10 New Year’s resolutions for writers in 2019

Welcome to a new year – 2019. It’s a time for fresh beginnings. If you are a writer, here are some New Year’s resolutions for you.

There is nothing special about New Year’s Day. It’s just the day we start counting over.

There is no reason why you can’t make resolutions to change your life today, tomorrow, next week or on June 17.

But, as we start to count over, many people take advantage of that event to also make over their lives. And why not? Any excuse to make ourselves better is a good excuse. [Read more…]

The 1 trait every ghostwriter needs

Just one thing separates a ghostwriter from other writers. Without this trait, you simply cannot ghostwrite.

A lot of writers get frustrated when their big dream doesn’t come true. Not every writer finds their beat writing fiction. Not every writer becomes a bestseller. Not every writer makes enough as an author to pay the bills.

So they turn to ghostwriting. [Read more…]

How to save money on ghostwriting

Want to save money on ghostwriting services? Here is your complete guide to getting the best bang for your buck.

There is no question that ghostwriting is expensive. It is a highly skilled, labor-intensive job. But there is a very wide range of pricing. I have known people to pay upwards of $50,000 to have a book ghostwritten. That is not good.

I have also known people to pay very, very little…but that is not good, either. [Read more…]

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…]

Freelance writers, this is your guide!

If you read only one book to boost your freelance writing career, you should read Start Here. You get the top tips from 40 successful freelance writers

Perhaps you are struggling to keep focused or stay organized. Perhaps you need more clients – or even the same number of clients, without working so hard to get them. Perhaps you need to overcome fear or inertia, or you need better marketing or ways to make more money from your freelance writing career. [Read more…]

Who hires a ghostwriter?

Everybody knows that some people hire ghostwriters. But it might surprise you to discover who some of those “some people” are.

This might seem an odd question – “Who hires a ghostwriter?” – and yet there do appear to be some popular misconceptions about who hires a ghostwriter. Most people have a vague idea of who works with them, but few people are really aware of how widespread their services are. [Read more…]

Six ways to get the most from your ghostwriter

You want to hire a ghostwriter.  You want to get the most out of her.  How can you make yourself that ideal client that gets the best from his ghostwriter?

When you hire a ghostwriter, you are hiring an extension of yourself.  No matter how good a ghostwriter might be, the final product will be a reflection of you and how you feed your ghostwriter.  The “perfect” ghostwriting client feeds the ghostwriter exactly what she needs to deliver exactly what you want.

This is your guide to feeding your ghostwriter, so that you get exactly what you want. [Read more…]

16 ways to drive a ghostwriter stark raving mad!

Have you ever asked yourself, “I wonder what’s the best way to torture a ghostwriter?”  If so, here are 16 handy ways to drive your ghostwriter stark raving bonkers.

Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients.  Many of them have been for small projects, such as writing or editing a press release.  Or writing a best-man, father-of-the-groom or maid-of-honor speech (I love writing those!).  But many have been for major projects, and when I say “major”, I generally mean writing a book or occasionally a screenplay. [Read more…]

Do you have a story to write?

There is a big difference between an idea and a story.  Do you have a story to write, or just an idea?

You’ve been hit by an inspiration and you want to write a book.  It could be fiction, or even non-fiction.  The story is running through your head and you want to write it down, but you don’t know where to start.  This writing-a-book thing is not as easy as it looks!

You need a professional to write your story – a ghostwriter. [Read more…]

Nine reasons to pay your writer

Some people just don’t like paying writers.  Here are nine good reasons to pay your writer, and to pay on time.

It’s as predictable as the spring, and much more frequent. Every couple weeks somebody asks me if one of our writers would be willing to work on spec, to arrange some sort of “partnership”, to accept payment as a percentage of royalties after their book gets published, or in some other way defer payment until a later date. [Read more…]

What is a ghostwriter?

Oddly enough, this is a question that seems to confuse a lot of people.  Just what is a ghostwriter?

People come to me seeking a ghostwriter, but they are not completely sure what one is. People come asking for a writer, but are not sure whether it is a ghostwriter they really want. What is the difference between a writer and a ghostwriter?

Well, a writer is someone who writes. In case you missed that definition, I explained it here. [Read more…]