for the Writers

In Defense of Ghostwriters

Awhile ago Olivia J. guest-posted on my blog about concerns with the idea of ghostwriters, while I posted my defense of ghostwriters on her blog.

Check out Olivia’s reservations about ghostwriting, and then see why I think ghostwriting has an important place in the literary universe:

 

What makes ghostwriters the bomb-diggety:

Ghostwriters aren’t quite ghosts, sadly. But they’re still more or less supernatural in their capabilities! They’re the undercover secret agents of the writing world. The trained, the elite, the you-never-saw-it-coming – the ghostwriters 🙂

  • Us regular writers take years of writing to find our own voice
  • Ghostwriters are shapeshifters, finding the unique voice of each person they are writing for

 

  • Us regular writers mostly write something we’re passionate about
  • Ghostwriters use a magical spell to transfer your passion into their words. Your passion is infectious and as it seeps into them, topics or stories the ghostwriter may have never been passionate about are suddenly passionately written! Teamwork 🙂

 

  • Us regular writers might be considered semi-narcissistic – speaking of myself here mostly 😉 They devote their life to making their own dreams come true
  • Ghostwriters are fairygodmothers, passionate about devoting their lives to making others dreams come true. How cool is that!

 

  • Us regular writers are clumsy and walk into doors and walls and lampposts
  • Ghostwriters are also clumsy, but at least they float right through the objects. Or wait, is that just ghosts?

 

Why readers should care about ghostwriting:

Readers should be ecstatic to support the existence of ghostwriters. Not only do ghosts make for great stories, but *ghostwriters* make for great stories. More quality stories will exist for readers when non-writers choose one of these three options:

1)      share their story in a medium they’re skilled and passionate in

2)      have the passion and take time to gain the skill of writing before putting the story out there

3)      hire a ghostwriter to marry their passion and knowledge of the content with the ghostwriter’s passion and skill for writing

 

The problem with ghostwriting:

Now here’s the horrid part about ghostwriters – as awesome as they are, they don’t get the credit. Hit the NYT bestsellers list, win the Pulitzer prize, get a movie deal – everyone applauds the author (the person who hired the ghostwriter.) The ghostwriter is, well, ghosted. They generally can’t even say they wrote it, because they *officially* didn’t.

 

 

So why does the person who hired the ghostwriter get to be the author? Why do they get credit?

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Scratch that. Ideas don’t cost a thing, in fact, us writers can’t turn them off. So no, a ghostwriter isn’t needing the idea from the author. But what we call the author, the person who hired the ghostwriter, they contribute much more than the idea.

The person called the “author” is in fact the author because it’s their brainchild, their knowledge, their story, their platform, their audience, their marketing, their voice, and their passion.

The ghostwriter alone generally won’t have all those things to get the book into the world as the book actually is. If the ghostwriter alone wrote the book, it may miss the knowledge of the topic or the direct experience with the story. Maybe if the ghostwriter alone wrote the book, it wouldn’t reach as large an audience. Maybe if the ghostwriter alone wrote the book, it wouldn’t have that unique voice, style, or tone. Maybe it would just lack passion.

So on that note, mad props to the author for making all this happen!

 

How to fix the discrepancy:

I get it. The author deserves a lot of credit for making this book happen. And also, the ghostwriter deserves a lot of credit for making this book happen. It takes two. It most definitely takes great skill for a ghostwriter to take all the author has to offer and turn it into a quality book. And it most definitely takes the author to make the book happen in the first place.

Here’s my proposal, the main thing I’d change about the concept of ghostwriting to give proper credit:

On any ghostwritten book, have the front cover say “Written by [name of supernatural ghostwriter person], Directed by [name of person who had the vision to make the book happen]”. We already do this for movies: listing actors, directors, producers, and all myriad of workers in the credits. Just do that for books with ghostwriters too – give them some credit for their kickbutt magical powers 🙂

 

What do you think?

What say you? Do you think ghostwriters as an entity should just be called “authors”? Or do you think ghostwriters have their place in the literary universe hidden behind the scenes? Share your thoughts in the comments, check out Olivia’s counter-argument, and join the convo 🙂

 

for the Creatives

3 practical strategies that keep me hustling

My writerly dreams battle against lovable nuisances like a day job (Cha-ching$$$$), family & friends, self-care, and of course household chores. And I have found three strategies that keep me writing even amidst ALL THE THINGS that will squeeze their way into my calendar.

I am beyond THRILLED to be featured on Ksenia Anske’s blog. My five years ago self would never suspect that I would one day have this opportunity to work with and learn from this writerly genius I admire so much (Oh btw, awhile back I also wrote about all the reasons I love Ksenia). Okay, I’m going to stop gushing now. Keep dreaming and working, and go steal my tips from Ksenia’s blog for your own world domination plans.

for the Creatives

An experiment saving $$$ with Qapital app

Always one to shirk away from traditional New Year resolutions, I’ve come up with an improvement-related experiment instead.

I’m all for finding motivation to save without too much spreadsheet work. Ech, spreadsheets, am I right?

Enter Qapital app.

(Psst… Sign up using my referral link, & Qapital gives us both $5)

Qapital is kinda like a saving $$$ game. You set “rules” for how to save and then you rake in the dough – or at least the dollars and cents and sense.

The great savings experiment numbers data stuff:

I already save each month, so my skepticism reared its actually-quite-beautiful head when I first heard of Qapital. “But wait… To save that money, you have to already have that money, so it’s just moving money at certain times to ‘save’ it when you already had it.”

Since I’m not a numbers person, I budget with Mint which tells me my net each month of the past calendar year. See below: The green is income, the red is spending, and the black tumultuous line is my net. bargraph.png

I’m not super consistent, because income fluctuates, payments fluctuate (somewhere in there I paid off loans, woohoo!), and okay fine, Starbucks and Lularoe addiction fluctuates. But I used excel formulas to find the monthly net average/median (which is the best to track here? I don’t know!).

I’ll be testing if Qapital app helps me save more than my average or median. My average/median are both just over $1000. If I save more than that, I call this a possible success, while realizing there are a bunch of other factors that affect how much I’m saving. (I’m no scientist with a control case and laboratory or anything here… ) But it would be the start of an indicator.

If I don’t save more than that, it may have been a flop *for me to choose to use it in this way.* Note that doesn’t mean the app is a flop. My next option would be to automatically deposit my average into savings each month, and then only after that point do Qapital savings beyond that average.

 

How I’ll be saving through the Qapital app:

I set up two savings buckets in the app:

  1. Money for my book launch – I figure I’ll need some money for ads, giveaways, book launch party, something, though I don’t have details figured yet.
  2. General savings – because I should save money to just save money too of course.

 

I’ll be saving money for my book launch in relation to groceries & visits to Starbucks:

  1. If I spend less than $40/month at Starbucks, the remainder will go toward my book launch (so I’m incentivized to not go to Starbucks as often)
  2. Every time I buy Starbucks, $5 will go toward my book launch (so I’m saving even if I cave and go to Starbucks)
  3. Every time I buy groceries at Walmart, $5 will go toward my book launch (so I’m saving throughout the month regardless, just by living my life)

 

I’ll be saving money for just saving based on bigger rules:

  1. The 52-week rule reversed, meaning each week an amount goes into savings counting down from $52 the first week, $51 the next week, $50 the next, and so on through the year.
  2. The round-up rule, meaning every time I spend money, the amount will be rounded to the nearest dollar and the change put into savings.
  3. Plus, 1% of my income will automatically be deposited into savings.

 

We’ll see how this goes. I’ll update you in about 3 months on my experience. I may keep it the way it is or adjust depending on results. I could definitely move more into savings, but I want to start small and see how it goes.

 

How are you saving $$$?

Tell me your best tips and tricks to savings in the comments below. And if you used the Qapital app before, let me know your experience.

Want to try the Qapital app?

Use my referral link anywhere in this post and Qapital app will give us each $5

Want something more simple for saving?

My friend Kathryn is using the Qapital app in a set-it-and-forget-it way, because she’s all about the simple life. Check out her post and see if it’s something you’d want to try.

for the Creatives

When to hire a ghostwriter

In my class Do You Have a Book in You? I don’t coddle. Just because you’re taking the class doesn’t mean you automatically get the “YES, you should write a book!” answer.

Some people have a story but not a book. They don’t have a passion for the writing; they have a passion for the message, the story.

If you fall into that boat – the “have passion for a story, but not passion for writing” boat – then ask yourself these questions:

  • If writing isn’t your dream, are you willing to devote time and energy to writing a book instead of devoting that time and energy to your actual dream?
  • Since you likely aren’t trained in writing since it’s not your passion, are you willing to sacrifice quality in getting your book out there – sacrificing the number of readers and the impact of the message?
  • Alternatively, can you devote the adequate time, effort, and income to receive the training necessary to clearly communicate the story you want to tell with the quality it deserves?
  • If you do choose to devote time, energy, and income towards receiving training on writing, are you willing to chance diluting the passion of the message with the obligatory monotony of a medium you aren’t passionate about working in?

If you answered “No” to these questions, take a moment to consider hiring a ghostwriter. There are options other than hiring a ghostwriter of course: Telling your message in a medium you *are* passionate about, but that’s a whole ‘nother blogpost – or actually, it’s a 30-minute online course of mine that you can take for free 😉

If you decide, “Yes, I must have a book out there, but no, I can’t write it,” then don’t devote time and energy to writing; instead devote some finances to hiring a ghostwriter. In a couple weeks, I’ll talk about the awesomeness that is the supernatural ghostwriterly world. Keep an eye out for it 🙂

Stories to Read Right Now

A Very Mermaid Christmas

Or, a Christmas more impossible than Unicorns and Pocket Pandas <3

No, my obsession with mermaids isn’t quite over yet 😉 In fact, I have an eerie holiday tale written just for you!

My White Winter Hymnal dystopian story – Turn the White Snow – wasn’t creepy enough, so I teamed up with Jaclyn – Proprietor of Amica Mea – for a new holiday horror story.

 

Find some time this holiday weekend to get away from the hubbub and read The Cost of Holiday Cheer for some chills.

Here’s my Christmas greetings to you: I hope your awkward family Christmas isn’t as awkward as this one 🙂

for the Creatives

Sorry, but there’s no market for your idea…

Many artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers hear that there’s no market for their dream. It’s dire, folks, but here’s some hope for ya.

Psst! I heard that some odd sort of people prefer watching videos over reading articles. Super weird. But weird people are my type of people, so I made a video preview of this blogpost. Now you can go watch the great quirky awkwardness of me instead of reading my awkwardness in blogpost form. 

 

So I was walking through Barnes and Noble and stumbled across these books:

img_20171110_071510746.jpg

They were on the shelves in the front, the money-maker shelves. You know what I’m talking about, the shelves that mean publishers have bought into this book, that have said “Yes, these will make money, put them prominently on display for all to see!” Those kind of books.

But these aren’t your typical money-maker books.

Exhibit A: poetry.

Let’s be real, I totally judge books by covers, and I bought “The princess saves herself in this one” without even opening it. But when I did open it, I found poetry. A story in poetry form.

IMG_20171110_071543882

Poets are notorious examples of being told “there’s no market for your work.” When’s the last time you read poetry from a book? Probably high school. Poets are told they’ll only get interest on cutesy Instagram or Facebook images, and they’ll never get a publishing deal, and if they self-publish, they’ll never have any readers. Yet Amanda Lovelace, I don’t think she listened to that. At least not entirely. Because she wrote poetry and convinced probably an agent and a publisher that her work was worth front shelf placement at Barnes and Noble.

Exhibit B: Cartoon drawings with bad spelling, for adults not kids.

Like seriously, how do you pitch THAT to an agent or publisher? Got me! I’m still trying to figure out how to describe it on a blogpost.

It’s a book of cartoon drawings. An alien comes to earth to study humans, but the alien is bad at spelling and grammar so the book is full of cutesy misspellings, and the alien is actually befriending non-humans like rocks and animals and trees, but it’s insightful and philosophical into what actually makes us human. Oh yeah, it’s not a children’s book, it’s for grown-ups.

IMG_20171110_071623509

Okay, I have no idea how he pitched it, probably better than me, but I’m just saying if your dream sounds crazy, you’re in good Barnes-and-Noble-front-shelf company.

 

The business guy top secret insight:

After posting that Facebook video about these books, my business school brother messaged something insightful.

I had mentioned that poets often hear stuff like, “Nobody buys poetry anymore, they only read it on cutesy Facebook or Instagram posts.” I had said these authors didn’t listen to that negativity.

My brother noted my claim isn’t quite correct. They did listen to that. They noticed where the audience was and went to it. Amanda Lovelace started on Tumblr before ever being published, and I heard that Jomny Sun was on Twitter before being published. They both went to their market to get their big break. You can find your market and build interest now, too.

There’s a step in the right direction for ya. Past the dreaming and onto a practical tip. This is why my bro will make the big bucks 😉

Fashion

To break a mermaid curse

You may recall for Halloween I shared definitive proof that I am cursed by mermaids.

I had a great discussion about breaking the curse with Beware of the Reader <– which can we all agree that is the best bookblog name ever?

The curse all started when I didn’t show up to a magical disappearing lake at midnight. So presumably I could break the curse if I could just wake up at midnight to get there! Alas, I love sleep more than I did as a child – we all do, right? – so I have not remained conscious through that time. If I were Cinderella, I would have made it home long before the spell is broken, but alas, I’m the opposite of Cinderella where the spell is only broken if I can stay up ’til midnight.

However, in the weeks following the reveal of my mermaid curse to the world, I received a number of mermaid items:

A mermaid blanket,
to be a land-dwelling mermaid from the comfort of home:

mermaid

Mermaid socks,
to be a mobile land-dwelling mermaid:

mermaid1

A mermaid necklace,
to carry the magic of mermaids close to my heart:

mermaid3

I guess you could say something fantastical is happening, something mermaid-related. Here’s some possibilities:

Option 1: The curse is broken. This could have occurred from my vocalizing the curse, realizing and acknowledging it existed in the first place. I did not wake up at midnight and go to the lake, but I did inexplicably wake up at 5:45 the morning I received the first mermaid gift, and isn’t that basicly equal to midnight?

Option 2: The mermaids are placating me. Mermaids are almost sirens, and sirens have a way of luring humans to their death. When I acknowledged the curse and the way to break it, maybe the mermaids sent gifts to lull me into a false sense of security, so I wouldn’t try to break the curse, to keep me forever in their grasp. Mer-things bribery, if you will. Aghhh clever mermaids you!

Option 3: I have been dubbed mermaid ambassador. My affinity for mermaids has made me an ally, speaking on their behalf to the human world. I never became a mermaid, but I now have an understanding with them. And I am surrounded by amazing non-merfolk that give me merfolk gifts, so I certainly can’t leave to live with merfolk. I like it here with you all too much. So maybe the mermaids have given me their blessing and the humans have embraced my mermaid obsession.

My parents got me the blanket and socks since, as they said, I’m “obsessed with mermaids.” But they should know by now that I’m just obsessed. I’ll flit (like a faerie!) from one fancy to another, whether that be circus or mermaid or unicorn or magicians or – who knows what’s next. But now as a potential mermaid ambassador, I’ll have at least one more mermaid story to share as a Christmas present for you all. Just you wait 😉

for the Writers

A not-so-merry blogmas

Okay, it can be merry for you if you want. But for me, it will be eerie and creepy and sinister. Muahaha.

Want to tell a holiday story (of any genre)? Step out into the wild unknown of someone else’s blogspace? Reach a whole new audience with your wondrous words?

Join the December blogmas event on my friend’s page. Tell a creepy story, a silly story, an inspiring story, a dystopian story (Hey btw sidenote: I told a dystopian Christmas story a couple years ago), a fairytale, or a tragedy… Squeal! This’ll be fun 🙂

What will I be writing about? I’m collabing with my friend to tell a story about a Christmas present gone awry. I’d tell you more, but we still have to plan it all out exactly. But trust me, it will be eerily enchanting.

But the real question is, what will YOU write about? Go over to the Blogmas page to sign up now, but comment below and tell me what you’ll be writing 🙂

Musings of a Creative

Blogmas, AOL, murder, and all the things…

How have you lovelies been? I’ve missed you! I was out sick (Boooooo) and then busy with birthday plans (Woohoooooooo), and now I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things.

Last week I blogged about my birthday spy mission, so I figured I’d save my “I was sick” explanation until this week.

But I have great things lined up, if you have a little patience as I work through them!

  • A collaborative Christmas eerie horror-esque story, which will then spin off into a monthly-ish series probably. (Still in the planning stages, so tbd.)
  • Editing my quirky psychological meta murder mystery so I can finally eventually share it with all of you.
  • Setting up an email newsletter for updates such as this. It’ll be the insider’s place, the first to see the book cover, a chance to be a character in a story, win my books, stuff like that.
  • Oh and hey, I’m learning about the publishing process more, lots of research. It may bore you to know I’m even researching Gmail because I’m trying to get out of my AOL email and into the 21st century. Not fun! I feel like a grandma, I’m so lost with this technology 🙂

I’m trying to figure out how to juggle all these things on top of blogging – which has always been a huge priority to me, and still is.

If you want to school this grandma on Gmail or join a holiday blogmas or be a character in my story or – hey, even hear how my mermaid curse has been broken – stick around. I’ll update you soon. You’ll always be my first and biggest fans, and my greatest community <3