Nov 24

Juggling Clients as a Children’s Ghostwriter – What Does It Take?

The children's ghostwriter

As a children’s ghostwriter, I’m usually working on multiple children’s book projects every day. This usually includes weekends.

I also have a family and work part time outside the home. So, my plate is
FULL.

This means I do a lot of juggling.

Working with multiple clients at one time, I currently have 7 clients, can be tricky.

The key to juggling clients is to be organized and focused … and to be flexible.

ORGANIZATION

As a former accountant, I’m very organized and meticulous.

When a client queries me, I immediately create a Word Client File and put it in a Potential Client folder.

Every email that’s sent or phone conversations, along with my responses, goes in the file.

In addition, I also have a Potential Client spreadsheet. I put the date, the client’s name and email address. I include what s/he’s querying about and the amount I quoted. I also add other information like whether it’s a series.

Why is keeping accurate records important?

I’ve had a couple of potential clients who’ve gotten back to me after one or two years. They finally decided to move forward or life got in the way and the path became clear. Whatever the reason for the delay, I have our initial communications.

Then once a client decides to use my services, I have a freelance agreement that details the process, the payment schedule, and incidentals.

It’s important to have everything spelled out so there’s no miscommunication or confusion. Transparency matters.

It’s also important to have information at your fingertips whenever you need it.

Another part of organization is scheduling.

Up until about a year or so ago, I could take clients on as they came. Then the workload became too heavy.

I currently schedule two-weeks to two-months out.

But no matter how organized you are, you don’t have control of the clients.

I’ve had and have clients who take a week, two weeks or more to get back to me. This is a problem.

As I write the story, I send portions of it to the client to review, so the client can make sure her or his vision is there. I need to wait for their feedback before I can proceed.

Delays throw a monkey wrench in my scheduling and workload.

If I have a client scheduled to start on particular day and a client I’m currently working with takes a lot of time to respond, the current project cuts into my scheduled work.

I end up juggling more clients than I should have to.

I now have a clause in the agreement that there will be a charge for a response delay more than 10 days, including weekends.

FOCUS

Next up is focus.

When you’re working on multiple storylines at the same time, you must have focus. It’s true for all writing, but it’s especially true when you’re dealing with a lot of storylines.

To keep all the stories moving along, I work on two or three in one day. Sometimes more if I have a lot of clients at once, like now.

This means I have to quickly switch gears and focus on an entirely different story, and then do it again … and again every day until the story is complete and approved.

Working with therapists, psychologists, and even doctors, I have to be on the mark. And, I give every client the same attention.

Then I may get an email from a client whose story I’m not working on that day. I have to switch to yet another gear.

If I weren’t able to focus on what I was doing at the moment, I’d never be able to handle multiple clients.

FLEXIBILITY

This goes hand in hand with focus.

As you may need to drop one story and focus on another then pick up where you left off and move forward, you need to be flexible.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines flexible as being able to “change or be changed easily according to the situation” and being “able to bend without breaking.”

I can be in the middle of writing a children’s chapter book or middle grade and need to adjust my thinking to work on a picture book. This has to be done without losing a beat and without getting overwhelmed.

Keep in mind that each genre in the children’s arena is different. Words, situations, ages, sentence length, and so on are different. To write in multiple genres within the same day, you definitely need to be flexible.

So, these are three of the most important elements needed to be a successful children’s ghostwriter.

If you’re thinking of getting into ghostwriting children’s books, keep in mind that you’ll need organization skills, focus, and flexibility to make it work.

Children's ghostwriter

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

Send me an email 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 shape today!

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Nov 27

Working with a Children’s Ghostwriter – The Process

Working with a children's ghostwriter.

What’s it like working with a children’s ghostwriter?

It easy to understand that the idea of having a children’s book ghostwritten can be nerve-wrecking. You’ll no doubt have a number of questions:

– Does the ghostwriter know what she’s doing?
– Is she qualified? Is she a skilled writer?
– Does she know the genre you want a book in?
– Is she reasonably priced?
– How long will it take?
– Will she listen to my input?
– Will it be my story?
– And, so on and so on

So, the first thing in the client/ghostwriter process is for you to do your homework. Research ghostwriters who write in the genre you’re interested in.

Check out her website, including the Testimonials Page.

Other important aspects to pay attention to: Is the site active? Is there helpful information on it? Is the writer’s contact information easy to find?

You should even check the copyright date at the bottom of the site.

Next, if you find someone you’re interested in, ask for a phone consult. Or, if you prefer, ask for an email consult. Then ask for writing samples.

The NDA

If you think you might be interested in working with the ghostwriter and you want to make sure your information (story idea, etc.) is safe, ask for a nondisclosure agreement (NDA).

This is a signed agreement that the writer will provide to let you know  that s/he will keep any information you send pertaining to your story confidential.

This isn’t necessary with any reputable ghostwriter, but as everything is online and if you’ll feel more secure, the writer will be sure to comply.

The Freelance Writing Agreement.

Once you get a feel for the writer and you think she’s the real deal, and you’ve agreed upon the fee, and you’re ready to work with her, ask what the next step is. It’s usually a freelance writing agreement.

Interestingly, some clients prefer an agreement, while others could care less.

The freelance writing agreement will detail all that’s involved in the process. It’ll list the price, the payment schedule, the timeline, and other items.

Note: If a freelance agreement isn’t used, I make sure all the details are listed in an email. It’s essential that the client knows what to expect.

So, once all the agreement details are completed, what’s it actually like to work with a children’s ghostwriter?

As I can only speak for my own business, I’ll explain how my process works.

The first thing is to discuss all the details of the story.

I’ll ask for any ideas, notes, outlines, drafts, or other content the client may have. We’ll also discuss what type of story is wanted: funny, a mystery, an adventure, a fantasy, or other. We’ll discuss the targeted audience age and whether it’s to be a picture book, a chapter book, or a middle grade.

Some clients are very particular about the character names, so that may also be discussed.

It’s absolutely essential that I know exactly what message the client wants to convey to the targeted audience. What is the take-away value to be.

Give as many details as possible.

The publishing method.

Another important aspect to be discussed is the publishing method to be used.

If a client is going the traditional route (submitting to publishers and agents), the word count and other aspects of the story must adhere to current publishing standards.

If a client is going the self-publishing route, there’s a bit more flexibility. This does not mean you can produce a substandard product. It means for example, if you want a picture book of around 1200 words, it’s your prerogative.

I’ve had a client who said he was self-publishing, but after the story was complete, decided to submit it to publishers.

The problem is the word count was too long for a picture book and too short for a chapter book. These are the types of hiccups that can arise when the client isn’t sure what he wants.

The beginning of the story.

Once the initial payment to begin is received, I start writing the story based on the information I have.

I keep the client in the loop by sending drafts of the story as I go along. As I send the story, I wait for the client’s input. If it’s good to go, I move forward. If changes are requested, I make the changes.

When the client requests changes, if they are completely inappropriate for the genre, age group, or other, I’ll bring it to his attention and suggest the changes be re-thought.

An example of this: In one story, the client wanted the young protagonist and her friend to play in the street. For the age group, this was completely inappropriate. You cannot suggest dangerous behavior in a young children’s story.

The middle.

As the story progresses, the client becomes more familiar with my writing style and the tone of the story. At this point she knows whether it’s the story she’s envisioned. And, the process continues. I write and then submit what I’ve done for approval or suggestions.

I revise as we go along.

The end.

Once the full manuscript is completed, the client will decide if any changes are needed. Once revisions are made, if needed, it’s on to editing and proofing.

Then I submit a final manuscript to the client.

The time line.

A children’s picture book is usually completed between 1 and 4 weeks. I do allow for up to 6 weeks as you never know.

Chapter books can take 4-8 weeks.

Middle grade can take 2-3 months, but I allow for up to 4 months.

Who owns the story?

You will own the story – you will be the author. You have full rights to the story and can do whatever you want with it. The fee is my compensation for creating and writing the story.

Extras.

When I first started ghostwriting children’s books, the end was the end of it.

But, as time passed, more and more clients requested additional services, such as: back cover copy, author bio content, formatting the manuscript for submissions, cover letters, query letters, and even basic marketing help.

I’ve even done manuscript to illustrations coordination for a couple of clients. This process includes checking the illustrations for errors.

So, my services also includes these elements to help clients achieve their dream of being an author.

That’s about it.

Keep in mind that every writer may have her own process and particulars, but this should give you a general idea of what to expect when working with a children’s ghostwriter.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Become an Author – 5 Basic Rules
Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing
Critiques are Essential for Writers

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 youR story into a publishable book you’ll be proud to be author of.

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