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Pros on Prose


Your CEO Needs You

Posted: June 23, 2017 | By:

It’s not a complaint one often hears about CEOs. But when it comes to CEO communication, it’s true: CEOs don’t know what they want.

I know this now.

And it’s useful knowledge to have.

I spent two straight days (and two serious nights) with some of the leading executive communication thinkers, practitioners and researchers at the CEO Communication Summit, convened by the Professional Speechwriters Association last week in Montreal.

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Pros on Prose


Speechwriters Are the Serious Ones

Posted: June 9, 2017 | By:

Some speechwriters might have resented it when I criticized Jon Favreau and Lovett for what I saw as the glib, snarky style the former Obama speechwriters showed on an appearance on The Stephen Colbert Show, back in April.

Does the head of the Professional Speechwriters Association condemn his flock to the back pasture? Once a speechwriter, always a monk—is that it?

My thinking on the...

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Pros on Prose


Introducing The Hot Sheet: A Great New Resource for People Who Care About Publishing

Posted: | By:

Anyone working freelance in today’s publishing industry is in a double bind. (And you can be forgiven if you feel doubly blindsided, too.)

Not only is a first-rate ghost, an editor, a freelance writer of any kind expected to be up to speed on industry issues, changes, developments, and trends, but she or he is also expected to hit deadlines and contribute the kinds of ideas that in-house teams have handed to them by their managements and support teams.

Some...

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Pros on Prose


Remind Them What They Know: Speechwriting when everything has already been said

Posted: June 2, 2017 | By:

“People need to be reminded,” said Samuel Johnson, “more often than they need to be instructed.”

Commencement speakers struggle to come up with a speech, when “everything’s already been said.” Keynote speakers wonder what they can tell people that "they don't already know."

But everything hasn’t been said by you, at this moment in history, to the audience gathered today.

And more importantly: Whatever...

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Pros on Prose


What to Do When You Doubt Your Talent

Posted: May 26, 2017 | By:

Most great writers aren't great successes, as the world counts success. Write anyway. 

A few weeks ago* my son and I drove down to Richmond to see Americana singer-songwriter Caleb Caudle, a guy I’d heard only on the Internet. He is living the typical musician’s life, friending fans on Facebook, recording and releasing music on his own, and driving from gig to gig. He was playing...

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Pros on Prose


Five Nevers of Ghostwriting Success

Posted: May 12, 2017 | By:

Looking back over my three decades of ghostwriting, I realize that every bad client experience I had was really my own fault. In each case, I ignored the flashing red warning signs. I’m not claiming that these rules are absolute for every ghostwriter, nor that they will protect you in every case. I only hope that my five “nevers” may be a useful guide to other ghostwriters.

 

  1. Never Agree to Work with a Client After You Say You Won’t
...

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Pros on Prose


It’s Not as Bad as You Think

Posted: May 5, 2017 | By:

In America, we engage in frivolous rhetoric because we can afford to. That’s not a boast. That’s a failure of character. It's along these lines: The comedian Chris Rock said, “If a homeless person has a funny sign, he hasn’t been homeless that long. A real homeless person is too hungry to be funny.”

I say a nation that was really hurting for themselves or others wouldn’t spend any time calling the other half names. They’d get serious and do whatever it...

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Pros on Prose


You, me, and RFK

Posted: April 28, 2017 | By:

I took a Robert Kennedy biography on spring break, and all I got was six lousy insights on speechwriting.

Actually, not lousy at all, thanks to author Evan Thomas's understanding of leadership communication—how it works, and how it doesn't. This is what I learned from Robert Kennedy: His Life

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Literary Events


You’re Invited: A Discussion of the Ghost Life with Barbara Feinman Todd

Posted: April 5, 2017 | By:

Gotham Ghostwriters Presents. . . 

The Ghost Life

A discussion with recovering ghostwriter Barbara Feinman Todd, author of the revealing new memoir, Pretend I’m Not Here

APRIL 24/NYC


What’s it like to be a ghostwriter? That's naturally the first...

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Free(lance) Advice


Last Minute Tax Tips for Ghostwriters

Posted: March 31, 2017 | By:

There’s something funny about being a ghostwriter: While you might be great at writing and capturing your client’s voice, ghosting also has a business side. Earning an income as a ghostwriter means dealing with tax issues each year (and each quarter when you have estimated payments!).

I know about this firsthand. Besides my work as a ghostwriter, I also run Almost Millions, a personal finance site for freelancers...

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