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Invitation for ghostwriting

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Ace Contributor
Sally W Member Since: Nov 25, 2016
1 of 10

Hello writers,

What do you do when you get an invitation to make a proposal but the author/client has provide no information?

 

See my reply below. Any other suggestions for how to handle without being overhelming?

 

Last week I said yes to an offer with hardly any information (ghostwriting) and when I received the material I had to reject the whole project because there was no real "content" -- it was more like a two-page journal entry with zero substance and the "author" wanted me to create a story out of it. I was nonplussed. Any and all advice appreciated!   -Sally

 

Here's what I wrote:

 

Dear Author,

Thank you for inviting me to submit a proposal. A personal invitation is highly valued.

In order to determine if the project is a good match for my skills and perspective and to provide you with a detailed proposal, can you provide a little information about your story?

What type of nonfiction book is it? Memoir, personal essay, self-help etc.

What is the subject matter, audience and the length you envision in pages?

Is there existing material already outlined or drafted?  Will I have the opportunity to review it? (I’m happy to provide a Nondisclosure Agreement.) Or will material be obtained primarily through interview?

Do you have a timeline in mind?

If you prefer, I’m happy to discuss these questions via Skype or phone. If we decide we’re a good match, I am happy meet with you, assuming you live in my area (South Bay, SF/Silicon Valley).

Because of the importance of compatibility in a project like this, I also recommend a milestone “test” project prior to ensure its success. I have found that this practice often saves time, money, and stress while ensuring the establishment of a strong collaborative relationship from the beginning.

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Community Guru
Nia G Member Since: May 3, 2016
2 of 10

"What do you do when you get an invitation to make a proposal but the author/client has provide no information?"

 

I ask for more information. 

 

'Last week I said yes to an offer with hardly any information (ghostwriting) and when I received the material I had to reject the whole project because there was no real "content"'

 

I never say yes to a job before getting all of the details I need/as much info as I can. Your doing so only sets you up to waste time (and potentially damage your reputation as a writer). 

 

Also, just some personal advice on the way I do things. If I get an invitation without much detail, I generally don't include a ton of questions. I may ask a couple or just state that I would like to hear more about the project. There is plenty of opportunity after accepting an invitation to discuss the job. No need to ask everything at once. This could actually overwhelm a potential client -- emphasis on potential. Just because a freelancer had been invited to interview doesn't mean the client is sold on them quite yet; there's still opportunity to lose them. 

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Ace Contributor
Sally W Member Since: Nov 25, 2016
3 of 10

Thank you Nia! I appreciate your perspective.  -Sally

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Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
4 of 10

@Sally W wrote:

Hello writers,

What do you do when you get an invitation to make a proposal but the author/client has provide no information?

 

 


I ask questions such as you have done.

 

Then, I wait to consider if, when and how the potential client responds. Asking questions is how I choose my clientele (and, well, I'm actually paid to write questions, so I'm naturally prone to interrogatives). I always tailor the questions to the specific job so I may query more or less.

 

You're also a developmental editor, yes?

 

Those questions, in my experience, are an industry standard and should be asked particularly on larger projects. 

 

However, I understand that everyone operates their business in a different manner.

 

 

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Ace Contributor
Sally W Member Since: Nov 25, 2016
5 of 10

Thanks Kat! I appreciate your experience and your taking the time to reply.

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Ace Contributor
Mirjam K Member Since: Sep 7, 2015
6 of 10

I usually add the questions at the end of my message and I sometimes number them (1-3 or a)-c) ) so that it's easier for the client to reply.

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Ace Contributor
Sally W Member Since: Nov 25, 2016
7 of 10

Thanks Mirjam! Very helpful.

Highlighted
Ace Contributor
Sally W Member Since: Nov 25, 2016
8 of 10

Hello writers,

What do you do when you get an invitation to make a proposal but the author/client has provide no information?

 

See my reply below. Any other suggestions for how to handle without being overhelming?

 

Last week I said yes to an offer with hardly any information (ghostwriting) and when I received the material I had to reject the whole project because there was no real "content" -- it was more like a two-page journal entry with zero substance and the "author" wanted me to create a story out of it. I was nonplussed. Any and all advice appreciated!   -Sally

 

Here's what I wrote:

 

Dear Author,

Thank you for inviting me to submit a proposal. A personal invitation is highly valued.

In order to determine if the project is a good match for my skills and perspective and to provide you with a detailed proposal, can you provide a little information about your story?

What type of nonfiction book is it? Memoir, personal essay, self-help etc.

What is the subject matter, audience and the length you envision in pages?

Is there existing material already outlined or drafted?  Will I have the opportunity to review it? (I’m happy to provide a Nondisclosure Agreement.) Or will material be obtained primarily through interview?

Do you have a timeline in mind?

If you prefer, I’m happy to discuss these questions via Skype or phone. If we decide we’re a good match, I am happy meet with you, assuming you live in my area (South Bay, SF/Silicon Valley).

Because of the importance of compatibility in a project like this, I also recommend a milestone “test” project prior to ensure its success. I have found that this practice often saves time, money, and stress while ensuring the establishment of a strong collaborative relationship from the beginning.

Highlighted
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
9 of 10

Unless the prospective client in some way demonstrates that they are legitimate and are willing to pay a reasonable rate, I usually don't respond at all. If I am not certain, I would respond with information about my rate and an invitation to discuss the matter further. 

 

When someone invites you to interview, treat it as a lead-- someone worth considering as a possible client. Until they become a qualified lead--someone who is ready, willing and able to pay for your services--don't invest too much time. 

 

Unfortunately, you can't assume that everyone on the hiring side is working with the best of intentions or that they will follow the professional standards of the real world. After a while, you will learn to recognize legitimate leads. 

 

If you haven't done so already, be sure to read the pinned posts about what to watch out for when looking for jobs. 

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Ace Contributor
Sally W Member Since: Nov 25, 2016
10 of 10

Thanks much for your reply and perspective! I have a lot to learn it seems.

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