Professional Writing and Editing

January 9, 2011

About Patti McKenna and Ghostwriting

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I know that writing a book can be a daunting task, especially if you aren’t a writer per se and have no professional experience in the variety of tasks it entails. From organizing a book and formulating your message, down to the final edit and proofread, format and layout of your book, there are so many opportunities to lose your inspiration and become sidetracked or overwhelmed.

That’s where a ghostwriter can be your lifesaver.

You know you have a book in you–you have a message that’s intriguing, compelling, insightful, even groundbreaking, but you just don’t know where to begin.  If you decide that you do need a ghostwriter, make sure the one you choose has past successes in writing books that get published and know how to help you receive publicity. Don’t choose someone who writes part-time as a hobby, or you might find yourself waiting for your manuscript for far too long. Writing is a business, and it’s a competitive and tough one. Select a writer who has made it a business; they have far more at stake and will provide you with the professional services you deserve.

Always, too, ask for references or the names and publishers of books the ghostwriter has completed. Here are a few of mine.

  • Two business books:  John Wiley and Sons
  • One parenting book:  Urban Edge Publishing
  • Memoir:  Sherpa Press
  • Finance book:  Morgan James
  • Internet Marketing Book:  Morgan James
  • Inspirational book:  Sterling
  • One self help book on cancer: LaChance Publishing
  • One self published book (author):  From a Lullaby to Goodbye (release Feb. 2011)
  • One co-authored book, bullying:  Patch (self published)
  • One self-published book, teens and risky behavior (ghosted)
  • Two weight loss and fitness books, self published (ghosted)
  • One ethics book, self published (ghosted)
  • Two memoirs, Olympic athletes, self published (ghosted)

In addition, I have a laundry list of published books that I’ve edited and/or formatted, some of which have been published by traditional publishers and include contributions by bestselling authors. I’ve been a featured guest on Chicago’s WGN radio, The Today Show, and many other talk radio programs.

Feel free to contact me for information on how you can get your book written, edited, proofread, and/or formatted. I can connect you with an experienced book coach who will help you, or provide you with individual services within my professional expertise. No job is too big or too small, but every word matters.

Patti McKenna


August 23, 2010

How NOT to be a Starving Writer

How NOT to Be a Starving Writer, a Freelance Writer’s Guide to Finding Jobs that Pay and Getting Paid…Even Among Deadbeat Clients is a must-have resource for writers and writers-to-be! Patti McKenna takes the readers through the lessons she learned after a decade of education in the school of hard knocks. Thousands of projects and hundreds of clients later, she knows when to spot a deadbeat client and a dead-end job.

Through her experience, you can now learn how to save yourself hours and weeks of work writing for little or no pay. This eBook is the culmination of her experience and her advice to anyone who wants to accept freelance writing jobs over the Internet, or anyone who has accepted those jobs and not been paid for them.

You’ll learn

  • How to find good-paying jobs on the Internet.
  • A job application test you should never accept.
  • Ways to protect yourself from clients who change a project mid-stream.
  • Ways to protect yourself that will increase the likelihood of being paid on time, every time.
  • 12 things every writer can do to get deadbeat clients to pay up.
  • How to determine your fees.
  • A sample contract you can use in your freelance writing business – without it, you’re SOL!

You can get your copy of How NOT to be a Starving Writer for a low $7 donation! Click the Donate Now link below and you’ll be taken to a secure paypal page. All you need is a credit card, debit card, or a PayPal account. It’s a small investment that will help your freelance writing business produce big returns!

January 14, 2010

A Ghostwriter’s Lament

I love ghostwriting. Helping people convey their message in their voice is both rewarding and challenging. It’s one thing to be able to write in your own voice, but an enriching experience to write in a different voice as you begin each new manuscript.

For the ghostwriter, though, there are disadvantages. It is understandable that clients would require a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or a confidentiality agreement, legally binding the ghostwriter’s promise to not disclose or discuss his or her participation and contribution to the book. After all, once the ghostwriter’s fees are paid, it’s common for all copyright ownership to transfer to the author.

But, therein lies the disadvantage. If a ghostwriter cannot disclose their work or clients, they must also omit that information from their resume. Often, this can lead to a resume which makes a ghostwriter look inexperienced.

Ghostwriters would love to be able to list their clients and publishers and boast about it to obtain appealing clients and projects. There are some ways around this, including asking clients to serve as references upon request and listing works in a nondescript, vague manner without revealing names and titles. Yet, it isn’t the same as laying stake to the claim that you contributed to (or wrote) a particular book which just reached bestseller status.

That’s one reason why a ghostwriter might charge more than someone who gets book cover credit, acknowledgement, or a byline for their work.

It’s also one reason we’re called ghostwriters. We’re invisible. And so is our past experience.

Patti McKenna

January 11, 2010

A Ghostwriter’s Fee

What do ghostwriters charge? How much does it cost to hire a copywriter?

Well, the answers to those questions varies as much as the different skills, education, and experience a writer brings to the project.

Regardless of the answer, suffice it to say that writers deserve to be paid a fair and honest wage. They work, just like other people do, but often are asked to work for ridiculously low rates that would set them up for financial suicide. is a site where employers can find freelance writers. Today, a project was posted seeking an article writer at the going rate of $1.25 per 300 word article. Wow! That’s .004 per word. Several years ago, inexperienced junior copywriters were being paid .08 per word, and I’m sure it’s higher now.

At the rate of $1.25 per 300 words, an employer should consider themselves lucky to get someone who can read, let alone write. I guess a writer could compile 300 words quickly, if there were no guidelines, no research, and if they were already an expert on the subject matter. But let’s face it, if the writer is an expert, they’d most certainly demand a much higher wage. This was the criteria posted for the job:

We would like for you to be able to write 8-10+ of these articles each day of the week (Mon-Fri). Our budget for these types of articles is $1.25 each, which can usually be written within a few minutes time.

We require someone who is fluent in English (first language preferred), has excellent grammar skills and can provide us with articles which require no/minimal editing.

All of your work submitted to us must be original – we use Copyscape and Google to check all submissions.

You must also agree that none of your work submitted to us will be used by you or anyone else in any way. You may not post it on a blog or in any other media.

So, providing original copy, using excellent grammar and delivering a perfect article which requires little or no editing can earn a writer as much as $7.50 per hour (if the writer can complete six such articles in one hour.)

Good writers are worth a fair wage. They also have to dedicate a chunk of time to finding work. Like any other job, it doesn’t knock on their door every morning. Every time they apply for a writing job, it’s like applying for any other job. A writer must compose a personalized cover letter and resume which addresses that project and answer any and all questions to the employer’s satisfaction. And that’s before the writer even begins to put letters to paper.

Alicia Dunams talks about ghostwriter rates in her article at Anyone interested in hiring a ghost or copywriter should read her article.  My rates are below those mentioned, yet they are competitive enough to attract some at the lower end of the pay scale.

If you’re in need of a quality, ethical writer, give them a little respect. They deserve to earn a living, and as any business entepreneur can tell you, they also deserve to make a profit, even if it’s a small one.

If you can’t afford to pay a respectful wage for a talent and skill (yes, writing is a talent and a skill), then write your own copy and hire the best-quality editor or proofreader you can afford to clean and polish your message.

And, if you’re like many I’ve talked to, you’ll appreciate the contribution a professional writer can bring to your message, company,  or book. Good ones are worth their fee.

Patti McKenna

January 8, 2010

Why Businesses Need Professional Writers

It happens at least once a week. I read mail, email, or something as simple as product instructions and cringe at the errors which were allowed to go to print. My experience proves that it is true that customers forget what they read within a day (sometimes within an hour), but they don’t forget the errors contained in it.

Do you want your company’s literature to portray you in a negative light? The answer is obvious – of course you don’t.

Yet, businesses do it every day. Yesterday, I was reading instructions contained in an ink cartridge refill kit and found a major mistake. One little word was all it took for me to think of the manufacturer as a fly-by-night organization that didn’t care about its image. Here is the wording used by NCR in their step-by-step instructions for filling an ink cartridge.

1.  Push the injector tool into the bottom of the injector to make a whole.

Whole. Ouch. The proper word in this instruction is hole. It’s a simple error and one that is easily found and corrected, but a spellchecker won’t help.

One of the worst sets of instructions I’ve ever read was so bad that it was rendered useless. The illustrations were the only thing that saved us from repacking the product and returning it to the store. Obviously written by someone who couldn’t claim English as their native language, it was incoherent at best.

The negative impact of poor grammar and spelling is felt even more when the correspondence is an introduction to the company, product or service. Sales letters, emails, and websites are first impressions. They should be attractive, clean, and professional. One error is a sign of weakness, neglect, or oversight that companies today can ill afford.

The result of improper grammar, spelling, or even poorly written copy is a negative image in the customer’s eye. After all, if a business will cut corners and curb costs in the delivery of good, quality correspondence when speaking to or attracting customers, one must wonder what else they are willing to sacrifice in the quality of their product or service.

Those in the competitive world of business should do themselves a favor and invest in a professional writer, editor, or proofreader whose job is to make sure the printed word makes a favorable and lasting impression.

To inquire about my rates for ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, or proofreading, please contact me at .  I will be happy to provide you with a quote and suggestions on improving your image and your message.

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