Writing Is An Art Form
Every day, I have to contemplate my lengthening career as a writer. I used to also be an artist, back before I became physically disabled in 1998, and regularly drew pictures in pen and ink. I was thinking of transferring over to some computer pad-style drawing technology so I could create graphics and artwork on the computer directly. But since becoming what they call "physically challenged," I have a hard time with drawing. It's easier just to type, edit or otherwise work with a keyboard. And I have an over twenty year long career as a writer and editor to draw from as I continue to write every day.
It fascinates me as a ghost writer and an editor the many subject areas that my clients are willing to create books about. One will want to write his or her life story, such as the author who approached me recently regarding his life story as a transgenderal person. He changed from female to male, and he is now married and a father of two children, not his own, as the surgery doesn't yet allow transgenderal persons to procreate. Another will want to write a children's fantasy chapter book, an adult science fiction dark fantasy warehouse party series of books, a how to book on beauty and fashion, a book about the Nazis and a Jewish uprising against them, a book by a former Nazi who wants to tell us about what it was like being forced into the party...etc., etc., etc. There is no limit to the types of subjects my authors, many of whom are putting out their very first books, will want to write about.
Some are the type of book which may or may not sell all that well, while others are almost a guaranteed best seller, having a crowd of buyers ready to purchase the books. I almost prefer working with the first group of authors, even though their books don't pay as much money as my more lucrative authors' books do. It warms my soul to support first timers who have an interesting and valuable story to put out before the reading public. I usually only charge $3000 for people like these to ghost write their books for them. But when it comes to a potentially lucrative book, I charge a percentage of what the author makes over time from the book sales. These types of books are the "coffee table" type you have heard of, such as a book by the gentleman who took the nude photos of the "other woman" in an infamous murder case. They sell well, but the material in them is often only timely or flashy, and immaterial over time as earnest literature. I much prefer working for people who have books in their souls that contain stories worth the telling, more so than the stories worth money to a flashy author with a coffee table book.
I make enough money at my regular writing projects to support my habit of preferring to work with the first time author crowd. Some of those people's books do sell well over time, and it's worth it to me to put the time and effort into ghost writing or editing them that it takes to really polish their work to a gleaming shine and make it productive and meaningful as timeless literature or educational material. This means more to me than a large check paid for the type of book I truly hate to see my name associated with, and I feel very proud to have more of the first timers' works on my record than those. I guess in the end it's a tradeoff: timeless creation of worthy literature versus timely production of flashy, self-gratifying stuff that may not make me feel good to write it. Not that I don't regularly take on that kind of project. I need those books to get by and make money. But it always gladdens me when I can write something that really makes the author feel like he or she has produced a very fine book, and which is something that will truly lend credit and greater credence to my professional name and career as a writer.
I think it lends the greatest justice to my lengthening writing and editing career to help people get out the work that holds the most promise over time, not the most best selling work that is only timely and lucrative and which will soon gather only dust somewhere. Writing is an art form, not a mass market for producing coffee table books that sell.