What a Ghostwriter Can Do for You
Do you ever have brilliant ideas for articles, books or a website, but never get around to doing anything about them? Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Trust and credibility are vital in creating consumer confidence. Being able to tell the world who you are, what you do and how you do it is the best kind of confidence-building free publicity?producing results rivaling those of standard advertising. But even if you could crank out passable copy yourself, most businesspeople should be spending their time doing what they do best?minding the store, not staring at blank sheets of paper!
If that's you, and your marketing plans include publishing books or articles, or enhancing your Web presence, an experienced professional ghostwriter can help you focus on your subject, organize your ideas, and then write persuasively to your target audience.
Or, if you've already written a book, article or webpage and think it's ready for the publisher or webmaster, think again! A professional copywriter's objective critique--complete with line edits and grammar, style and consistency checks--can spell the difference between acceptance and rejection.
What Does it Cost?
Ghostwriters' fees vary. Many charge by the hour; some by the word, still others are paid by the job. Rates may be negotiable, and dividing the charges into multiple payments is usually an option. Most ghostwriters ask clients to sign a contract, make a down payment (typically 50%) and charge a kill fee if the job is cancelled. Clients requesting in-depth consultations may be asked for a retainer. Though not refundable, retainers usually are applied to any project charges.
How Does it Work?
It all begins with a phone call or email inquiry to the ghostwriter or ghostwriters you've selected. From there, ghostwriters will typically interview you over the phone and by email (often for free). Let's say you want an article on "Designing Widgets"?the ghostwriter will need a detailed summary of your ideas to create a series of review drafts, which will go back and forth for your edits and eventually your approval. Ghostwriters will work closely with you until the job is done to your satisfaction. Once you've signed off on it, they can call their media contacts (or yours) to shop your article.
Whatever the job, however, talented, experienced ghostwriters know how to provide value to their clients. At the end of the day, the ideas are all yours and the finished product carries your byline. Articles with free-reprint rights are routinely published by ezines and websites, both of which can generate results, though you may prefer writing to a local readership.
Selecting a Ghostwriter - Talent, Versatility & Experience
Basically, you can choose from among three types of ghostwriters:
? Full-time professionals who know your industry may charge more, but can probably get off the ground more quickly, with less time spent getting up to speed on your subjects.
? Generalists with experience in different subjects may require more of your time upfront, depending on their learning curves, but they can usually produce the results you seek.
? Amateurs are often a popular choice, since using volunteers or college students who may have decent writing skills but lower compensation expectations are thought to be a money saver?but you usually get what you pay for.
In selecting a ghostwriter or copywriter, it's usually best to interview several candidates looking for someone versatile enough to use different styles and work with different topics and media. Ghostwriters can be found online (try a Google search, a job board like guru or elance), or through word-of-mouth. Ask someone who has used a ghostwriter for a recommendation, or contact local news outlets or professional journals for referrals. But no matter whom you chose, always get resumes and writing samples, and look for someone you're confident will do the best job for you.
No one can guarantee publication, but you can and should expect ghostwriters to produce words you'll proudly call your own. Bottom line: working with a pro gives you the best value for your marketing dollar.
It's a good investment in your business.
Bill Willard, President of Willard Associates, has over 30-years experience providing high-impact written communications to small-business owners and independent professionals. A Phi Beta Kappa and former managing editor, he lives in Clearwater, FL. firstname.lastname@example.org
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