Red Flags for Editors and Ghost Writers

Published November 20, 2019 by Maryanne

Ghosts

I’ve been self-employed as an editor and ghost writer since 2009. It’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve worked with some amazing people, who I remain friends with to this day. The written word is such a beautiful thing. Editing a book is as relaxing as doing a puzzle. It just doesn’t feel like “work” to me!

But there is work involved. The three steps are: 1. Finding potential clients; 2. Convincing them to work with you; and 3. The third step, not many think about–but should! Interviewing the client and deciding, do you want to work with them? Back in 2013, I wrote an article, The Four Types of Clients You’ll Encounter (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/the-four-types-of-clients-youll-encounter/) and it still holds true today.

In the article, right off the bat I mention that bending over backward for each client is a big mistake. If you read the article you will understand why. In this blog, today, I’m sharing some of the red flags that will tell you, “DO NOT GET INVOLVED!”

When we’re working for ourselves, we may have a great run of clients. Things are going along so well, what could possible go happen? This is when they “get us.” When we least expect it. Someone comes along with little experience in the publishing world, thinks they know everything, and acts like they have you by the balls because they have money. WRONG!

1. The first red flag to say “no” is when someone is not respectful of your time. If you have an appointment to meet with someone and they don’t show up, it’s bad news. (Note, cancelling last minute is okay, because shit happens, and at least they had the decency to call. But if you have to chase someone down for a phone call or an email–BEWARE!)

Here’s an example of what happened to me just today…

I had an appointment at noon for a phone meeting, which was set up by an Assistant to the Writer. Prior to this phone meeting the Assistant said I was in the Top 3 for candidates. Looking good, right? The day before, I called the Assistant to confirm the phone meeting. All was well.

Today, 12:15, no call from Writer. … Which brings me to #2…

2. The second red flag to say “no” to a client is when they use patronizing speech towards you. Next, I called the Assistant, asking “What happened?” Like a child, he got defensive. He went off on me like a raving lunatic, defending the Writer. He was nasty towards me and said I was acting “desperate.”

WTF? Acting “desperate” because I wanted to know why the Writer didn’t keep his appointment? That’s not about desperation, that’s about respect. Was I supposed to wait by the phone all day long (and diss my other clients?!)  Who is the professional here? I believe it was me. I was waiting for a phone call that never happened.

I showed up. They screwed up. TWICE.

As soon as someone uses condescending words towards me, I call it a day. I simply said, “Never mind, I am not interested.” I hung up without giving him a chance to respond. If someone shows their true colors even before the first phone meeting, it’s only downhill from there. I never got a chance to talk to the writer. Which brings me to #3…

3. When assisting a person in writing a book, it’s best to work one-on-one. If there are more people involved, it gets sticky. There are too many personality conflicts. This happened to me very early in my ghost writing career. I was helping an elderly woman write a children’s book. She hired an illustrator that didn’t see eye-to-eye with me–and was downright nasty whenever I disagreed with her. (She couldn’t take constructive criticism and everything had to be her way).

I’m self-employed because I chose to leave the corporate world in order to avoid the stress of petty personality conflicts. Yet, here was this girl behaving like a child.

When accepting a job, be sure you know upfront who else is going to be involved–including assistants!

4. The final red flag is when a client is notorious for ripping people off. Boy, was I blind-sided by this one! A few weeks ago I was helping a girl write a book about coming to NYC, from another state, on a limited budget. While working with this woman, she shared many stories about hopping from loft to loft because she could never make rent. (The punchline is she felt she was entitled to skip rent because she was down on her luck and the tenants were being unfair!!) As a positive person, it never dawned on me that she was still doing the same thing years later. I was under the impression she was now a successful entrepreneur. Next thing I know, we have a phone session and then she stiffs me for money afterwards. She finally paid me and I told her it was best we part ways.

Now, money is not a big deal for me. When I work with clients, I give them freebies all the time. Free hours for their birthdays and Christmas. I give a $50 referral fee to anyone who brings me business. I direct my clients to publishers, places to do book signings, and help them promote their books. When someone hires me, they have a winner! In fact, 90 percent of the people I work with tell me they “love” me!

When you have a great ghost writer/editor and client relationship, the results are pure magic! A book that looks beautiful because you hired someone who has 20+ years experience. A book that is edited and proofread with no mistakes on the main pages (the cover, the back cover, the special thanks section, the dedication). And a book that is up on Amazon, so you can make money (royalty checks) while you sleep!

Is this something you want? Hire a professional today!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

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