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I want to talk about ghostwriting. I am considering getting in on the practice of doing it. It is far more lucrative than book editing, and far simpler in terms of 1-2 contracts per year and 1-2 clients per year, versus half a dozen or more for book editing clients.

Doing research, I located an experienced ghost writer, Laura Sherman, “The Friendly Ghostwriter,” and emailed a bit with her. Based off my experience as a book editor and published writer, she said, I could reasonably charge .25 cents a word. So, for an 80,000 word book, say, that’s $20K. A heck of a lot more than the $1,600 a book editing charge (for an 80,000 word book).

But it’s not just the money, of course. I think I’d be good at it. And the benefit goes to the client, also, in terms of them getting their book ghostwritten for less than it’d cost to go to a seasoned pro. It’s like working with a psychotherapist intern versus a seasoned, licensed therapist. One isn’t necessarily “better” than the other; they both bring things to the table; the real question is, Which one is a fit for you?

Mainly I’d like to try my hand at ghostwriting a memoir. Possibly fiction—adult or Young Adult—but I’ve been hot on memoir lately so I think that might be a good choice. Let me give you my reason for why I think I’d be a great ghostwriter for you.

Number one, I am a former literary agent’s assistant with a big Bay Area firm, so I learned the inside of the industry in terms of why writers are rejected, how to query agents, book editing style, and what makes a good novel or memoir. Number two, I have been a successful book editor for several years now, working with both published and unpublished authors in fiction and memoir. My latest memoir was Christian Picciolini’s “Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead,” the true tale of an ex neo-Nazi skinhead who changed his life for good and became an activist for love and truth, which has been selling well and has been garnering appearances on major news networks like CNN, NBC, CBS, as well as forums like Glen Beck TV Program, VICE Magazine, etc. The foreword was written by Joan Jett.

Number three, I am a published writer. I have had over a dozen short stories published in various literary journals and magazines, fiction and memoir, and I have written five full-length novels. Also, I am in the process of writing my own memoir as we speak.

So, as you can see, I would be a pretty good candidate for ghostwriting. Actually, I have had several people approach me over the years and inquire into me doing just that. And at the time I said no. But now, I have started to shift my perspective and am currently interested in giving it a shot.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the art/practice of ghostwriting, it is simply when you bring your idea to me and I do the actual writing. I write the book, but it’s your story and your name only on the cover (unless we agreed my name would be included). I would begin as all ghostwriters do by interviewing you, taking notes, reading any primary and secondary documents and already written material you may have. And then, after we’d signed a contract and you’d paid me the first half or partial payment we agreed upon, I would begin the actual writing of the novel or memoir.

The procedure would be that I would write a chapter and then submit it to you for review. If you liked it, we move on to chapter two. If you have minor issues, we go over them. If you have major issues, we stop and go over the chapter, getting it right before moving onto the next chapter. So by the end of the project we have a book we both love (more importantly that you love) and an agreed-upon total fee based off word count not hours (which means the fee remains constant; also, the fee is based solely off the final word count, not any extra words I come up with pre-final draft. So if you pay for 80,000 words, that’s final. Also, we might wait until the end to see where the word count lands, versus coming up with a pre-determined word count to land on).

So if any of you out there would like to try me out and give me a shot, I would be happy to hear your idea. Again, I have the background and skill set to do this, and the client would save between $10-30K on the book because this would be my first ghost-book. We’re talking most likely 6-9 months for a project to be completed, so please do keep that in mind.

Ready to get your ghost on? Email me at:

Write on.

“You said it. Let’s edit. Or ghostwrite.”

Michael Mohr

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