Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 9 years ago

ghost writers and literary agents?

Have you ever used the services of a ghost writer and/or literary agent? Any advice or obvious pitfalls to avoid? I would love to hear of your experiences


I am not comparing anything; I just wanted to hear what people had to say about ghost writers and literary agents.

3 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Like HP Wombat (whose name I always mis-type as HP Combat!), I think you're comparing apples and streetcars.

    A ghost writer is an author you pay to organize your story into a coherent written form, usually a book. You pay him or her up-front, and the ghost writer gets no credit as author and no share of the royalties, unless and until s/he becomes well enough known to be "as told to Famous Name," when the financial arrangements become negotiable.

    A literary agent helps you get your already-good manuscript into the best possible shape, then sells it to a name-brand publisher for a percentage. Those big publishers don't deal directly with authors but use agents as go-betweens and screeners, so the publisher wastes no time with manuscripts which are not good enough or marketable enough for profitable publication.

    The pitfalls are the same as entering any other business arrangement. Do lots of research before signing any contract. Pay no one up-front before any work commences. Have your own attorney go over any contract before signing. Make sure your research includes visits to Preditors and Editors and to AbsoluteWrite's Bewares and Background Checks.

  • 9 years ago

    A ghost writer is a completely different thing than a literary agent, so I don't really understand why you're using them interchangably or even in the same breath.

    I am currently trying to get a literary agent. Advice would be to do your research and don't pay an agent for anything until your book is making money.

  • 9 years ago

    My advice is that literary agents are often lazy bastards (like 99% of the time) and will just take your money and do very little to actually promote you.

    Get your book out there, get some positive reviews, get some sales... and let the literary agents come to you.

    Ghost writers are a different matter. If they are experienced they can be quite handy for finishing a book you might not have time to write. If they lack experience then you are taking a risk on them being able to finish on time or finish at all.

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