Never getting started
Here’s roughly what happened that triggered that thought:
A potential client contacted me saying he wanted to write a book. After several email exchanges we set a phone appointment. That first appointment was broken by the potential client. He sent an email apologizing pointing out that he’d scrambled the time zones since he was calling me from another country and we rescheduled.
We had a good conversation, and he agreed to email me some questions about the whole ghostwriting process. I didn’t receive those questions and I emailed him asking where they were. When I didn’t get the questions again I emailed asking if he chosen another writer because I knew he was looking at several. His response was asking me to be patient because he been terribly busy and he had made up his mind all.
I’m reasonably certain that this gentleman will not get his book written by me or any other ghostwriter, at least not at this point in his life. He simply does not have time to devote the attention it takes even when a ghostwriter is hired.
When someone hires a ghostwriter whether it’s to do articles or whole book they have a great deal of responsibility for the project as well – and that responsibility includes spending reading what the writer has sent and responding. If they don’t have time to do that, the project is pretty well doomed.
Won’t pay for research
Another example: I’m doing some short posts for a company that’s in a fairly specialized business. They keep being unhappy with me, and they keep not sending me the information I need.
Somehow they think seem to think that I should also be an expert in their industry which I’m not. I would guess few writers are. I’ve tried to explain this verbally and more than once in writing. And given I’ve even given them examples of the kind of information I need.
I don’t know where this one will turn out consider unwilling to pay for the research time I have to do, and I’m unwilling to do the writing unless I paid for the work including the research.
Both of these projects could be considered examples of how writing projects fail.
Not exactly red flags
Neither of these failed writing jobs match my usual red flag warnings. Fortunately, on the book project we didn’t get started. I would’ve gotten in advance which is great. But the project would never have been completed and that just doesn’t feel good.
The article project is still in play. I did go ahead and write up a few of the posts to see if what I did would actually work for them. I suspect I’ll get paid for those and I may get lucky and be able to complete the project doing it my way, which is far fewer words, but in my opinion gets the job done. We’ll see.
The takeaway here is simply that when you’re working with clients no matter how hard you work or how good your writing is sometimes the writing project fails and it’s not your fault. Don’t worry about it much and move on.
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Write well and often,