It’s almost embarrassing to admit it, but yes–I write books for money.
Oh, the shame…
It’s like telling people you’ve decided to sell your children for cash.
Worse, you can’t even tell them what the title of the book is, or the name under which it’s been published, because–you don’t know. You make this little baby book, wrap it tenderly, place it in a basket (or inbox, I guess) and then turn and walk away without looking back.
Several days later, money is deposited into your account. And then, you never hear from your baby again.
You keep the draft, like a hospital photograph. It’s a secret. You’ve give up all rights to this baby, and you’re not supposed to even acknowledge its existence. If you ever showed it to anyone, you could be in violation of your contract. It makes you sad. Even though you knew that your ties to this child of your imagination would be severed, you still couldn’t help but think of how pieces of you were threading themselves through it, and that they’d still be there once the strings were cut.
You wonder how your baby is doing. Are people being kind to it? Are they heaping it with praise, or are they being harsh and cruel, giving it one or two stars? Is your baby reaching its full potential? Is it being nurtured through generous marketing? Or is it lying on the bottom of an Amazon list, unwanted, unread, and unappreciated?
You know you didn’t put too much into your baby. At times, you too were practically thoughtless as you sat, forcing a word count onto it even though you knew less could be more. You made your baby fat and even ugly in places, just because you knew you could make more money.
You think of your other books, the ones that have your name on them. You took so much care with them. Each word weighed and measured, tasted and tested. You played with those babies, poured your heart into them. You thought about them, planned for them. You shared them with others–happily, in fact–in the hopes of making them even better. They took months, even years, to write–instead of only days (and sometimes only hours) like your secret books.
Funny thing is, you know you’ll probably never make as much money on those books as you did on the ones you sold away.
It’s a conflict. You tell yourself you’re selling those babies to benefit your “real” children. But still…you can’t help but wonder. Have I done the right thing? Shouldn’t I try to keep all my book babies for myself? Why should I pour any time at all into this…this…prostitution of my words? You resolve not to write anything for anyone but yourself, ever again. You will keep all your books. And you will self-publish and build an empire!
And then…it happens. Something comes along. A request in your inbox. “Are you still ghostwriting? We’re looking for a 20K book about… And we’ll pay you…”
You try to ignore it.
You’ll make more money with this book in this single sale than you might make if you try to publish and market the book yourself. It’s a sure thing. Ca-ching!
It’s like selling my soul. My art!
Stop being so melodramatic. And besides…you don’t write art, you write romance.
But…it’s still from my heart, a part and piece of me.
So is this blog, you egocentric nutcase. Sign the contract. Write the book. Take the contract…
No buts. Bucks.
It’s so sleezy.
Boo-dy freaking hoo. It’s called making a living.
All right. Boo. I’m a ghostwriter.