Okay, by now most of you know I pay the bills by working as a ghostwriter. The money is good and the experience and practice are good. In fact, I posted an entire article about the advantages and disadvantages of Ghostwriting.
Well, today, one of the disadvantages came slamming down on my keyboard. And I can't believe I forgot to even mention it!
Okay, not stealing exactly. Well, no. Stealing– exactly!
I was hired to ghostwrite several eBooks, mostly in the mental health and self help genre. Which worked out perfectly because my Master of Arts degree is in Adlerian Counseling and Psychotherapy. And I thought “Woot! My degree is coming in handy now!“
Except, once the files had been reviewed and edited, my invoices bounced back at me. What?! You might think.
This guy thinks he can take off with pseudo-finished work without paying and then who knows what he's going to do with it. Try to publish it on his own? My guess is he will try to self-publish, probably through Amazon.
But you know what happens if you don't pay your ghostwriter? Copyright never changes hands. The work is still mine. So guess what I did?
That right – I went through and refined, edited, and self-published every single one of those books under a new pen name — ISBN and all.
So next time you are thinking of trying to have a ghostwriter write up something for you and you decide to skip out on paying him or her, think about this. The ownership and right to distribute that work doesn't belong to you until after you pay for it.
And for my fellow ghostwriters, don't allow a person to steal your work. The copyright is yours until payment has cleared. From now on, I am going to make sure my work is absolutely print-worthy before I submit a draft for review; that way I can be sure to get them up and published the minute a client skips out on me without wasting any time.