A Handy Guide to Punctuation Marks

Usually, I am rather confident about my grammar and spelling skills. But it seems, particularly as a bilingual writer, there is always – ALWAYS – something left for me to learn. And since I figure that I am not the only one:

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Ghostwriting – was ist das eigentlich?

Bei einem Ghostwriter handelt es sich um einen Autoren bzw. eine Autorin, der/die gegen Honorar für einen Auftraggeber einen Text verfasst (“ghostet”). Hierbei kann es sich um Romane und Sachbücher, aber auch um andere Text- und Publikationsformen handeln. Auch die Autoren von Reden, die dann von anderen Personen (beispielsweise Politikern) gehalten werden, fallen im weiteren Sinne unter diese Definition – wie auch die Verfasser von akademischen Arbeiten (Magisterarbeiten, Doktorarbeiten etc.). Die letztgenannte und kontrovers diskutierte Praxis bewegt sich allerdings in vielerlei Hinsicht in einer Art “Grauzone” und bleibt in den folgenden Ausführungen weitgehend unberücksichtigt.

Rechtliche Situation des Ghostwriters

Die rechtliche Situation eines Ghostwriters definiert sich in erster Linie durch den Vertrag, den dieser mit dem Auftraggeber abschließt. In der Regel erhält der Auftraggeber nach Fertigstellung der Arbeit und Zahlung des vereinbarten Honorars die Rechte an dem erstellten Text. Dies berechtigt den Auftraggeber im typischen Fall beispielsweise auch dazu, das fertige Textmanuskript unter eigenem Namen einem Verlag anzubieten und im Fall einer Publikation das entsprechende Autorenhonorar bzw. Tantiemen etc. einzustreichen. Der Auftraggeber darf sich dann nach außen hin als Autor des Manuskriptes (also des Romans, Sachbuchs etc.) präsentieren. In derartigen Fällen wird oft eine entsprechende Verschwiegenheitsklausel in den Ghostwritervertrag aufgenommen, die den Ghostwriter dazu verpflichtet, über seine Autorenschaft Stillschweigen zu bewahren.

In manchen Fällen (je nach Vertragsgestaltung), wird der Ghostwriter auch als Mitautor genannt oder erhält eine Erwähnung seiner Mitwirkung in den oft am Ende von Büchern aufgeführten Danksagungen bzw. im Nachwort.

Es gibt auch Vertragsvarianten, in denen der Ghostwriter kein festes Honorar erhält, sondern an den späteren Einnahmen prozentual beteiligt wird.

Wer sind die Auftraggeber?

So mancher Mensch hat eine Idee zu einem Roman – aber nicht das handwerklich/künstlerische Vermögen oder die Zeit, diese auch in kommerzieller Qualität auszuformulieren. Ähnliches gilt für Experten, die ein Sachbuch veröffentlichen möchten, oder auch Menschen mit interessanter Lebensgeschichte (oder auch Personen des öffentlichen Lebens), die ihre Autobiografie veröffentlicht haben möchten. Sie alle sind potenzielle Kunden für einen Ghostwriter.

Eine andere Variante ist diejenige, bei der Buchserien eines/einer bereits verstorbenen Autors/Autorin in dessen bzw. deren Stil und unter dem bekannten Namen fortgeführt werden, aber dann von Ghostwritern verfasst werden. Ein Beispiel sind die auch noch in neuerer Zeit erschienenen Jugendbücher von Enid Blyton.

All within Reason (aka “The Ripoff-Artist”)

Imagine you are the chef and owner of a rather decent restaurant. One day, you read a post by somebody who is looking for a good meal, a special multi-course meal. This somebody, they have a rough idea about what they want to eat, they even have drafted a recipe but need a pro to work it over and make it work.

They are willing to pay for such a meal, and you tell them you could do it. So they start asking you questions about your experiences, they want to sample your cooking etc. They seem to like your stuff so far, so they send you the first lines of their recipe and tell you: “Take these few ingredients and rudimentary instructions and cook a meal for me. I won’t pay for it, but if I like it, I will do business with you.”

You are not exactly a fan of giving away your stuff and time for free – but you tell yourself it is okay if they want to test you before they decide to give you the real gig.

So you step into your kitchen and start working, and you put effort into it, and you create a nice little appetizer. You also, as requested, write up your version of this recipe snippet. They come into your restaurant, they sit down, they eat the appetizer, they receive their overhauled recipe… they leave without comment.

A couple of days later you contact them. They tell you they are still in the process of making up your mind and would let you know in a week.

You don’t hear from them for a while.

Then, all of a sudden, you receive an e-mail, and they send you – without any further comment or reference to your previous encounter – the next part of the recipe. They suggest you do some cooking with these ingredients and rudimentary instructions. “I won’t pay for it, but if I like it, I will do business with you.”

Well, I am NOT a chef. But this was more or less what happened, when I offered my services as a writer to somebody who wanted to have their so called “film script” turned into a novel. And they wanted the first ten pages of their 120-page-script worked over novel-style – and of course for free. That is 12 % of the entire work as a “sample”. I gave them approx. five pages. And then… well, as already described.

Is it a surprise that my reply was swift and not exactly favorable?

Antworten zum Thema “Selfpublishing”…

Ich bin zwar bisher noch nicht selbst unter die Selfpublisher gegangen – aber wer weiß?

In der Zwischenzeit habe ich hier eine schöne Informationsquelle für alle an diesem Thema interessierten: Die “Selfpublisherbibel“.

Ich freue mich immer über neue Links zu interessanten Themen und werde diese hier unter den Tags “Tipps & Info” (deutschsprachig) und/oder “Howto” bzw. “Tutorial” (englisch) veröffentlichen.

Für diesen konkreten Link geht der Dank an die Kollegin Sia Wolf, deren Blog Ihr hier finden könnt.


About Authors and Internet-Stars…


Zoella & Co.

Quote: By churning out ghostwritten stories and slapping a famous face on them,
publishers are doing a disservice to the industry, authors and readers.

…an interesting article by Kathryn Lindsay, and a topic that is probably not without controversy… I daresay it is written in xoJane‘s column “Unpopular Opinion” for a reason. Some of the comments are quite telling as well… and thought provoking.


and btw… if you feel like writing for them (that is xoJane), they do look for submissions.


btw 2nd… No, I can neither confirm nor deny, whether these particular books have been ghosted or not. If there were ghostwriters involved, though, I hope the got a decent deal!

and btw Part III… jealous?! Me?! Well, yeah! I mean… sort of… but then again… maybe not? If I was…  Oh, I dunno… *shuffles off mumbling*

Building Character(s): A Writing Exercise

This is a great exercise! It is actually one of the main and recurring themes that keeps coming up when I do ghostwriting resp. get hired to overhaul someone’s story: Most of the time I do not consider the characters convincing… they seem too one-dimensional and I don’t “get” their motivation. I will keep these suggestions in mind and certainly do recommend to give them a try! 🙂

Romance Language

Submitted for your consideration, this is an exercise I created for a creative writing workshop I taught a few years ago. Characters are, of course, central to successful, engaging fiction. But these questions might also help for any kind of profile, biography, autobiography, or even for an imaginary profile of a target audience in a marketing/advertising.

You can even think of much science writing as character driven, although in the case of science, the character usually isn’t a person. It’s an organism, a chemical composition, a physical force, a procedure, a device, or some other phenomenon. As with a character, the subject of the scientist’s writing poses some problem—or seems to; it helps us see or understand something, but not necessarily as we expected (otherwise, what would make it worth writing about?).

When I develop of character, I think of three areas: The character’s background, the character’s present external manifestation…

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Why Good Writing Begins and Ends in Poetry

What does the fabric consist of that makes a good writer? I daresay, one ingredient is the love of language. Having said that, I really like this article and the way the writer defines (and finds) poetry…

Romance Language

About 15 years ago, as I worked on the final stages of my dissertation, I often got stuck (as people working on dissertations tend to). Sometimes days would pass without my producing anything. But eventually, I would remember my foolproof method for getting unstuck: reading and writing poetry.

Let me note for clarification that poetry had nothing to do with my dissertation subject. I wrote a very social-sciency study of students in a freshman composition class. From a semester of observing, reading papers, and interviewing students, I crafted a set of case studies trying to explain why some of the students gained more than others. My final product reads way more like anthropology than it does like Nikki Giovanni.

Nevertheless, I turned to poetry while I wrote, as I have turned to it many times before and since. And wherever I see brilliance in writing, I find elements of the…

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(Writing) Contests and Participating Fees

Hmmm… so an organisation/company/private person establishes a writing contest. And offers prize money. YAY!

BUT… in order to participate, you need to pay a participation fee. This seems to have developed into a rather common practice nowadays.


…is this a legitimate way to finance the contest?
…or is this just another way of getting money out of aspiring authors?

“What say you?”