What Kinds of Writing Help Are Available

 By: Tom Gnagey
Before you begin searching for writing help make sure you understand what you need. Such services range from simple proofreading to complete rewriting and ghostwriting. How do they differ?

Proofreading involves checking things such as spelling, punctuation, blatant sentence structure errors, inappropriate word choice (their/there), subject/verb agreement and capitalization. Proofreading is the least expensive and it tends to leave the piece basically as it was written.

Rewriting may provide several levels of writing help. Of course it involves complete proofreading. If the piece is generally well written the rewriting may be minimal. If there are organizational problems, major grammatical problems, inconsistent use of tense, overly repetitive vocabulary or story line inconsistencies the writing help may require a whole new set of words.

At the outset you may not really know what level of writing help your piece needs. In that case, send a chapter or less to several different professional 're-writers' and get their specific suggestions about service level. It is reasonable to ask to see a page or so of the proposed 'rewrite' before you hire someone so you can examine the style and feel the piece will assume. If you believe your book length piece is basically sound, request two samples: First, a page or so of a complete rewrite and second, just basic proofreading. If the professional is not willing to show you what kind of writing help he can provide, think twice about using him or her.

Proofreading and rewriting are not to be confused with ghostwriting which is a very different level of writing help. Ghostwriting involves turning an idea over to a professional writer who then creates the entire piece in his words. In ghostwriting, the finished piece has been written by someone else but you put your name on it, retain the copyright, and in all ways proceed as if it were your work.

Often, autobiographies and business related pieces - manuals, company histories, success stories and so on - are ghostwritten. In some cases ghostwriters will reduce their fee if the piece is published with some 'author acknowledgment' - by John Smith with or as told to Bill Brown. When extensive interviewing or listening to tapes in involved expect the fee to be much higher.

Finally, make sure you are able to read several original things written by the professional you are considering using. Those who have published their own work are generally more accomplished.

So, carefully consider what level of writing help you need and then search out professional writers who can provide it for you. Simple proofreading is the least expensive. Ghostwriting is typically the most expensive. Rewriting falls in between and depends on the amount of work involved. Proofreading a generally good piece may cost as little and $1.00 a page. Rewriting may cost as little as $5.00 a page for a sound piece to over $10.00 a page for 'needy' pieces. Ghostwriting varies greatly with the professional. Expect to pay between $15.00 and $30.00 a finished page (or more if done by a highly successful writer with a recognized name.). Typically you will be requires to pay half upfront before the project is begun and half before their finished manuscript is released to you. Usually they do not communicate with the author during the time they are working on the manuscript. Revisions are usually the responsibility of the original author.

Only trust your writing help to somebody you have checked out thoroughly.
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