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Word Count and Page Count – Advice from Thomas Hauck, Ghostwriter and Book Editor

I often receive inquiries from potential clients asking me to write a nonfiction self-help book for them, and they want to know how much time it will take to complete. My response is always that before we can determine how much time it’s going to take we need to set our target word count.

Books are measured by the word count. A free downloadable ebook is generally no more than 10,000 words. An ebook that you want to sell should be at least 20,000 words. If you want to create a physical paperback book, you’ll need at least 30,000 words to make the book substantial enough to print. Typically, self-help books that are sold on Amazon are in the range of 40,000 words. I’ve written some self-help business books that have hit 70,000 words. It all depends on the complexity and depth of your message.

The page count means nothing, because you can make the page count go up by making the font bigger, the margins bigger, and the spacing between the lines bigger. Have you ever bought a classic novel that’s in the public domain, like a Charles Dickens novel? Typically the publisher will want to save money by making the font very small – like eight or nine point – and cramming as many lines as possible on a page. In contrast, some very short books, such as the business management classic “Who Moved My Cheese?” feature a big font and lots of blank space so that the skinny little book will get fatter.

My question to my client is, what is your goal? Do you want to create a free downloadable ebook, or a book that you sell on Amazon? And what’s your budget? Professional ghostwriters and editors get paid by the word, so the more words you want, the higher the price. In my business, because each book is custom written, word by word, there can’t be a volume discount. The rate per word for a 10,000-word ebook needs to be the same as the rate per word for an 80,000-word novel.

When planning your book project, be sure to contact me and we’ll discuss your goals for your book, and then we can decide on the word count and how much time will be required to write your book!

Thomas Hauck ghostwriter, book editor, author

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thomas Hauck is a leading professional ghostwriter and book editor.
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More About Capitalizing Job Titles from Thomas Hauck, Ghostwriter and Book Editor

I’ve written often about the capitalization of job titles. This is because writers seem to have a wide range of opinions about the subject, and approach the question on an ad hoc basis, without having a clear concept to guide them.

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, which I follow, job titles, no matter how lofty, are ordinary nouns and are not capitalized. Therefore king, president, janitor, doctor, capo de capo, pope, and all the others are not capitalized. You would say, “I went to the capo de capo, and he said yes.” Or, “I spoke to the president yesterday,” or, “I spoke to the janitor yesterday.” All are the same.

Job titles are capitalized only when used as part of a proper name. So you would write, “I spoke to President Smith yesterday,” or, “Pope Francis is visiting today.”

However, many reputable publications, including The New Yorker, don’t do this. They follow the practice common in business, which is to capitalize a job title to make it seem more important. In business, you commonly see, “I was appointed Regional General Manager last week.” Or in politics, “The President said yesterday that we will end trade sanctions.” The problem with this approach is that it’s purely subjective. Who gets capitalized? President? Director? Manager? Account Rep? Salesperson? It can quickly get confusing.

It’s understandable, perhaps, to want to capitalize a word like “President” when you’re using it as a substitute for his or her proper name, and it’s obvious to whom you’re referring. So you would write, “I spoke with the President yesterday, and he said he’d call the King of Thailand and extend his best wishes.” But imagine writing, “I spoke with the Regional Sales Rep yesterday, and she said she’d call the Warehouse Manager to solve the problem.” It looks absurd, doesn’t it?

If you want literary credibility, stick to the Chicago style. If you want to impress the shareholders who read your company’s annual report, then you might as well go for it and capitalize every Important Job Title!

Thomas Hauck ghostwriter, book editor, author
– Thomas Hauck is a leading professional ghostwriter and book editor.
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Giving Writers Straight Talk: Sometimes They Want the Sugarcoated Version

My valued clients hire me because of my expertise as a ghostwriter and book editor. They value my opinion and experience, and depend on me to tell them the truth, at least as I see it.

But some writers don’t want to hear it!

I recently provided a free test edit of the first 1,000 words of a chapter written by a prospective client. This is something I do routinely. This was a book about improving your performance in business, and the chapter was about the importance of body language. The writer’s chapter began with a two-page description of the author watching old films of Michael Jordan playing basketball. The films were from the height of Jordan’s career in the 1980s. According to the writer, you could learn a lot about body language by watching how Michael Jordan interacted with his teammates over the years.

This case study seemed far-fetched to me. It seemed to me that the writer (a man in his thirties) was enamored of “superstars” and the NBA, and while to him the body language of Michael Jordan was endlessly fascinating, I provided a rather blunt assessment, and advised him to cut the MJ section altogether. I wrote:

“On the development side, I must tell you honestly that in my opinion the Michael Jordan case study is not helpful and should be cut. These are the reasons:

1. This happened in the 1980s. It’s ancient history. Many readers don’t know and don’t care about Michael Jordan.

2. Many of your readers will be women and others who don’t care about basketball. To them, it’s boring. The only sports metaphor you should ever consider using is NFL football, which has the widest appeal.

3. As a reader, I want information that helps me solve my problem. This story doesn’t help me. It’s just not relevant. Of course MJ went from a gawky kid, eager to please, to being a confident star. It may be an interesting journey to watch, but it’s not moving me forward.”

I see this quite often: Men who write business books and who forget, or don’t realize, that young women constitute a rapidly growing segment of the business population. You cannot write a business book today without considering that a large part of your potential audience includes nontraditional people (i.e., non white straight males) who are just as ambitious and hardworking as anyone. And think of this: I’m sixty years old, and if I think references to Michael Jordan are boring and dated, then what’s a twenty-five-year-old going to think?

Anyway, the writer didn’t hire me. I think he talked to another editor who flattered him by telling him that his Michael Jordan story was brilliant. And for a few people, it might have been. This is a very subjective business. However, I will never flatter a client just to get their business. My job is to provide the best possible advice, which does not mean “take the money and run.” My clients deserve better than that!

Thomas Hauck ghostwriter, book editor, author
– Thomas Hauck is a leading professional ghostwriter and book editor serving both first-time and established authors.
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“Blockchain: Trust Companies,” by Richie Etwaru, edited by Thomas Hauck

Congratulations to my valued client Richie Etwaru on the publication of his groundbreaking new book, Blockchain: Trust Companies: Every Company Is at Risk of Being Disrupted by a Trusted Version of Itself. Everyone has heard about bitcoin – the new digital form of currency – but few people know about the revolutionary protocol underlying bitcoin and many other advances in ledgerkeeping. 

More than anything else, blockchain promises to permanently alter the way we view the problem – and promise – of trust in contractual relationships. This easy-to-read book describes the evolution from distrust to trusted commerce driven by blockchain, as finance, identity, reputation, inventory, market, agreement, and cooperate data sets sequentially evolve through blockchain, first becoming trusted data sets, then becoming data sets that enable transparent consensus at scale, and eventually becoming candidate data sets for smart contracts to transact on autonomously.

For example, remember the Enron accounting scandal? The fraud was made possible by the inherent secrecy of corporate ledgers. They could be altered and hidden. Blockchain ledgers cannot be altered because every version of the ledger is preserved forever as long as the ledger itself exists. In other words, you can’t erase or alter an entry because the previous version will still be there.

The author is QuintilesIMS’s [NYSE:Q] chief digital officer, where he is responsible for identifying, prioritizing and embedding technology innovation and digital trends into the vision, strategy, and operating model required to support the growth of our Global Technology Solutions business unit.

Prior to joining QuintilesIMS in April 2015 from Cegedim, Richie was Executive Director and Head of Innovation and Transformation at UBS Wealth Management, SVP and Divisional CIO for Lehman Brothers, and has co-founded and exited prior technology ventures.

He holds multiple international patents, Bachelor of Science in Management and Information Systems from the City University of New York, MBA from the University of Phoenix, and is completing his PhD in organizational leadership and design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thomas Hauck is a leading professional ghostwriter and book editor serving both emerging and published authors of fiction and non-fiction.
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About paragraph spacing in novels, narrative non-fiction, and most self-help books

Clients often ask me if they should indicate paragraphs with an extra line inserted between paragraphs.

(Like this.)

It’s the format used in emails, many blogs including this one, and technical books. Here’s my answer. Regarding paragraph spacing in a work of fiction or narrative non-fiction, you have a choice:

1. You can look like a self-published amateur and use a space between paragraphs.
2. You can look like Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Leo Tolstoy, James Patterson, Stephanie Meyer, Raymond Chandler, JK Rowling, and thousands of other esteemed and successful authors whose books are regarded as classics and do what professional publishers do: indicate new paragraphs with a two- or three-character indentation, and no extra space between paragraphs.
Sincerely,
Thomas Hauck
Author, ghostwriter, and book editor
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“Emotional Dimensions of Healthcare” – Edited by Thomas Hauck

Congratulations to my valued client David Woodlock on the publication of his groundbreaking new book, “Emotional Dimensions of Health Care,” which I had the pleasure to edit. This explosive book takes a fresh look at some of the most vexing healthcare problems we face as a nation, including obesity and substance abuse. What our well-meaning healthcare providers too often overlook is the very real and permanent damage that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can do. Traumatic events, whether sudden or occurring chronically over years, can physically alter the chemistry of the body and brain. To achieve relief from a perpetual condition of high stress – which never abates – patients make choices that are in many ways perfectly rational. Even suicide and other self-harming acts can at times be rational paths away from debilitating and chronic emotional pain. This well-crafted book shows how healthcare providers and patients can, and should, look beyond physical causes of disease to the underlying emotional component. If you don’t do this, the prescribed treatment may be ineffective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thomas Hauck is a leading professional book editor and ghostwriter serving both emerging and established authors of fiction and non-fiction.

 

 

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“The House on Hayden Pond” – YA horror novel edited by Thomas Hauck

Congratulations to my valued client Jessica Monks on the publication of her new YA horror novel “The House on Hayden Pond,” now available on Amazon. In this fast-paced thriller, a family moves into rustic old house that looks like a charming fixer-upper. But things start to go bump in the night, and as the malevolent forces ramp up their assault on mom and dad and the kids, the family finds itself in a life-or-death battle. It’s an action-packed thrill ride with a heart of gold, and is guaranteed to keep you up long past your bedtime!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thomas Hauck is a leading professional book editor and ghostwriter serving authors of both fiction and non-fiction.
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“Bully & Co.” – Sri Lanka workplace bullying book edited by Thomas Hauck

Congratulations to my valued client Fiona Nanayakkara on the publication of her groundbreaking book “Bully & Co.,” now on Amazon. It’s groundbreaking because Fiona lives in Sri Lanka, and for a woman to write about workplace harassment in Sri Lanka is highly unusual. As she wrote in her introduction, “While bullying can happen to both men and women, my personal experiences related in this book will be gender specific, because in my experience most ugly situations at work have been created due to my gender. In 2007, the Workplace Bullying Institute reported that women were at greater risk of becoming a bullying target, as 57% of those who reported being targeted for abuse were women. While men are more likely to participate in aggressive bullying behavior, when the bully is a woman her target is more likely to be a woman as well…. Discrimination not only occurs with gender but also age, social status, and—most of all in Sri Lanka—professional or personal jealousy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book has made a big splash in Sri Lanka, and garnered Fiona front-page coverage in the Daily Financial Times newspaper:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thomas Hauck is a professional book editor and ghostwriter serving authors of fiction and non-fiction.
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“The Bee Book: A Tale of Leadership and Change,” edited by Thomas Hauck

People often think that business management books have to be boring and full of MBA jargon that often bears little resemblance to reality. In fact, the most effective business books are often fables. One of the biggest selling business books of all time is “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson. This slim little volume tells the story of two mice and two “littlepeople” who live in a maze. It’s sold millions of copies worldwide.

Recently I had the pleasure to edit “The Bee Book: A Tale of Leadership and Change,” by Craig Smith and Paul Rigby. It tells the story of a hive of bees faced with a catastrophic challenge: Farmer John has suddenly plowed under his vast field of wildflowers. The inhabitants of Luna hive face disaster unless they can adapt to this new supply chain condition. The hero, a worker bee named Buzz, flies out in search of new sources of nectar, and on the way home a storm blows him off course. He takes refuge in the Sola hive, where he sees a very different management style–one that’s agile and could represent the way forward for the old-school Luna hive. It’s a fun and fast-paced read with valuable lessons for any manager or business owner who wants to avoid being overrun by the fast pace of change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thomas Hauck is a leading professional ghostwriter and book editor serving both emerging and published authors.
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“Dare to Matter: Choosing an Unstuck and Unapologetic Life of Significance” – Edited by Thomas Hauck

Congratulations to my valued client Pete Smith on the publication of his powerful self-help book, “Dare to Matter: Choosing an Unstuck and Unapologetic Life of Significance.” Challenging and shredding society’s “feel good” message that your greatest endeavor is the achievement of success and happiness, Pete Smith presents a bold and encouraging declaration that you were meant for much more than that. You were created to be significant. This is a refreshingly candid, inspiring, and pragmatic guide to living a life that matters, presented through the perspective of someone who almost lost his own.

Complete with stories, examples, humor (often self-deprecating), and no-holds-barred practical advice, “Dare to Matter” is perfect for those who are ready to break free from the chains of conformity to pursue a life of impact.

Now considered “one of America’s leading personal and professional development coaches,” Smith is a sought-after international speaker and trainer in the field of leadership, management, personal growth and development. His energetic, edgy, and interactive style is complimented by his ability to provide practical insights that actually make sense, all while having a little fun in the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thomas Hauck is a leading professional ghostwriter and book editor serving both emerging and veteran authors.
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