viernes, 3 de diciembre de 2010

An innovator (a sort of): Christopher Richards - Part II

Me llamó la atención en extremo la afirmación de Mr. Richards: "I make my living in the real world by ghostwriting business books"

Esto implica:

1. Que hay "autores" de business books que no lo son al 100%

2. Que quizá he leído más de uno de esos libros (y hasta reverenciado a su "autor")

3. Que he quedado sorprendido: de mi ingenuidad e inocencia ante el funcionamiento que ahora se me revela de los negocios, y de los libros de negocios

Aquí nos explica Mr. Richards (seria y lentamente) cómo desempeña él su oficio y los gajes que trae:

"Ghostwriting Definition: A ghostwriter is paid to write books, articles, reports, speeches and other content that is credited to another person.

Will I make money from book sales?
Could your nonfiction book be another best-seller? Possibly, but that’s not the point. Being on the best-seller list is not an expectation of the people I write for. For most people, the value is increased awareness, competitive advantage, and professional stature. A book opens doors to new opportunities. And it is those new opportunities where your book pays for itself— many times over.

What should I look for in a ghostwriter?
Of course, you’ll need a person who can write. Make sure to look for someone who can understand what you want. Ask incisive questions. Listen to the answers. Ghostwriters must have the emotional maturity to put aside their own perspectives when necessary. They must write from your vantage point and for your readership.

Many ghostwriters’ work comes to them by referral. Most will have an agreement not to disclose that they had written or participated in a book. This makes showing samples difficult. However, the ghostwriter should be able to show you a variety of writing styles, and it is this flexibility of style that should give you an idea of ability. Is the writing clear? Is it to the point? Does it inform? Is it even amusing? Does it draw you in? Does it keep your attention? Is it consistent in tone?

How does ghostwriting work?
It can be as simple as you talk while the ghostwriter records your words and shapes them into an integrated narrative.

You may already have made a start on writing and find yourself stuck, or you simply don't have the time to continue. Your book is likely to emerge from a combination of discussions and existing documents.

Because a ghostwriter writes for someone else, the relationship between author and ghostwriter is of tremendous importance. For some clients, it is important for author and ghostwriter to meet face to face. For others, telephone and email work well. However, writing a book can be a significant investment of your time and money.

Make sure the relationship works. Are you, the author, and your ghostwriter on the same page? Initially, I like to set up a phone call with a prospective author to discuss the purpose of the book or article, its readership, and some idea of what the book will contain.

Should I contact several ghostwriters before making a decision?
Yes. Take your time. You will have a relationship with the person you choose for some months to come. When interviewing, allocate enough time to spend at least spend half an hour on the phone with someone you are seriously considering. Your ghostwriter must be a good verbal communicator. A significant part of the job of the ghostwriter is to interview you, and ask you questions that will stimulate your thinking and help you explain what you want to say.

A poorly-written book with your name on it can do more damage than having no book at all. Don't cut corners when attempting to find a ghostwriter. Visit ghostwriter websites. Is the writing on that site appealing? Are there grammatical or typographical errors? Is the ghostwriter knowable? Get the feel for who they are.

Don't simply send a list of requirements and expect an estimate. Yes, this means more work on your part, but it will pay off. If price is the only determining factor, then you run the risk of a poor outcome. Choosing to work together is a personal decision.

You will probably be meeting with your ghostwriter on a regular basis by phone, video, or in-person. Most professionals are busy people, particularly those who head organizations. Nevertheless, realistic expectations of time and cost are important. If your book project is to be a success, give it the time it deserves. Working with your ghostwriter should significantly shorten your time-investment, but you will need to stay engaged in the project.

Getting started
Every project must have a beginning. And that beginning can be at a different point along a continuum. At one end, you may have vague ideas, rough notes, or an outline; at the other, a rough draft, or an almost completely revised work. However, all projects start with discussion and/or review of existing material, if any.

If you and I were to decide to work together, after an initial discussion, I would draft a letter of intent which spells out my understanding of what you want, suggesting next steps in your project.

Working together
Maybe you're not ready to commit to an entire project—yet. You can still do some initial work on your project.

I charge a prepaid hourly fee for a minimum of ten hours for new clients. This way, for a small commitment, we can take time to work together in determining the readership, the content, and scope of the project. After ten hours of consultation and/or writing, we should be in a better position create an effective working relationship and estimate the entire project.

Please contact me for fees, details, and availability.

What if you are not available?
Ghostwriters can only take on so many projects at a time. Some of us will only work on one book at a time in order to do the job right. Depending on your need, I would be happy to refer a colleague, or suggest some things you can do now to prepare for a later scheduled start date. While planning your book several months in advance in not always possible, if you can, it will give you the choice of working with an in-demand ghostwriter.

What sort of books do you write?
I specialize in nonfiction books and biography. I have written for clients in business consulting, management, psychology, organizational development, education, and non-profit organizations.

Do you ghostwrite shorter works?
Yes. At the time of writing, I've just finished an eighty-page educational guide. I also rewrite or edit shorter works.

Do you ghostwrite fiction?
No. I do not offer this service and I cannot refer you at this time.

How long will it take?
Writing your book takes time and effort. How long it will take to ghostwrite your book depends upon conceptual complexity, participant availability (that's you), timing, and my professional commitments. You should expect a turnaround time of at least several months for anything approaching book length. While each project is different, it's not unusual to spend between 400 and 700 hours to ghostwrite a 50,000-word (200 page) book.

A solid outline of your entire book will get you to your destination faster. A rough guide to allocating time is 40 percent creating the outline, 20 percent writing the first draft, and 40 percent rewriting.

The new now
With the advent of digital publishing, new structures of books are emerging for devices such as Kindle and Nook. Books are getting shorter, but this does not necessarily mean that they take less effort to write well. Writers understand that any work starts out horrible and becomes refined through revision. However, those that don't write only see finished works and are often unaware of how many revisions it took to polish a piece of writing. In other words, no first draft is publishable. Clarity matters. A writer's joke goes like this: This piece of writing is long because I didn't have time to write it shorter.

Please contact me here to set up a time to talk about your project."

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