While perusing some of my favorite writer's blogs, (see them under Connections in the right column) I came upon a June 26, 08 post by freelance business writer and online PR specialist Jennifer Mattern on her All Freelance Writing blog. The title of the post was Pros and Cons of Ghostwriting. I enjoyed her post, because I've ghostwritten many children's books.
The post is written from the perspective of freelance business writing and if you're a freelancer you should read it. So, to ghostwrite, or not to ghostwrite, that Is the question?
Jennifer points out several negatives for ghostwriters, such as not receiving credit for your writing. As a book ghostwriter though, the biggest negative is that if the book is successful you won't receive any royalties from its sales.
Ghostwriting does give a writer an easy way to break into the business of writing. Of course you'll need to prove that you can write to the person hiring you. That's if they're not totally ignorant to the ways of the world. Before ghostwriting children's books, I was a staff writer for a direct mail publishing house. So, ghostwriting gave me the chance to write fiction, which is where my passion lies.
I enjoyed creating and writing book series when the author gave me minimal direction in what she wanted and just allowed my creative juices to erupt. Basically, she'd give me the main character's names, what they did, and where they lived. She also usually gave me a general idea of what she expected to have covered. But from there, I came up with character bios, the plot, subplots, and the mystery and adventure the characters would be caught up in. I rarely had to do any rewrites on these stories.
The ghostwriting I didn't enjoy, but still did, was writing additional books in a series the author had originated herself and in which she had written many books. I found it hard to get into her character's minds and to write in her style. During the writing of the first few books I did, I had to do at least 2 rewrites and that was after having her approve an outline that went through many changes.
I learned how to develop a mystery, how to begin and end each chapter, how to develop and grow the characters, and create action, dialogue, and suspense. The author I wrote for was an award winning novelist and having her enjoy my writing was also a great at-a-boy to my spirit.
So, even though nobody will ever know that those great kid's mysteries were written by little-old-me, I still have the satisfaction of knowing that not only did my characters grow in the books, but so did I.