Posts Tagged ‘copywriter’

What Exactly Is A Ghost Writer?

July 9, 2008

What Exactly Is A Ghost Writer?

The answer that you get to that question really depends a lot on who you are asking.

A happily enthusiastic CEO of a well known publishing house once referred to me as “the invisible, all-knowing, unsung hero, carefully well hidden behind the velvet curtain, giving an audible and readable voice to the functionally mute celebrities that the world so desperately wants to hear from!”

That sounds pretty darned good to me. I must admit, I really do like that little explanation, but believe me, some opinions aren’t anywhere near that respectful or positive.

I once read a scathing comment by another professional writer, actually a journalist, who judgingly referred to “Ghost Writers” as “those insecure little “chicken sh*ts” that hide away in the shadows, collecting an occasional token crumb that falls from the table of the famous people who amass riches and popularity from their “ventriloquist” like writings that are sadly and unwittingly perceived by a “duped” society to be the actual spoken words of mere lifeless, wooden dummies.”

Ouch!!!! I gotta tell ya the truth, I really don’t like that quote all that very much at all, but hey, its how some people see things, so I owe it to you to honestly bring you both sides of the story.

You see, in reality, both opinions are actually correct in their own way and in the vast majority of the cases, the truth generally id found somewhere in the middle of those two overly energized, polar extremes.

A “Ghost Writer” is a specialist who is somehow able to completely set his or her own unique, personal style, genre and voice aside in order to be effectively capable to “write” in the place of, and as if one actually, truly “IS,” some famous celebrity, interesting individual or popular person.

For example, let’s say that there is a popular musical artist, movie actor, TV star or sports hero who has the “FAME” and “HOT FACTOR” necessary to sell a lot of books, but writing is simply not their forte or one of their “special gifts.”

Do you think this person or their management wants to allow this awesome opportunity to cash in with a best seller book, simply slip through their fingers simply because “Ms. Movie Star or Mr. Sports Champion” isn’t really very good at turning a clever or memorable phrase, telling a hypnotically mesmerizing story or composing compelling comments for their captivating chronicles?

The answer to that question is a big, definitive NO!

The solution to the problem: “Where’s Waldo” … or in my case, “Where’s Larry?”

Why me?

Is it because I’m the greatest writer in the entire history of the known universe?

Gosh, I wish that were true, but I promise you, just spend a few hours in my library and allow me to introduce you to Hemingway, Shakespeare, Huxley, Shelley, Vonnegut, Poe, Woolf, Asimov, Twain, Serling, Blume, Wilde, Burroughs, Austen, Orwell, Tolkien, Faulkner, Dickens, Woolf, Bradbury, Joyce, just to name and I am certain that such an outrageously outlandish idea will be forever tossed from your consciousness for as long as you shall live!

No, … I may be really, really good, but that’s “Really, Really Good” with two “O’s,” not just one.

Yes, it’s true that you need to be a really good writer to be able to successfully take on any possible combination of personality traits, ethnic heritages, ages, origins, life styles, locales, even genders, but that’s not the most important quality and characteristic that celebrities, their management and the publishing houses are all desperately looking for.

Yes, the ability to be highly empathetic and to be able to tune in on and become the thoughts, beliefs, character, voice of this person, while simultaneously being sure to completely clear out one’s own personal points of view and ways of thinking, talking and being, is a very important factor. While considered an extremely rare ability, that, in fact, is getting harder and harder to find every day, it’s still nowhere near being the main issue at hand when it comes to determining why I get the call.

So what is it?

Give up? OK, I’ll tell you.

It’s all about TRUST and LOYALTY!

That’s something that you can’t buy and something that you can’t just create out of thin air. It takes years and years of absolute, 100% uncompromising ethical, moral and loyal behavior, always being true to the client and never telling a “SOUL” who you are working for and as.

Being a trusted and relied upon “Ghost Writer” is an experience very much like being part of a “Top Secret” government project, with not merely signed legal documentation regulating what can and cannot be said to who, personal, human to human, sworn oaths of loyalty and allegiance to your client and the project, that will never be compromised, even 20 years after the work is finished and published.

If I am contracted to ghost write a book, article, song, poem, short story, screen play, website or a speech as “someone else” and am not just legally bound but sworn to secrecy about that project, I ca NEVER, EVER tell anyone about it, not my family, not my best friend, “NOT ANYBODY!”

That’s why I’m called in, because while I am perfectly free to let you know with a sense of pride and appreciation that i have been blessed with the honor and privilege to write for such companies as: Toyota, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Salem Communications, Mazda, Burger King, etc., I cannot and will not ever tell anyone who I have “ghost written” for, ever.

That’s why they call. They know in absolute comfort and confidence that in over 30 years, I’ve never told a single soul even the tiniest speck of information about any of my “Ghost Writing ” projects, and I never will. They trust and believe with absolute certainty that “my lips are sealed,” even when I one day lay there in my death bed, no one will ever, ever know a thing about it my work as a Ghost Writer!

That’s what a REAL “Ghost Writer” is!

Any questions?

Just kidding! LOL

Larry   😉

“On Words And Up Words”

Larry L. Nichols

Words are my paints – Minds are my canvases.


“Who is Larry L. Nichols?”

July 7, 2008

“Who is Larry L. Nichols?”

Great question, thanks for asking.

Lets’ see, how can I wrap 3 decades of loyal “word wielding” into a single blog post?

OK, how about this?

For the past several years, I’ve spent the vast majority of my time serving as a corporate / celebrity “ghost writer.” In this capacity, I was blessed with the most amazing opportunities to learn and apply numerous vital and highly significant truths about business, marketing & even more importantly, about PEOPLE and precisely what “makes them tick!”

I’m forever grateful for those years spent rubbing elbows with so many well respected, admired, renowned and established “Movers & Shakers” such as Toyota, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Burger King, Mazda & Salem Communications, just to name a few.

Under the constant constraints of covertly caustic, confrontational corporate consciousness and conglomerate compartmentalization, I developed my skills of applying and conceiving a palatable plethora of powerfully productive, proven, practical and profitable principals.

Yes, for those of you paying attention, the art of absurd alliteration ad-nauseum seems to be practice that for some reason has become highly valued and much sought out in the current world of “modern, multi-media marketing management” (OMG, he isn’t going to stop, is he?) but one I am quite happy to now “holster” and use sparingly within reason and taste, now that I have returned to the REAL world! 😉

And that my friend is what this is all about, my deep desire to return to the REAL world, helping REAL people develop REAL solutions to the REAL problems they daily encounter while pursuing their dreams, running their own, personal small to medium sized business and trying to balance that out with living a happy, satisfying life in the process.

Now I’m here, having fun, making friends & developing some awesome, long-term, trusted business relationships, working shoulder to shoulder with a nice collection of interesting and enjoyable”Independent Entrepreneurs,” seeking a little guidance through the confusing & treacherous “Quicksands & Quagmires” of online business growth, expansion and promotion.

Are you someone who is looking for some help with a custom designed marketing message that’s comfortable, creative, clear, concise & cleverly compelling?

Let’s Talk!

“On Words And Up Words”

Larry L. Nichols

Words are my paints – Minds are my canvases.

About Me, Larry L.Nichols …

July 5, 2008

About Me, Larry L. Nichols:

Basically I’m what you would call a “WORD GUY!”

Ever since I was a little kid, my friends and neighbors referred to me as “Word Wizard.”

I was the guy all the other kids would turn to when they wanted to try to figure out a way to successfully convince “Joe” to come outside and play football with them when he was already in his pajamas and cozy on the sofa, watching TV and drinking hot cocoa and eating cinnamon buns.

I was the official envoy and negotiator relied on to go find whether or not Susie still liked Bobby or engineer a mutually gratifying solution to effectively ensure that Brain didn’t end up beating the tar out of Jeff after school. 

I was the journalist for the school newspaper who was always recruited to go sit and negotiate with the Principal whenever there was a common complaint or clear observation of “unfairness” discovered within the current set of school rules.

Compelling Communication: The effective expression and understanding of ideas, concepts, stories, feelings and beliefs, bringing about the desired reaction and response, was my natural, instinctive gift, highest priority, innate ability and absolute driving passion in life. 

Other little kids grew up playing with balls, cars, dolls, toy guns, easy bake ovens, G.I. Joes, Barbies, etc., I grew a voracious reader and writer, playing instead with Words, Sentences, Paragraphs and Pages.

I did the whole predictable school journalism / advanced literature / creative writing thing all throughout school and college and then equally predictably, went to work as for a newspaper writing columns, articles and advertising.

My newspaper career eventually lead to my being recruited to come write for magazines, newsletters, and direct mail, then, after some time, move into the fields of radio and television.

Then something utterly amazing happened.

Some people got together and went about their way, creating this weird, little technological idea exchange experiment that they liked to call the “internet.”

Suddenly all of my long time corporate, media, publishing and entrepreneurial contacts and associates were calling me up and telling me that they have opened up a whole new infinite universe in the www. (wild wacky web.) and they needed an experienced, compelling writer to help them figure out how this thing works.

The adventurous explorer within me couldn’t resist the exciting challenge.

You see, as it turns out , effective “Web Copy” is very, very different from what a college professor is looking to find carefully laid on a mid term or final exam literature, journalism or creative writing term paper.

People read websites and blogs quite differently than they read books and magazines. It’s a completely different reading process and therefore a completely different writing process.

It’s something that I have found absolutely fun and fascinating to experiment with, read about, study, research and compare notes and “war stories” with some of the most proficiently polished and prolific promotional & publicity professionals, those well respected and relied upon Internet Marketing Gurus, figuring out precisely what works and what doesn’t.

That eventually lead to my being offered the most amazing opportunity to come combine all of the previously  “separate” aspects of my early career as a writer and go to work as a corporate and celebrity “Ghost-Writer.”

This truly was the greatest and most all-encompassing learning experience of a lifetime and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of the many people who made those many happy and productive years possible.

Over an extended period of time, however; I did eventually grow tired of having to continuously deal with the numerous intricacies and complexities of corporate political and celebrity psychological maneuvering.

Life in that dimension can often be spent doing a lot of “tip toeing” around the proverbial “eggshells and land-mines” of the massive egos and equally notable insecurities that run rampant and unchecked within these two particular industries.

Now I’m much happier, working with everyday people like you & I, using my special brand of creativity, insights & years of successful experience, helping nice people like YOU, build up & enjoy their very own, uniquely personal dreams, passions, companies & lives.

Life is once again fun and exciting as I couldn’t be happier, working with a bunch of enthusiastically excited, small to medium sized business entrepreneurs with heads and hearts full of dreams needing exactly the right WORDS necessary to be manifest into tangible reality.

In my mind, that’s what it’s all about!

Thanks for visiting!


“On Words And Up Words”

Larry L. Nichols

Words are my paints – Minds are my canvases.