journalism

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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

 

Overnight Success Is Not a Real Thing

Published June 26, 2019 by Maryanne

Monkey AroundIs it business or monkey business? 

During my years as a journalist, people contacted me to publicize themselves. (Or just for a great story in general). It was a dream come true writing about bands (both famous and up and coming). I shared the story many times about how I interviewed The Jonas Brothers before they were a household name.  Those years were an amazing run in my life.

Then I started getting into writing books. And public speaking.

All of a sudden, publicists were coming out of the woodwork wanting to make me a “star.” Five years later, none of them impressed me.

Finding a good manager/publicist is like figuring out who to give your virginity too. It may take a long time. It may not happen at all. But whatever the case, don’t just give money to anyone.

I didn’t settle for love and ended up with a very happy marriage. So, why should I settle for a publicist/manager? In the end, I want it all — including a dream publicist/manager!

My goal in finding one would be:

  1. Someone who doesn’t lead with money. When someone (like the last scam artist) suggested that I create a Go Fund Me page in order to use her $7K per month services, I ripped her. I told her, if I was interested, I’d pay CASH in PAYPAL. And that Go Fund Me pages are to support those in real need, like people with cancer or hurt animals … Not publicists. Her plea of desperation for money was a major red flag. She spoke about money before she spoke about what she could do for me. Our phone consult lasted a mere five minutes while she put me on hold several times to talk to her friends at the restaurant. How can you ask for money when you barely spoke to someone? She didn’t even purchase one of my books, so how could she promote me? SCAM ARTIST ALERT! Another one said he could get me to warm up for Tony Robbins if I paid him $50K. He said Tony Robbins always wants him to be his opening motivational speaker act, but he’s too busy with his own stuff. I researched, and asked around. Nothing told me there was any truth in this man working with Tony Robbins.
  2. Someone who believes in me. Several years ago I exhausted myself interviewing potential managers. During one interview, a retired guy said, “Are you any good?” I ended the interview quickly. Why? Because he didn’t do his homework before the interview. If he read my newsletters and saw that I was consistently working for myself since 2009, he’d KNOW I was good. To me, being at the top and not lasting isn’t a good thing. But being somewhere in the middle and having longevity IS! I interviewed a woman who was putting me down while wanting the job. It reminded me of the “Sex and the City” movie when Carrie Bradshaw is interviewing potential assistants and asks, “So, why do you want this job?” It’s mind-blowing that people would want to work for you, but don’t get you. It makes no sense and is sure to go nowhere fast.
  3. Someone with a great track record. Yes, I know a few people like this. They are so good they don’t have time to work with me — yet! I say YET in high hopes that someday these women/men may have a window of opportunity for me. This could be another pipe dream–kind of like how some women wait for their dream guy to divorce his beautiful wife. But when you have in mind something special, it will manifest. It always does. Just don’t force it.

The thing is, when it comes to publicity, just like anything else that is good, stable, and successful, I say, do not rush your muse. Cherish your precious creative talents like you would your body and soul. Do not give them up to just anybody.

What you have is a GIFT from God and the Universe. Slow and steady is the key. Overnight success is not a real thing.

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

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

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

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

 

Book Signing for “On the Guest List” for Nutley Book Club, Nutley, NJ

Published November 7, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF0662From left – Maria Labadia, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Kiran Patel

Last night I was extremely honored to do a book reading/signing for the Nutley Book Club, Nutley, New Jersey, at the Nutley Library.

Of all my book signings since I published my first book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X) this was by far my favorite because the guests read the book prior to the event!

It’s the coolest feeling for an author to hear, “I wanted to meet you!”

We had a great time talking about the book and people sharing their own musical experiences. The one thing I always hear about “Guest List” is that even if readers don’t know the bands I’m speaking about, they are relating because of how my love for music translates on the pages. “Like reading a diary” I’m often told.

Prior to the reading, Maria and Kiran took me to a wonderful dinner at Luna restaurant. I had great conversation and laughs with two wonderful ladies.

It was indeed a five-star night!

Wishing Everyone a Sweet ’16!

Published January 1, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9440Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and husband, Dennis

Happy 2016! Let’s make it a sweet one!

For the past month or so, I’ve been slacking off on blogging. Why? Because I am living the dream of being a writer. Last August I was hired as managing editor of DiningOut magazine. And just yesterday I was hired to write for a media group that has 17 New Jersey newspapers!

My career in 2015 was amazing. It was spent book editing (I’ve helped two people publish their books, two others copy edit, and am now working on another), public speaking, and publishing my second book “Love Cats” (available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513). Then by mid-August I was officially hired as managing editor of DiningOut, which is part-time so I have all the freedom to pursue my other creative outlets. Though I’m not sure if I’ll be publishing my third book “The Gypsy Smiled” in 2016 or not.

While some authors love to bang out books left and right, I like to do so when I can have the time to enjoy and nurture them. 2016 may or may not be the time. I spent most of my adult life earning a living as a writer and journalist. Writing a book was never on my bucket list. It just happened — twice. And it bothers me that so many people think of being an author as something “better” or more important than journalism. I think just the opposite. I think articles are fabulous because they are timely and current and give you instant satisfaction. Plus, the fact that in writing articles, you interview so many people. Learning about people is such a great experience and makes anyone a better person, as it’s always a better idea to listen than to talk. That’s why journalism (and book editing other people’s work) keeps the ego in check. In this line of work, I’m rarely asked about my life and that is fine. (And probably why I love to share my feelings via blogging when I do have the time to think something out and express it in words!)

So looking forward to much more journalism in 2016, of course after the nice three-day weekend (though writers are so addicted to their craft, they always sneak a little work in)! Write to live and live to write!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist. Her first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Paterson Honors Firefighters Who Fell in the Line of Duty

Published June 12, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7621Photograph by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Read my full article here: http://www.northjersey.com/news/on-150th-anniversary-of-first-death-paterson-honors-firefighters-who-fell-in-line-of-duty-1.1350966

1900 Youngsters Earn Membership In Paterson’s 50 Book Club

Published June 5, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7541Su-nijah Vaughn read over 108 books and aspires to be an author

(Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Last night I covered a very inspiring event for Paterson Press, Paterson’s 50-Book Club, an event honoring children who have read 50 or more books during the school year. This year 1900 students made it!

Here’s the full article: http://www.northjersey.com/towns/paterson/1-900-youngsters-earn-membership-in-paterson-s-50-book-club-1.1350117

Running with the Winners

Published June 3, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_5993My Ed Hardy sneakers, not for running!

For several days I’ve been meaning to write a blog about exercise. What better day than National Running Day?! Here’s an article I wrote several years ago on the benefits of running: http://patch.com/new-jersey/verona/running-with-the-winners

Maybe some can be inspired by the article, though I must share I’m not a runner myself. I stopped doing high impact exercising in 2010 after interviewing Oleda Baker who said that jogging, running and jumping could hurt the joints. Read the full article here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/oleda-baker-article-i-wrote-for-the-patch-in-2010/

Whether you’re all for running or prefer other types of exercise, the thing is make sure you are exercising with passion and not disgust. If you’re working out and hating it the whole time, you won’t lose any weight. Why? Because stress turns to sugar.

It’s better to exercise when you’re happy about it. Not when you’re in the mind frame of “Oh, I gotta do this.” A clever suggestion is to break up a work-out into two mini work-outs instead of having one long one where you’re watching the clock. I’ve noticed that when I do this and also take breaks where I don’t exercise for a day or two (and do something else like meditating instead) that’s when my metabolism kicks in and I can eat a lot more and stay at my goal weight (and sometimes surprisingly be under my goal weight!)

Over the past weekend I ate a lot of stuff I normally don’t — chips, hummus, and a seafood dish with creamy lobster sauce and long grain rice. Yet the scale was my best friend — every day I was at my goal weight. I mentioned that to my husband and he reminded me, “Because you’re not stressed.”

As a side note, I eat about 80 percent paleo.

SAM_7122Fit over 50!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist, author and public speaker. She is available for the presentation “Paleo for Beginners” which includes a healthy dish.

And for seniors, “Here’s to Your Health and the Benefits of Walking.”

For more information, pricing and availability, contact Maryanne at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

 

 

Don’t Be Stupid When Speaking to The Press

Published June 2, 2015 by Maryanne

fucking stupid

Public Notice: If you’re ever interviewed by a reporter regarding a sensitive subject, DO NOT tell them they can use your real name in an email — and then after the article is published trash the writer for using your real name. That is just plain STUPID! But, yeah, some people are dumb as fuck.

I’m always super sensitive when I interview people, asking “Are you SURE I can use your real name.” and “Are you SURE this is ON THE RECORD?”

I never seek to hurt anyone intentionally and when someone writes in an email “Use my real name, I’d be honored” I’d take that as an “OKAY” to use their real name and it’s not that big a deal.

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK or suck it up and live with it. Don’t act all “bad-ass” in front of the reporter and then when things are in print (and maybe people start questioning you) you go back and shit all over the reporter (who has covered her bases many times over!)

Have some class, it’s not always the Press who is at fault!

“Read to Know” BookFest at Paterson Library

Published March 30, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_6964 Isabelle Munoz with sons, Mattias and Benjamin.

Her children couldn’t wait to start reading.

(Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Saturday I had a very rewarding Paterson Press assignment, interviewing little book lovers!

Here’s the link to my article “Hundreds Show Up for Book Giveaway at Paterson Library”: http://www.northjersey.com/towns/paterson/hundreds-show-up-for-book-giveaway-at-paterson-library-1.1298935

A Shout Out to Teaneck Public Library, Teaneck, New Jersey

Published March 20, 2015 by Maryanne

 Teaneck LibraryTeaneck Public Library

A shout out to Jonna Davis and the Teaneck Public Library (http://www.teaneck.org/)

Today I was honored to present my lecture: “Newsies: History of the Newspaper Industry” to an audience of over 75 people. I’ve worked in the newspaper industry as a journalist most of my adult life and this is always my favorite lecture to present.

In my presentation, I take the audience back to ancient Rome when the first “newspaper” was carved in stone, up to modern times and how the radio, T.V. and internet caused a decline in the newspaper industry.

My credentials are that I wrote for New York papers: The Westsider and the Chelsea Clinton News (which is named after an area of NYC, not the former president’s daughter). I was also a journalist at The Montclair Times for seven years. After I left The Times, I went on to write for several online publications including The Paterson Press, where my feature articles also appeared in The Herald News. I also wrote for The Aquarian Arts weekly, a newspaper that is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For more information on my lectures, pricing and availability, please visit my website at: www.peartreeenterprises.com