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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stick to your Standards: A Lesson in Bidding on Work

Thanks to all of the entries in my latest giveaway; I'll announce the winners next week! In the meantime, I'd like to share an important lesson about selling yourself to clients:

Last week, I received an email from a potential editing client who got my name from a source I've used for stories in the past. (I've been reaching out to former sources--many of whom are health, fitness, and nutrition experts-to let them know I'm doing primarily ghosting/coauthoring work, and have gotten some good leads that way. Good idea for fellow ghosts/coauthors, BTW.)

Anyway, he sent me his book and asked what I would charge to edit it. A quick review convinced me that he didn't need an edit but an overhaul--he's got some good material but it's buried among a lot of not-so-great material. (It's his first book.) I told him I needed more time to read through it, and then emailed him to tell him I thought the book needed reorganizing and rewriting, not just editing...and suggested he hire me to do that first, and then to stay on as an editor afterwards.For example, I'd cut the first three chapters altogether; they don't work with his premise. I also told him some specific instances of what I'd change (without "giving away the store," so to speak).

I talked to him yesterday. He had reached out to a number of possible editors. All of them but me simply bid on the work at face value. None commented on the fact that the book needed major work (and trust me, any writer/editor would see that in five pages). They just said they'd be happy to do it and gave him bids--I was the only one who said that the book needed a lot of work first, before an edit.

Long story short, I got the job--because I didn't just give him what he asked for (an editing bid) but because I gave him what I thought the book needed, and made the case for it. Explaining what I could do, and the benefit to him got me the assignment.

The lesson? Don't be afraid to think outside of the proverbial box when bidding on work. Your honesty and insight may be rewarded with a new assignment.

**Want to know more about ghostwriting, one of the most lucrative writing specialities there is? Check out my well-reviewed (and some of the reviewers don't even know me!) book, Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: The Writer's Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Coauthoring Books (Kindle version).


  1. Congratulations on the assignment!

  2. Thanks for sharing – very important lesson! You’ve set a great precedent as an authoritative writer and editor and you’ve expanded your working relationship in a really good way – Imagine the recommendations can get from this client when he explains how you went above and beyond when quoting his project :)