Expand your business, increase profits and build credibility by engaging our ghostwriter, writer and blogger service.Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 12 books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.
When I was young, I was a happy, go lucky child. I happily explored the world, or at least the part of it on the block where I lived, since my mom wouldn’t let me cross the street. I had friends and felt no fear. When I was six years old, something happened, which I’m not going to get into here, that caused me to slowly introvert and by the time I was in high school, I could barely confront other people. I became one of the introverts, one of those people who doesn’t like being in crowds or socializing.
Books became my friends, and I distanced myself from people. My hobbies reinforced my introversion. I collected stamps – and you can’t get much more introverted than that. I built model railroads, fighter jets, tanks, and soldiers. I created an incredible collection of rocks, minerals and crystals, and also collected bottle caps, little bits of colored glass and wire, magazines and comic books.
School was a nightmare, because school demands that students be extroverts. You’re expected to join associations, take part in team sports, and socialize with others regularly. I loved to learn, reading every book that I could about science, history, philosophy, and other subjects. I also enjoyed fiction, especially epic fantasy, science fiction, and military stories.
That made me somewhat of an outcast, which reinforced my introversion even more. Some of the students tried to get me to come to parties, but I refused. The few times that I went I was miserable partially because of the peer pressure to smoke, drink, and use drugs, and partially because the crowds of people cause me to be depressed and unhappy.
Society doesn’t really understand introverts.
That’s the rough thing about being an introvert. Other people, for the most part, don’t understand. In fact, introversion is often viewed as being antisocial. After all, introverts are not out there in the world milling around in social groups, shaking hands, talking with people, lecturing, performing and so forth. So there must be something wrong with them, right?
The difference between an introvert and extrovert is simple. And extrovert gains energy from people; an introvert feels drained of energy by crowds of people.
When my wife passed away in 2005, my life began to change. Grief is not a friend, and the psychologists who claim that you should “come to terms with your grief” and “embrace your grief” are insane. Grief is not something you should invite home for tea; instead, grief needs to be ejected as quickly as possible. Grief is close to death, and those who grieve for very long, are more prone to suicide, accidents, mistakes, depression, and other mental problems.
I’m talking about grief as a state of being and not a momentary feeling of a few hours or even days. Of course, when someone close passes away or leaves it is perfectly natural to feel grief for time. However, that time must be limited for sanity’s sake.
When Claudia passed away, I realized I was in danger of going into a permanent state of grief. In my mind, that was unacceptable.
My tendency was to introvert, to pull inside myself, examine my feelings, come to terms with what was going on. That was exactly the wrong thing to be doing during a time of grief. Fortunately I was smart enough to figure that out.
I decided to take my camera and get out into the world. At first, I went out into nature, to all the national, state and local parks in the area and eventually throughout the Southwest United States. I traveled everywhere, putting over 100,000 miles on my car in a single year. I took tens of thousands of photos, and just getting out and being in nature helped with the grief immensely.
I began taking photos at the Renaissance Festival’s, and ran into belly dancers. Before long I became a fixture at festivals of all types throughout California and belly dance shows all over the western United States.
You might think that hanging out with performers and dancers, and being involved in festivals and dance shows, would drive an introvert nuts. After all, most of those events consisted of crowds of people jammed together in small spaces.
But I’d found a way to get around my introverted tendencies, and that was to use the camera as a shield. Thus, I was still introverted, but I was able to extrovert by photographing people, scenery, and performances.
I slowly learned how to tolerate being surrounded by crowds of people.
Just a couple of years ago, I confronted public speaking. I’ve never been able to get up on stage to speak, or even to show myself. I joined Toastmasters, which is a public speaking organization, and several networking groups and got up on stage and started speaking about subjects close to my heart. Now I don’t have any trouble speaking on podcasts, radio shows, and even in public on the stage.
I’ve come a long way since the days of grade and high school, when I couldn’t handle the crowds of people and the constant pressure to socialize with everyone under the sun.
Understand that I’m still an introvert. I’m a computer expert and a professional writer. I collect rocks and crystals, have over 400 audiobooks and several thousand paperbacks and hardcovers, and have read most of them. I own a movie collection with over a thousand DVDs and Blu-rays.
Yeah, I’m an introvert, but I’m also an extrovert. I look for excuses to avoid going out and being with other people in a crowd, but I now find that once I get there, I have a good time. Sure, the crowds still drain me of energy, but that’s okay.. I discovered that the way to get around that is to mill around an event, find people to talk with and have conversations. As long as I am conversing and socializing, everything is fine. However, sitting in a room and watching a show or listening to somebody speak is extremely draining and depressing for me.
Just remember, when you run into an introvert, there’s nothing wrong. They’re not being antisocial. They are probably enjoying being around you, and having a conversation with you. They’re just introverts, and they are perfectly content to soak up what’s going on around them without constantly talking about it or getting up on stage and being the center of attention.
How do you deal with an introvert? Invite them along to social events, and encourage them to socialize with other people one-on-one by introducing them to others they may like. Once an introvert finds a person to talk to, or a small group to be part of, they become alive and you will find their company to be invigorating.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? What are your experiences in this area? Let’s discuss in the comments.
If you are anything like me, you have files, photos and videos stored on your computer. In my case, I have scanned images of negatives which have been long-lost, hundreds of videos, tens of thousands of photos, and documents of all types. Losing this data would be devastating, to say the least. Livedrive is the solution to saving your data from disaster on your Mac or PC.
In fact, I am a photographer and have taken several hundred thousand photos. A few years ago I stored all of these images on a single external hard-drive. One day there was a horrible screech. The hard-drive had failed. Fortunately, I was able to get the drive working again for long enough to recover all but a few hundred photos. It was a close call and I decided to ensure I would never be that close to disaster again.
After much research, I settled on a product called LiveDrive. This inexpensive utility installs in minutes and automatically backs up all of the data on the hard-drives of a computer into cloud storage. This means the data is safely stashed in a data center clear across the country. In fact, Livedrive maintains multiple locations, the files are safe even if their data center is destroyed.
The data is backed up over your internet connection. In the half-dozen years since I installed the product, I have never even noticed the impact on my system or on my internet speed. Livedrive is extremely good at prioritizing itself to run at times the system is not being used.
When you first install LiveDrive, it automatically backs up all of the data files on your disks. Note that applications and the operating system are not backed up. This product protects your data not your computer. Also, videos are not backed up unless you change a setting in the program.
Once the initial backup is complete, LiveDrive scans your drives on occasion and sends any changes to the cloud. So you always have up-to-date copies stored safely away from your home. Even better, the application maintains multiple versions, so if you change a document then decide you want an older version, you can go out to your cloud copy and retrieve it with ease.
I highly recommend this product for all home computer users.
Any computer will, at some point in time, experience a disaster of one sort or another that causes it to lose data. Your computer could crash, ]hard drives can go bad, viruses can destroy data, there could be a natural disaster, or the system might be stolen. This is doubly true of laptops and tablets, which are small, light, and easy to steal or drop. Yet most people don’t even think about the possibility of disaster until it’s too late. There data is gone, and they panic, and there’s nothing that can be done. And, of course, they don’t have a backup – not even a copy of their files on a flash drive. Livedrive is a handy, inexpensive solution.
Note: Originally I recommended Carbonite. I can no longer recommend this product as their product terms and conditions only allow one internal drive to be backed up to the cloud. Additionally, the quality of their product support has fallen. Use Livedrive instead.
I’ve been a professional in the computer industry for 35 years, and I’ve had to recover hundreds of computers from disasters. Sometimes we’ve gotten lucky, and the damage could be repaired and the data retrieved. At other times, sending a bad drive to a disk repair company was successful, although that’s often a long shot, and it’s very expensive.
The Problem with Most Backup Solutions
The problem with most backup solutions is they require manual intervention. Someone needs to drag files to a hard drive or run an application. If you’re anything like me, that will happen rarely, if at all. Life always seems to get in the way of running backups and performing other kinds of necessary system maintenance.
Fortunately, there is a solution. If you’ve got a reasonably fast internet connection, purchase and install a product called Livedrive. This product, which works on both Macs and PCs running Windows, automatically backs up all of your data files (not your system or applications) over your internet connection to the cloud (it’s know as a cloud backup solution), where they are safe from disasters and evil-doers.
I’ve been using Livedrive to keep my data safe for six years, and it has saved me on several occasions. it really is cheap, easy insurance at $59.99 per year for the basic plan, which is suitable for virtually all customers.
Livedrive has no limits to the amount of data that you can back up to the cloud. In my case, I protect almost a full terabyte (that’s 1,000 gigabytes) of data through Livedrive’s backups. Most backup products force you to purchase disk space in the cloud if you exceed their limits. That’s fine when you don’t have a lot of data, but if you store videos or lots of photos, then you’ll exceed those limits very quickly.
Restoring over the internet is trivial. Just use the browse function within Livedrive to find your files or folders and click restore. Livedrive then pulls the files and folders down from the cloud back to your system. This is especially useful if you accidentally delete a folder or files, or if there is a virus infection. You can retrieve the files you want. In fact, Livedrive will even let you restore earlier versions, which is great if a file becomes corrupt or you don’t like the changes you made.
Their support is fantastic, their product is extremely secure and compliant with security and privacy regulations and standards.
There are some caveats:.
It does not automatically back up video files. You must select them manually.
You cannot back up external hard drives.
No system backups are made.
For me, one of the absolute coolest features is you can browse your files from any device. For example,suppose you are traveling and you dropped and destroyed your laptop. No worries, you can access all of your files from your tablet, smartphone or another computer system.
My recommendation is to spend the money to ensure all of your files are safe. You never know when disaster will strike, and if it does, it will be too late.
For years I’ve photographed renaissance faires, belly dance shows and national parks, among other things. By 2008 I had over 300,000 photos, all of them stored on a single external hard drive. Even though I’ve been a computer professional for years, it never occurred to me that something could happen to that brand new drive. Hard drives, at that time, were expensive and I figured I’d make a backup “tomorrow”, but somehow tomorrow kept getting put off to the next day. In other words, I didn’t have a backup plan. Livedrive solved that problem.
Disaster Strikes and I’m Unprepared
One day I was sitting at my desk editing a photo when I heard a horrible screech from the drive. It didn’t take me long to realize that all of my photos, the originals anyway, had been destroyed. I had copies of these picture in a modified, smaller form on another drive, but the originals were gone.
With some experimentation, I found that the drive was not totally destroyed. I could turn it on and it would last from ten to thirty minutes before shutting down again. So over the next few weeks I spent long evenings copying files off the drive, little by little, until I recovered all but a few hundred images.
With this narrow escape from disaster, I learned my lesson and quickly came up with a real backup plan..
I looked at several options:
Buying an external hard drive and copying the data to it on occasion. This wouldn’t well because remembering to do a manual backup is problematical at best.
Buying a drive and using software to backup to it occasionally. Better than the manual method, but the drive containing the backup would be in my home, where it could damaged or stolen.
Getting software to do an automated cloud backup. This option is by far superior to everything else. In this backup method, my files would get backed up over the internet to a system somewhere else. Since I’ve always had a fast internet connection, I wasn’t concerned with performance.
At the time, there were many cloud backup options, and most of them were quite expensive. However, two products stood out as being inexpensive and superior to everything else.
I was determined to protect my data, because the computer could always be replaced, but the data, photos, and records were vulnerable to disasters of all kinds. I chose the cloud backup solution.
Your Data is Far More Valuable than Your Computer
Before doing anything on your computer, check, NOW, to see if you have some kind of backup. No? Then you are living on borrowed time. Your computer could be working perfectly right now, but in a few seconds you could have a real disaster on your hands.
Think about what is stored on your computer. Your business records? Family photos? Videos? If you are anything like most people with computers these days, you’ve got hundreds or thousands or more files that are irreplaceable.
What is the best way to keep these files safe?
I recommend a product that has literally saved my butt numerous times. It’s called Livedrive. This wonderful little application is simple to install in just a few minutes, and best of all, it’s completely automatic. As long as your system is connected to the internet, your files will be automatically saved to a secure location outside your home. It’s cheap, under $75 a year; it’s simple, and it’s secure and safe.
But besides a catastrophic computer failure, what else could happen to your files? Well, a virus could infect your system, the hard drive could fail, your friend, child or co-worker could delete the files, a thief could steal or wreck your computer, or a natural disaster could wipe it all out.
If you use Livedrive, you don’t have to worry about any of this. Whatever happens to your computer, your files will be safely stored so you can recover them as needed.
Check Your Backup regularly
Be sure and check your backup, whatever product you choose to use, once in a while to ensure it is actually working. Not having a good backup can be a disaster of epic proportions. In one instance I’ve seen the lack of a backup turn a situation which was just uncomfortable into a complete disaster. I knew a guy who was working on an older Macintosh computer. Our entire company switched to PCs except for him, because he didn’t have the time. The Macintosh was old and unbeknownst to anyone it had been outfitted with an old RAID drive (mirrored) from a manufacturer that no longer existed.
This guy believed he was doing backups every day. Someone showed him how to do it and he followed those instructions to the letter, even to the point of ignoring the error that it produced each and every time it ran. That was actually in the instructions.
One day his hard disk started making strange sounds so he called us. We tried to boot it up but no go. We asked him if he was doing backups and he handed us his zip disks, which were blank! He had been faithfully doing backups for over two years, and not one of them worked.
We had to send the disk out to a disk repair shop, and they managed to recover about 20% of the data at a cost of over $6,000! It took the poor guy almost six months with two temps to get all of the data hand-typed back into the computer!
Cloud Backup is the Way to Go
My cloud backup, Livedrive, has saved my butt several times.
My system had a total failure where I would have lost all my files forever, I restored it all with Livedrive.
A disk drive crashed hard, and I would have lost 100,000 images. Again, I restored them all from my cloud backup with Livedrive.
And numerous times I have recovered individual files and folders that got accidentally deleted.
If you want to protect your precious photos, videos, financial data and documents, install a cloud backup solution such as Livedrive today.
Do you call yourself a professional? Does your LinkedIn profile clearly demonstrate your skills, expertise, knowledge and credibility?
In my role as a LinkedIn Branding Expert, I talk to a lot of people all over the world, in all walks of life. Some of them are entry level, others have been in their business for a while, and still others are senior c-level executives in major corporations.
All of them say they want to use LinkedIn or other social media to find employment, clients or, in some cases, to provide information about themselves to their colleagues and clients. They want to be shown at their best, with a good story that reinforces their brand and their message.
In actuality, hiring a branding expert to write and organize your LinkedIn profile is an important part of being a professional. You see, professionals understand they are not good at everything and know how to delegate and use the appropriate resources to get the job done.
Your image is vital, and this is doubly true regarding the impression you make to others on the web. A positive, professional image can open doors and get you access to important, connected people. Conversely, a poor or mediocre image will halt or slow your forward progress, close doors, and deny you the networking opportunities you need to get ahead in your career.
For example, the photograph is of the first things I examine, because the photograph is by far the most important part of your profile. Given this fact, you’d think that everyone would spend the time, and possibly money, to ensure their profile photo is perfect and shows them off in the best possible light.
However, more than half the photos that I come across are blurry selfies, poorly lit and cropped personal images, or were obviously hastily taken by a co-worker or friend. You can bet that these people are not making a good impression, and they are losing employment and networking opportunities.
Sometimes, when I point this out, a client says they cannot afford to hire a professional photographer, so they decided to keep their amateur photo.
A professional understands that their image is vital, and spending a little money to make sure they are presented in their best possible light is vital and natural.
Every single part of your LinkedIn profile is intended to help add to your credibility, show off your expertise, and show off your skills, knowledge and experience. Use them all wisely and you’ll get noticed.
Spend the money on a professional quality LinkedIn profile. Sure, you can do a passable job on your own, but a writer who is skilled at profile writing, someone who does them for a living and has been trained, will understand exactly what needs to be in your profile to make it exactly right for you and your brand.
Likewise, a professional photographer understands lighting, posing and the technology of pictures, and will deliver you photos that show you off at your best. Isn’t that worth a few hundred dollars?
By shortchanging your branding and not spending the time and money appropriately, you are only denying yourself opportunities and advancement. Do yourself a favor, and loosen the purse strings to make your personal branding experience worthwhile and effective.
Additional Information about LinkedIn Optimization
Have you ever had writers block? You know the feeling. It happens to me sometimes. I sit at the computer screen, staring at it, trying to type the words. I enter a sentence. No, that won’t work. The sentence gets deleted. Then another, and another. The words which normally flow so easily refuse to make the leap from the brain to the digital paper.
Normally, I can write between 5,000 and 10,000 words a day, depending only upon other commitments that require time. That is 10,000 words, ready for publishing. Once in a while though, my productivity drops and I find myself spending a whole day to write a thousand words. It’s frustrating and. since I make my living at writing, if it continues it could create financial problems.
The Causes of writers block
There are many causes of this curse. I’ve found a few things over the years which have a negative impact on my writing productivity.
Idiots – Have you ever received a negative comment disguised as something positive? These covert comments can really have a severe impact. A snide remark, a but of unsolicited “help”, or a few rude comments can act as a torpedo and words to stop flowing.
Failures – A failure outside of writing can have an impact on how well the words can flow. Anything which causes grief, fear, terror, and other unhealthy emotions seems to just stop the creative juices in their tracks. I write best when I am enthusiastic about life or the subject at hand. A failure can certainly cause writers block.
Information not understood – Since I am a ghost writer and a technical writer, I run into many circumstances where I have limited understanding of the subject. Non-comprehension stops me dead in my tracks.
Illness – Something about throwing up just makes it difficult to write …
Introversion – By its very nature, writing tends to be very introverting. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day long can create a hypnotic effect, headaches, stomach pains, and other effects. After a few hours at the screen, sometime I find my writing just jams up and the words refuse to flow.
Uninterested – Have you tried to write about something in which you have little to no interest? I’ve written over a hundred technical manuals. Some of them were very exciting, and others were highly technical and of little interest. In fact, I’ve written a few large manuals I knew no one would ever read, but they had to be written for legal reasons. It’s difficult to get motivated to write a hundred thousand words which will be forever collecting dust on a shelf.
Solutions for writers block
How do I get over writers block? Are there some hidden or secret techniques for overcoming this dreaded malady?
Set a quota – I find that setting a goal, say 5,000 words a day, motivates me to keep the words flowing. For me, it becomes sort of a game: can I meet the quota today in spite of all the interruptions and other demands on my time?
Write every day – Sitting down to write every single day is important for me. Even when I only have an hour to spare due to other plans, I squeeze in the time to write a blog entry, finish that letter to the editor, or reply to a few emails.
Time to write – I set aside “writing time” every single day for writing. Other events, if possible, get planned around that time.
Handle any data not understood – For me, not understanding is one of the biggest problems causing writers block. Google is invaluable for researching, and the online dictionary comes in equally handy. One caution: Wikipedia is notoriously inaccurate. I’ve even gone to the effort to block it from my Google searches.
Get up – Every hour or so I get my butt out of the chair and walk around for a few minutes. I check the mail, vacuum, dust, or just look at the bees and wasps buzzing on my deck.
Change it up – I always have several writing projects going at the same time. Occasionally, when I am blocked on one project I switch to another. It’s best to work on a project totally different. This seems to free up a few brain cells and the words start to flow again.
No matter what the cause, writer’s block is something that can be handled and overcome. I’ve found the best way to deal with the syndrome is the simplest – just start writing and keep writing, no matter what happens. Write your heart out and before long you will be writing like crazy.
For more information about writers block, see the following articles.
As a manager, one fact I’ve learned over and over is to support my team in ways that build up their responsibility, let them handle their own problems and determine their own solutions. My primary role as a manager was to guide the team to ensure they understood the overall goals and objectives, and to give them enough latitude and resources to get results. Sometimes this was very painful to my team, as I forced them to think, and I expected them to contribute more than their technical skills.
One of the most profound events in my career was occurred during a brief time when our company was without a CIO. Instead, we reported directly to the CEO, which at first was highly uncomfortable. The man, John Shields, was a legend among legends, highly respected and a little bit frightening given his to-the-point demeanor and no-nonsense way of getting things done.
I had been working on a proposal for some new hardware for our SAP accounting package and it was time to present it to the new boss. I had done my homework, but I had no idea what to expect. I knew what our old boss would have done; he would have taken it over himself, done the work to get it approved, and taken much (but not all) of the credit for the idea as well.
That wasn’t John’s style. When I presented the project to him he quickly looked through my proposal. He didn’t make comments about format or ask questions about the small things. Instead, he asked a few pointed questions, asked the price tag, leaned back in his chair, looked me in the eye, and asked me if this was what we needed to do. I started to go into how to finance the project, and John said, “My job is finance, your job is technical. Is this what we need to do?” I said yes, and the project was approved that quickly.
A short time later I felt I needed to hire another team member, I presented my arguments to John, and he asked me, as he always did, if this was what we needed to do. I said “I think so.” John smiled and told me “come back to me when you know.” Now that made me think…
The most productive, fulfilling time of my career was the brief year that I worked for that man. He was concerned with making me comfortable being part of his team, and allowing me to do my job in a responsible manner. He didn’t care in the least about taking any credit for the ideas or the projects, nor did he have any preconceived ideas on what was best on a technical level. He simply wanted solutions that fulfilled the goals of the company.
Other bosses didn’t work like John. You see, John explained the goals, then allowed his team to decide how to meet those goals and solve the problems. He seemed to take delight in getting others to take responsibility, step up to the plate, and come up with their own solutions. In other words, John treated his team as responsible adults, and he expected them to act like it.
Most other managers pull responsibility towards themselves, all the while claiming they want their team to be responsible. They seem to want to not just make the decisions, but to control the process of making decisions, and to manage (if not micromanage) the entire process. The problem is the team stops being responsible, in greater or lessor degree, which reduces their abilities and their power to get things done.
Personally, I believe it is far better to manage a team who can not just resolve problems on their own, but who can think for themselves and take responsibility not just for their own area, but for the whole team, department or company.
John Shields passed away on October 31st, 2014. Rest in Peace.
A book coach can help you get your book written without breaking the bank!
You say you want to write a book, but the process of getting a book done is a mystery. Maybe you started a few times, written a few pages, and realized how difficult it will be. You look into hiring a ghostwriter, and it seems to get a good one will be very expensive – more than you can afford. But you really need a book to promote your brand or record your memoir for your children and family.
But what can you do? You’re not a writer, you’re not sure what to do, and you don’t have the money that ghostwriters are asking. You already figured out the going to the cheap, low-end ghostwriters would be a mistake. Your name will be on the book, and you don’t want to be associated with garbage.
Are you stuck? Do you have to give up your dream of a book?
As it turns out, you can get your book written without the expense of a ghostwriter or going to classes taking the time to learn how to write. No, it’s not magic, and you don’t need to cast any spells or sell your soul or anything like that.
You can work with a professional writer in a collaborative manner in one form or another.
This goes under a variety of names: book coaching, developmental editing, and book collaborating, among others. All of these boil down to the same thing: you working with professional writer or ghostwriter to help you get your book finished in a timely manner.
How does it work?
The process is actually very simple.
Find a professional writer who offers the service. You can hire The Writing King to help you with your book using our book coaching service.
The service includes a free consultation up to one hour to discuss your requirements, and let you know how the process works.
You pre-purchase a block of hours, which you use up as you go through the coaching service.
Calls are scheduled, and you and your book coach work through your book from beginning to end. Generally, the book coach will start with understanding your goals, reviewing your synopsis, and helping you write each chapter one by one.
You write the chapters yourself with the help of your book coach. Your coach will be there every step of the way, guiding you, looking over your shoulder to ensure that you create the best book possible.
Your coach can help you with grammar, editing, plotting, organizing, outlining, and everything else involved in putting your ideas down in written form.
Once you use up your initial block of hours, you purchase another block, and continue the process.
The advantages of this method are many.
Using a book coach or developmental editor is far less expensive than having your book ghostwritten.
While you’re being coached, you’re also learning how to write a book. Thus, you’ll be much more able to write future books on your own, or require less help from your book coach.
One of the jobs of your book coach is to help motivate you so that you get your book completed. This makes it far more likely that you’ll actually finish your project and get your book published.
Far less money is on the table at any time than with ghostwriting. Your typical ghostwriter will ask for a 25%, nonrefundable deposit upfront. You can engage a book coach by purchasing a block of 20 hours. This money nonrefundable, but the amount is far smaller than a 25% deposit for the entire project..
Perhaps most important of all, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you wrote your book. In a ghostwriting relationship, your ghostwriter write your book and you take credit for it. That’s not true in a book coaching relationship. You actually do write your own book.
Does that sound intriguing?
Schedule an appointment with The Writing King today to discuss how we can help get your book completed in a way that makes sense for you, your skill level, your time, and your budget.
That’s an interesting question. I am a ghostwriter, and I written 16 books for other people which they then published under their own name.
When we are talking about books, there is nothing unethical about ghostwriting. In fact, you could bet that every celebrity, politician, sports person, CEO, or anyone else famous that has “wrote” a book used a ghostwriter.
These people use ghostwriters for variety of reasons. First and foremost, they don’t have the time to write a book. Let me tell you from my own experience that putting together a book is not easy by any means. Brainstorming the idea, researching it, writing the first draft, revising it numerous times, getting it edited and proofread, revising it yet again, and finally getting it published are things that are best done by professionals.
Second, a ghostwriter is a professional and knows how to write. A CEO may know how to run a company, and actress may have won an Oscar, and a politician may have been elected, but odds are none of them have ever written anything of any consequence in their life.
A ghostwriter takes the ideas and concepts of a person or group and creates the book or story around them.
Without ghostwriters, many stories would never be told at all. It’s doubtful that any politician would write a book. Very few, if any, actors or actresses would tell us their stories. The lives of sports celebrities would be mostly unknown.
You could think of a ghostwriter as kind of translator between the mind of a person or people and the written word. A ghostwriter takes ideas and creates interesting stories from those.
When I was younger, I subscribed to many different magazines. I was fascinated by different subjects, including military history, geopolitics, science fiction, fantasy, and photography. At first, the advertising was sparse and generally ads seem to be positioned with articles and content with a similar subject. Any other ads were in the back section of the magazine.
It was obvious, especially looking back from now, that the people at magazines in charge of the layout of the copy went to a great deal of trouble to put it all together in a way that made sense. Of course, advertising was necessary, because otherwise the price would be out-of-bounds. By selling ads, magazines could lower the price to their subscribers.
Coming forward in time, many magazines lost track of their purpose and began showing more and more advertisements until it became a ridiculous situation. In some cases, the page count of advertisements was more than the page count of content.
Why would any magazine feel that people want to buy a thick, slickly produced book full of ads?
I canceled many subscriptions over this issue. Today, I only subscribe to magazines that are advertising free, or at least very close to it. It makes the magazine more expensive, but that’s a small price to pay to not be undated with worthless advertising.
As the Internet came online, the same mindset took hold. Advertising exploded, until now you have pop ups, pop unders, interstitial s, ads within ads next to copy, and ads anywhere else that they can conceivably be stuffed.
It’s gotten to the point where YouTube even interrupts videos to play in advertising video for a few seconds. It’s entirely obnoxious, to the point of being unforgivable.
Today advertising seems to be everywhere.
My biggest issue is when I pay for something such as going to the movies, I don’t expect to get advertising as part of the movie. I paid for that movie. Not only that, they’re not cheap. So in addition to paying to watch a release, I have to sit through three, four or even more advertisements. Add to that the six or seven previews that I’ve already seen, and by the time the movie starts I more than a little annoyed. This is one of the reasons why I don’t go to the movies anymore.
It gets even worse. I’ve started to see advertising put at the beginning of DVDs and Blu-rays. This is beyond obnoxious – and sometimes these advertisements cannot be skipped.
Is it morally wrong to use an adblock plugin?
I think the question is a little bit naïve. I think a better question would be “is it morally wrong to be funding services based on an advertising model?”
Facebook isn’t free, as the article There Ain’t no Such Thing as a Free Lunch describes. It appears to be free, because no one asks you for any money to use it. But you do pay for it. You pay every time you use it by giving up your personal information. Facebook knows every mouse click, every movement of the cursor, how long you hovered the mouse over a particular line or graphic. It knows what kind of monitor and computer you have. If you have a smart phone, Facebook knows where you’ve been, and, depending on your settings, it may have recorded everything you’ve said within range of your phone.
No, Facebook isn’t free by far. Nor is Google, LinkedIn, or any other advertising based anything on the Internet. You pay more than you can imagine for the privilege of using their service.
One of the most obnoxious practices is websites, especially newspapers, that won’t let you read the articles without paying a fee or for subscription. The problem is not that they demand money – that’s totally fine. The problem is there articles appear in search listings such as Google and Bing. My opinion is if an article isn’t free, it shouldn’t appear in the search engines.
Generally, if you’ve gone to the trouble to install an adblock plug-in or software, you’re probably not going to be looking at advertisements anyway. It’s a good bet that you won’t be clicking on banners or textual ads, and that pop-ups and pop unders are going to annoy you.
In summary, you could think of this as a bit of a war between advertisers and people. I’m not sure there will be a winner and a loser, but it is interesting watching how the battles proceed. Obviously, advertisers will come up with ways to get around adblock plugins, which will then fix those holes, and the whole cycle will repeat.