Jan 17

Children’s Ghostwriting and Momentum

When writing a children’s story, or any story for that matter, there’s a certain momentum you get into. A work flow or groove.

You become absorbed in your writing.

There are times when the story just flows and you up your pace. Then other times you need to work a little harder and the work pace may slow down.

But you can go at your own pace. You’re in control.

As a ghostwriter, though, you can’t always go at your own pace. I’ve had a few clients who took long pauses in their projects.

Interestingly, all of these projects had nothing to do with payments because in each case the projects were up to date.

It seems that client pauses can happen for various reasons: sickness, life, or work.

No matter what the reasons, when a client takes a long pause, it can create at least two problems for the children’s ghostwriter.

  1. As the writer, you lose your momentum.

Mentioned above, when your momentum is interrupted, you lose it. The rhythm, the flow is gone.

And depending on how long the pause it, that momentum can need serious revival when the project moves forward again.

What this means is when the project is picked up again, you need to become reacquainted with the story. Depending on how complicated the story is, the longer it will take to get up to speed.

I’m currently working on a rewrite of a very complicated young adult story that’s over 100,000 words. The author took a long pause, revising the latter part of the story before sending it to me.

The project should be starting up again very soon and I’ll have to get back into the story to be able to build up the momentum again.

This adds more time and work into the project that wasn’t accounted for.

Another aspect of losing momentum, is the story itself.

If I’m in that flow and it’s stopped, will the remainder of the story be the same. Will I find that ‘groove’ again and tell the best story possible?

So far, I think I’ve been able to. But I can see how the story could be affected. Long pauses aren’t a good thing.

  1. The writer’s workload can be challenged.

As a working children’s ghostwriter, you get new projects that need to be scheduled into your workload.

When a client pauses a project and then picks up in a month of two, you’re already into those other projects. You’ve developed a momentum for each of them.

If you only have one or two other projects going on, it’s not that difficult to include the paused project.

But if you have four or five projects going on, and one is a middle grade or young adult, being able to juggle a paused project back into the mix can be challenging.

You don’t want to take time and attention away from current projects.

So, what’s the ghostwriter to do?

The answer to this question depends on the writer.

I always work the paused project back into my workload. I keep my current projects in the forefront, though.

Fortunately, long pauses on projects don’t happen to me often, especially very long ones. Although, in 2020 I had three projects paused. It could be due to the year, or possibly it was a coincidence.

Whatever the reason, from experience I now have a clause in my freelance agreement that allows for a fee to resume a project after a two-week pause. I do of course take into consideration the circumstances involved.

So, if you’re working with a ghostwriter, be aware that there is a writing momentum. And it’s important to keep that momentum going for the story and for the ghostwriter’s time and workload.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or 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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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!

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
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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