Oct 24

The Children’s Ghostwriter: Who, How, and Why

The Who, How and Why

A while ago, I had a conversation with a fellow attendee at a children picture book workshop. When I mentioned I’m a children’s ghostwriter she was curious how I got started in the field.

I couldn’t answer her. I couldn’t remember how it actually came about.

Thinking back, though, I did start out editing for authors. Many of the manuscripts I was given was in such poor condition, I ended up rewriting the stories, some almost to the point of ghostwriting.

It just seemed to evolve from there.

In case you’re wondering, a ghostwriter is a writer who will take your idea, notes, outline, or other information and write a story for you. And, ghostwriters write in every genre you can think of: fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, screenplays, video, TV scripts, technical, medical, speeches, music, and so on.

The ghostwriter offers a nondisclosure agreement and freelance agreement. And, she usually doesn’t get any recognition for her work. Although, there are instances where the ghostwriter and client agree to other terms.

Two other terms that may arise between a ghostwriter and client:

The ghostwriter has her name on the book as co-author for a reduced fee.

The ghostwriter gets a percentage of the sales, again for a reduced fee.

In my opinion, it’s never a good idea to accept either of these terms. Well, that is unless you absolutely know the book will be successful or the author is famous.

Who hires a children’s ghostwriter?

The answer to this question always amazes me.

There are people from around the world who want to be author of a children’s book but don’t have the skills or time to do it themselves.

I’ve worked with well over 300 clients from lots of different countries, including Italy, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Norway, Saipan, Jordon, Dubai, and all over the United States, even Hawaii.

It seems most often it’s parents or grandparents who develop a desire to be an author of a children’s book. Usually, they want to have a story created about their children or grandchildren, or they want to impart some wisdom to children.

I’ve worked with child therapists and child psychologists who use children’s books as a tool to broaden their ability to help children.

I’ve also worked with teachers and principals who want to teach children beyond the boundaries of their school or classroom.

And, then there are the business people who see a children’s book as part of a marketing strategy for the industry they’re in or as an addition to a product they already have.

In addition to this, I’ve worked with clients who wanted a series of children’s books to use as the foundation of a new business.

I’ve even ghostwritten for a dentist.

What skills does a children’s ghostwriter need?

  1. Being a skilled writer.

While a number of authors who self-publish have the “I want it now” syndrome and ‘wing’ their books into publication, you can’t do this when someone is paying you to write a professional story.

Aside from knowing how to write, it’s essential to know the specific rules of writing for children. The ghostwriter needs to know what the current industry guidelines are.

  1. Knowing how to listen.

Listening carefully to the client is a must. The ghostwriter needs to take simple things like an idea given over the phone or in an email, notes, or a basic outline and create an engaging and publishable book.

Along with this, the writer needs to ensure the book reflects the client’s voice and vision. Listening is an essential factor in doing this.

  1. Being patient.

It may seem unusual, but a ghostwriter needs to be patient.

I’ve had a couple of clients who approved a final story, then came back in a week or two and decided they wanted revisions.

I had a middle-grade client who kept putting multiple POVs within one chapter. I’d edit it, and he’d change it.

I had another client who pretty much kept ignoring my advice as I rewrote his young adult novel.

It’s important to be patient and tactful while explaining over and over why something doesn’t work. The reason to keep after the client is that it’s the ghostwriter’s job to make sure the final product is professional.

  1. Being organized and focused.

I usually handle more than one project at a time. At one point, I worked on eight projects simultaneously.

If you’re dealing with multiple clients, you need to be able to switch stories and sometimes genres without losing a beat. This takes focus… and flexibility while handling all he emails from clients.

For organization, I use a Word and excel file for each client. I keep track of every email and every phone call.

Any time you’re dealing with writing clients, you need to keep things moving smoothly and keep your clients satisfied and in-the-loop throughout each project.

  1. Having the ability to follow through, and be on time.

As with any writing project, you’ve got to complete it and come in on time.

In the terms of the agreement, there is a time period for the project to be complete. The ghostwriter must meet the deadline.

Above all else, a ghostwriter wants to make sure her client is thrilled with the final product.

What’s the motivation?

I can’t speak for all children’s ghostwriters, but for me, I love writing for children. It’s satisfying to teach children, engage them, amaze them, bring them on adventures, and stretch their imaginations.

And, I love helping others fulfill a desire they have to see their children’s story ideas come to life.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

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Jun 06

What’s Stopping You From Becoming a Children’s Author?

Writing for children

There are many people, men, woman, professionals, and those in business who actually dream of being the author of a children’s book.

Usually, it’s to inspire a child or to bring memories or stories they told their children to life. Or, it can be a business person who wants a children’s book as part of their product line.

From my experience, the majority of these people want to be author of a picture book.

I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of queries about starting a project that fell through.

Why does this happen?

Why do the majority of people who want to be children’s author drop their dream?

While I don’t know for sure, I do think there are a few basic reasons.

  1. The cost.

Yep. If you are hiring a children’s ghostwriter, it will cost money.

This is a huge concern for most, and understandably.

What really surprised me during 2020 was the number of people who did use my services. It was my busiest year ever. It had to be that people had time on their hands and wanted to be kept busy.

Then there are the writing services on sites like Fiverr. These sites and many others use non-speaking people to write the stories for clients.

Yes, it will be cheaper than a professional writer, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

Below is an example from a Fiverr project a client came to me to fix. This was for a picture book:

“His feet were heavy with reluctance as he dragged them unwillingly one in front of the other. He looked at his reflection in the bathroom mirror and couldn’t help but notice his sad expression. His piercing dark blue eyes, once full of joy and excitement, now looked weary and defeated.”

In another section there were three “really” within four sentences.

The entire story’s formatting was horrible, such as the lack of new paragraphs for new speakers. There were grammatical errors and multiple points of view.

So, again, you get what you pay for.

I can’t imagine someone wanting to have their name as author of a story like that.

Another cost factor with children’s books is illustrations.

If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to hire an illustrator for a picture book.

You’ll also need illustrations for chapter books and middle grade books.

I listened to a YouTube video with editor and former literary agent Mary Kole. (Check out her YouTube channel, Good Story Company.) She said if you want a high-quality professional illustrator for a picture book, you’re looking at $10,000 to $20,000. And, if you want an acclaimed illustrator, it’s much more. (1)

Obviously, most people can’t afford that. So, it’s understandable why some people drop the idea.

But there are good illustrators who charge far, far less.

  1. Motivation wanes due to life.

One perfect example is a client from 2019.

I wrote a young adult (YA) story for an attorney. It was almost done and he was gun-ho. He even wanted seven picture books written after the YA was finished.

He paid in full and we were working to finish it.

Then he slowed down. Family. Vacation. Work.

Then COVID-19 hit.

I contacted him and he said he’d get back into it, but he didn’t.

I’ll contact him again as he paid for a completed manuscript and there are still about five or so chapters to go.

So, as we all know, life happens. This can put a monkey wrench in any project.

  1. It seems too complicated.

There is a lot involved in having a book ghostwritten and illustrated.

And, it’s a lot of work if you’re writing the story yourself.

After that, it’s the business of getting the book formatted, the interior design, and uploading for publication and distribution.

It can seem daunting.

But it doesn’t have to be.

There are a number of services that will help you put your book together and get it published. I’ve even added this service to my site to make it easier for clients.

There is plenty of help out there.

So, what to do?

If your dream is to have your name as author of a children’s book, take the first step.

Find out what’s involved and what the cost will be. This will give you a solid foundation on what you need to do and what you’ll need for a budget.

It may be that your imagination is getting carried away.

Shoot me an email to discuss your project.

If you prefer writing the story yourself, I offer coaching services that includes guidance on how to self-published.

Don’t let your dream go unfulfilled.

Get started today!

References:

(1) Picture Book Author-Illustrator

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Children's ghostwriter

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can turn your story into a book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

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

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

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Nov 08

Children’s Ghostwriter, Rewriter, or Writing Coach – Which Do You Need?

I’ve lost track of the number of clients I’ve worked with through the years. I know it’s in the hundreds and if I had to guess, I’d say well over 300.

That’s a lot of people.

A lot of people with the dream of being author of their own children’s book.

And, it amazes me at times that some of these people have had the dream to write a children’s book for years … sometimes almost a lifetime.

I recently rewrote a chapter book and edited several short stories for a woman who is 92.

Does that make you sit up and say, “WHAT?!”

It did me. We had been communicating and I had no idea of her age until she told me.

Can you imagine waiting to become a children’s writer until you’re in your nineties? It’s just amazing. And, her stories are good!

My point is, are you going to wait until you’re in your fifties, sixties, seventies, or older to fulfill your dream of being a children’s author?

Don’t let procrastination stop you.

Don’t let fear stop you.

If you want to be author of a children’s book, go for it NOW.

But, how do you go about it?

The Ghostwriter

If you just have an idea for a children’s story or maybe some notes, or a rough outline, but don’t know where to go from there, then you’ll need a children’s ghostwriter.

A ghostwriter will take your idea or whatever other content you have on the story and weave her magic.

At the end of the process, of which you would be involved, you’ll have a publishable manuscript ready to go.

The Rewriter

Okay, a rewriter is the same as a book doctor. I just like using ‘rewriter.’

Rewriting is quite different than ghostwriting. You would have actually written a draft in order to use a rewriter.

If you wrote a draft, but you know it’s lacking and is far from publishable, and you don’t know how to fix it, then you’d need a rewriter.

Or maybe, you have an idea of how to fix it, but don’t have the time.

The rewriter will take your draft and actually rewrite it to make it the best it can be. She will look at the entire story, globally. Aside from plot, structure, voice, and so on, she will check for clarity and readability, as well as engagement.

There is a fine line between rewriting and ghostwriting, though.

I’ve had clients who have had drafts that weren’t salvageable. The drafts were so poorly written, it was basically writing from scratch, including having to come up with storylines.

When this happens, your draft is beyond rewriting and you need to move over to the realm of ghosting.

The Coach

The children’s writing coach is kind of a step or two beyond a developmental editor.

The similarity between the two is that neither will do the writing for you. They will guide you to write your own best story.

The difference between a writing coach and a developmental editor:

The editor will take your manuscript and go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Then she will give you an editorial letter that will tell you what you need to do to fix it, to get it in publishable shape.

The coach will stay with you through your revisions or rewrites, whatever is needed. She will hold your hand, advising you and guiding you with weekly or monthly calls and emails.

The coach may be more money, but there’s one-on-one hand-holding. On the other hand, the cost depends on other factors also, such as the length of your manuscript, the shape it’s in, and your commitment to getting it done.

So now that you know what the difference is between these three writing services, which will be needed to get you on the track to becoming a children’s author?

Children's ghostwriter
Children’s writing coach

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

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Sep 02

A Children’s Ghostwriting Dilemma

I get ghostwriting clients from all demographics. I work with psychologists, therapists, professionals in the medical field, grandparents, parents, teachers, and others who for whatever the reason want to write a children’s book.

Now and then, I get a client who trusts my writing skills enough to hire me to ghostwrite or rewrite his story, but then doesn’t want to take my advice.

I do understand that people can be very passionate about their story ideas or their outline or manuscript. This is a good thing. But, when that passion gets in the way of writing a professionally written story, that’s not a good thing.

Let me give an example.

You’ve written an excessive amount of content for a children’s fiction picture book. It’s a very detail oriented and fact-based subject. You’ve also had illustrations created.

The first thing the writer explains is that a picture book should be under 1000 words and if you’re going the ‘real’ traditional route, it should be well under that.

The second thing she explains is that the story / information would be much better served by writing a nonfiction book, rather than fiction.

You don’t care. You insist it needs to be as many words as it takes to get all the facts down. You also insist it be a fiction story.

At this point, the writer explains that you’d be better off with a chapter book. This would allow for 5,000 to 15,000 words which would be enough to get everything you want in the story while allowing for a full storyline.

Again, the writer’s advice goes out the window. You insist it be a picture book, even if it has to be a jammed-packed 64-page picture book.

In this scenario, it goes on and on. You want more fact than story. You don’t want realistic behavior for the protagonist. In other words, you don’t want him to have any bad characteristics.

In this type of situation, you’re putting the pen in the writer’s hand then tying her hands behind her back.

Here’s another example.

You’ve written a story about your pet. You think it’s wonderful and everyone will love it.

The problem is it’s poorly written:

– It doesn’t have a full story arc.

  • It’s primarily telling rather than showing.
  • There’s no real conflict.
  • The story has contradictions in it.
  • The story doesn’t really make sense – it lacks clarity.

You listen to what the writer has to say and she writes it to be an engaging story in line with current publishing guidelines.

Upon reading it, you decide you want some of the scenes that didn’t work back in the story.

The writer throws her hands in the air.

This creates quite the dilemma for the ghostwriter.

  • Should the writer argue with the client?
  • Should she drop the client?
  • Should she compromise on certain scenes or chapters?
  • Should she advise the best she can then write what the client wants?

I’ve had one or two clients who accepted the completed manuscript then made their own changes to it. I’m just thankful that my name isn’t anywhere on or in their books.

When you hire a professional writer, it’s because you don’t have the writing skills or knowledge of the children’s book industry to write a publishable book.

While ghostwriting walks a fine line between what needs to be done for a good story and the client’s vision, it should ultimately be about the young reader.


I’ve been told by a client that I don’t write for the client and I don’t write for myself … I write for the reader. And, that’s how it should be for any author.

You want the reader to be absorbed in a good story. The story should be engaging, understandable, and hopefully memorable. It should be a story that kids will love to read or have read to them.

An analogy.

When I told a writing friend about this particular ghostwriting problem, she gave the analogy of someone going to the doctor for an ailment. The doctor gives his advice. Then the person goes to her beautician and asks if she should follow the doctor’s advice.

My own thoughts: if you know nothing about cars and bring your car to the mechanic because the brakes aren’t working, you wouldn’t second guess him. You wouldn’t tell him how to fix the brakes. And you certainly wouldn’t try to adjust what the mechanic did.

It’s the same with a professional children’s ghostwriter. If you’re paying for her writing skills and knowledge, let her do her job.

Trust that she’ll keep your vision for the story while making it a story you can be proud to be author of … a story that’s publishable.

Learn to write for children

Being a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 170+ page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent and marketing your books.

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Jan 20

Your Children’s Fiction Manuscript and a Ghostwriter

Working with a children's ghostwriter

Coming up with a fiction story idea is an amazing thing. Getting notes down or a basic outline is even more amazing.

Then for some authors, it’s time to hand it over. They realize they need professional help to bring the idea to life.

With this scenario, the ghostwriter pretty much has free range.

This is true because the client, the author, can envision the type of story they’d like, but they don’t have any investment in how to get it there.

While there’s an idea or a basic outline, the story isn’t told. The writer can weave her magic and create it, with the feedback of the author as they go along, of course.

But what happens when there’s a complete manuscript?

What happens when the author has taken the time and effort to not only come up with an idea, but has written the story? Whether it’s taken him a few months or a couple of years, it’s his baby. He’s brought it to life.

In this scenario, the author is fully invested in the story.

The problem is the author may not know how to write. And, even more important, she may not know anything about writing for children. It really is a different type of writing – lots more rules.

Thinking of a couple of quick examples:

– The author may own a kennel of dogs and wants to show each dog’s personality. Max is playful to the point of being hyper. Daisy loves being held and likes to cuddle. And, watch out for Dutch.

– The author is a professional and is determined, maybe even obsessed, on driving home what’s good for the child. Each scene tells the child what to do.

– The author has gone on an amazing journey or has a passion and wants to share it with children. He wants it to be fiction, but it reads more like a nonfiction story.

While writing a book based on these examples will satisfy the author, it won’t meet standard children’s book guidelines.

It’s not to say these ideas aren’t good ones, each of these scenarios can be kindling for an out-of-the-ballpark story … if it’s written right.

Hoping the author/client can let go.

What I’ve found is it can be tough rewriting a story, actually more difficult than ghostwriting from an idea or basic outline in some cases.

Some clients have on blinders. They want what they want whether it’s reader friendly or not. They just can’t let go of what they’ve written.

When this happens:

The writer often becomes a writing teacher.

The writer tries to explain why something in the story doesn’t work. Or, it may be even worse and the entire story is a problem.

She tries to explain the children’s writing rules that all books for children should adhere to.

She hopes the client is reasonable and understands. She hopes the client allows her to do her job.

The writer becomes a negotiator of sorts.

It can become a back and forth. The writer resorts to the, “Well, what if we do it this way?”

Unfortunately, the client has on blinders and wants what she wants. So, it’s back to, “Well, what if we do it this way instead?”

The writer just jumps in.

Knowing the story needs to be improved, the writer may just rewrite it into a publishable book.

This can be a gamble though.

It can be a waste of the writer’s time and effort if the client doesn’t like it. Then the writer has to go back to being a teacher and negotiator.

When the writer’s hands are tied.

It can become an ethical dilemma for the writer when the client doesn’t want to budge.

– Does the writer simply write the story the way the client wants even though she knows it’s not professional?

While the writer is being paid to write for the client, this isn’t always the best route to take. Although the writer’s name won’t be associated with the book, it’s a story being worked on and should be as professional as can be.

But there are some instances when the client just wants the book for personal or family use. In these cases, it’s the writer’s decision. I will take on the project.

– Does she walk away from the project after it’s started?

This is obviously a very individual decision, one that a professional writer doesn’t take lightly.

While I haven’t accepted projects because I knew they wouldn’t be publishable worthy, I’ve never had to walk away from an ongoing project.

I’ll teach and negotiate until the story is the way it should be. It takes more time and effort, but that’s okay.

Every situation is unique and the writer will need to decide what’s best.

Be a children's writer

Whether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.

Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Oct 21

Hiring a Ghostwriter for Your Picture Book? Are Illustrations Included?

Ghostwriting and Illustrations

It seems lately, a lot of people who want to have a children’s picture book ghostwritten for them aren’t quite sure what they get for their money.

I’m often surprised when a potential client asks if the price quoted includes illustrations.

Another query I’m getting a number of lately is about writing and illustration packages.

I’ve decided to address both these issues in this article, so I’ll be able to link to it when I’m queried.

1. What do you get when you hire a ghostwriter to write a children’s book for you whether it be a picture book, chapter book, middle grade book, or young-adult book?

According to Oxford Dictionary, a ghostwriter is “a person whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author.”

The keyword here is, ‘write.’

A ghostwriter is a professional writer who will create a story, essay, speech, movie scrip, or other form of content. The ghostwriter usually remains anonymous. She’s ‘a ghost’ and the client will be listed as the author of the book or other content.

Going back to the Oxford Dictionary, an illustrator is “a person who draws or creates pictures for magazines, books, advertising, etc.”

It’s the illustrator who creates the illustrations for the book, not the writer.

So, if you’re thinking of hiring a ghostwriter for a picture book, the ghost will WRITE the story for you.

If you’re self-publishing, you’ll be responsible to research and hire an illustrator to create the illustrations for the story. Although, I offer my clients a list of illustrators.

If you’re traditionally publishing, the publishing house that gives you a contract will have the illustrations created for you.

Thinking about it … I’ve decided the problem some have is the term “write a picture book.”

When thinking of a ‘picture book,’ most people think of a finished product – a story and illustrations. I can see where the confusion comes into play. Hopefully, this article adds some clarity to the topic.

I’ve actually decided to add some information pertaining to this on my Ghostwriting Page on the site.

2. Do picture book ghostwriters offer story and illustration packages?

Not all ghostwriters offer packages.

But, since I’m asked about it more often now, I just started offering packages of story and illustrations.

These packages include front and back book covers and text layout. You’ll be given a PDF of the complete story. This PDF can be given to any service that will format it into a print-ready file.

Services that do this include:

– IngramSpark
– Bookbaby
– The Book Designer
– Dog Ear Publishing
– Golden Box Books
– Word-2-Kindle
– You can also find freelancers to format your book

Once you have the print-ready file, you can upload it to sites like Smashwords, Amazon (for print), Amazon KDP, Createspace (for print) for publication and distribution.

Need help getting your print-ready file uploaded for publication, I can help you with that also.

If you are interested in this type of project, just let me know and we can discuss it.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.

Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

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Oct 09

10 Tips to Hiring a Children’s Ghostwriter

Hiring a Children's Ghostwriter

Before I get into the tips to working with a ghostwriter, let me explain what a ghostwriter is. A ghostwriter is simply a ‘writer for hire’ who will write your children’s book, article, website content, or other type of content you need to create and market your book.

S/he’ll take your idea, your notes, your outline, or your draft and turn it into a publishable story. A story that you’ll be proud to put your name on. And, if she knows the ropes, she’ll give you advice on what to do after the book is written.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the 10 tips to working with one.

1. Research ghostwriters before jumping on board with one.

Do a Google search for ‘children’s ghostwriters’ and see how s/he ranks in the search engines.

2. Visit the website of the person you’re interested in working with.

How does it look? Does the site quickly convey that it’s about writing for children? Is it neat and easy to navigate (get from page to page)?

A couple of other things to check for on the website is whether or not it’s current. Check the blog and see if it’s posted to on a regular basis.

You’ll also want to check out the testimonials page. Are there clients who are recommending and/or praising the ghostwriter?

The website is important. I’ve had clients base their decision to hire me just by visiting my website.

3. What about qualifications?

Does the writer’s About Page let you know that s/he is qualified?

One side note here: While some ghostwriters may have lots of their own books published, I for one have so many clients I don’t have the time to keep up with my own books. I have two published and a children’s picture book series in contract. I’ve been wanting to write a sequel to Walking Through Walls (a middle-grade fantasy adventure), but just don’t have the time.

So, when looking at this particular qualification, keep this in mind for whoever you’re thinking of going with.

Look at the groups their associated with or have memberships to. Look at any other distinguishable events or awards.

4. Make sure the ghostwriter is accessible.

When you’re on the writer’s website, make sure there is an email address and phone number, so you can easily communicate.

5. Does s/he offer a free consultation?

Some people want that personalized experience – not just an email. I’ve had clients who simply wanted to hear my voice to make sure it was a real person they were dealing with. I’ve even had a couple of people who wanted a Skype consultation. But, aside from this, if you like, ask for a free consultation to discuss your project.

Most ghostwriters will be happy to talk with you about your project. Just please keep in mind that they may keep it short, maybe 10-15 minutes. So, have your questions ready before the phone call. And, have a clear idea of what you want.

6. Not a talker? Then contact the writer by email.

Send the ghostwriter a brief, but clear email on what you’d like and how s/he can help you.

7. The NDA (nondisclosure agreement).

The NDA is simply a confidentiality agreement. It protects your idea. The writer states that s/he will not use your idea for any purpose or reason.

If you’re dealing with a reputable ghostwriter this isn’t really necessary – professional ghostwriters would never disclose any information you divulge. But, for peace-of-mind, ask for one if you’d feel better.

Regarding my clients, I’d say half want one and the other half could care less.

8. About a Freelance Writing Agreement.

Most freelance writers, if not all, have a standard freelance writing agreement for their clients. It is tweaked for each individual project for those particulars, but the basic information is the same.

The agreement may include:

• Terms: What the client wants done and what the writer will do.
• The relationship of the parties.
• The time frame for the completion of the project.
• Compensation.
• An NDA.
• Termination information.

9. Does the ghostwriter offer payment options?

This is important. Most writers will offer payment options and scheduling.

For example: For picture books, I have a three-payment schedule. For chapter books and middle-grade, the number of payments depends on the length of the book and time frame involved.

10. Is the ghostwriter easy to work with?

This you won’t really know until you start working with one. But, often the testimonials will give you an indication of how they work.

But, even before you hire one, you can have some indication by:

• Did s/he answer all your questions?
• Did s/he get back to you promptly?
• Is s/he friendly and approachable?
• Does s/he sound knowledgeable?

Sometimes, just speaking with someone can let you know if s/he is the ghostwriter you’d like to work with.

11. Yep – a bonus tip.

Find out who’ll actually be writing your book. Does the site farm out their writing projects or use subcontractors? Is it a staff of writers? This is not to say the latter is bad, but it’s good to know who you’ll be working with.

So, there you have it, 10 11 tips to getting started with a children’s ghostwriter. I hope it’s helpful in choosing one that you’ll feel comfortable with.

If you’re thinking of hiring a children’s ghostwriter and have questions or would like to schedule a free 5-10 minute consultation to discuss your project, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Or, shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice—@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

What Makes a Good Story? Plot Driven vs. Character Driven
Editing a Children’s Book – 10 Tips Checklist for Authors
Submitting Your Manuscript – 8 Tips

Sep 04

Ghostwriting Warning – Don’t Try This at Home

Children's ghostwriter

Why Hiring a Ghostwriter for Your Children’s Book is a Good Idea

By Suzanne Lieurance, Writing 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 your 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

Nov 01

Children’s Ghostwriter Fees – Does Price Equal Quality?

Fees for ghostwriting a children's bookAs a ghostwriter for children’s books, I get a number of queries each month. And, interestingly, I never know if the potential client will think my prices are too high, too low, or just right.

It seems that around $15,000 is the norm to ghostwrite a middle-grade book of 35,000 words. To me though, that seems like a lot of money. There are people out there who long to ‘write’ a book, but don’t know how or don’t have the time – that’s where a ghostwriter comes in.

According to Writer’s Market 2020, the lower-end pricing to ghostwrite with NO credit is $0.50 per word. The higher-end is $3.00 per word.

But, how many people can afford $15,000 or more to fulfill a dream?

Pricing is too low.

Because of this, I try to keep my fees affordable, within the reach of more people.

The same goes for writing picture books.

I’ve actually had potential clients call and question why my fee for ghosting a children’s picture book was low. And, I know I’ve lost a few projects because of this – I could tell they equated price with quality.

The same has happened with middle-grade projects.

So, what’s a writer to do?

While I have upped my fees, they are still extremely reasonable and under what other ghostwriters are charging.

Pricing higher will kill the dreams of those who want a quality book, but just can’t afford it.

Pricing is too high.

Yep, there is a flip side.

I’ve gotten queries from people who want to have a book written, but once they hear the price (the price that is too low for others), they can’t afford it.

But, getting back to the title question: Does price equate to quality?

NO! No, it doesn’t.

Over the years, I’ve ghosted and rewritten 300+ children’s books and gotten excellent testimonials from those who don’t mind sharing that they used my services. And, I have repeat clients. I currently have three clients who have each hired me to write a series of books. Along with this, one of my prior clients had interest from MADD based on a story I rewrote for her.

So, again, price does not equate to quality . . . at least not with some ghostwriters.

Sure, I can up my prices. But, again, those who can’t afford it wouldn’t be able to hire a quality writer.

I’ve written for people all over the world: Norway, Italy, Jordan, United Kingdom, Scotland, Saipan, United Arab Emirates, and many states within the United States. These people now have the satisfaction of being a ‘children’s author’ of a quality, publishable book they are proud to be author of. And, I’ve gotten to help them achieve that particular dream. That makes me smile.

How do you know who you’re hiring?

I know I said price doesn’t necessarily equal quality, but you do need to know who you’ll be working with. Here are a few tips to help you determine the quality of the writer:

1. Check out the ghostwriter’s testimonials, website, and blog.
2. See if the site and everything on it looks and sounds professional.
3. See if the blog posts give you an idea that the writer knows what she’s talking about.
4. You should also check out the About page. Learn who the writer is affiliated with and other tidbits of information.
5. Check the ghostwriter’s work.
6. Ask for samples of her or his writing.

Hot Tip: You should also do a Google search. That’s how most of my clients find me. Google goes for quality. They won’t put a ‘scam or shabby’ website in their results for a search query. This is a great test for quality, especially if the results (the link shown) isn’t a paid ad.

Summing it up.

As a writer for hire, there is no ‘magic’ pricing point. You have to charge what you and the clients who hire you are satisfied with.

Don’t always equate price with quality. While in some cases this does matter, it doesn’t always. Do some research into the children’s ghostwriter you’re thinking of working with. Using the tips I have just above, you should be able to determine if that writer knows her stuff.

MORE ON WRITING

What Makes a Good Story? Plot Driven vs. Character Driven
Editing a Children’s Book – 10 Tips Checklist for Authors
Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing

NEED HELP WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S MANUSCRIPT / STORY?

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

Send me an email at: kcioffiventrice @gmail .com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line) 

This article was updated January 2018.