Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Relationship Between Music and Writing

 Listening to music is one the ways that I tune my brain into the creative centers of my cerebral cortex. I especially like to listen to classical music—symphonies, string quartets, and trios are the most helpful—since there are so many things going on at once. (This why so few people listen to classical music. It’s demanding and calls for attention unless one turns it on as background music.) The main melody interacts with several other melodies at any given time, and both give way to the melodies of the next movement.

There is also a complex interplay between the various instruments. In a string quartet, for example, there are two violins, a viola, and a cello. They sometimes work with each, while at other times they “play off of each other”—supporting each other, if you will—and yet they all end up in the same place in the end. From diversity comes harmony and a unified theme.


When writing a novel, an author must juggle subplots and orchestrate (pardon the pun) the interactions of the many characters. And then there are the issues of foreshadowing, flashbacks, planting red herrings, description, narrative style. Everything must support the novel as a whole and come together in just the right fashion.


Music and art of any kind go hand in hand. That certainly holds true for music and writing. To write a novel is to compose a score.


Of course, I can get inspired by listening to the Beatles simply because their music makes me happy.


~William Hammett

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Memory of You, 1976

It is from an earlier chapter
written decades ago, a page
penned before Jimmy Carter and Nixon’s ghost
briefly took the stage.

It was all real, not an idle diversion
or sabbatical from the courses I’d run.
No, young nymph, you were my dear,
and I trust you knew my love

was palm to palm and always near
wherever we took our sport:
the Quarter, the lake, some dark tavern
or theater in which our fingers were laced and lapped,

if you catch my drift.
You always knew my inner gears,
the turning of unspoken words,
some fleeting thought not yet formed by lips

otherwise engaged in moist red dances
or afternoon gin and tonic sips.
And I knew your eddies and currents as well.
Not everyone can cast such a synchronistic spell.

We could have talked in pidgin for hours
and always known the warp and woof,
known what was yours and mine,
but mostly ours.

I wrote a much longer poem,
a message in a bottle
with all the whys and wherefores
on a parchment in palimpsest,

a metaphysical conceit
that unlocked all locked doors,
but what purpose would be served?
Since you could not wait for time and tide forever,

it is fitting that all righteousness be observed.
I occasionally sit in an abbey nave,
quite alone, counting saints.
St. Peter says my eye to you should not now roam.

St. Jude whispers that you, with grace,
have found a shining hearth and home.
I am glad, and tell him so,
for I could wish no less

than spinning wheels and looms
for one whose tapestry was so rich
and held the promise of gold
in each and every stitch.

My lost horizon will always have a bookmark
to hold the page, the months that passed that year,
but your couplet deserved a fitting rhyme
when my meter stumbled and lost its cadence for a time.

Just know this, my ever-cherished love and friend:
you were indeed a rainbow coming around the bend
in my once upon a time. No less.
No less.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

How to Hire a Ghostwriter

Download a free copy of my book HOW TO HIRE A GHOSTWRITER from my website at William Hammett -- Independent Ghostwriter. This book is a "must read" for anyone looking for a professional ghostwriter since the profession has no oversight or regulation. Don't trust your book to amateurs, moonlighters, or the inexperienced ghosts on the marketplaces where people post brief resumes filled with grammatical errors.

Also beware of ghostwriting companies, which subcontract their work to inexperienced writers across the country (contrary to their claims that their writers are on-staff or work in-house). I personally know most of the writers working for companies, and they're not centrally located or employees of these corporate entities.

You should also be aware that most ghostwriting companies recruit writers and categorize them as "student or apprentice" ghostwriters. Some companies are even establishing ghostwriting schools and academies in order to get more subcontractors to do their work. These rookies have no writing credits and have never written a full-length book or engaged in ghostwriting for money.

Companies show glowing testimonials for bestselling authors, but this is a case of bait and switch. A few  clients who can pay $75K to $150K may get a top writer, but the other 95% of their customers get a writer with few if any credits and no publications under his or her own name. Also, companies now advertise that they are known and respected by agents, editors, and publishers, but this simply isn't the case.

In HOW TO HIRE A GHOSTWRITER, you'll learn who the ghostwriters and companies really are--the ones advertising online. You'll learn the marketing strategies of ghostwriters and companies, their business models, and their POD and promotional package deals that are ineffective and designed to take your money while capitalizing on your ignorance of ghostwriting and publishing.

You'll also learn about my own background, how to more intelligently target your ghost, write a query email, how the ghostwriting process works, what you need to know before emailing prospective ghostwriters, and learn what your publishing options are. Do your due diligence. Don't spend thousands of dollars on a bad writer. Educate yourself and learn how to select a writer who is the right fit for your book. You'll only get one chance, so learn how to hire a ghostwriter.

I've been one of the country's leading ghostwriters for the past twenty years, and I know the profession from the inside. Thanks for stopping by.

~William Hammett

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Looking for a Ghostwriter on Google? You're Wasting Your Money

If you're searching for a ghostwriter and are looking on Google, you're looking at paid ads put up by ghostwriting companies, freelancers, or ghostwriting marketplaces like fiverr, Upwork, and Odesk.

Ghostwriting has no oversight or regulation, and only 4% of people claiming to be ghostwriters are qualified to write a book. The websites you see in a Google search are filled with grammatical errors, even those with slick sites like the ghostwriting companies. Ghostwriting companies all call themselves "industry leaders." It's a lie. They subcontract work to freelancers all over the country, and these, according to one sales rep from a company I talked with recently, are "student and apprentice ghostwriters." Some companies have as many as 200-300 inexperienced writers who will write for low wages because they are moonlighters or unemployed and are desperate for money. They can's write.

How do I know this? Because I know who the ghostwriters are and have spoken with them. I have called the companies as a "mystery shopper" and discovered their secret, dishonest business models. I know the business from the inside.

Some companies claim that their writers are "on staff" and "in house." This is a lie. Again, I know their writers, and they are spread across all fifty states and other countries. And their writers produce some of the worst prose ever written.

As for the marketplaces, I've read thousands of resumes posted on these sites for years. I have never read a single one that was free of a major grammatical error and didn't have awkward phrasing in the one-paragraph pitch. These are the worst ghostwriters in the world.

As for most independent ghostwriters, their writing is pretty awful and filled with basic errors committed by grammar and high school students. And they know almost nothing about publishing. The reason that all of these people advertise is because the internet allows them to do so, and when people see their websites, they assume that they are legitimate or that Google somehow screens the sites for honesty and fair business practices. Google has no interest in anything except making money. Only 2% of those on Google are professionally trained writers who are qualified to be ghostwriters. But if you can't spot grammatical errors and know nothing of the publishing industry, you're not going to be able to select a competent writer.

I talk with people every week who tell me that they are interviewing several online ghostwriters. The problem is that everybody they interview is unqualified as a writer and ignorant of the publishing industry. No one they interview is remotely qualified to write a book. Millions of dollars are wasted every year since online ghostwriting is a scam industry except for the extremely small number of ghosts who are actually trained to write and edit, who know publishing, and who have a stellar track record.

But here is where the problem lies: people searching for a ghostwriter are always looking for a bestseller for the cheapest price they can find. But great ghostwriters don't work for low or "affordable" rates. People ignorant of writing and publishing invariably end up with bad work, and the irony is that they may not even know just how bad of a manuscript they've received because they can't spot the errors. The bottom line is "Gimme something cheap."

Most people want traditional publishing, but they don't understand how to get an agent or that getting an agent is next to imposible. They know nothing of small, regional, and independent presses, and they know little about Print-On-Demand. I have always tried to educate people on my website about the above issues, but people have been taken in by ghostwriting companies, thinking that a corporate image, as well as the hype and lies on company websites, means that they're about to become part of mainstream New York City publishing. This is as ridiculous as it is sad. Ghostwriting companies are nothing more than glorified POD companies.

And if you see glowing testimonials on company websites, it's because the companies use bait and switch techniques. They will give a very small number of celebrities or CEOs a good writer for a price of $75,000 to $150,000. This is to lure people into thinking that they are major players in the publishing industry. But the truth is that most clients pay small fees to inexperienced writers--subcontractors--all over the country.

If you don't educate yourself about ghostwriting and publishing, you're going to choose a bad writer. And almost everyone is bad because online ghostwriting is a business model, not a craft or an art. I am amazed at how few pages people read on my website, pages that alert people to these hard facts. They want a cheap book, and that's what they get: cheap.

Caveat emptor. Buyer beware.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Dan Brown's ORIGIN

Dan Brown's new novel, Origin, is causing people to debate this very successful author yet again. The first question people ask is, "Is Dan Brown a good writer?" The answer from most is a resounding, "No." His style is quite simple and written at grade-school level. A prose stylist he is not, a point that a majority of literary critics agree on.

Many say that Brown just keeps writing the same book over and over again. Robert Langdon, who we know little about after five novels, trades female companions and goes on great adventures to save the world in one or two days, maybe three. He does so with his encyclopedic knowledge of history, symbols, and ancient culture since he is, after all, a symbologist. Are his books formulaic? Yes, without a doubt, but that can be said about a lot of successful series of genre fiction. One must ask, however, how many times can an author keep going to the same well?

One of the things I find aggravating about Dan Brown's novels is that he seems hell-bent on disproving God in the vein of the New Atheism. Science can't prove God, so God doesn't exist. Well, that's just BS. God is defined as a supernatural being, and science, therefore, cannot be expected to find a supernatural being using the tools of natural science. Let me say that again. The natural cannot prove the supernatural. It's Philosophy 101. So I find some of Brown's novels, or sections therein, to be a bit tedious. Yawn. Give it up, Dan.

I've noticed that about fifty percent of reviews for Origin on Amazon are not glowing, shall we say, and point to the above issues--and many more. So what makes people keep coming back for more? He seems to be a novelist people love to hate--and hate to love.

I was amused by one review that stated, "Dan Brown's books have become long, tiresome reference books chock-full of history that become downright boring." Point well-taken. And excuse us, Robert Langon, if we don't all know the history of every monument in Italy or haven't read every arcane text written three thousand years ago. You really are quite insufferable and elitist sometimes.

Dan Brown's novels are as poorly edited as they are poorly written. And I've never read any of his novels in which I couldn't find dozens of major grammatical errors. But the publisher hears those sales ring up and, well, you get my point.

Whatever Brown's faults may be, he is a master at narrative pacing, which caught everyone's attention in The Da Vinci Code. People then went back and read Digital Fortress and Deception Point, and Brown became a household name. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy reading Dan Brown, although I skipped Inferno and will wait for Origin to hit the remainder bin at B&N.

It occurs to me that I'm almost finished this post and haven't really talked about Origin. I've gone on too many tangents. Well, so do Dan Brown and Robert Langdon.

The phenomenon of Dan Brown shows that publishing is about making money, as well it should be. But the truth is that if anyone other than Brown submitted these novels, they would be rejected. Once you get fame and fortune, the old saying goes, you can publish your laundry list. I'm sure Robert Langdon could find meaningful clues to saving the world in such a list. If you rearrange the letters in "laundry detergent," you might get words like "dry," "deter," "gent," "laud," "great," "ten," and many others. I could combine them and find meaning for the combinations if I tried hard enough, but no one would me a twenty million dollar advance. Go figure.

One of these days, I'm going to self-publish my laundry list just for the hell of it. Really.

~William Hammett

Friday, December 29, 2017

Poetry Collection: Day and Night

I'm pleased to announce that Word Wrangler Press will publish my collection of poems titled Day and Night in 2018. I've been away from poetry for a while, but this will be a nice change of pace although I will still be ghostwriting and publishing fiction under my own name.

I have previously published poetry in literary journals such as American Poets & Poetry, The Rockford Review, Lynx, Poem, The Lyric, Pegasus, Twilight Ending, Mojo Risin', Creative Juices, Tight, Angelflesh, The Black Buzzard Review, and others.

Not very many people read poetry, classic or modern, and that's a pity since the form is as old as writing. The number of people who read poetry is about the same as those who listen to classical music, which is about five percent of the population.

Reading poetry, of course, is more challenging than reading a modern novel, especially genre fiction. The syntax is challenging, and that is especially true of modern poetry from T.S. Eliot on, where the compression of language makes scanning lines difficult. In some cases, modern poetry has no syntax at all and is highly experimental. But is reading such poetry any different than listening to a symphony or complex string quartet? Not really.

The rewards of reading poetry or listening to classical music are great. Anything worthwhile requires a little effort. Or a lot.

Thanks for stopping by.

~William Hammett

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Cousin Dashiell Hammett

After many years of researching my family tree, I have learned definitively that legendary mystery writer Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, The Dain Curse, Red Harvest, and others) is my cousin.  Hammett, or "Dash" as he was known, is the fourth generation grandson of my fifth generation paternal grandfather.  That makes him my fifth cousin once removed.  While I can't therefore say that we were ever drinking buddies, I'm proud to share a little DNA with a man whose books are still in print and whose novels were made into very successful films.

Samuel Dashiell Hammett was born in 1894 and died in 1961.  The New York Times said that he was "The dean of the . . . hard-boiled school of detective fiction."  Later, Time magazine said that his novel Red Harvest was one of the top 100 novels published in America between 1923 and 2005.  Famed mystery writer Raymond Chandler said that "Hammett was the ace performer.  He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all.  He wrote scenes that seemed to have never been written before."

Hammett was a detective for The Pinkerton Detective Agency, which spurred him to write in the mystery genre.  In addition to writing bestselling novels and numerous short stories, he also worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter.

I look back over my life and have to smile when I recall that the first novel I read was a Perry Mason mystery when I was seven years old.  I was so taken with the genre that I wrote a three-page Perry Mason mystery and sent it to the author of the Mason series, Erle Stanley Gardner.  Gardner was kind enough to write back, encouraging me to keep writing.

I won't make the claim that I love to write because Dashiell Hammett is a cousin, although it's a nice thought during one of my Walter Mitty moments.  It does make me reflect, however, on how people are connected and what those connections mean.  It's said that everyone is seven steps from Kevin Bacon.  Turns out that I'm five steps from Dashiell Hammett on the Hammett family tree.  I'll take it!

~William Hammett


Index of Articles

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hiring a Qualified Ghostwriter

There are many individuals who have sites on the internet, sites advertising their services as a ghostwriter.  Additionally, there are thousands of resumes posted on the sites of ghostwriting clearinghouses, such as elance, odesk, and upwork.  The problem is that many people who are seeking a ghostwriter because they don't have the necessary writing skills to write a book are blind to the poor phrasing and grammatical errors on these sites and in the clearinghouse resumes.

Also, many people don't know a great deal about the publishing industry or what qualifications a competent, professional ghostwriter should possess.  I invite people searching for a qualified ghostwriter to click the following link and read the many articles on William Hammett's How to Hire a Ghostwriter.  The site contains an index of all articles on the subject.  The index may be found at the bottom of each post and also in the right sidebar.

The articles cover a wide range of topics, such as how to query a ghostwriter, what credentials one should look for, how to spot unqualified writers, the pitfalls of hiring a ghostwriting company, and much more.  Always due your due diligence, but before you begin, learn the issues involved and what questions need to be asked.

William Hammett's How to Hire a Ghostwriter

Good luck!

~William Hammett


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Getting the Words Right

I have to shake my head sometimes at the advertising done by some ghostwriters.  I recently stumbled upon the website of a pricey ghostwriter who will write your book for $65,000 to $75,000.  Okay, but she also says that she will write your "fictional novel" with professionalism.  Here's the rub: all novels are fiction.  Editors and agents usually don't take a second look at a query when an aspiring author pitches a "fictional novel."  Only someone totally unfamiliar with writing and publishing would pay such high prices to someone who doesn't know that "fictional novel" is a redundancy.  If a ghostwriter can't get the words right on his or her website, what's going to happen during the composition of a book.

And then there is the ghostwriting website I saw a few moments ago.  The ghostwriter said, "I'll write your novel, fiction or non-fiction, for $50,000."  First, non-fiction isn't hyphenated.  Second, and more importantly, a nonfiction book isn't a novel.  As mentioned above, a novel is a work of fiction.  I'm not going to pay someone $50,000 if he can't handle advertising copy and doesn't know the difference between fiction and nonfiction.

Both of the above ghostwriters omit hyphens dozens of times on their sites.  They talk about "full length books" and "book length manuscripts."  The words should be "full-length" and "book-length."

One ghostwriter wrote a sentence that read, "My vast writing experiences covers a wide range of topics, from travel to how-to."  The phrase "experiences covers" is a subject-verb agreement error worthy of a high school student."

The same ghostwriter says, "Always be careful when selecting a ghostwriter, if you choose the wrong one, you might regret the finished product."  "If you choose" begins a new sentence.  The ghostwriter has therefore produced another high school error: a comma splice.  Also, how does one "regret a product."  That's awkward phrasing.  One might regret "reading the finished product," but not the product itself.

And then there are the hundreds of ghostwriters who call themselves ghost writers.  "Ghostwriter" is one word, ladies and gentlemen.  "Ghost writer" as two words implies that the writer authors books on ghosts.

Always examine ghostwriting websites carefully, remembering that if you need or want a ghostwriter, you may not notice the kinds of errors I have listed above.  You need to get as much information as possible about the profession of ghostwriting and then do your due diligence for any ghostwriter you're considering.

It always pains me to say this, but online ghostwriting is, for the most part, a scam industry with unqualified people trying to get your money.  This is not to say that every ghostwriter has criminal intent, however.  Sad to say, some people don't know enough to know what they don't know.

~William Hammett

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Ghost of Richard Brautigan by William Hammett

I love the works of 1970s counterculture icon, port, and novelist, Richard Brautigan.  Brautigan (1935-1984) wrote short, quirky, surrealistic novels.  The best-known is his 1976 Trout Fishing in America.  Others include In Watermelon Sugar, A Confederate General from Big Sur, Sombrero Fallout, The Hawkline Monster, and So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away.

Over the years I've used many different prose styles and written in several genres.  I've always been partial to what literary agents call quirky fiction and really love the offbeat novels of Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins, and yes, Richard Brautigan.  Several years ago I had a rather outrageous idea for a novel and decided to use Brautigan's short chapter format and incorporate Brautigan himself into the story.  Agents failed to sell it, but a small press eventually published an earlier, shorter version of the novel, called Salamander Illusions.  I'm happy that Word Wrangler Publishing has given the work a second chance under the new title of The Ghost of Richard Brautigan.

The ad blurb is as follows.

"Lamont Bistro, a writing teacher married to Bourbon Street exotic dancer Jaguar Montaigne, receives regular visits from the ghost of Richard Brautigan, novelist, poet, and counterculture icon of the 1970s.

In this short, quirky, fast-paced novel reminiscent of Brautigan's dark humor and satire, Brautigan challenges Bistro to write a novel about his sexy young wife, snake-handling evangelicals, a swamp monster, Babe Ruth, a gaudy theme park named Gatorworld, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Gulf War, a deity named Bob, and a planet diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

As Bistro writes, however, he wonders if he himself has become a character in a surrealistic novel by the late great Richard Brautigan."

The book is available through Amazon.  All books recently published will also be available through the Word Wrangler Publishing online store.  Click on the book cover in the right sidebar to be taken to the book at Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by!

~William Hammett

Thursday, March 26, 2015

STREET MAGIC by William Hammett

My novel Street Magic is now on sale at Amazon's Kindle store.  You may see the cover and click to purchase the book in the right navigation column.  It is horror/suspense.

I wrote the novel many years ago after reading Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.  It's Bradbury's best, in my opinion, and unlike his other novels and short stories, it isn't really science fiction, although some might say it has that kind of flavor.  Regardless of the genre, I was amazed at the prose style Bradbury used.  Its sentence parameters are loose, and the style is highly lyrical, almost poetic.  The words flow effortlessly from beginning to end in Bradbury's classic tale of good against evil.  That's when it occurred to me to write Street Magic, my own humble effort to pen a lyrical tale of good against evil.

It was fun to write.  I let the first draft flow without any revision and then went back over it many times over the years adjusting various sentences.  There comes a time, however, when a writer has to give birth to his child, and so I decided, thanks to the good people at Word Wrangler Publishing, to put Street Magic out there, where it will now have a life of its own.  Like all parents, I hope that life will treat my offspring kindly, but we'll see.  There's a time to let go.

The book description is as follows:

The people of Pace, Indiana are jolted from their routine small-town lives when a street magician, Lark the Magnificent, begins staging one incredible show after another.  There is seemingly nothing that the man in an electric-blue suit can't do, from levitating above the sidewalk to making it snow on a sunny day.

But Joe Bailey, meek bachelor and town archivist, notices that things in Pace aren't quite right.  People are going missing, stores are closing, and some one--or some thing--is living in a row of abandoned homes on River Road.

In this homage to Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, William Hammett has written a chilling tale in lyrical prose about the evil locked behind the doors of small-town America, an evil that Joe Bailey will have to combat with his own brand of street magic.

The book was published by Word Wrangler Publishing on March 24, 2015.  Thanks, Barbara, for all of your hard work on this one.

And thanks as always to my readers and friends for stopping by.

~William Hammett


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Complaints about Ghostwriting Companies: Twenty Things You Need to Know

The complaints against ghostwriting companies are out there if you do your due diligence.  In fact, ghostwriting companies are far more vested in being vanity publishers and marketers.  Ghostwriting is a way for them to bring in customers for these other services.

If you don't believe me, Google the name of the company you've seen advertising online and type the words "scam" or "ripoff" after the company name.  After you recover from shock, ask yourself if you really want to give them your money.

Here are some of the things you'll learn about these companies.

1) Many subcontract writing to inexperienced writers across the country.

2) Many companies abandon customers after they get paid.

3) The owners and CEOs of most of these companies have no background in publishing.

4) The companies have been sued several times and have complaints lodged against them with the Better Business Bureau.

5) Some work is outsourced to other countries.

6) The sales reps, owners, and department heads at some companies are often lawyers, not people in the publishing industry.

7) The contracts at many companies are detailed, and if you read the fine print, you'll learn that you have no recourse for work that is not performed or just plain botched.

8) Complaints against these companies exist on dozens of sites online (and the best place to begin is the trustworthy "AbsoluteWrite WaterCooler")

9) The editing at many companies betrays a lack of basic knowledge of grammar and punctuation.

10) Marketing and promotion are usually package deals that offer to send your finished book to reviewers who are not interested in your genre or category of book.  The press releases they send out are almost always ineffective.

11) The claims that they have handled bestselling books are usually false or based on a different definition of "bestseller."

12) One company features pictures of book covers on their websites even though it never handled the books.

13) Most mainstream publishers, as well as most reputable literary agents, have never heard of these companies, which claim to be industry leaders.

14) Sales reps know little of the publishing industry and frequently tell potential customers things such as "Successful books are rarely longer than 200 pages anymore."  The statement is totally false.

15) To keep their costs down, many of these companies try to restrict the length of a book, sometimes to 200 to 225 pages long.  The truth is that books are as long as they need to be.

16) Offering you coffee mugs, T shirts, posters, postcards, and other "stuff" with your book's name will probably not result in sales for your books, but this is another part of the "package deal."

17) Prices for creating cover art and eBook conversion are extremely high.

18) Most companies deal in volume, meaning that one-on-one contact is often limited.

19) Ghostwriting and self-publishing are simply business models that some entrepreneurs found lucrative. when POD became popular.

20) Many companies prey on customers' lack of knowledge about the publishing industry.

When searching for a quality ghostwriter, it's better to hire an independent writer who has training, experience, credentials, and knowledge about the publishing industry.  Let the buyer beware.

Join Me at My Goodreads Author Page

For information on books written under my own name, visit my Goodreads Author Page, which also has a blog and short bio.  More books will be listed in the next month (Street Magic and The Ghost of Richard Brautigan).   My most recent books, Circling Goes the Wind and Rimsky Rises may be purchased at the Amazon Kindle store.

You may find the above page at William Hammett's Goodreads Author Page. 

Approximately six more novels will be released this year as Word Wrangler Press continues to publish my backlog of out-of-print books.  Check back for more information and release dates.

~William Hammett


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finding a Ghostwriter Capable of Writing Your Bestseller

The ads on the Internet for ghostwriters and ghostwriting companies claiming "Clients have become bestsellers" just go on and on, don't they?  Unfortunately, this is a hollow claim.  A potential client last week told me that he'd contacted one of the big ghostwriting firms and been handed over to a young girl, an English major, who had just graduated from college.  She'd never written a book in her life let alone a bestseller.

I have written for fiction writers and businessmen and businesswomen who are tops in their fields.  One client has been affiliated with Doubleday, Random House, Oxford University Press, and Rizzoli.  Another recent client has sold books in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

So how can you find a ghostwriter who can make your novel or nonfiction book a contender?

First, don't believe everything on the Internet about ghostwriters.  In fact, believe almost none of it.  Most ghostwriting websites are filled with glitzy ads that don't hold up under scrutiny.  Choose an independent ghostwriter since almost all ghostwriting firms deal in volume and are really POD companies attempting to get customers who will pay to have a book printed after a rookie has produced a poorly-written manuscript.  These companies couldn't care less about your dreams, goals, or the quality of the writing.  They just want your money. 

Contact a ghostwriter with a query email that summarizes your proposed book.  You own the copyright to your material, so be professional and don't merely write an email that says "I want to know about your service.  Call me at 555-5555."  Agents and editors in New York City delete these kinds of queries or throw them in the trash.

Talk with the ghostwriter on the phone and/or exchange emails to see if the ghostwriter handles your kind of book or story, but beware.  Most low-level ghostwriters will handle any job even if they have no expertise in a given area.

Next, check to see if the ghostwriter has a publishing record, both for his clients and under his own name.

Finally, select a ghostwriter who shares your passion and interest.  Make sure you're not just another job or number.  The ghostwriter should be able to connect with you and your ideas at a deep level.  Remember that online ghostwriting is becoming both a scam industry and a place for amateurs and moonlighters to earn some extra money.  In the end, you get what you pay for.  You don't pay a doctor five dollars to take out your tonsils.

~William Hammett


National Association of Independent Writers and Editors

It's very important for freelance writers, editors, and ghostwriters to prove that they have the experience necessary to write and edit for others.  They should be able to produce a sterling resume that has been vetted by one or more associations.  It gives street cred to the writer and editor, and it brings peace of mind to the client.

I belong to Publishers Marketplace, a forum for the highest level of writers, editors, and agents.  I also belong to the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, or NAIWE.  Just as you would expect a doctor or lawyer to be board certified, you should expect any writer you hire to have professional credentials that can be verified with a simple Google search.

Remember that very few freelance writers, ghostwriters, and editors advertising on the Internet--approximately five percent--have any real training or experience in writing and editing.  They simply hang out their shingles because 1) anyone can do it, and 2) they believe they're "decent" writers because they wrote "good" papers in school.

Beware and due your due diligence. 

~William Hammett

See Index of articles for this site in the right sidebar.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Promote Your Books with Short Stories and E-book Singles

Both indie and mainstream authors have discovered a powerful promotional tool: short fiction.  From Stephen King to aspiring authors, writers are tapping into greater sales potential by giving readers samples of their prose and genre by writing short fiction in the range of 25 to 50 pages (and sometimes slightly longer).

Not only does a reader get to sample a writer's work, but the author can also create short stories around existing characters in his or her published novels, whether stand-alone or those that are part of a series.  This marketing strategy not only gives an author greater exposure and additional royalties, but publishing short fiction, such as Kindle Singles, enables writers to provide backstory for characters that might disrupt the flow of a novel-length works.  Such stories make characters more three-dimensional, believable, and leave the reader wanting to know more about the people they fall in love with in the pages of novels.  If a reader hasn't read the novels yet, however, these short stories can serve as teasers that are as effective (if not more so) than ad copy or jacket blurb.

When an author publishes a "single," Amazon and other sellers will recommend the author's other works more frequently.  It is free and highly successful targeted advertising courtesy of Amazon's algorithms, and when you kick-start Amazon's algorithms, good things happen.  You pull in new readers who become hungry for more of your work.

The bottom line is that short fiction that uses established characters or demonstrates an author's genre, style, locations, or backstory from a novel develops and reinforces a writer's brand.

~William Hammett


Rimsky Rises by William Hammett

Rimsky Rises is a Young Adult novel (ages 13 to 18) that I published with Word Wrangler Publishing (Livingston, Montana) on February 16, 2015.  It is available in the Amazon Kindle store or you may access the book on Amazon by clicking the cover in the right column of this blog.  The promotional price is $0.99.

The book description is as follows:

Rimsky Mittendorf receives emails from God.  Are the messages genuine or the work of a sophisticated computer hacker?

In this Young Adult novel, Rimsky is a high school student whose life is split in two because of his parents' divorce.  His troubles are compounded when the teacher he despises most falls madly in love with his father, while his mother seeks to have his uncle--the only cool adult he knows--locked up in a psychiatric hospital.  Rimsky believes that his stressful life might just be bearable if he could only utter more than a few syllables to his classmate, the beautiful Sarah Petrovich.  That's when emails from the Almighty start to appear in Rimsky's inbox.

Rimsky Rises is a humorous yet penetrating look at a teen's search for meaning in a world in which sane people appear to be outrageously crazy, while crazy people seem to know the truth underlying the absurd, confusing, and often comic reality called life.

Adult novels under my own name (literary and genre fiction) will be published in March, April, and May of 2015.  Check back for further information on new books.

~William Hammett


Circling Goes the Wind by William Hammett

Circling Goes the Wind is a middle reader (ages 8 to 12) that I published with Word Wrangler Publishing (Livingston, Montana) on January 31, 2015.  It is available in the Amazon Kindle store.  You may also purchase the book by clicking the book cover in the right column of this blog.  The promotional fee is currently $0.99.

The book description is as follows:

Ten-year-old Nathan Caulder thinks he might be going crazy.  He can't remember his childhood, he hears voices when alone on the Nebraska prairie, and a mysterious woman he encounters on the road tells him that he will soon learn dark family secrets.

But there are clues that guide Nathan in his search to unravel these mysteries: a gypsy fortuneteller speaks to him in a trance while gazing into her crystal ball; he has recurring dreams of touching the winter moon; and his eccentric grandfather begins calling him Jake.  Ultimately, the secret to Nathan's past lies in a steamer trunk in the attic, where the family retreats during one of Nebraska's worst natural disasters of the twentieth century.

Circling Goes the Wind is a book that speaks of magic, forgiveness, and the quiet inner voice that guides us when we strive to learn what is lasting and true in our lives.  It is a coming-of-age story in which Nathan not only confronts his past but also encounters a power beyond human understanding that seeks to guide him towards a destiny enabling him to heal the wounds of others.

Another middle reader under my own name will be published in the summer of 2015.  Literary and adult genre fiction under my own name will be published in March, April, and May of 2015.  A book on the art of writing is scheduled for publication in 2016.

Enjoy the book!

~William Hammett


New Books by William Hammett

I'm happy to announce that out of print and previously unpublished books under my own name will now be available to purchase in the Amazon Kindle store.  The books will range from children's titles (middle reader and Young Adult) to novels in many different genres I have written over the years.  A minimum of six titles will be available in the next few months.  The books may be purchased by signing into the Amazon store or going straight to the Amazon site by clicking the covers in the right navigation column of this blog.

The titles are published by Word Wrangler Publishing (Livingston, Montana) and will be available on the publisher's new online store (coming soon).  The titles may also be reviewed on Goodreads starting on Monday, March 9, 2015.

Circling Goes the Wind and Rimsky Rises are now for sale.  Street Magic (thriller, suspense, horror)and The Ghost of Richard Brautigan (literary) will be available in March, 2015.

I hope you enjoy the books!

~William Hammett


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Latest Ghostwriting Scams: January 7, 2015

Always perform your due diligence when searching for a ghostwriter. 

I've already described in detail how most ghostwriting companies are really vanity publishers attempting to get POD clients by offering to ghostwrite books for prospective customers.  And then there are clearinghouses such as odesk and elance, claiming to have thousands of professional ghostwriters and editors to choose from, writers and editors who are moonlighters and can't write a single sentence without a grammatical mistake.

Now, however, there is a new scam.  Individuals advertise themselves as independent ghostwriters--accomplished men and women who will work for you personally--but when one examines their websites carefully, it becomes evident that these individuals are just "front men."  Scroll down far enough or click on enough pages, and the site visitor is suddenly reading about "our staff of talented writers" or "our creative team."

One site now up on Google for "ghost writing services" ("ghostwriter" and "ghostwriting" are one word, folks) has a picture of a handsome man on its home page, and the text beneath talks of published books and how "I can help you turn your ideas into books, novels, and plays."  There is no name associated with the picture.  Read further, and the "I" suddenly becomes "We can also help you publish your book and give it the marketing muscle it deserves."  We?  Publish?  Market?  No wonder the man in the pic has no name.

The individual who is really a company--that's the newest scam.  Ironically, these sites warn against the unethical and deceptive practices of companies, such as subcontracting books to writers across the country.

I was the first ghostwriter to alert people to the fact that ghostwriting (online) was becoming a scam industry.  Each time I place a new warning on my site or blogs, my competition (which studies me carefully) finds a new business model to try to get around their misleading advertising, poor writing, and unethical business practices.  Or they echo my own warnings to mask that they themselves are the offenders.  It appears they've done it again.

~William Hammett

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