Sep 04

Ghostwriting Warning – Don’t Try This at Home

A children's ghostwriter can help you writer your story.Why Hiring a Ghostwriter for Your Children’s Book is a Good Idea

By Suzanne Lieurance, The Working Writer’s Coach

As the author of over 30 published books (most of them for children) and a former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature, where I taught a course in writing for children and teens for over 8 years, I’ve seen my share of awful children’s book manuscripts.

The thing is, so many people think that writing a children’s book is easy.

In fact, it’s so easy anyone can do it.

Well…that way of thinking is just plain wrong.

There are Distinct Guidelines to Follow

Children’s writing has some distinct guidelines and those guidelines should be followed whether you want to find a traditional publisher for your book or you
plan to self-publish it.

When you follow these guidelines, not only will you create a more marketable manuscript – meaning, a manuscript editors and other people who buy children’s books (teachers, librarians, parents, and grandparents) will be more likely to buy –  you’ll also create a book that children are going to enjoy reading or enjoy listening to as someone reads the book to them.

This All Takes Time

It takes time to learn and understand these guidelines and even more time (and practice) learning how to apply them as you write for children.

For this reason, if you aren’t willing to invest in workshops or other training specifically about writing for children, and then spend months (possibly, even years) learning how to write for children with these guidelines in mind, then it’s probably a good idea to hire a ghostwriter to write your children’s book.

If you do, just be sure you hire a ghostwriter who specializes in writing for children.

Most writers who only write for adults don’t know or fully understand the elements needed in a marketable manuscript designed for the children’s book market, so while they may give you a manuscript that is well written, it still might not be very marketable.

A ghostwriter who specializes in writing for children, however, will create a marketable manuscript for the children’s book market.

One final word of warning here…

A ghostwriter who specializes in writing for children knows much more about this type of writing than you do.

While you don’t have to follow every suggestion of your ghostwriter, be sure you do follow the suggestions that adhere to the basic guidelines established for marketable children’s books.

Your ghostwriter will probably go over these guidelines with you, explaining them so you understand why and how suggested revisions to your manuscript (or your idea for a manuscript) need to be made.

Do yourself a favor and follow these suggestions and let your ghostwriter write a marketable manuscript for you.

For more writing tips and other resources for writers, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at www.morningnudge.com

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing
Critiques are Essential for Writers
Finding Children’s Story Ideas

Need Help With Your StoryLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

May 01

Freelance Writers and Ghostwriters: 2 Super-Essential Warnings

Freelance Writing and Ghostwriting WarningsI’m a working children’s ghostwriter and get a lot of queries asking about my writing service. Doing this for a number of years, I’ve come across different personalities, different requests, and a couple of ‘be careful’ moments.

The first tip is about your information and scammers.

One of the recent ‘watch it moments’ was from a woman who sounded very genuine. She had a great heart-tugging reason for wanting to have a picture book written.

I went through the process and sent her information on how I work. She agreed to use my services. BUT . . .

When I sent her an initial invoice through PayPal to get started, she told me she had a problem paying through PayPal. She went so far as to say she’d try her mother’s account.

I emailed back that if she still had a problem she could pay by check and regular mail.

She emailed back, very upbeat, that if I’d give her my banking information she’d transfer the money to me – it’d be super quick.

A light went off.

Why on earth would I give a complete stranger my banking information with all the identity theft and scams running rampant out there.

So, I politely explained that a check would be fine. I even gave her my PO Box address.

Well, I never heard back from her.

What would have happened if I didn’t think first and sent her my banking information?

It wouldn’t have been good.

The second tip is about your address.

A while ago, I got a query from a client who wanted me to read his manuscript and rewrite it. He didn’t have email and asked if he could mail it to me.

At the time, I didn’t have a PO Box, so I gave him my home address.

He mailed me the manuscript and when I read it quickly realized this guy was crazy and according to him, he was heading to prison. I politely explained that because of my work load I couldn’t take on his project.

He called me for a couple of months, all times of day and night. And, he had my address.

Fortunately, circumstances intervened and I ended up moving. I also got a different phone number. But, it was a little scary for a while.

These are two warnings to all you freelance writers and ghostwriters out there:

1. Be very careful of the information you divulge to strangers.
2. If you don’t already have a PO Box to use for queries and clients, get one today.

Remember, better safe than sorry.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

The One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript
Aim for Writing Success
How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)

Need Help With Your StoryLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Mar 27

Had a Children’s Book Ghostwritten? Now What?

What to do after you've had a children's book ghostwritten.With a steady stream of ghosting clients, I am often asked what comes after the manuscript is written and edited.

Well, this depends on which publishing road you’ll be taking: self-publishing or traditional publishing.

Since the majority of my clients go the self-pubbing route, I’ll start there.

SELF-PUBLISHING

BASIC PAGES AND COPY (in addition to the story).

1. You’ll need back cover copy. This is a brief synopsis of the story, usually 100-200 words. It needs to be ‘grabbing’ and ‘clear.’

2. It’s a good idea to have an About the Author or Author’s Note page at the end of the story. It’s definitely optional though.

3. A Copyright page – you can include acknowledgements on this page.

4. A Dedication / Acknowledgment page is a thought.

5. Some authors want a Preface page, but in most cases this isn’t necessary.

6. If you have words that may need to be defined for the young reader, you might include a Glossary right after the story. Most authors don’t bother with this.

7. Then there’s the Activity Page and Reading Comprehension Page. If you’re hoping to get your book into the classroom this is a must.

Unless you’re creating your own pages, these items will be an additional fee.

ILLUSTRATIONS

Interior:

If you have a children’s picture book you’ll need to get illustrations done. Depending on your budget, you’ll need to decide if you want 16 interior illustrations (one per spread) or 32 illustrations (one per page). A standard picture book is 32 pages.

Keep in mind that a full spread is considered two pages and you will be charged for two illustrations.

Note: A spread is the two pages you see when you have a book open. For example, pages 1 and 2 / pages 3 and 4 / and so on.

Pricing for illustrations vary. I recommend three illustrators to my clients: the cost is somewhere between  $40-$80 per interior illustration. There are others who charge $150 and up per interior illustration.

Exterior:

The book cover is a BIGGIE. The cover is one of the most influential elements to motivate someone to pick up your book. You want it done right. Covers are more money than interior spreads.

You might also want to go for a small back cover illustration. This isn’t really necessary though. You can simply have a colored back cover with your synopsis on it. Possibly include an image of yourself (the author).

On the flip side, you can probably get illustrations cheaper through various services / illustrators. Just be sure the one you choose is capable of creating quality illustrations.

Again, cover illustrations are more.

Here are a three places you can look for illustrators:
https://www.upwork.com
https://fiverr.com
http://  blueberryillustrations.com  /childrens-book-illustrations\
(Sorry I had to break up the last link, WP kept bringing up the clip for it.)

You can also do a Google search.

So, you can see that self-publishing a children’s picture book can get pretty expensive.

Hot Tip: Unless you’re a professional illustrator, or really, really, really good, don’t attempt to do your own illustrations.

Checking the Illustrations and Illustrations to text.

Unless you hire someone to oversee this process, you will need to make sure there are no errors in the illustrations.

For the first part, you need to carefully review each illustration, including the cover and back cover (if you have an image on the back cover).

It can be something as simple as part of a foot missing, or a picture described in the story conveyed wrong in the illustration. These, among many others, were mistakes I found for one of my clients who hired me to oversee this process for him.

It can even be consistency, maybe how the characters look throughout the story or even the background scenery. In one project, the illustrator had molding in some illustrations and none in others where is should have been.

You’ll have to have a keen eye for this stuff, but getting it right is the difference between a good quality product and a poor quality product.

For the illustrations to text review, it’s the same. You want to make sure the illustration fits the text per spread. Most illustrators get this right, but I’ve come across a few who do make mistakes.

This is your book. You want it to be the best it can be. This means getting all the details right.

TIME FRAME

Having the book ghostwritten and illustrated can take around 3 months, possibly longer.

The Story

Using myself as an example, I usually take one-four weeks to write a children’s picture book manuscript of 800 – 3000 words (depends on what my clients’ needs/ wants). I do mention in my freelance agreement that it can take up to six weeks.

It’s important to know that if you’re self-publishing your word count can be over 1000 words. If you’re going the traditional route it’s a good idea to stay around or under 800 words.

Another factor in the time it takes to write the story is the time it takes the client to respond to questions and approvals of content. If a client takes more than a couple of days to respond to emails, the time frame will be thrown off.

The Illustrations

Getting the interior and exterior illustrations done can take one-two months, sometimes more. It will depend on the illustrator you use and his/her workload.

GETTING THE BOOK PUBLISHED (ready for distribution / sale)

Depending on your budget, you can hire someone from a site like Fiverr.com to format and upload your book onto Kindle and/or other publishing venues.

Or, you can hire a service, like CreateSpace to do it for you. This route will cost more money, but you’ll have all your “Is” dotted and “Ts” crossed.

Self-Publishing a Chapter or Simple Middle Grade Book

If you have a chapter or simple middle grade book ghosted, you’ll only need illustrations for each chapter. And, they can be simple grey tone sketches.

While it’s not an absolute must to have illustrations for these books, it does help with engagement for the young reader.

THE TRADITIONAL ROAD

The traditional route will cost much less. All you’ll be paying for is the ghostwriter. You won’t need illustrations.

While it will cost less, it will certainly take a lot longer.

You’ll have to submit your manuscript to publishers and/or literary agents to hopefully get a contract. You’ll need a query letter for this. And, having a synopsis of the story is a good idea also.

When and if a contract happens, it takes an average of two years before your book is actually published. So, patience will be needed.

And, be prepared for the publisher’s editor to go over your story and possibly request changes. This is just part of the process. Be open to suggestions.

I recommend you get the most recent edition of “Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market” by Writer’s Digest Books. This book provides information on publishers and agents in the children’s writing arena. These are the people you’ll be submitting your manuscript to.

And, for more information on traditional publishing, you can read:

Children’s Writing and Publishing – The Traditional Path

THE AUTHOR WEBSITE

Before you publish your book, you absolutely need an author website. Publishers and agents will expect this. And, if you’re self-publishing it’s even more important.

According to Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest, in his book “Create Your Writer Platform,” an author’s platform (its visibility, connections, and reach) is a key factor when looking for a publisher or agent.

Take note that this is not after a book is published; it’s when the author is looking for a contract. Your platform begins with a website.

While I don’t promote my services, as they’re for my ghostwriting clients who need it, I do offer three options in regard to getting your author website up and running:

And, I have a brand new e-class through WOW! Women on Writing for those who want to DIY:

Create Your WordPress Website Today
No Code, No Technical Stuff, No Fuss

It’s a 5-day, step-by-step, interactive e-class with video and hand-holding. Check it out:
CLICK HERE.

Simple steps to creating your own website.

Summing it Up

This is a basic run-down of what to expect and what you’ll need to do to get your ghostwritten manuscript published.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Make Your Children’s Writing Website Focused – 3 Must-Haves, 6 Tips
Editing a Children’s Book – 10 Tips Checklist for Authors
Submitting Your Manuscript – 8 Tips
4 Book Marketing Strategies Guaranteed to Keep Your Platform Moving Forward

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700