Huh? Thomas Hauck, professional ghostwriter who’s ghostwritten or edited hundreds of top selling books, doesn’t sign contracts?
Nope. Here’s why.
I do business with people I meet over the internet. They often live thousands of miles away. I have valued clients as far away as Australia, Singapore, Qatar, Sri Lanka… the list is long. Obviously, if I were to sign a contract, and my client decided to break it, what could I do? Am I supposed to get on a plane and fly to the Middle East or Asia to collect my money? It’s not going to happen.
Contracts with people halfway around the globe are pointless and unenforceable. I figured out a long time ago that if I were to succeed as a ghostwriter and book editor, I needed to have a business model that didn’t depend on empty rituals. That’s why I invented my milestone system. It’s very simple: My valued client pays 50% of the fee for a section of 5,000 words. This is usually no more than $500, so it’s not a huge risk. Then I write the 5,000 words and send it to my client, who reviews it and accepts it. Then he or she pays me the 50% balance due – again, no more than $500.
Now we’re even.
If my valued client chooses to continue with my services, they can pay the next 50% deposit for the next 5,000 words. And so it goes, all the way up to our goal of 40,000 or 80,000 words, or whatever it may be. It’s a foolproof system.
Of course, I’m happy to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a statement saying the book is a work for hire. The latter provision is the one that’s important, because it makes clear the transfer of ownership of the manuscript from me to my client. And I do sign contracts with publishing houses that hire me to ghostwrite for them, mainly because publishers have lawyers who insist on them to justify their own billable hours.
Contracts? No. Amazing results and very satisfied clients? Yes!
- Thomas Hauck is a leading professional ghostwriter and book editor serving clients around the world.