In one of the writers' groups I frequent, a newly self-published author (Author #1) complained another group member, aka Author #2, left her a negative, 1-star review out of spite as well as gave her own book a 5-star review. The negative review makes clear that Author #2 did not read Author #1's book.
The original post hit several points of author etiquette:
However, I was intrigued, especially after someone else commented that the spiteful review did indeed have some merit. I looked up the book and used Amazon's "Look Inside" feature to judge for myself. My impression wasn't favorable. I responded to that person who commented earlier.
Author #1 took exception to my comment. The exchange went downhill from there.
Perhaps I was wrong in responding as I did and broke my own rules for author etiquette. However, I do think Author #1 was being unnecessarily sensitive and failed to read for comprehension. She simply reacted to a critical opinion of her book.
The thing is, when you post something in a public forum, then anyone may respond and say whatever he or she wants. It's not their responsibility to ensure you like it or that it doesn't offend you. When an author receives feedback that, yes, there is some merit to that spiteful review lambasting the book for banal writing and poor punctuation and grammar, then it behooves that author to politely request assistance and ask for examples to show him or her how the content could be improved. That may range from a corrected sentence or two (e.g., for copy editing) to a full sample edit of up to 1,000 words (e.g., line editing). Author #1 didn't ask for examples; she went on the offensive.
(At the time of writing this blog, Author #1 hasn't responded to my last comment. I doubt she will.)
Oh, well, even if Author #1 had asked me to edit her next manuscript, I would politely decline the opportunity. This is the type of author who cannot endure even the mildest of criticism. She'd be a truly difficult client, and I don't work with difficult clients.
I welcome criticism of my books. I may not agree with a reader's point, but I will consider it when writing the next book. Criticism offers insight into reader expectations, likes, and dislikes. It's valuable. I also learned the hard way not to respond to reviews.
Sometimes, observing author etiquette is easier said than done.
I spent this afternoon updating my portfolio. I dislike this tedious work, checking every link again, removing projects that no longer appear to exist, and adding projects (with links where possible). Afternoons like this are necessary, because having up-to-date information is crucial when I direct prospective clients to my website to review my portfolio. It sends a negative message when someone goes to my website and discovers a bunch of broken links. That prevents the person from reviewing my work.
For a freelance writer, writing samples are absolutely necessary.
Before potential clients want to hire a freelance editor, they want to see the work the editor has done.
If you happen to be visiting my website and come across a nonfunctioning link, please do send me a message to let me know. I'll fix it. Or I'll delete that project reference.
In other news ...
My latest book, Knight of the Twin Moons, has been published. It's available in both e-book and paperback formats here: https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Twin-Moons-Passionate-Fated-Mates-ebook/dp/B0B5F96NTW.
The story returns to the world established in the Twin Moons Saga. Readers will find some commonalities among the books: a powerful and deadly hero, a heroine in need of rescue, a fish-out-of-water story in which the heroine must adapt to a new world and learn the rules on the fly.
The hero, Ishjarta Ornstal, is loosely modeled on legends of the medieval black knight. He's really the only true mercenary fae warrior in that realm. He's mysterious, a bit like the Joe Pike character created by author Robert Crais. Ishjarta, however, isn't human and his motivations aren't necessarily comprehensible to mere humans. He is, however, devoted to his mate and tolerates no insult against her.
The completeness of that devotion to Cassandra is his undoing, because the villain takes advantage of it. The villain commands Ishjarta's compliance in his evil schemes, because noncompliance will result in harm to Cassandra. Cassandra, having recently been human, uses very human stubbornness and ingenuity and science to win victory in a world saturated with magic. The blending of science with magic has truly impressive results.
Cassandra, even transformed from human to fae, remains very human in her thoughts and feelings and attitude. She's practical, applying that pragmatism to the impossible in order to cope with irrevocable changes. As anyone who's undergone trauma knows, there's no turning back time. One can only move forward. She does so, making the best she can of her new circumstances.
The book is slowly receiving reviews and/or ratings. Read it for yourself and let me know what you think.
What's next ...
I'm working on two sequels. The first is a sequel to Russian Pride and tentatively titled Russian Revival. This story features Ciro, introduced in Russian Pride, and a new character, Evelina, a cousin to Inessa (also introduced in Russian Pride).
The second is a sequel to Triple Burn. Creepy Mr. Argosie returns and sends another unsuspecting job candidate to a distant planet, Ahn’hudin. Government-sponsored human trafficking continues, exchanging human brides for technology in this case. I promise this story will end in a satsifactory HEA.
If I get lucky, I'll release a second book by the end of this year. It's good to be productive again.
It's been said that everyone has a story inside him (or her), but not everyone has the time, skill, or inclination to write it. It's also been observed that many people want to have written a book, but few actually want to write a book.
The solution to both circumstances is to hire a ghostwriter.
Where can I find a ghostwriter?
Ghostwriters operate in behind the scenes, so finding one may take a little digging. They come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and backgrounds. Many stay busy through referral: happy clients refer them to new clients. Others rely on inbound marketing and proposals. Still others lurk on freelance platforms and pounce on projects as they come up for bid. Some use a combination of all three tactics. However, that doesn't answer the question, does it?
Start with an internet search (Google, Yahoo, etc.) for freelance writers and ghostwriters. You can find ghostwriters on just about any freelance platform, from All Freelance Writing to Write Jobs. You can even find ghostwriters through Facebook and LinkedIn and even Craigslist. Some services like Gotham Ghostwriters cater to top of the market, others like Fiverr and Upwork to low-bid vendors. I shouldn't need to say this, but I will: low-bid vendors deliver low quality work.
What does a ghostwriter do?
A ghostwriter writes for you. This effort may entail extensive interviews with the author and other select individuals whose contributions are needed to complete the story. It may require literature research. The work may include working with the client to develop an outline, a book proposal, a query letter, and/or a synopsis. Some ghostwriters offer limited rounds of revision, and some offer editing of the manuscripts they produce. The contract between the client and ghostwriter should describe the scope of work. Anything beyond the scope of work commands additional compensation.
How much does a ghostwriter charge?
How much the writer charges often depends upon the material to be written. Will it require full-time attention? Will it require travel? Research? Interviews? Does the client require a specific deadline for completion? A certain number of revisions? Other documents, such as the aforementioned query letter, proposal, etc.? A good guide to professional rates for writing (and editing) is posted by the Editorial Freelancers Association: www.efa.org/rates. According to Reddit communities, the minimum rate for writing projects is 5 cents per word, a rate many new writers just starting their careers are happy to accept.
How can I keep people from knowing a ghostwriter wrote my book?
Ghostwriting has a long and illustrious history. Scribes wrote for Egyptian royalty centuries before Julius Caesar was born. Besides that, people seeking a book to read won't do digging for information on who really wrote it. They accept the author as the author. The ghostwriter, however, does need to retain the right to claim the project in his or her resume and portfolio. After all, you want to see evidence of the ghostwriter's previous work, don't you? Well, once the project is completed, other clients will want to see the ghostwriter's previou work. Fair's fair.
Isn't ghostwriting cheating?
In short, no. Your life story or story idea isn't something the ghostwriter would have written on his or her own. It's unique to the client. Think of is this way: You may have an idea for a house, but the architect creates the blueprints that guide the contractors who build it. The architect and contractors both refer to the project in their portfolio, but neither claims ownership of the house. It's the same with ghostwriting.
How long does ghostwriting take?
There's no answer for this, except to say that larger projects take longer than smaller projects. The ghostwriter controls his or her own time and effort, but cannot control the client's. Therefore, completion depends mainly on the client. Especially with ghostwriters serving multiple clients, it's best not to expect the ghostwriter to devote full-time effort to your project. Other clients have a legitimate claim to the ghostwriter's service as well, so demanding an unreasonably high word count in an unreasonably short amount of time will get you nowhere. Ask the ghostwriter for an estimated production rate and be prepared to accept both more and less, depending on your efficiency and changing circumstances within the writer's life.
Why else should I hire a ghostwriter?
Perhaps your company needs to produce a blog. Or you need someone on call to write proposals. Or maybe you want to produce a small book to serve as marketing collateral or a lead magnet. Or you have a story to tell and the thought of writing a book seems overwhelming. Perhaps you write well, but lack that creative spark to bring the story to life and make it engaging. Ghostwriters tackle all sorts of content needs for individual persons as well as corporations. They relieve executives and administrative staff of the burden of producing content they have not the time, skill, or inclination to write.
What does Hen House Publishing offer?
Hen House Publishing offers over 30 years of professional writing experience encompassing fiction and nonfiction and spanning diverse business interests, topics, genres, and document types. Rates vary based on project length and complexity as well as the scope of service required by the client. Hen House Publishing promises that all referenced and quoted material will be properly cited and/or hyperlinked to their sources: we don't plagiarize.
You have a story inside you. Let's bring it to life.