When To Hire A Ghostwriter

When To Hire A Ghostwriter

The Writer’s Sherpa

South Carolina Writers Association member, Do you have a story stuck in your heart, but can't figure out how to write it? Click through to learn about ghostwriters and when one might be right for you!Melinda Copp, is a professional ghostwriter and editorial consultant.  Melinda is the owner and founder of The Writer’s Sherpa.  Like the Sherpas who guide mountain climbers to the crest of Mount Everest, Melinda guides her clients to their best, most compelling, completed manuscript.

Melinda sat down with me recently to talk about her work as a ghostwriter and editorial consultant.  Melinda’s career as a ghostwriter started serendipitously.  She and her husband were living on Hilton Head Island.  She had earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and was looking for a job at a newspaper.  This was around the time when newspapers were struggling to learn how to survive in an increasingly web-centric environment.  Her father saw an ad for an editorial assistant for a self-publishing company in the local newspaper.

Until Melinda took this job, she hadn’t heard of ghostwriting.  Over the course of the next two years, she wrote approximately 200 articles.

When she got pregnant with her first child, she opened her business, The Writer’s Sherpa. Since then, Melinda has ghostwritten twelve books.

When should I hire a ghostwriter?

ReginaMaeWrites GhostwriterWriting a sixty to eighty thousand word book is a significant investment of time.  Many of Melinda’s clients are professionals who are living their story on a daily basis and don’t have time to put the story on paper.  It may be time to hire a ghostwriter if you have a story that you need to tell, but you don’t have the time to write it.

Writing also takes a certain amount of skill.  Melinda has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing non-fiction.  It may be time to hire a ghostwriter if you don’t have the skill set to write a book by yourself.

How do I prepare to work with a ghostwriter?

Before hiring a ghostwriter, spend time thinking about your idea.  The clearer you are on the idea, the easier it will be to write it.  A good ghostwriter will take anything you have, rough ideas, notes, research, outlines, tape recordings, and organize them into a cohesive piece of work.

How do I find the right ghostwriter?

When you hire a ghostwriter, you can expect to spend six to eight months working with them.  Before committing to a ghostwriter, check out their website.  Is the writing compelling?  Does their style resonate with you?

Check out their testimonials page.  Not everyone is willing to admit that they’ve used a ghostwriter, but they should have some testimonials that you can review.

Take advantage of a get-acquainted telephone call or skype session to check your chemistry with  your potential ghostwriter.

What does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters charge in various ways, including by the word, by the page or a set project fee.  Melinda charges a project fee based upon the number of interviews and the amount of time she will spend on the project, and the fee is paid monthly over the course of the project.

For a book, most experienced ghostwriters’ charges begin in the low five figures.

What won’t a ghostwriter do for me?

Ghostwriters will take your ideas and turn them into a compelling and engaging story.  But ghostwriters will not market your book for you. They do not participate in profit-sharing.  Once they have written and edited your story, their job is complete.

What if I really want to write my book myself?

cruise logoIf you’ve never written a book and you really want to write the book yourself, you might want to consider hiring a writing coach or editor.  In addition to ghostwriting, Melinda also acts as a writing coach or editor, helping writers organize and edit their stories in the most impactful way.

Melinda also offers seminars to help aspiring authors find their voice.  The Writer’s Sherpa’s next seminar is The Write Your Book Workshop and Cruise from March 2-6, 2017 on the Carnival Elation, Port of Jacksonville, Florida. If you are considering writing a memoir but don’t know where to start, this might be a good fit for you.

Where can I find the Writer’s Sherpa?

You can find Melinda Copp and the Writer’s Sherpa at http://www.writerssherparetreats.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

Ever Upward Regina Mae

Three Apps You Need To Write More Effectively

Three Apps You Need To Write More Effectively

The goal of most of the writers I know, including me, is to maximize the amount of writing we do while retaining the highest quality possible.  Most writers also hold down full-time jobs and are raising families while trying to contribute to the world in a meaningful way with their words.  Here are three apps that I have found that help me write more effectively, and will help you, too.


Scrivener ReginaMaeWrites.comOne of the apps that has helped me streamline the writing process is Scrivener by Literature and Latte.  The app comes in two versions for Mac or Windows and is reasonably priced at $45 for Mac or $40 for Windows.

I originally transitioned from drafting all of my books and articles in Microsoft Word to using Scrivener after receiving a copy of the book Scrivener Superpowers by M.G. Herron.  Herron takes you step-by-step through the app, showing you how to gather and save research, and draft and edit books, articles and blog posts.

Herron also explains in detail how to use the “Compile” feature to gather the disparate parts of your writing into one concise document in several different format options, including Microsoft word, a .pdf or an E-Book.

I originally wrote and edited my  memoir, Adventures in Dating, using Microsoft Word, and spent about six hours one weekend getting it formatted properly so that it could be submitted to an agent.  (That is just formatting time, too. Not writing time.)  After discovering Scrivener, I imported the text for Adventures in Dating into it, and am now ready to compile it as an E-Book to send to Beta Readers or as a manuscript to send to an agent, editor or publisher with a few clicks of the mouse.

My favorite aspect of Scrivener is the Binder, which allows you to organize your work according to chapter and scene.  Each scene is an independent document that can be dragged and dropped into any chapter, making global editing a considerably simpler task.

Scrivener saves documents on your hard drive and automatically backs up to Dropbox, providing automatic protection against losing your precious words.

Literature and Latte offers a thirty-day trial of Scrivener, which is plenty of time to decide if this app is right for you.


SimpleMind ReginaMaeWrites.com.jpeg

SimpleMind is a mind mapping tool that helps you organize your thoughts and ideas.  It is available on iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac, and synchronizes across all of your devises.

Here is the mind map I prepared using SimpleMind for my article Fifteen Hawaiian Words You Need To Learn Before Visiting Hawaii.

Mind Map ReginaMaeWrites.com.PNG

I knew I wanted to write an article about Hawaiian words and phrases.  I used SimpleMind to create a mind map of the Hawaiian words I was most drawn to and to make notes on their meanings.

After finishing my mind map, it was fairly simple to sort through and choose the fifteen words I most wanted to share.

I’ve also used SimpleMind to create mind maps for my Kirk’s Bluff Trilogy, which has helped me track characters, plot, and structure.

SimpleMind gives you the option of storing on your local device or saving to Dropbox.

SimpleMind offers a free version, and for $5 you can unlock all of its features.


Pomodoro ReginaMaeWrites.comThe Pomodoro Technique is a time-management system that breaks tasks up into set periods of time separated by short breaks.

The long periods typically last for 25 minutes, with a five minute break after the first three sessions and then a longer break after every fourth session.

I use the Pomodoro Time app by Xwavesoft that is compatible with iPhone, iPad and Mac, although you could use any timer.  One of the reasons I like using this particular app is because it helps me track how much time I am spending on each project.

I love using the timer because it reminds me to get up every 25 minutes to step away from my computer, drink a glass of water, take the dogs for a walk or anything.  I’ve found by committing myself to an uninterrupted period of time, I accomplish more because it shuts down my butterfly-brain that wants to flutter from idea to idea and task to task.

Wrapping It Up

These three apps have helped my writing immeasurably.  They provide me with the tools I need for brainstorming ideas, keeping my writing organized, and managing my time to produce the highest quality writing in the time I have available to me.

Have you tried any of these apps?  If so, what do you like or dislike most about them?

If you haven’t tried any of them yet, follow the links above and download the free versions and let me know what you think.  I am not a paid affiliate and don’t get anything if you download any or all of them.  I just love them, and want you to give them a try.

I can’t wait to hear back from you.  Until I do, keep your minds and hearts,

Ever Upward,

Regina Mae

My Year of Big Magic

Hello, darlings.

Every year, I choose a word or phrase to set my intention for the year. In the past, I’ve had a Year of Balance, a Year of Yes, and even a Year of Bad Decisions, (which, quite frankly, turned out just fine and took a lot of the pressure off of my constant desire for perfect decisions). I struggled through them of December looking for a word for this year.  And then it happened. I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book Big Magic. And just like that, I knew I’d found a winner.


And so it is that Twenty Sixteen has become my Year of Big Magic, or in twitter-speak, my #YearofBigMagic.  This is my year to live as creatively as possible.

There are exciting things on the horizon, and I’m tickled to have you along for the ride.

I finished writing my memoir, Adventures in Dating, last year, and I am determined to have it published this year. With help from the ever-talented and strategically-connected Rockelle Henderson at Rock Inked, Inc., I am exploring traditional publishing. At the same time, I am open to adding the title “Indie Author” to my list of mad skills. I’m throwing it all out to the universe and waiting to see what comes back.

I am writing a romantic suspense trilogy, (which might actually be women’s fiction – this genre business can be pretty confusing), which tells the story of three best friends who face some of life’s toughest crises, and with the help and love of friends and family, they find second chances and lasting love. And really, isn’t that what we all want? Second chances and lasting love?  Let’s hear it for Happily Ever Afters!

I’m learning everything I can from my amazingly insightful and ever-encouraging life coach Sarah Mastriani-Levi of Mannafest Living. Sarah and I have a fun chat about the simple changes we mapped out in my quest for Big Magic on her podcast, appropriately named Simple Change. Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and listen along.

The only thing I love more than writing is reading, and I’m going to spend the year talking to authors and seeing what they have to say about the writing process. What works for them? What have they tried that didn’t work? Did they go Traditional or Indie? For me, I always want to know two things: why did you do something and how did it work out for you? And because I love sharing my favorite authors with my friends, I’m going to give away copies of their books, too. (Sneak preview – the first author interview will be with L.K. McCall who published Sway of the Siren in 2015.)

In addition to the trilogy and this blog, I’m exploring other ways to share some of the fantastic things I’m learning along the way about better ways to love and to write. What do you like best?  Ebooks?  Webinars?  Podcasts?

It’s going to be a helluva ride! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

In the meantime, keep your thoughts,


Ever Upward Regina Mae