1. PaulD

    PaulD New Member

    Sep 2, 2011
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    Ghostwriting advice

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by PaulD, Sep 2, 2011.

    Hi all.

    I've just signed up to this site in the hope I will be able to utilise (ok - take advantage of) the experience people here may have.

    I am a new writer of non-fiction and my first book is due to be published around the end of the year. It is via a small-time publisher so won't be making me millions but it is a toe in the door at least.

    I'm looking to get into ghostwriting and to that end I am meeting an ex-professional footballer next week to discuss ghosting his autobiography. Again he is relatively small-time and so this won't be selling as would a Gazza or Gary Lineker profile work. Nevertheless it will hopefully allow me to progress from a toe to a full foot in the door.

    My question is (yes there is a point to all this) what do I need to do, assuming he wants me to go ahead, as far as contracts between us are concerned?

    I am presently out of work and short of cash so can't afford legal bills to draw up a contract for a book which may not get published and which won't be a huge seller even if it did. Would an agent or publisher handle such contracts or must it be drawn up specifically between me and the subject?

    It will be his name on the cover as the author, so I am assuming he will receive all royalties unless the publishing contract specifies a split of some kind. I am looking at a split royalty basis as there is no guarantee of a published book and I don't want to scare him away with upfront fees as this is a foot-in-the-door project for me as explained.

    Sorry to waffle on. Hopefully someone will be able to offer some advice (or a free contract template if I'm really lucky!).

    Many thanks in advance for any assistance anyone can give me.
  2. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Coquille, Oregon
    first, work out what fee you will charge and what the contractual terms will be...

    if you have an agent, that's who'd be advising you and negotiating the contract... did you have one for the book that's currently in the process of being published?

    if not, you really should consult a literary attorney to make sure you're covered six ways from sunday... this is not something you should take lightly, or try to save money on, as it can end up costing you many times over a simple consulting fee...

    yes, he will own the copyright and negotiate a contract with a publisher [if he's lucky enough to snag one], plus receive any/all royalties, since he's the author and you've simply created a work-for-hire...

    that's foolish in the extreme, since if the book is never published [which is more than likely], you'd be out a year or more's hard work that's taken up time you could better have spent working for up-front-paying clients... professional ghostwriters wouldn't write on spec for less than the most famous of clients whose books are guaranteed to spark a bidding war among publishers and bring in bigger bucks than they'd get with their standard, up-front flat fees...

    keep in mind that 50% of nothing, is nothing!

    you can find sample ghostwriting contracts with a quick 'n dirty google search... but with no legal background, it's not a good idea to do it on your own...

    i've done ghostwriting and i've mentored beginners who wanted to head in that direction, so if you want help with this, feel free to email me any time...

    love and hugs, maia

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