Ghostwriting Services – The Article and the Clients I Work With **Originally Published October 2012
Update: November 27, 2011, October 3, 2012, January 6, 2015, March 1, 2017, December 31, 2017, December 1, 2019 & July 10, 2020
When I first started ghostwriting, an author would solicit my help after reading a message on a message board or a post on current social media site. Or, they would meet me in person for the first time when I’m promoting one of the novels written under a pseudonym or an author I support. They see the books and ask, either jokingly or seriously, if I can write their book for them. At first, I used to be offended because at that time, I didn’t know that people did that—write books for other people. Out of ignorance, I’ve said no quite a few times. Then I would think about all the help I’ve given others who now have their books in print. A few times, I’ve written and revised several chapters of quite a few National Bestselling books for little or nothing. Then, one of my mentor authors schooled me on how ghostwriting worked and once I understood what was at stake, I’ve learned to answer the question with a “yes, I WILL help you write your book.”
As an author who has written over forty books under six names, my reading and writing range is quite diverse—and these are just for the projects that I can LEGALLY say are mine. As a GHOSTwriter, I’m paid for my silence so I can’t disclose every project I’ve ever done. My range goes from self-help books, to autobiographies to several categories of fiction works.
Sometimes, I find that people seeking my services or advice on what to obtain when they are getting a ghostwriter often do not know what they are getting into. Likewise, some of my fellow writers who also ghostwrite often don’t list their expectations publicly because some choose to only offer this service to A-D list celebrities, major political figures, university professors, bestselling authors or wealthy clients. Usually, it is thought that these clients paid exceptionally well, had more at stake, and that the major publishing house or production company would ensure that the ghostwriter was taken care of. I tell you from personal experience, that is not the case. Not every celebrity is rich and we run into personal conflicts in regards to whether or not we, as ghostwriters, want to help a client further their platform.
These days, while I am more selective about the projects I will and won’t accept, I am still, more accessible. Almost ten years after writing this original article/expectation list, I find that this is still the best platform to state what I’m looking for.
– I expect that once a contract is signed, that all parts of the contract are fulfilled by the client and myself. I work diligently to honor the contract on my end and the expectation is that the client will do the same.
– ALL CONTRACTS AND CONTRACT MODIFICATIONS MUST BE IN WRITING–NO EXCEPTIONS
– IF YOU CAN’T FULFILL THE CONTRACT — DON’T SIGN IT!!! Lately, it has become a huge pain and inconvenience for me to have to chase down clients who acquire services, pay a deposit and then don’t fulfill the obligations once the work has been started and/or completed. When I and other ghostwriters put forth the time and effort to work on your project, we are sacrificing time that could be spent with families, friends and (gasp!) other literary projects. It has become burdensome and a huge headache for not only myself, but other ghostwriters when we have to hire lawyers, collection agencies to get what is ours–not to mention the double duty we have of protecting our names and businesses–on top of fulfilling whatever literary obligations (be they ghost or not) that we have outside of the disputed project.
– READ YOUR CONTRACTS – If you don’t agree to the terms–don’t sign it (see statement above). If you default on the contract, I (and most ghostwriters) have clauses that allow me to not only use material I create in any future publication as I see fit, but can allow me to seek damages if I find unpaid material in works I don’t authorize. THE WORK DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU UNTIL YOU MAKE THE FINAL PAYMENT!!! No final payment and agreement that the work is complete means that the work IS NOT authorized for use.
– If I’m your CO-WRITER, that means you writing your portion of the book, if you haven’t already. YOU CAN NOT ASK ME TO BE YOUR CO-WRITER AND THEN EXPECT ME TO WRITE YOUR WHOLE BOOK!!! If that is the case, we need to modify the contract and payment terms. If our contract dictates that I write the whole book or sell you something I may have “lying around”, then I will do so. It’s okay to ask me to write the whole book once I get started–I don’t mind–but the contract and payment needs to be changed.
– I, like most ghostwriters I know, charge more to write your whole book than to be your collaborator. Payments can range from flat fees to an advance, a portion of the royalties and a portion of any subsidiary rights. Think about that before you approach me or any other professional to ghostwrite your book. I always encourage potential clients to try to write a portion of the book first so that they know what they want. My services are more affordable when I am a collaborator on the project.
– If I am your co-writer, please submit as much material as possible for the project you are asking me to co-write. If you want me to co-write the book with you in “real time” state that upfront. We can only create a project based on what you provide. I can only research what is accessible. If you withhold information, then legally, you can become liable if the book is challenged in court.
– In all of my contracts, I specify payment terms—please honor those. I devote a lot of time to not only writing the book, but researching characters, settings and verifying the accuracy of details in books I contribute to. This is time spent away from my family, my own literary projects and other clients. Lack of fulfillment of payment terms is one of the ultimate levels of disrespect and I have the right according to my contracts to use work I’ve created that has not been properly paid for any publication I see fit.
– Do not disclose my participation in your project to others without my permission. The literary world is actually smaller than a major Historically Black College University campus and word gets around fast. Some projects do not mesh well with the two genres I’m primarily known for writing—young adult fiction and Christian fiction. I value my brands so please respect that.
– We will disagree—that is to be expected because I don’t know of too many projects where a ghostwriter and a client haven’t had a disagreement or two. Ultimately, I will respect and honor a client’s position, but I will not tolerate disrespect from a client under any circumstance. I may work for the client, but I serve one Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ and that spot in my heart that belongs to God cannot and will not go to anyone else and can’t be bought.
AM I THE GHOST FOR YOU – GENRES I WRITE/WON’T WRITE (Updated July 10, 2020)
If I haven’t scared you off with my expectations, then chances are, I may be the right ghost for you. I have been told by previous clients that I’m thorough, have a fast turnaround time and that I am very professional. I have had great relationships with about 95% of the clients and former clients I have served. If we have our initial conversation and you don’t feel that I’m the ghost for you—that’s okay, I can take it. I may even direct you to someone else who can help you. I do have a preference for the following genres and I have a list of genres I no longer participate in.
I PREFER NONFICTION PROJECTS – I am a researcher and educator at heart and I enjoy learning about different things and people. These projects take time, but usually, it is time and money well spent when the client gains exposure because of the books that have been produced.
I also like to write MAINSTREAM FICTION and YOUNG ADULT NOVELS for the multicultural audience—these books I prefer to collaborate with the author whose name appears on the cover, but I also can produce a book based on the author(s)’ outline and notes. I am open to using the Jarold Imes or Solomon Waterwine name as co-author of the books.
CHRISTIAN FICTION and NONFICTION books are a strong interest of mine as well. I love Jesus Christ and glorifying His name is the main reason I’m here.
I’m honest about being an EROTIC writer and have never turned down a project on the sole basis that it was EROTICA—I’m actually good at writing erotic scenes, but it is not something I do often so if I turn down the project, please don’t take it personal.
I HAVE RESTRICTIONS/EXCEPTIONS FOR THE FOLLOWING:
SUSPENSE, THRILLERS and ACTION are also of interest but in limited quantities. While I can handle these genres solo, WOMEN’S LIT usually works best if I’m a collaborator or part of a team, but I can handle a whole project upon request. At this time, it is my preference to work with promising aspiring authors whom I can mentor. I am not opposed to working with social media socialites, but only those who are interested in developing a series. My company will limit the number of authors our services in this genre are provided to.
ROMANCE is one of my favorite genres to read. I can work solo or with a collaborator. I enjoy historical fiction and want to explore topics not currently receiving exposure. Due to my work with an established client, I am limited to the amount of work I can take in this genre at this time.
SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY/HORROR – Will be considered on a case by case basis.
I WON’T WRITE THE FOLLOWING:
ANY PROJECT THAT DENOUNCES JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR – I may write in genres that are sinful to some, but I draw a line between admitting a character’s sin and describing it and doing something that conflicts with John 3:16 and other verses in the Bible that clearly indicate that Jesus Christ is Lord.
URBAN FICTION/STREET LIT will no longer be considered, nor will I provide a referral to any affiliate or other known ghostwriter. Due to the negative history of well-known authors receiving services and defaulting with me and other writers–and the disappointing co-sign by major publishers turning a blind eye to the act, I will not take the risk.
BEST CONTACT METHOD
If you are serious about acquiring my services for ghostwriting, the best way to contact me for an initial consultation is to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. State who you are, the type of project you are working on, the publisher (if there is one involved) and any anticipated deadlines or release dates I need to be aware of. Leave your phone number and best time to call and I will contact you within 48 hours. Like most ghostwriters, I work a full-time job in addition to writing books.