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You don’t have to be a writer to be published

If writing for you is, as a late New York Times sportswriter put it, “easy . . . you just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein,” then the tourniquet for you may be a ghostwriter or collaborator.

Getting published is an important variable in the marketing success quotient. Don’t let the excuse that you’re not a good writer prevent you from earning a byline. What is essential and can never be farmed out, however, is your ability to present quality information and ideas. Your material should spark an “ah ha” in your readers and ignite them to reach greater heights. If you can prompt someone else to succeed, then you will have too.

There is a plethora of professional writers who are eager to find good ghostwriting assignments. Finding them just takes understanding of how such writers get their work. A good place to start is with a professional writers’ association in your community. The library, bookstores, university English or journalism departments or your local paper may know of the writers’ organizations in your town. If not, chances are a local public relations, marketing or advertising agency may know.

Literary agents are another good source for writers. Some agencies may give you the name of several writers who can help you polish your prose into a marketable work that the agent would then try to sell. Journalism departments at colleges and universities may employ professors who write for consumer magazines and books, or a professor may refer you to a prize student.

Writers don’t come cheap. You may be lucky to find a good, hungry writer who is trying to break into magazines or book publishing who is willing to work on the come. But, typically, you’ll get to work that way only once with that author. Any writer who earns his or her living writing soon discovers that while he or she is writing for nothing, you, the expert, are earning a living in your field. You have an income and a book. The writer has only a byline. Recognizing that writing is a profession only if he or she can earn a living, a good writer will charge an hourly or project fee to ghostwrite or collaborate. Fees vary, but an average hourly rate ranges between $50 and $200. Magazine articles may be written for as little as a few hundred to as much as several thousand dollars. And book proposals’ flat fees can reach as high as $5,000 to $8,000.

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