Ghostwriters STOP Misdirecting Your Clients—Authors Beware
I just finished reading a newsletter from an organization that supports ghostwriters, and I was so shocked that I had to blog about what so looks like casually offhand advice to ghostwriters. Such advice can create serious issues for our burgeoning industry and send our credibility right down the toilet. There is a lot of such advice going around.
This particular advice offered a company called Author Solutions (maybe you’ve heard of them?) as a viable place for ghosts to send their authors once a book project is ready for self-publishing. What’s the problem? The problem is that the person who handed out the advice apparently NEVER vetted her information before chucking it out there.
This ghostwriting business is my livelihood, full-time, and I care deeply about other ghosts. I was troubled by seeing her recommendation of Book Baby and Author Solutions in the newsletter. I have used neither, but a bit of research will show serious allegations against A.S. and all of its subsidiaries (it owns many, many of the self-pub and “on demand” outlets floating around the internet) and how they treat authors. For over eleven years many, many authors have written and posted complaints all over the world about these two companies and how they allegedly fail to comply with their own promises.
Before any ghost sends their authors to any of these expensive companies, it is urgent that the author study and research the business, get a complete understanding of how publishing works, and what the options are, and be sure, very sure they are sending their authors in a safe and productive direction. Watching a video, reading a newsletter, or searching Google is not enough research.
I may be completely wrong about that company and others, but what I have read, and what many digital and self publishing experts are saying makes me worry about outcomes. I highly, highly recommend that anyone who wants to help authors figure out digital publishing read a book called Let’s Get Digital and then hops over to read some of Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware
Also peruse Writers’ Weekly – not one of my favorite haunts – but they do have info on industry scams.
We, as ghosts and author consultants can cause a lot of harm to the entire industry if we purport to be experts when we haven’t done the homework. The client pays a healthy fee to the ghost, then gets sent off on an expensive wild goose chase where they may be ripped off soundly, and so end up saying, “Man, I hired a ghostwriter once and I lost my shirt and any chance of success.”
Anyone can, and often does put up a website calling themself a ghostwriter and an expert on publishing, then charges ridiculously low rates to take on a project. I hear over and over from new clients how badly it turns out for the author when the “ghost” can’t produce, gives terrible advice, or disappears completely along with the fee installments collected. If our industry is to survive and thrive, it is imperative that we act ethically and work from the facts, not just toss out flash and glittery pseudo expertise until we decide to try some other “easy” way to make a living.