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Emmanuelle Wilshire

Published Authors

5 posts in this topic

I have a very controversial non-fiction "Crime and Drama Whistle-Blower" story I need to tell. I can almost guarantee once a publisher reads the storyline, it will be a "shoe-in" to get it published (and possibly be a made for a movie) story....and yes, it is that good. I would like to write it myself, but I don't know the rules in naming names, not knowing a publisher, and so on. In the past, I have seen "publishers" who will scam money from the writer and want them to pay thousands of dollars to get the book published. So, does anyone have advice on how to approach this or should I hire a "ghostwriter?"

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Do not, under any circumstances, trust anyone who takes money to work on or market or in any way have anything to do with your book. They are all, without exception, scammers. I'd suggest going to writer's conventions of which there are many, national and regional. These are attended not only by writers but by editors, agents, publishers, etc. For instance, Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, will be held September 15-18th in St. Louis. there are many others but the national cons have the most professionals. It's editors you want to interest. Don't be shy, just walk right up to them and tell them what you've got. If you get their attention, they'll want to hear more. You want to talk to writers, offer to buy them a drink. Look for panels on subjects similar to your material. At a mystery con, there are always True Crime panels, which is where whistleblowing would come in. Check and see what sort of literary conventions are held in your area. It's a worthwhile investment and if nothing else you'll have a good time.

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I have ghostwritten perhaps a dozen books for clients, including the genre you describe. They all went on to be published. I disagree, of course, with John's suggestion. In the book world there are two key people - the writer and the editor. An editor does not write. They only edit manuscripts once they are in relatively finished form. They aren't much help if you aren't already a writer.

I would recommend using elance.com which has hundreds of highly qualified ghostwriters. Find one who is experienced in your genre. Look at their previous work. Require a flat fee structure, i.e., X dollars for X book. Ensure that all rights are released to you in your agreement. This is the way it works these days.

All books written by famous people are ghostwritten. You won't be able to engage a top notch ghostwriter for this unless you have a very big piggy bank. You can save money on the project by doing the initial research and cobbling together a fairly rough draft that only needs to be expanded upon and massaged. The more legwork the writer is going to have to do, the more it's going to cost.

As far as publishing. If you're an unknown author it's almost impossible to bend the ears of a publisher. You don't have to fall for the self published (vanity) form of publishing these days. You can self-publish on Amazon through their CreateSpace section. These are listed on Amazon, you can do a Kindle version and publishers watch this space for the hot books. That's when they are stepping in an optioning the book for their publishing house, often for large sums of money. The publishing industry is rapidly morphing to this model as it is less expensive for publishers, since the book already has some traction.

So, in short, go to an elance.com or guru.com, post the project (free), get bids, select a writer, agree to terms (I recommend by milestones - $X up front, $X at delivery of rough draft, $X on completion. This is the way books are being done all the time. As I said, I'm in the business and have been for 17 years.

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I should have made myself clearer. My meaning was that, if you can interest an editor, he or she will be willing to work with you in finding a ghostwriter. It is the publishers who issue the checks, nobody else. It is almost impossible to get the services of a decent agent of you aren't already published. I had to sell my first novel on my own. Many people these days don't use agents anyway, preferring intellectual property lawyers or just representing themselves. When I started more than thirty years ago the publishing business was located almost exclusively in New York and if you didn't live there yourself, you about had to have a NY-based agent to do business. That is fast changing. E-books are the wave of the future, but I've never done that and don't have any advice. I highly recommend Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog (kriswrites.com). Nobody keeps on top of the publishing industry like Kris and you have to be very careful about contracts these days. They've gotten really cutthroat and they weren't exactly benevolent to begin with. Good luck.

Edited by John Maddox Roberts

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Excellent information. I really appreciate the insight.

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