable to sell. [Read more…]

The difference between authors and writers

What is the difference between a writer and an author? Well…it’s complicated.

Running a ghostwriting agency, I get this question all the time. “What is the difference between a writer and an author?” It is an important distinction to be made on a practical level, if for no other reason because our ghostwriting contracts sometimes make the distinction. [Read more…]

Ghostwriter contracts 101

So you want to hire a ghostwriter? Here is what you should find in a ghostwriter contract.

Your search for a ghostwriter is complete. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. What comes first? The contract, of course. Make sure that the contract covers everything important. Better than reading a sample ghostwriting contract, here is a quick guide of what to watch for in a ghostwriting contract. [Read more…]

The mega list of careers for writers

Who knew there were so many career paths for a writer to take? Here are 37 of them.

What image comes to mind when you hear the word “writer”?

Some people immediately think of a novelist, perhaps locked away in solitude working on his masterpiece like Hemingway or like “Alex Rover” in Nim’s Island.

Some people think right away of bloggers coming up with some new angle in their chosen niche each day.

Others might think of an intrepid journalist, writing news or sports or entertainment stories for the masses. [Read more…]

8 Must-Have Items to Pack for a Writers Conference

Kristin is off to the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and – ooh, look what she’s packing!

It’s that time of year. To quote Alice Cooper, “School’s out forever.” Unless you happen to be packing your bags for the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, as I am. [Read more…]

Writers, authors, bloggers – beware these health risks

A writing career is fraught with peril.  Here is your complete guide to writer health risks and remedies, with real-life examples and links to scientific sources.

Everybody knows the health risks involved in being a fireman – smoke inhalation, burning to death, and being forced to pose for a beefcake calendar. [Read more…]

New Nigerian scam targets writers

A new Nigerian scam targets writers. Here is how to recognize it, even if they say they’re from Ghana. Or Vietnam. Or Finland.

If you get an email from Nigeria, it’s a scam, right?  Not necessarily.  Nigeria is a big country – 173 million people, most of them real and honest.  And the “Nigerian scam” is so famous by now, that anybody trying to pull a scam would make sure NOT to say they are from Nigeria, right? [Read more…]

Confessions of a political ghostwriter

Most of what politicians say or write are their own thoughts to a large degree.  But that doesn’t mean they write their own words.

Have you ever wondered how politicians can be everywhere and do everything all at once?  If there is an official opening or a community barbecue, there they are!

When the legislature is in session and there’s a vote or a debate, there they are!

When Committees hold hearings or debate legislation, there they are!

When a local business or community group wants a meeting.  When a constituent has a problem with a government department.  When a national association does the rounds of legislators…there they are!

And yet they respond to dozens or hundreds of letters every day, send out bulletins to their constituents and make speeches.

They can’t be everywhere at the same time, or can they? [Read more…]