Showing posts with label ghostwriter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghostwriter. Show all posts

The Who, How, and Why of a Children's Ghostwriter



Contributed by Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

A while ago, I had a conversation with a fellow attendee at a children’s 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 received were in such poor condition that 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 they 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 if the potential client wants one. Most of my clients never ask for one. The ghostwriter also provides a freelance agreement. And she usually doesn’t get any recognition for her work. However, there are instances where the ghostwriter and client agree to other terms.

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

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

2. 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 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 the author of a children’s book but don’t have the skills, time, or inclination to do it themselves.

I’ve worked with well over 350 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 that most often, it’s parents or grandparents who develop a desire to be authors of children’s books. They usually want to have a story created about their children or grandchildren or impart some wisdom to children.

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

And then there are the business people who see a children’s book as part of a marketing strategy for their industry 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 understand the specific rules of writing for children. The ghostwriter needs to know what the current industry guidelines are.

2. 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.

3. 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 again.

I had another client who 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.

4. Being organized and focused.

I usually handle more than one project at a time. I’m currently juggling ten clients; it’s an all-time high number of simultaneous clients for me.

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 the 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.

When you’re dealing with writing clients, you must things moving smoothly and keep your clients satisfied and in the loop throughout each project.

5. 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.

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, take them on adventures, and stretch their imaginations.

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


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. If you need help with your children’s story, please visit Karen Cioffi Writing for Children.

A 250+ page book that cover everything to help you write your children's book.

And for those children’s authors who are self-publishing, you might check out WRITERS ON THE MOVE PRESS.



By Mindy Lawrence
Many celebrities use ghostwriters to pen their biographies because they either don’t have time to do it themselves or don’t feel comfortable writing. Although the person needs his or her story out, they can’t do it themselves for some reason. This also goes for businesses that want to brand a product or service. Their solution is to hire a ghostwriter.
Here are the top five reason why writers use a ghostwriter.
•         Ghostwriters saves time.
•         Ghostwriters help build brand awareness quicker.
•         Ghostwriters are professional writers.
•         Ghostwriters know SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
•         Ghostwritten content Is authentic content.
Top ghostwriters make a good living. However, It’s not an easy line of work to break into. If you want to do this type of work, these are the areas where you need to have experience.
•         Become a good freelance writer.
•         Write your own book.
•         Create a network through your freelance work
•         See if old clients need work written
•         Join sites that have listings for ghostwriters
•         Work on your skills in collaboration with others
•         Maintain a good relationship with your clients
Informative Links:
How to Become a Ghostwriter. MasterClass staff

What is a Ghostwriter?
Ghostwriting 101:Tips from Bloggers Who’ve Done It
What is Ghostwriting – And What Does it Mean Today?
Top 5 Reasons you Should Hire a Ghostwriter to Write your Content, Ron Lieback
SEO For Beginners
Ghostwriting Pros and Cons, Angelica Kate

Mindy Lawrence is a writer, ghost blogger, and artist based in Farmington, Missouri. She worked for the State of Missouri for over 24 years and moved to Farmington in 2020.

She proofread the Sharing with Writers newsletter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and wrote “An Itty-Bitty Column on Writing” there for ten years. She has been published in Writers' Digest magazine and interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered.

A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business Part 2

A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business Part 2 

(Features two to five)
By Karen Cioffi

2. A Ghostwriter Provides Informational Content

Information rules in today’s ever changing world. Providing informative and/or instructive content to your staff, customers, and potential customer is now essential, especially with business transparency being a desirable feature that employees and customers look for.

While businesses and marketers can generate their own content, a ghostwriter frees up company time for more productive and revenue generating work.

‘Informational gifts’ is another content product that businesses need to be aware of. Of the thousands of websites within your industry available for customers to find and subscribe to, why should they choose yours? That’s where an ‘ethical bribe’ comes in to play. Providing an informative report or e-book with valuable information that your potential customer will appreciate tends to motivate that individual, company, or visitor to click on your opt-in box, thereby increasing your mailing list. And, every business knows the importance of having a mailing list – it’s crucial with the increasing e-commerce trends.

It’s this offering of valuable and quality information that helps build a relationship with your site’s visitors and keeps them coming back. This ongoing relationship will eventually lead to an increased mailing list and sales.

3. A Ghostwriter for Your Business’ Landing Pages and Products

The first impression an online searcher – potential customer searching for your product or business type - will have of a business, is its landing page. Obviously, a business needs to have an attractive, quick loading, SEO friendly, and informative page. Now, while a ghostwriter will most likely not be a web designer, she can create the needed content for the site, content that will engage the visitor and motivate him to subscribe to the mailing list and make contact with the business.

The mailing list is what generates long-lasting relationships and sales. Through the mailing list you can offer information, along with product and/or business promotion. Marketing experts advise though, to offer a 75 to 25 percent ratio of information to promotion.

Again, information is what people want today; they want to know how to find a solution to their problem or need, and they want to be informed. If you provide that, you will have sales.

Along with creating effective landing page content, a ghostwriter can produce product descriptions and guides. Through the information you provide and additional research, she can create informative and customer appreciated content, thereby fostering customer loyalty.

4. A Ghostwriter – Copywriting and Keywords
In addition to writing articles, newsletters, e-books, reports, and other content, a ghostwriter should know copywriting. While this skill isn’t essential for some aspects of the job, it is important in the event a client requires projects such as landing pages, email marketing, product guides, articles, or other.

And, being aware of SEO and keywords will help the ghostwriter create traffic effective content, leading potential subscribers and customers to the business’ website.

Knowing copywriting and SEO is a surefire way for a ghostwriter to increase her value to business clients.

5. A Ghostwriter Must be a Good Writer
Lastly, the number one quality a ghostwriter needs to have is being a good writer. It’s also a good idea for the ghostwriter to specialize in a couple of different areas – this also increases her value to specific clients.

If you are thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, you might ask for samples and/or testimonials. Note here: testimonials from ghostwriting clients may be difficult, if not impossible to come by . . . for obvious reasons. If the ghostwriter can’t provide testimonials, it’s important to understand why and ask for writing samples instead.

If you missed Part 1, you can read it here:
A Ghostwriter – 5 Features that can Help Build Your Business Part 1

More Freelance Writing Articles

Freelance Writing Work: The Possibilities
You Can Write for Money

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars - signup for The Writing World newsletter on the right top sidebar!

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer
Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012

Find Karen’s eBooks on writing and marketing at: (check the sidebar for titles)

Karen Cioffi Writing Services
A Team of Professionals for Businesses and Individuals

A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business Part 1

A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business (Part 1)

By Karen Cioffi


A ghostwriter provides services for different types of people, marketers, and businesses, and on a number of topics. She works silently, behind the scenes and creates whitepapers, newsletters, e-books, informational products, articles, posts, stories, and other forms of content for a business or marketer seeking to:

•    Create and/or build your company’s platform visibility
•    Generate and increase website traffic
•    Provide instruction/information for employees or clients/customers
•    Offer an informational gift as an ‘ethical bribe’ to subscribe to your company’s mailing list
•    Create landing pages for your company or products
•    Create product descriptions and guides

The list goes on and on. But, let’s breakdown some of the uses of a ghostwriter, and her benefit to businesses.

A Ghostwriter is a Must-Have Tool

According to tracking by the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce grew 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Within those first three months, Americans spent $43 billion online. And, the projection for 2012 is that e-commerce will increase another 11.3 percent.

Based on trends and statistics, this growing e-commerce market will continue to grow.

1. Building Your Brand and Visibility with a Ghostwriter

So, it’s easy to see that with e-commerce rapidly growing a ghostwriter is a must-have business tool for marketers or business owners who need to provide regularly updated content on their site/s and in their newsletters or informational emails. This marketing strategy is known as inbound marketing. It helps build your platform, creates and increases traffic to your site, and will help increase your mailing list.

Creating content for businesses is actually a busy area for ghostwriters. Marketers are very aware of the importance of having effective and fresh content on the sites they are managing. Businesses hire a writer to write a set number of post/articles per week or month for a certain amount of money per article. Some businesses may want one to two articles per day; others may want one a week.

If you are hiring a ghostwriter for this capacity, be sure she knows about keywords and SEO. The point of hiring someone to create valuable content for your site/s is to have that content picked up in the search engines, which in turn will help searchers (potential customers/clients) find your site/s.

And, if the work involves rewriting articles, the ghostwriter must know the source article’s duplicate content score. Search engines frown upon duplicate content, so it’s the writer’s job to make the article different enough so it is perceived as new.

Maintaining and increasing visibility is essential to authors, writers, and businesses. Keeping up with blog posts and guest article writing is an important marketing tool for all, well at least for those who are trying to sell their products or services.

Come back on Sunday, August 5th, for Part 2 of A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business

More on Freelance Writing

Writing for Money – Breaking Into Freelance Writing
Freelance Writing: An Additional Path to Income

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars - signup for The Writing World newsletter on the right top sidebar!

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer
Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012

Find Karen’s eBooks on writing and marketing at: (check the sidebar for titles)

Karen Cioffi Writing Services
A Team of Professionals for Businesses and Individuals

The Ghostwriter

What’s the essential characteristic of a ghost? Invisibility. Well, that’s exactly what a ghostwriter is . . . invisible.

The ghostwriter is a powerful tool for people who have a story in them, but who can’t seem to get their ideas into posts, article content, or books. He is also a valuable tool for writers who don’t have the time to writer their own content, and for other people who don’t have the skill. He is also a essential tool for marketers and business owners who don’t have the time, or possibly the skill, to write their own articles or other needed marketing content.

Moving quietly behind the scenes, the ghostwriter can lift you up and help you create what you may not have the time, energy, or skill to do yourself. He can help turn dreams into reality.

Do you need to drive traffic to your site? Do you need an e-book written for a free giveaway? Do you want to create an e-book to offer for sale? No problem. Does your story need a makeover? Do you have an outline, but don’t know where to go from there? No problem. Fiction, nonfiction? Short story, long story? White pages? No problem.

Writing for others, he writes stories, articles, blogs, and a host of other forms of content. He is a modest guy and doesn’t need recognition for his feat. The individual who hires him gets all the credit for the finished product; the ghostwriter gets paid for his services.

The individual or company requesting the content may provide an idea, an outline, or he may need a piece rewritten; the ghostwriter does his homework and accomplishes what is requested.

It should be noted that in some instances ghostwriters do receive some recognition or credit; this is something the requester and writer decide upon. The cost of the project may be less if credit is given. But, most often the ghostwriter remains anonymous.

In other instances the ghostwriter may reduce his fee for a percentage of the profits from the finished product.

Is Ghostwriting Popular?

According to the article, “What is a Ghostwriter?” by Gary McLaren, “Statistics are hard to come by since many people don't want to reveal that their book is ghosted. Some industry estimates suggest that up to fifty percent of all non-fiction books are ghostwritten.”

Interestingly, what’s becoming very popular for ghostwriters is article writing. Marketers know the importance of posting valuable and well written content on their websites, on a regular basis. In these cases, the ghostwriter needs to know about SEO and keyword optimization.

A couple of famous ghostwriters are:

Barbara Feinman ghostwrote It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us by Hillary Clinton.

H.P. Lovecraft was a ghostwriter for Harry Houdini.

A.E. Hotchner ghostwrote the autobiographies for Doris Day and Sophie Loren

Obviously, it may be difficult for a ghostwriter to obtain testimonials from clients, so when looking for a ghostwriter, you should ask for samples of his writing.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. You can find out more about writing for children and her services at: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children.

Check out the DIY Page while you're there!

And, get a copy of Walking Through Walls (a middle-grade fantasy adventure set in 16th century China. Honored with the Children’s Literary Classics Silver Award.

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