IF you don't see books, watch out
It’s always best to visit clients in person before you sign on for what can be a project that keeps you together for a better part of a year or more. And when you visit, look for signs of books on the desks, on shelves, on the floor. You want to see lots of books being used.
One of the first questions I ask potential ghostwriting clients is,
“What book has influenced you or made a difference in your life?”
If a client can’t answer this question with some specificity, I start to worry.
If I’m on site and don’t see any books, I’m certain.
This is a client who doesn’t value books. Why, then, would they value what I produce? Why would they value a ghostwriter? Why would they value me?
I once accepted a gig from an active CEO who wanted to write a memoir. When I visited him in his office and home, I saw literally no books. No memoirs. No business books. Not a novelk. Not even a comic book. I ignored my misgivings because the fee was so seductive. Big mistake.
I never got to see much of the fee that seduced me. Within a few weeks, the drafts I sent the client for review became too burdensome for him. He always had more important things to do than read anything. He got frustrated and soon cut me loose.
Lesson learned. If I don’t see books, I pass. Never let a client tell you what they value. Look to their bookshelves (or lack of same), and you’ll know what they value.