Totally OT - from tech writing to "ghost writing"?

Subject: Totally OT - from tech writing to "ghost writing"?
From: Gilda_Spitz -at- markham -dot- longview -dot- ca
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 09:11:12 -0500

This is totally off-topic for techwr-l. But I hope somebody out there will
have experience that you'd be willing to share.

I recently met someone who has a fascinating life story to tell. She said,
just in passing, "Someday I plan to write a book about my experiences".
Only half-seriously, I asked if she wanted a ghost writer ... and she said
"yes"! (I'm not sure that "ghost writer" is even the correct term - maybe
it should be more like "collaborator". )

So now my head is spinning with the possibilities. I am already starting to
plan how I would work with her to research and write the book. I think my
writing skills are flexible enough to move sideways into this genre.

But I have no experience dealing with publishers and trying to get a book
published (other than what we do with our manuals, which is totally
different). Do I try to contact publishers on my own? Do I get a literary
agent? What about legal and monetary considerations (between her and me,
and between us and the publisher or agent)? Are there cross-border
considerations (I'm in Canada, but this lady is in the US) ? Do I have to
think about those things up front, or can I wait until the project is

I feel overwhelmed, but I'm guessing that other tech writers have dealt
with similar issues. If you can help, please reply off-list. Thanks in

Gilda Spitz


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