I have a client that should have had me write his book from scratch instead of editing it. It certainly would have been cheaper. By about half.
I love all the mentality that everyone can write a book. It’s true: Everyone can write a book. Behind all this hububalu though, is an understanding: you have to hire a good editor and be willing to rewrite the book.
Of course, you say, you have to hire a good editor! Yes, I know, every writer, even the best in the world needs a good editor.
But here’s the hitch, if you aren’t a great writer – which I hate to break it you, you probably aren’t – that editor is going to cost you an arm and leg and you are going to have to do a lot of rewriting.
And then your editor is going to have to re-edit the book at least once.
If you hire an experienced ghostwriter, the edits that they need will be smaller because they are a great writer. (At least, that is the theory…) Often, and it’s the case with me and my company, http://www.theghostwritingagency.com, that each writer works with their own editor.
I’ve been working with Deborah for so long that she knows what I usually do wrong. She knows my style. She’s also worked with one of my other writers, Emma, enough to know before she starts that she’s going to have to watch out for UK slang.
The client that we are working on right now, is a perfect example of the cost of editing vs. the cost of the whole package.
He’s got great ideas. He’s willing to listen to our writing advice. He’s brilliant. He’s got a good platform. But he’s a terrible writer. Dry, convoluted. He just doesn’t have the flair. He also struggles with literary organization.
The budget for his book started out at $1600 for his 40,000 word non-fiction book about edible botany in sub-arctic climates.
About a year ago he came to me and wanted a content, or developmental, edit, line editing, proofreading, and formatting. So I immediately went to work on the content edit. He needed some serious help restructuring his book.
It took him almost a year to redo the book after he had spent two years writing it in the first place. (It would have taken me 6-8 weeks to write the book.)
I look over it again, and it’s still a mess, but much better than before. So I send it on to Deborah. She realizes that it’s still a mess and attempts to fix all the big things with massive deletions and rewrites.
At this point, we’ve pointed out the issue that the client’s contract needed to be reevaluated because he had added an additional 20,000 words to his book. (The book still ended up being around 40,000 when we ended). So the price went up to $2000.
Our price for a high quality written from scratch book with light line editing or heavy proofreading, plus formatting and book design is $2000 for a 40,000 word book.
Deborah completes her two rounds of line editing that are required for this book and the client reworks everything again. Because he needed to.
So, now we are on the third line edit of his book.
Which means, he needed to update his contract yet again.
I’m having to go through it for content again. And then Deborah is having to do a third line edit.
You want to guess how much that raised the cost? By now, it would have been cheaper for this guy to buy our premium package with 2 entire book rewrites, deep line editing, proofreading, 3 formats, book design, and two cover designs with multiple adjustments.
And frankly, it would probably be a better book.
Yes, you can most certainly write your own book. And yes it can sell.
I run up against the idea that a book written by a ghostwriter isn’t really your book. That’s one of the most common arguments for people not hiring a ghostwriter. I understand. You see these fake books on Amazon and associate that crap with ghostwriters.
But think of it this way: While you have been working on your expertise in sub-arctic botany, I have been honing my skill in writing.
In the end, I just want you to look at the bottom line: If you want a high quality book and have a limited budget, a ghostwriter might not be out of your reach. In fact, it might even be cheaper. My botanist could have saved nearly $1500 and 3 years by having me write it from scratch.
Have any of you had a fiasco that could have cost you less if you had hired a professional? (I’m looking at my husband and the mess that is our furnace.)
This week, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I’ve got a problem with who is allowed to be paid for their work. I’ve heard way too many times lately, especially in this last week, that certain types of professions don’t deserve to be paid or rewarded financially very much. Among these professions are pastors, teachers, writers, artists, musicians, and non-profits.
I’ve discussed earlier that people often don’t see creative type jobs as legitimate jobs, but this is beyond that. This post is specifically about money. (It’s always about money, right?)
I’m not sure why it’s okay to pay a football player $1 million to play a game, but we can’t pay teachers decently. I’m not saying let’s not pay football players or even not pay them that much, but why them and not a halfway house executive director? Why does the CEO of a failing company get a bonus, but when a pastor of a thriving church gets a small vacation as a token of appreciation, people cry foul?
If you do a good job, you deserve to be rewarded. If you spend 60 hours a week doing a full time job, you should get paid for it.
Working in charity is not only for the super wealthy. I shouldn’t have to be independently wealthy to be a writer. That’s one thing I won’t hand over to the 1%!
You might be saying that writers and musicians can be tremendously wealthy. You have visions of Beyoncé and J.K Rowling swimming around your head. Here’s the thing though, 99% of us are not. We have side jobs or maybe even whole other careers besides writing or playing music.
I also understand you see these super wealthy pastors on TV in gold houses and flying private jets, but your local pastor is not like that. He’s probably giving away the money that he would have spent on his own children’s Christmas for some other kid’s Christmas.
It’s personal for me. I’m a writer and the child of a pastor/teacher and a music teacher.
“That money you spent on a vacation could go to feed homeless!”
I get asked for free books all the time. Those books cost me money to make. So far, I am so in the red on these books that I feel I will never see any profits. I have some writer friends that have instituted a no free book for any reason policy. They’ve been called rude. Would you ask Stephen King for a free book?
That leads me to another thought: downloading books, movies, and music for free. Y’all! This really is stealing. How would you feel if you just spent your soul doing something and then people continually stole it from right in from of you?
So when, when a friend of yours, even if it’s just an acquaintance, comes out with a book or an album, buy it! Full price. Be a patron of the arts. Support charity. Being a giver or a patron of the arts is no longer something just for the elite.
Buy that painting. Please.
I love designing book covers. It makes me feel like I am getting somewhere with a book, but I tend to leave it towards the end of the writing. A lot of writers I know design the cover before they even start writing, which seems counter-productive to me. I feel like it gives me a false sense of accomplishment. I’m a writer after all, not a designer.
However…I have hit the point where I think having a book cover will give me a little encouragement in the dark days of editing.
I’ve always worked with a designer for the cover, but this time around, I am going to bring my fans, and Joop’s fans, into the fray! Exciting for you. I know not everyone is a designer or has the ability to make a mock design for me, so I’m not asking for open submissions.
But leave a comment with ideas below. My designer and I have some basic ideas already and I’ll give you them in a second.
Once we have decided on a basic idea we will make up a couple samples for people to pick from. Everyone that comments on Facebook or here will be entered into a giveaway for a free book.
Okay, the idea so far is to keep the cover bright, optimistic, and maybe a little sporty. One big idea we have been throwing around is an idea board cover with symbols, images, or pictures of our year together. Our national flags could also play a prominent role.
If you have other great ideas, or see pictures you think would work well, leave them in the comments.
So... It's been nearly 2 years since Charles and I announced our intent to eventually move to the Low Lands. And occasionally I get an email, or PM, or even phone call, asking how that plan is coming along. Have we forgotten? Was it just something said to placate Joop, our first exchange student?
Plans take a while, folks. But the short answer is, yes we are still planning on moving over there, but expatriating with no job offer, or potential spouse waiting for us, is hard.
We don't plan on attending school, I am a writer, not someone who works for a multinational corporation, and my husband is a handy man and military vet. And we aren't rolling in dough, so the process is slow and incredibly tedious.
But, I have exciting news, the first step to us moving to the Netherlands starts this spring! I will be travelling to the country to promote my latest book, and my first memoir, Joop Does America, which is about my journey with Joop. Or Joop's journey with me.
It's a small step, but it's the first one.
The timetable for the actual move is probably 10 years out. Charles is trying to finish school, we need to pay off some student loans, figure out a plan for our house, file all the correct papers, find a new home, and save enough.
Sometime next year, we will take a family trip over to the country of my ancestors as the continued step.
If you want to help support me, Joop, or our book, you can start out early by checking out our GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/4k5jy-joop-does-america-the-book or following our page on facebook: www.facebook.com/joopdoesamerica
I promised way back that I would give a primer on Djinn vs. Genie, and here it is. I know in the western world we think of Genies living in lamps or bottles and granting us wishes. The two most enduring symbols in Western Culture are Disney’sAladdin and the 1960’s TV show, I Dream of Jeannie.
Don’t get me wrong, I love these shows. They are hilarious and mostly family friendly. Though, you may want to have a talk about feminism and female empowerment with your children after watching I Dream of Jeannie. Or informing your children that Arabic women aren’t half naked, slightly tanned white girls. But, I digress.
The Genie actually comes from the French, not the Arabic. The French were originally highly active in the Middle East during the Enlightenment, and the Book1001 Arabian Nights captured their attention. And rightfully so. The collection of stories is truly amazing.
But the Frenchman who originally translated the work in the 18th century mistook the Arabic Jinn, or singular Jinni, to be the Roman Genii, or singular Genius. The Roman Genius was similar to Djinn in that it was a spirit that could have many forms and was often bound to a human. And mainly, it had a similar sounding name. That’s about the end of the similarities. The Genii were more like guardian angels and the Djinn were more like strange fire cousins to us humans that enjoyed a good prank.
Sometimes a Djinn would be bound to a particular person, but it was never considered a good idea. Djinn, much like humans, don’t enjoy being enslaved and have quite a nasty trickster side to them. Djinn would be more kin to Puck and his ilk in the British Isles than to guardian angels.
Alas, the comparison and name stuck in our western minds. And forever these “hidden brothers” to the human race became some sort of silly guardian wish granter for good little humans who were lucky enough to find one. Previously, finding a Djinn, was not considered lucky. Mostly, if you left a djinn alone, they left you alone.
There are some exceptions to this of course. Djinn have many races that range from purely evil to quite nice on a grand scale. And in each race of Djinn, there are the exceptions. But that’s a post for another day. Stay tuned for the next installment later this week, where I’ll go over how I use Djinn in my books.
Hey, it worked for God!
Let me tell you a story about my first book: Until a month ago, it was a tragedy.
Jazrael and I have been together for nearly 2 decades. She’s had a couple of names, and the city that she’s lived in has gone through a couple of names too, but she’s always been the same person in that same city.
I started writing Phoenix Rising in high school. The early drafts are pretentious and horrible, but hey, you gotta start somewhere right?
For those of you that are not writers, you have no idea the agony of starting a book, especially your first book. You think it has to be perfect, so you write and throw it out. You write and tweak. You try a different angle.
It wasn’t till after college that it came to me how I was supposed to write that first damned chapter. I was working as a market researcher – it’s different than a telemarketer, but yes, I still called you during dinner – and I had hours where I just sat on my hands in front of the computer screen. Facebook was just beginning to take off at this point, and I didn’t have too much of an interest.
So here’s the deal, my favorite book of the Bible is Genesis, specifically the first 11 chapters. It’s a world building book. Literally. It tells how the world, according to Christians and Jews, was made. Fascinating stuff really. And there is tons of fantasy related things in it too. Demons sleeping with humans and creating super humans. Talking snakes that walk. A lady being made from a rib bone. A giant, world destroying flood.
But, the first chapter held my interest the most. I loved how the book told the story of creation day by day. It was poetic, literary, beautiful, and very, very fantasy like. So I decided to copy it.
It was golden. Beautiful. Literary.
And a big huge flop.
It’s the chapter I originally published. I could not get anyone to review it because the first chapter. Too slow, poetic, and literary I kept hearing. I’m sure it’s also what drove the agents mad too.
I don’t blame them; I was trying to sell a commercial, teen fantasy book to them and it started out with literary, biblical verse. So, I took the book off line, hired myself a publicist, and rewrote the first chapter.
And guess what, reviewers are lining up. People, the right people, get sucked in and can’t put the book down.
I’ve learned an important lesson in writing from this experience. There was nothing wrong with my chapter before. It just wasn’t the best first chapter for Phoenix Rising. I forgot who my audience was and fell in love with my lovely words, the perfect imagery, the illusions to the Bible, and nearly tanked my book.
My name is Jeannie...and yes, I write about genies
I often get asked about my name. “Did you pick it because you write about genie?” So, I’m going to answer it once and for all here. The short answer is NO. The long answer is much more complicated.
It started before I was born when pretty much every female in my family since before time, okay, at least until my great, great grandmother on several sides, was given the female name for John. Since I’m an American, my family came from all over the place, so the form ranged from Johanna to Jeanne.
My parents were rather sensible, as were my grandmother’s parents, and gave me the middle name of Jean, like my grandmother. She was Mary Jean and I was Sarah Jean.
Sometime in college, my grandmother started going my Jeannie. The main reason was that Mary was the most popular name of her generation. Also at the time, she worked for a lady cleaning her house. This lady referred to my grandmother as her magic Jeannie. This was also about to be the time of the show “I Dream of Jeannie.”
Then I come along.
I’ve always been fascinated by Middle Eastern fantasy. It wasn’t something you saw too much. Just in Disney’s Aladdin or in a book of fairytales that had some stuff about genies. So I made up my own stories in my head. Grandma Jeannie was always fond of those stories.
Still, no one called me Jeannie.
I would also like to note here, that I don’t generally write about genies. I write about Djinn, mkay? We’ll cover that in another post. Cause there is an important distinction.
So, when did I decide to start going by Jeannie? And why?
In college, just like my grandmother. And because there were too many Sarah’s, just like my grandmother. I was in a class of 7 people and 3 of us were Sarah. It was a journalism class that required us to have a byline, so the teacher pointed at me and asked what byline I would like other than Sarah.
Jeannie. I sounded like my grandmother as I said it.
It was in print. It was final. People started talking about Jeannie and her articles. And before the end of my freshman year, 75% of the campus knew me as only Jeannie. By the time I graduated, I don’t think anyone knew my name was Sarah.
Now that my grandmother has passed away I feel even more of a need to carry on with the Jeannie name. She’d be proud. She’d also be proud of my writing.
While I know that she won’t be physically there for my book launch on Sunday, I know she’ll be there in spirit. Phoenix Rising, my first book, is dedicated to both my Grandma Jeannie and My Grandma Gladys. Both of them died over a year ago. Gladys read it herself, while I read Phoenix Rising to Grandma Jeannie while in hospice. She got to hear the ending.