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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

 

The Four Types of Clients

Published June 22, 2018 by Maryanne
The Four Types of Clients You'll Encounter

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

This article originally appeared in the Verona Patch online on March 20, 2013. 

Bending over backward to keep each and every client is the biggest mistake small business owners make.

When you run your own business, having more clients doesn’t always mean more profit. In fact, some clients can be so detrimental to your business having them onboard can make you lose business.

The key to running a successful home based business is identifying which clients to keep and which to pass on. There is nothing wrong with having a “pecking order” when running your own business, putting the more desirable clients at the top.

  1. High Profit/Low Maintenance. These are obviously the clients you want to keep because they pay well and are easy to work with. In other words, a small business owner’s dream! They are organized. They are easy to communicate with. They pay on time. They utilize your talents to the best ability. There is a mutual trust and respect. They may even give you a Christmas present or bonus! If you can develop a great relationship with these clients and keep them, you are so ahead of the game as you’ll be making money almost effortlessly.
  2. High Profit/High Maintenance. Whether you choose to keep these clients or not is up to you. The high profit/high maintenance client may drive you up a wall. There may be drama, unexpected phone calls when you’re on the beach vacationing, a ton of stress, disorganization and so forth. But the pay will be well worth it. To me, high maintenance can be amusing if you keep your sense of humor. Unless high maintenance goes too far by crossing the line of respect, eating up all your spare time, making you cry or reach for a glass of vodka after working with such clients, I say “go for it.” After all, sometimes big money comes with a small price.
  3. Low Profit/Low Maintenance. Sometimes a client may come along who doesn’t have a large budget or is asking for a task that doesn’t require too much skill or effort so the pay is lower than usual. But I say to keep these clients on board because it’s easy income. And you never know when you’re going to hit a slow period. Also note that sometimes a low profit/low maintenance client can eventually become a high profit/low maintenance client. That happened to me a few times. I did such a great job at a low profit level, a client willingly increased my rate!
  4. Low Profit/High Maintenance. I’m not afraid to say these clients are the worst and should definitely not to be kept. They will expect you to jump through hoops while paying you peanuts. There will always be stress, tension, misunderstandings, frustration and possibly tears. The hours will add up and you’ll have nothing to show for it but aggravation. You may find yourself passing up work from other clients because you are so wrapped up in this nightmare of a project, which isn’t fair to you, your other clients or your business. Just say “no” and move on.

By immediately recognizing a low profit/high maintenance client you can let him or her down easily by saying that you are currently over-booked and can’t take on a new client at this time.

Or just be honest and tell them their rate is too low. But try to keep the working relationship positive, as you never know what can change in the future.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the proprietor of Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/). She’s an award-winning journalist, book editor, ghost writer, blogger and more. She can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com or call 908-276-1514.

Mention in Florham Park Eagle for Helping Senior Couple Write Book

Published March 22, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9246Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta with Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi

Last year I helped Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi write and publish their book “200 Letters, 62 Years and a War” which was their love story. Soon after they started dating, Domenic went to serve in the Korean War. During that time, he wrote Antoinette 200 love letters. The couple recently celebrated their 62nd anniversary.

I sat with them as they told me their story and I ferreted through 200 love letters Domenic wrote Antoinette, as well as his diaries. The book was published by Next Century Publishing last year, followed by their book release party, which I blogged about: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/book-party-for-antoinette-and-domenic-lombardi/

On March 17, 2016, the Florham Park Eagle published their story in print and online. I’m honored and humbled that Domenic and Antoinette gave me such a generous mention: http://www.newjerseyhills.com/florham_park_eagle/news/florham-park-couple-s-book-tells-love-story-amid-korean/article_ca1c2158-4ed1-5328-9ec1-55401512b5d1.html

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta has been helping clients write (and publish) their books since 2008. In addition to Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi, her clients include Clerks actor, Scott Schiaffo and soap opera writer, Scarlet Cassadine, to name a few. She can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

“Going Going Gone: What the Next Generation Won’t Remember” at Florham Park Senior Center

Published February 24, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_5528Do you remember cassettes, 8-tracks, bubble gum cards, drive-in speakers?

I was thrilled to return to the Florham Park Senior Center today to present my lecture “Going Going Gone: What the Next Generation Won’t Remember.”

Here is the synopsis for the program:

Since the year 2000, we’ve gained iPhones, GPSs, Twitter, Facebook and many other services and devices.

However, we’ve also lost some things that we’ve grown up with. In “Going Going Gone” Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta will take a walk down memory lane and talk about products that are either on their way out the door, or absolutely obsolete.

Some may actually surprise you!

Items included are: VHS video tapes, phone booths (and making phone calls in general!), travel agents, bookstores, newspapers and classified ads, wristwatches, maps, dial-up internet, encyclopedias, CDs, landline phones, film cameras, yellow pages and address books, and hand written letters.

Which of these items do you miss?

Christiano-Mistretta will also jolt your memory remembering some cool products of yesteryear such as the typewriter, the record player and Polaroid cameras.

Come share your views in this interactive lecture! Audience participation is greatly encouraged.

SAM_9655Very cool sign promoting my program!

Today was extra special because Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi were there. I helped them write and publish their book, “200 Letters, 62 Years, and a War,” which is about Domenic’s time in the Korean War and the 200 love letters he wrote to Antoinette while she waited for his return. At the time the book was written, they celebrated their 62nd anniversary.

I was very touched by their card and gift they gave me today.

And as always, I love meeting the seniors and was happy to be part of their meeting and pizza party today!

Thanks so much to director Olga!

SAM_9653Maryanne and senior director Olga

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a ghost writer and public speaker. For more information, visit her website at: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

Your Own Personal Caring Ministry

Published February 3, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9489Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

This morning in my moment of prayer, I was looking back to a few years ago when I spent more time at church. I really wanted to be a part of something special, for God, and was trying to get involved in everything. I voluntarily wrote for their newsletter. I participated in activities. And I even volunteered to be on the Caring Ministry, where I’d go to the homes of those who were bedridden and give them communion.

Then things just didn’t work out. No one’s fault, but that’s just how life happens. New people came on board. I wasn’t asked to write anymore. The woman who was supposed to train me for the Caring Ministry wasn’t available to train when I was available.

So, time went on … a lot of time. Then one of my favorite people in the church passed away and I couldn’t bring myself to go back as often as I once did. It was too painful. I remember driving to church, then feeling so uncomfortable that I turned around and came right back home.

While some die-hard Christians may suggest Satan was keeping me out of church; I have to disagree. There’s a saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” I was always of the mindset that when something is right for you, you know it. And what has been right for me was going to church less often, because I felt so much more comfortable (and right with God) by practicing at home — every single morning. I’ve been reading the Bible more and working consciously on my well-being by praying for opportunities to help others.

Then it dawned on me … God is using me, via my business. I’m a full-time, self-employed author and journalist. I am also a ghost writer and book editor. I’ve helped countless people get their books written and published. I make dreams come true — and everyone needs a dream.

Another way I make a living is by public speaking. Two years ago, I started a library series called “Learn and Listen.” I present a half-hour biography on a famous musician, followed by live entertainment by local musicians. Through this series, I am helping to employ musicians — excellent musicians who are top of the line. Being a musician is a tough, competitive business and via this series, I am helping the ones I employ get more work. I’ve also helped an artist friend get work when I created a children’s recycling series. Getting work for people and helping them is what I do best, so that’s the way God uses me. I’m excellent at booking gigs, follow-up calls, organizing dates, and so on … That’s what I’m good at.

But what I’m not so good at …

Though I’m a very good listener, I can’t listen to people’s problems without feeling drained and depressed myself. Some people have the gift of resolving other people’s problems by listening to them complain. I do not have that gift. Nor do I have the gift of singing in a choir. Or counting money for a church. Or organizing big events. These are talents other people are so much better at.

While I was more than willing to let the church dictate how God would use me, I feel God went directly to me. Because these are the people who relate to me — the creative types, the musicians, the writers, the artists …

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop and I’ve been so incredibly busy these days; business is the best it’s ever been. Today is the first day I was able to take a breather and write a blog in a over a week. And to think, I used to write in my blog every single day — sometimes twice a day.

So when I take such joy in my career, I’m also taking joy in the fact that it’s not just about me. We’re all part of this great big chain connecting each other, working together, inspiring, and forging ahead, using our God given talents. Every day is beautiful and meaningful.

God knows where to place us. You’ll know when He’s there because, while it may not always be easy, you’ll just have that gut feeling of “This is where I belong … and who I belong with.” And you will feel God’s presence.

What is your Caring Ministry? Share your stories! Post them here, or email me directly. 

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

Her “Learn & Listen” series is available to libraries, churches, assisted living facilities, Jewish Community Centers, Rotary Clubs, and senior centers. “Learn & Listen” features the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, John Lennon, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.

Spring Lake Beach, New Jersey

Published September 20, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8584Pretty shells

It’s a great idea to get up early and hit the beach. Especially on an overcast day. It’s cool and refreshing after such a hot summer!

SAM_8589

SAM_8590

All photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an author and public speaker. She is also a ghost writer and looking forward to assist you in making your dreams come true! For rates, email Maryanne at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com