Robin’s Publication Day!

This is an exciting day for my friend Robin Gideon.  Aspen Mountain Press is releasing her novel,
Silky Sins: Cassandra's Story.  Its a sizzling contemporary erotic romance and you can download it in ebook format and get it immediately.

Robin is absolutely amazing–she has an incredible list of books coming out over the next few months, and I personally, am a very bright kelly green with envy.   Robin and I met during my brief stint as an erotic romance editor.  I plucked Silky Sins out of the slush pile and knew immediately that Robin was a winner.  Her subsequent success has proven me correct!

Stay tuned for reviews and interviews with Robin on Bookstrumpet.  And go buy her book, it'll make your weekend.

Do You Think He Needs A Ghostwriter?

Michael Phelps is writing a book.

I'm guessing, just a wild stab, that somewhere near Baltimore a ghostwriter hit the jackpot and will spend the next month hanging on every word Phelps says.  They are getting this baby out in time for Christmas, so its obvious Phelps is not going to write it himself. 

The book is going to be called Built to Succeed, and it'll outline his philosophy of training as well as his life being raised by a single mother.

By the way, that single mother is to blame for a wee little shopping spree I took yesterday.  Women of a certain age, such as myself, are greatly enamored of shopping at Chico's for a variety of reasons.  Chico's clothes have a certain, highly recognizable look to them.  Every time I saw Debbie Phelps sitting in the stands, I'd think, she's wearing Chico's.

Well, I was right.  And the company figured this out, too, and immediately put together the Debbie Phelps Collection on their website.

Pretty brilliant marketing, don't you think?

I was reading about that yesterday and thought, hmm, Chico's, its been awhile.  And I have coupons, too!  Maybe I could just take one tiny little look at the website….

And thus a shopping spree was born. 

I justified it by telling myself I need clothes for the upcoming orientation weekend at the Loft in Nashville, and its true.   And by the way, while I'm speaking of the Loft, our next semester kicks off on September 12th in Nashville.   There's no better way to learn to write than to study one on one with a mentor.

And I'll be stylin', too.

I’m Writing, I’m Writing, I’m Writing

I'm back home in Portland, and its hot.  Like over 100 hot.  Every day.  I do not like this.  My office is upstairs and as we all know heat rises and hot damn it gets hot up there.  My computer does not like it either.  It tells me this by bluescreening and then fading quickly to black. 

So at the moment I'm working from the one air-conditioned room in the house, the family room, which is the wee-est bit problematic because other people have this crazy idea that they want to share this space with me.  No matter how much I snarl and bare my teeth at them they persist and before I know it, the TV is on and I'm absorbed in the Olympics.  Yes, water polo is too fascinating.

Despite these problems I have valiantly pressed forward and managed to complete the entire introduction for a ghostwriting project today.  And this situation has made me think back to the days before I was a professional writer.  I wanted to be one so badly, but I had two small children and little clue how to go about it.  I'd graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism in the post-Watergate days when everyone wanted to be a newspaper reporter (now a quaint occupation), the main reason being that all reporters looked like Robert Redford, of course.

To work at a newspaper I would have had to go to a small town to get a job and since I was painfully shy (I'm not kidding, this is true) then, I just couldn't see myself doing this successfully.  So instead I did the logical thing for women who graduated and didn't know what to do–I got pregnant.  

My two children are lovely, amazing adults now, and I love them both beyond all reason.  But dear lord they were a distraction when they were little.  I was not one of those together super-mothers.  My house was always a mess and I was always frazzled and out of it, and I didn't even have a job outside the home.  Things were less organized and frantic back then than they are now so I could get away with this.  I look at all the things young mothers do now and I'm grateful I'm not trying to raise kids now.  I'd be shunned for ineptitude.

Through it all I desperately wanted to write and once in awhile would take little snippets of time to try, try being the operative word.  Finally the wee tidbits got a bit bigger and for whatever reason I landed a job writing a book.   To this day, I can't remember how.   I set up a desk in a corner of the bedroom and wrote the whole thing on a typewriter, which now barely even seems possible to me.  Who watched the children while I was doing this, I have no clue.  Hmmm, maybe that's when Lewis got that scar on his head?  Kidding, really!

What I do remember is sitting at the typewriter writing and being thrilled to my core.  Just sitting there, typing away, thinking, I'm writing, I'm writing, I'm writing.  It just didn't get any better than that, even though my "office" was one little corner of the bedroom and I had as little clue what I was doing writing a book as I did raising children.

All these years later, and here I am, sitting in the family room, with people wandering in and out, and still I'm writing.  The typewriter is now a laptop computer, but still sometimes I catch myself as I complete a project, thinking, I'm writing, I'm writing, I'm writing. 

And I'm thrilled to the core.

Why I’m Not a Librarian

I’ve been reading more lately.  And thinking a lot about books lately.  This is not an entirely unusual state of affairs, because any writer worth their salt reads as much as they possibly can.  It is simply not possible to be a writer unless you read constantly.

But I’ve been even more engrossed in books lately, due to having started a companion site devoted to books.  Trust me, this is not a bad state of affairs.  Next to writing, reading is my most favorite activity.

However, all this reading and pondering the world of books and authors has also had me thinking about another question: since I love books so much, why do I feel so compelled to write them?  I mean, wouldn’t my life be about 1,000 times less stressful if I was satisfied to limit my love for books to reading them?

This query is akin to the secretary question, which is, why couldn’t I have been happy being a secretary?  (And please, I mean absolutely no disrespect to secretaries).  Why couldn’t I have been satisfied having a stable, nine-to-five job?  Why do I feel compelled to make my living as a free-lance writer?

Good questions, all.  Too bad I don’t have the answers.

Partial blame goes to my father, the late Lewis Jesse Rains, a lifelong small business owner who was fiercely independent until the day he died.  He drilled that independence into the heads of his four daughters, repeatedly telling us not to take the easy way out, that having one’s own business was the only way to go.  Of course, he didn’t really expect his daughters, as females, to create their own businesses, he expected our husbands to.    And he died broke, after his beloved printing business went bankrupt.

Guess that is what you would call a mixed message. 

Sometimes I think I should have paid more attention to the dark side of his example.  But the truth of the matter is that I’ve tried working for other people.  In recent history, I even held down a part-time job for something like two whole years.  But I’m not good at working for other people.  I resent having to be at work at a certain time.  It always happened that I’d just be gaining steam on a writing project when it was time for me to leave for work.  And after awhile that resentment built to where I’d get careless and sloppy on the job.

So it really is best that I work for myself.  And since the only thing I really know how to do well is write, I guess you’re stuck with me. 

Though its probably not too late to go back to school to become a librarian.

Announcing…Bookstrumpet

You may have noticed my periodic call for people who would like to become contributors to a new book review site.   I am pleased to announce that the new site is live and ready to roll.  Here’s the site url:

http://wordstrumpet.typepad.com/bookstrumpet/

This is only the very modest beginning.  Expect more to come, with additional reviews from a roster of fabulous reviewers and essays about books and interviews with authors to come.

So go check it out.  And if you decide you want to be involved, email me!

Ghostwriting

One of the main ways I make my living is through ghostwriting, and I love it.  I get to write about topics I’d never write about otherwise, meet fascinating people, and enter the minds of those fascinating people.  Sort of like writing fiction, only not.

What is Ghostwriting?

Ghostwriting is when I write the book for you but your name appears on the book.  As far as the world knows, you are the author of the book.  If I’m lucky, you might thank me in the acknowledgments .  But even that is not really necessary.  Some big-time ghostwriters even get a “with” credit, as in “by famous person with ghostwriter.”  But not usually.

Who Uses Ghostwriters?

A better question might be, who doesn’t use a ghostwriter?  Generally, ghostwriters are employed for non-fiction projects, though many a novel has been ghostwritten (you can read a post I wrote about that here.)   Many of the best-selling business and self-help books are ghostwritten, as are those by politicians and celebrities. 

Not only famous people hire ghostwriters.  People in all walks of life who are too busy to write a book or simply feel they don’t have a way with word hire ghostwriters.  Working with a ghostwriter can be an efficient way of getting your book to print.

Why Do I Need a Book?

You may not have dreams of bestseller status, but you do need a book.  Why? Here are some reasons:

  • A book lends your career immediate status and prestige.  No matter what profession you are in, having a book to show for yourself gives you credibility.
  • If you do any public speaking, or aspire to, you need a book because many speaking bureaus will not book you unless you have one. 
  • A book  offers a potential  additional income stream.   You may choose to sell it on the internet or as a  back-of-the-room product.  If you are providing useful content on your website or blog, people will want to buy a book to read more.  If you are giving inspiring lectures, people will want to read more.  Give them what they want–a book.
  • A book offers you a chance to spread your message in a different channel.  Make no mistake, even iin this digital age, a book is still considered the ultimate authority.

What is The Ghostwriting Process?

People come to me when they have an idea for a book, have been struggling to write one for awhile, or need to get a product out fast, for any of the above reasons.  Generally, the client will have a fair amount of material or notes on the project ready.  If this is not the case, there may be quite a bit of upfront interviewing time required. 

It is my job to take this material and shape it into a finished product that reflects the voice and style of the client.  No two of the books that I ghostwrite will sound like the same author if I’ve done my job correctly.  I assess the potential readers and what sort of style might be appropriate for them, also.

Every project differs, but basically I’ll send the client constant updates of the the manuscript for him or her to edit and make changes on.  I guarantee my work and I’m not happy until the client is happy. 

How Long Does it Take?

The time frame varies.  I’ve gotten books out in as short as a month, while some projects tend to take much longer.

How Much Does it Cost?

While I have a base fee, again, each project will vary in cost.  It depends on how much material you have ready.  Some books really only need a rewrite or edit, while others require a massive assembly of notes and research.  Still others may need a lot of upfront interviewing time to pull the story out of the client, and this, of course, will cost more.   Please, please, please don’t assume that a ghostwriter will work for royalties only.  We’re professionals, too, folks, and we like to eat also.  Royalties are more of an “if” than a “for certain” and if they do every manifest, it may not be for months or years in the future.  Unless you can find a ghostwriter who needs experience and a credit to show, forget about asking us to work for royalties.

I’m Sold, What’s My Next Step?

Contact me  and we’ll discuss specifics.  If you’re not quite ready to hire a ghostwriter, and want to do it yourself, I can help coach you to get your book onto the page, too.