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    The Trials and Tribulations of Hiring a Ghost Writer - A Guide
    Copyright © 2005, Bill Platt

    You have heard that one of the very best ways to get exposure 
    for your online business is to write and distribute your own 
    articles. Another exceptional method to get exposure for your 
    business is to create and develop your own ezine/newsletter. 
    For a lot of people, knowing that these two methods are as 
    effective as they are leads to the decision to get started. Once 
    the decision to get started has been made, the only decision left
    to make is to decide on a topic that will gain the webmaster the 
    best results for his or her time. Once this marketing decision 
    has been made, the webmaster will sit down and get to work 
    creating articles or their newsletter.
    For other people, deciding on the topic is only the beginning of 
    the agony in the process.
    I have heard the arguments many times before... "I am not a 
    writer. I cannot do that. It is not an option for me."
    My brother used to tell me that he could not be a writer... That 
    was many years ago when I first started my own online business. 
    I always told him what I had always told everyone else. I told 
    him that if he can have a conversation with another human being, 
    then he could write. I told him that he should write as he 
    speaks. And, when he was finished with his story, he should use 
    Microsoft Word to spellcheck his work. MS Word can serve as a 
    steady crutch for most people who don't have good grammar or 
    spelling skills. 
    I have always said that most people do not lack the skills to 
    become a decent writer. What they lack is the confidence in their 
    own ability to communicate well with others.
    Three years down the road, I was talking to my mom on the phone 
    and she mentioned that my brother was ghost writing for other 
    people. Imagine my shock in learning that I could not talk him 
    into writing for profit, and then he came to do it on his own. 
    In fact, it turns out that he used ghost writing to pay for his 
    living expenses while he went back to college to finish his 
    master's degree.
    For those people who just cannot believe in their own skills, or 
    those who simply do not have the time to write for themselves, 
    many look to a ghost writer to help produce materials for the 
    promotion of their businesses.
    Many challenges face those who make the decision to pursue 
    employing a ghost writer.
     * Price of Service
       Too many clients lose the battle of selecting a good ghost 
       writer by putting too much emphasis on the cost of the 
       service being provided. 
       Let's face it, different writer's demand different prices. 
       More often than not, the price of the service is a strong
       indicator of the value of the work being provided.    
     * Writing Skills and Commitment of Writer
       Just because they tell you they are a professional writer,
       does not mean that they will do professional work when you
       pay for them to do so.
       Even I have hired other writers to help me to fill client
       orders. And from personal experience, I can share with you
       that getting "writing samples" from writers is not always a
       good indicator of the skills or commitment of the writer
       who wants your job. 
       When I hire a writer to do a job because I don't have the 
       time to do it myself, and then I spend more time editing
       the work than I would have spent creating the work, there
       is a problem. I have taken losses on several jobs because
       the writers I had hired to help me had done such crappy
     * Ability of Writer to Match Client Needs
       A skilled ghost writer can match the needs of any client,
       on any topic. A skilled ghost writer is also a skilled 
       researcher. When they do not know the topic that they have
       been employed to write about, they will do the necessary 
       research to learn the topic and to turn out a good product.
     * Good Communication Between Client and Writer
       The ability of both the client and writer to communicate with
       one another is vital. The client must clearly communicate to
       the writer their needs and desires for the finished product.
       A skilled ghost writer is not necessarily a mind reader, and
       he or she should not be expected to be one. 
       If you want to hire a ghost writer who does not want to 
       speak with you about what you actually want in your ghost 
       written work, then move on to a writer who will take the 
       time to communicate with you. The writer should know in 
       advance what message you want to communicate with your 
       readers and any quirks or considerations you want to use
       in those communications.
       Your ghost writer is your mouthpiece, so your ghost writer
       should know as much about you as possible, and they should 
       know how you would like to see your information communicated.
     * Editing Process
       Since the ghost writer you hire is your "paid mouthpiece", 
       they should be able to communicate your message in a way 
       that you believe they should. If you have communicated with
       your writer well, editing will be a quick and painless 
       process. Your writer will send you the final edit, and you
       will sign off on it or ask for a couple of minor fixes.
       If you have not communicated your ideas with the writer well,
       or you have simply selected the wrong ghost writer to handle
       your job, then the editing process can become very painful.
       The writer's commitment to task is determined sometimes by 
       the level of pay that you are offering to the writer, and
       more often, it is indicative of the writer's integrity. Keep
       in mind that if you have forced the writer to accept a pay
       level inconsistent with what they believe their skills are
       worth, you will pay for that decision in the quality of work
       you receive from them and in the process of bringing the 
       final product to the level of professionalism you wish to 
       convey to your readers.
       If you find that you have to hire someone else to edit the
       final product to taste, then either you will have failed to 
       pay your writer well, you will have failed to communicate 
       with your writer well, or you will have done a terrible job 
       in selecting the most appropriate writer for your job.
    When all is said and done, there are literally thousands of 
    people out there who try to pass themselves off as professional 
    writers, and then there are thousands more who are exceptional 
    writers who will be good for your tasks. 
    If you shop around, you can find companies that offer pre-written 
    articles that you can purchase full- or partial- rights to use 
    for your purposes. Some companies will sell the same pre-written 
    article to dozens of people, and some companies will sell one 
    article to only one person.  
    The primary advantage in buying a pre-written article is that you 
    will not have to suffer the process of selecting and employing 
    the right ghost writer for your task. With a pre-written article 
    catalog, you can go in and look at articles that have already 
    been written, and if you like it, you can buy it on the spot. 
    Most often, pre-written articles are a lower cost option than 
    having articles custom written for you. 

    Writer's Resource Box:
    Bill Platt is the owner of thePhantomWriters.com. In July of 
    2005, TPW officially restarted its ghost writing activities. 
    Register to shop their Catalog of Pre-Written Articles and know 
    that they will only sell your article to one person - you. If you 
    write your own articles, you can use Bill's article distribution 
    service to get your reprint articles distributed to 17.000+ 
    publishers and webmasters.  http://thePhantomWriters.com

    More Articles Written by Bill Platt

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