Monthly Archives: August 2014

Let me be really clear – there’s nothing wrong with deciding to hire a ghostwriter. You don’t do everything in your business, right? You are probably already outsourcing the tasks that you are either not good at, don’t like, or don’t have time for. Most people start out with outsourcing their bookkeeping, taxes, or sending out their newsletter.

A ghostwriter is just another person on your team who helps you get it all done!

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Here are some great reasons to hire a ghostwriter:

  • You don’t like writing or feel you’re not good at it. I’m a firm believer that everybody has a story to tell but I 100% get it that not everybody is in love with the written words.
  • Tasks like your blog, book, newsletter, or articles keep getting added to your to do list and then stay there, day after day, week after week.
  • There are other activities that only you can do. Instead of being a money-making activity, these writing activities are taking you away from other things that do make you money.

I want to say this clearly: it’s not a failure AT ALL to bring in a writer! You’re an expert at what you do and people pay you for your knowledge, skills, and passion. Writers are the same and we love to write!

Here’s what you need to do before hiring a ghostwriter:

1. Be realistic about your budget

You might be able to get a writer on the cheap but is the writing of any quality? This writing is representing your business – more than video, podcasts or interviews ever can. You don’t need to pay through the nose, but don’t expect a quality writer to be cheap either.

2. Look at their credentials

Your writer should be a native English speaker or have the writing skills of one. Ideally she should have a degree in writing (Creative Writing or Journalism) or English. If not, then years of experience will also do the trick!

3. Be clear about your expectations

Nobody is going to write EXACTLY like you do but a good ghostwriter should come close. However, understand that there will be a process while your writer gets to learn your voice so there might be more edits in the beginning. You’ve got to be okay with letting go and letting the writer do her job. That being said, if she isn’t matching your voice and style, you might need to look elsewhere.

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Have you ever thought of joining a writing group?

Hang on – do you know what a writing group is? There are several different types:

  • Writing groups – authors hanging out together and typing away
  • Critique groups – examine each other’s writing for tone, style, clunky passages and moments of brilliance
  • Commenting groups – for blogging, usually, where you read and comment on each other’s blogs
  • Review groups – swap reviews on Amazon.com or other online reviewing sites

So, back to my original question: Have you ever thought of joining a writing group?

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Here’s why you want to take a look at joining one or more groups:

Writing Groups

The Good:
Writing is a lonely business so it’s nice to get together with other people who are doing the same thing. It’s a lot like when I was in college and would head to a study room to work. I wasn’t studying the same subject in a group – like quizzing each other but rather working on my own stuff in a room of other people who were really focused. It always helped my concentration and focus.

The Bad:
These types of groups can quickly become a social event. Which is totally fine (and fun) UNLESS you’re really just there to work and everybody wants to chat. There’s also the challenge of hauling your materials to a location and hoping you have all your resources, research, and tools.

The Business:
Writing groups usually accept any type of author. They might not be the best place to make connections for clients or referrals but you can also be inspired by sharing a table with a novelist, poet, or playwright! Remember that the purpose of the group is to write – not to network so be respectful of the rules of the group.

Critique Groups

The Good:
It’s always a great idea to have somebody read over your work! Critique groups might focus on the technical aspect of writing (spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.) but they usually are more of big-picture view looking at flow, rhythm, tone, plot, etc.

The Bad:
When you’re picking a critique group, it’s easy to fall into a group of writers who aren’t experienced. While I believe that everyone has something to offer, if you’re years down your writing training road, you might not get a lot out of a group filled with college students. Try to find a group with a mix of wanna-bes, trying to break ins, established authors, and career writers. Also look for a mix of ages – you’ll get a better perspective on your work. Also be wary of groups who ONLY tell you everything is wonderful – that doesn’t help you grow as an author.

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A headline is one of the most important pieces of writing – ever. And it’s also one of the most difficult to write!

A headline is designed to attract attention and create desire in a person to read the rest of the piece. Don’t fool yourself that headlines are only found on articles or sales pages. They’re not! For the purposes of this article, a ‘headline’ is anything that needs to attract a reader’s attention and get them to take a second action; usually to read the piece of writing.

Headlines can include:

  • Article or blog post titles
  • Book titles
  • Email subject lines
  • Headlines for sales copy

There are three main types of headlines:

Positive Attraction

These headlines focus on the pleasure words. They’re often benefit laden and overtly promise that the following copy will solve your pain.

Negative Attraction

These headlines don’t just unearth a reader’s pain, they POUNCE on it, sink in their claws and drag it kicking and screaming from under the bed. Negative Attraction headlines make you feel uncomfortable.

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Have you ever NOT mentioned something to somebody because it’s “old hat” to you? Something that you’ve lived with, day in and day out, to the point that it’s become a part of you and you don’t notice it anymore.

Be careful of those moments!

My degree is in Creative Writing and I’ve spent YEARS studying the craft. I read magazines about writing. I go to writer’s conferences, critique groups, and online forums about writing. You’ve seen my shelf of books about writing! It’s safe to say that I have a whole slew of writing tricks up my sleeve. That level of living with the written day in and day out has led to a false perception of the world around me.

In the past few weeks, having calls with clients and answering questions online about what I do, I’ve come to realize something. There’s a WHOLE WORLD of writing resources available that people have no idea about!

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