Y Combinator, Nathaniel Rich at THE NEW YORK TIMES tells us, is a sort of camp where entrepreneurs learn the art of the pitch for funding.
We ghostwriters need exactly that kind of training in how to sell our services in a changing marketplace. During the past 18 months, I had to figure out on my own how to sell myself to pick up those growing number of lucrative assignments for print and e- books, articles and opinion-editorials for publication in brandname media, blog posts, white papers, and case studies.
Somewhere during the two recessions in the 21st century, a shift took place. Instead of just looking for a ghostwriter, prospects recognized they needed a communications strategist, media-placement expert, and pragmatist savvy about repurposing the original content such as for their own media center or direct-response marketing. When we pitch we have to focus on those requirements. Demonstrating that we are good at ghostwriting per se is not enough.
For me that has meant getting the hang of presenting myself as a player, not a inward-looking scribe. On these sales calls I find out that the prospect has received 200 to 300 replies to an ad or a "casting call" put out there by a recruiter. From the get-go, I have to speedread their real agenda, such as becoming a brandname in digital marketing, and then explain how I know how to configure the manuscript so that it becomes a platform for that. Sometimes they might not even be aware that is their end goal. Yes, we have to discern that, quickly.
Just like entrepreneurs we have to master performance art, sending the signal to prospects that we can provide a superior return on their money. In this case it's a fee for service, not an investment with a 7% stake in profits.