The value of the custom
“Could you send me some samples of your writing?” is the wrong thing to ask. It’s much better to send us some of your notes and let us create a free custom sample related to your project. Call Ghostwriters Central toll-free at 888-743-9939 10am to 6pm Pacific Time. Or send us a text message at 747-333-8660, we will reply right away. We can provide cost and turnaround time estimates in your first FREE consultation.
A ghostwriter and a prospective ghostwriting client are speaking on the phone, and their personalities are clicking as though they’ve known each other for their entire lives. It’s a shameless extravaganza of agreement, synergy, and positive vibes. Both parties are smiling, because the ghostwriter knows he or she’s about to clinch a nice project, and the prospective client knows that he or she is about to finally get this project done.
But before the phone gets hung up, the prospective client has a request: “Can you just send me some samples before we start?”
Here’s where things get serious. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Now the ghostwriter’s personality, which has done everything right up ’til this point, is not in charge of making the sale. It’s all about talent.
But that’s not exactly the problem.
The problem is, the client wants a Revolutionary War novel, and the ghostwriter — although fully capable of penning such a work at a high quality level — does not have anything in his or her archives that makes for a perfect match.
Sure, there’s that Civil War screenplay from two years back, but that was a screenplay, not a novel. And there was of course the essay about George Washington, but that thing was written in a comedic tone. Worse yet, these old projects are contractually protected by nondisclosure agreements — as most ghostwriting projects are — so is it really worth calling up old clients and getting their permission to show the work around?
Panic often sets in here. The ghostwriter knows that he or she can carry this project home, but is missing the compelling ingredient to make the case: Proof!
The solution, however, is incredibly simple.
You know, I spent my first couple of years in this game showing clients samples that I knew weren’t a match for what they needed, much less an exact demonstration of how I could help them. It was a hit or miss game: Sometimes the clients shut off their own preferences and just analyzed the competence of the writing itself; other times they thought I was insane for showing them something so unrelated to their objectives, and I never heard from them again. Or worse yet, sometimes it would take me so long to get permission from past clients to show the work that by the time I got the sample to the prospective clients, they had either lost faith or moved on to other ghostwriters.
The solution — as this article’s name makes clear — is a custom sample.
It doesn’t have to be long: A page or two can do the trick. By giving them a taste of precisely what they can expect from you, you remove all doubt from the equation. If they love it, great. If they hate it, great. In either case, both of you can move on with your best interests protected.
Invariably, when I’m wrapping up that initial client consultation, and I get the “Do you have any writing samples?” question, I come back with, “Tell you what: I’d like to do a custom sample, based on your own project. That way you’ll know exactly what you can get from me.”
And invariably, happiness emerges at this juncture that could part the wall from the ceiling. On the client’s end, they’re going in with zero doubt. On the writer’s end, there’s just a tiny sacrifice of time involved — or at least it should be tiny, if the writer knows his or her craft — and the assurance that you won’t waste someone else’s time if your sensibilities don’t end up matching.
Unsolicited comment by client J.T. who received a custom writing sample from Eric Shapiro: “IF (and that’s a mighty big IF) I wasn’t confident before — I AM NOW! Gosh, I felt your excitement and I know I’m in good hands…I talked to a few people BUT I relate to you! Talking was good. Thanks, E, take care of my baby (manuscript). Think BEST SELLER!”