Nearly five years ago, I embarked upon a full-time career as a freelance writer and editor. At that time, I took just about any project that came my way. Since then, I’ve learned what I prefer to do, what I’ll do even if it doesn’t really strike my fancy, and what I won’t do. Basically, I’ve been refining my preferences for work.
This process is important, because it enables me to focus with laser precision on those gigs that will get the best of my work. I always do my best, but sometimes my best isn’t exactly wonderful. For instance, there’s a reason I don’t do technical writing or medical writing. Those niches are far too specialized for someone of my generalist tendencies and experience.
I’ve discovered that I enjoy blog and article writing, but not necessarily about any topic. I haven’t the depth of expertise in some topics, like finance and law, to write in-depth articles targeted toward experts. My work in such fields is better directed toward novices in those topics. When writing about unfamiliar topics, however, I do enjoy the research necessary to learn about them and to write with intelligence upon the subject. My past work for the World Library Foundation‘s monthly newsletter indulged that pleasure. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the newsletter’s editor and primary writer for the duration of the publication’s short existence. If I see another such opportunity come up, you can bet that I’ll jump on it!
My particular expertise, I believe, lies in fiction. I’m a storyteller at heart. How did I get my pen name? Well, there’s a story behind that. How did I come up with the name for my business? Well, there’s a story behind that. You get the picture. Fiction makes my heart go pitter-patter. Sometimes it requires a bit of research to ensure that details are realistic. After all, if a reader must trust the storyteller to get the easily verified facts correct before he’ll hop on the ride into the improbable or impossible.
There’s a telling disconnection between most potential clients who want to hire ghostwriters to write their fiction and the time, skill, and effort required to produce well-written content. Most ghostwriters don’t come up with the ideas for their clients’ projects: they develop their clients’ ideas. Sometimes, the client offers a few details and leaves it to the ghostwriter to work them into a story–basically to devise the story premise and go from there. Ghostwriters also–generally–don’t provide document formatting or cover art. They’re writers, not graphic designers.
Ideas are easy. They’re plentiful. We pluck them from the air. Developing those ideas takes effort, skill, and time. It may require detailed outlines and character descriptions to guide the ghostwriter. It may entail regular meetings with the client to discuss the project and keep it moving forward. That’s where the cost of ghostwriting often surprises people. Many also don’t realize that producing a well-written manuscript involves review, editing, and revision. It’s not a one-and-done process. Review, editing, and revision usually require the client’s involvement and it all takes time.
Individuals who have only a dim understanding of ghostwriting or who simply don’t value the work, express dismay when confronted with the fees commanded by professional ghostwriters. A biography of approximately 50,000 words may easily command a total fee of $35,000 or more for ghostwriting. That’s a lot of money that doesn’t include document formatting or cover art.
I specialize in fiction which commands lower rates than nonfiction. That doesn’t–and shouldn’t–mean it’s cheap. But that is where skill, value, and personal interest intersect. If you’ve got a story you want written, look me up. I’d love to talk with you.