KAREN S. COLE
- GUEST GHOST WRITER -
This is my first interview with a ghost writer.
Welcome, Karen ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
Well, I guess it mainly started when I was about ten. I wrote an assignment called “The Elephant in the Window” about how an elephant (to me, symbolizing the Republicans) was looking into people’s windows to see what they were doing inside their houses. It got an A+ and I began dreaming about becoming a fiction book author.
When I was fourteen, I stood in our basement reading my 2,000+-copy comic book collection. Turning some pages, I ran across Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics maven, and his infamous bullpen of writers. Having read Philip Roth’s related works, I began dreaming of becoming a book ghost writer myself. Envisioning my own company and founding a ghost writing services agency called Rainbow Writing, Inc.
I finally realized this dream in 2003, when I was 42 years old and had been freelance writing on and off over the years. In 2011, I rebranded and became Ghost Writer, Inc. which you can find under various keywords on Google. It’s entirely a business run by me through the friendly skies of the Internet, or the Wild Wild Web as I like to call it. Been at it now for fifteen years, with no plans to stop offering clients affordable ghost writing services.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I’d say it was a part-time process at first. I wrote some in-house stuff for Starbucks, articles for various Internet agencies on a variety of subjects, and five books for Harlequin Romance during the 1980s. Had an article on the front page of Seattle Downtown News, wrote for the disabled community, did book reviews, and worked on a variety of freelance writing and editing jobs. I’ve always worked on prose or poetry, never done any screenplays. But members of our GWI team do scripts, music, tech writing and other stuff I don’t do.
All during my day job, I cared for disabled people as a home health care aide or nurse aide, from 1980 until 2001. For one year, I worked for Internet Advancement as an SEO specialist. But in January of 2003, I finally started Rainbow Writing, Inc. and really began ghost writing in earnest. My first truly ghost-written book was published in 2004 and 2005, and it sold over 20 copies per day from its book sales website.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
Basically, I’m a hip shooter. I call ‘em like I see ‘em! Lately, I don’t work on incoming manuscripts for clients as much. I’m semi-retired, and I send work leads out to my team of 200+ ghosts, editors, marketers, illustrators and others. But when I do work on a book manuscript, first I ask the author client what type of writing, editing etc. it needs.
If starting from scratch, I create a book outline showing all the main points that the book will cover. Usually just a one-page document. And a book timeline, which Larry Leichman of The Floating Gallery told me about when I first started working with them. This document lays out all the important events in chronological order and lists when they occurred.
Another thing I’ve done for a lot of my author clients is telephone interviews. Where I ask them questions over the phone. Also, like this interview by you, Clancy, I do email questions and answers with them. I type everything into Word documents for editing and re-editing as I go along.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The technical work is easy. And the freedom is tremendous. As a freelance writer, I set my own time and payment schedules. As a book ghost writer running a ghost writing services agency, I work whenever I need to, and take off all the time in the world. This works great, I don’t need to report to a boss when I want to take a few days off with the family. As to the work, it’s a labour of love, work intensive when I’m doing it. But I just lay out a schedule and stick with it, to complete my work on time every time.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Sticking with the original author client’s voice can be difficult, if they really don’t have a voice. Some people just spurt out similar-sounding stuff, and it can be hard to detect exactly what their writer’s voice, style and reasoning sounds like their way. And some clients can be very picky about how they want their finished work to read.
Others will start a project and then quit part way through, stating they ran out of money or time. Sometimes people get sick and must quit a project. Once you’re involved, this can be hard on you. One of my clients had to quit because his sister-in-law interfered, saying she was going to sue him if he included his brother in his book.
But the hardest part of running a ghost writing services agency or company is getting work leads to come in. I constantly need to redo our business website to accommodate modern SEO (search engine optimization) practices. Right now, I’m getting ready to rewrite the site to greatly increase landing page conversions. To land more clients to send out to writers on our team, and better jobs for everyone including me.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Like I said before, my day job was nurse aide. Living in home doing personal care for physically and mentally challenged people. That all changed when I got remarried and began working steadily as a book ghost writer running ghost writing services, founding my own agency. As to any past metaphysical existences, I tend not to believe in that sort of thing. But if I was anyone else in a past life, I hope the karma was good enough for this time around.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I’ve had several of my ghost-written books placed into the Library of Congress, including “The Boys of Birmingham” which was about the assassination investigation of Dr. King’s death. It was the first time the real story behind the investigation ever saw print. I’ve also ghosted a work about a ten-camp Holocaust survivor. And I’ve won several writing awards, including poetry awards through Poetry.com many years ago, before Lulu.com took it over. Such as Poetry Ambassador, and others.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Right now, I’m revising our business website to accommodate better website organization and to cause better client leads conversions. So, I’m not working on any book manuscript myself for the next few months. We are also moving out of the house we’ve been living in for the past ten years. This is taking up lots of my time. I could potentially take on a manuscript project, if things let up a little. But for now, I’m sending work on to our 200+ team of ghosts and others - and trying to take it easier this summer than before.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
When people treat me right, that’s the thing that inspires me the most. If a client is friendly, cooperative, polite and timely, it really helps me a lot. The same with all my writers. I’m a believer in the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Every day, I do my best to be professional in all regards, not lose my temper, excel in offering our services and otherwise run a smoothly efficient, operative business with a smile.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I will write in any genre. Over the years, I’ve written in most of them, everything but technical writing. That type of writing is way too specialized to just pick up on it without lots of prior experience and training. But I’ve found over time that memoirs tend to be my specialty. I’ve simply had more requests for life story writing and creating memoir work for our author clients. Other than that, fiction-wise I tend to enjoy writing science fiction.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Nothing but the usual ones: write, write and write some more! And read even more than you write. Keep a daily journal and write down all your drifting thoughts and insane ideas. Especially the ones for new books and articles you could write. Finally, if you don’t have a degree or certificate in some form of writing, get one. It really helps you to land more jobs. Get published, list your services on Guru.com, Freelancers and other places online. Take work for low prices at first, as you build your experience charge more.
12. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
The types of compliments I tend to get are, “You’re so timely,” or about how I respond quickly to emails and requests. And compliments on how well I stick to the original voice of an author client. Also, I get praised about how well Ghost Writer, Inc. delivers on our promises of good work at great pricing. We have several five-star Google Reviews attesting to this. Compliments about our writers reflect well upon Ghost Writer, Inc. as a ghost writing services company, every time an author client is grateful for our services.
13. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I remember something years back about how “I can get work at less than half this price (it was already quite low) in China and India, yadayada…” And sometimes a potential client will say they can get it done by a “kid down the street” or their “best friend” and they don’t need our editing. This is after they’ve contacted us.
All these people have been hugely rude, nasty and impolite. One of them seemed about to hire us for decent money, then they said, “I got a guy who knows people at Marvel Comics, goodbye!” I don’t like “problem” clients who mistreat me and our other writers, they can be a real pain.
It’s hard to tell in advance which ones are going to turn out to be that way. Every time, I do my best to screen out the weirdos and wackos. But some of them come on as normal at first. Then they become a nightmare. One thing: after all these years, GWI has never been sued. Not even once! We always offer great service at affordable pricing and fulfil our clients legally in every way. So, nobody has had any valid complaints yet.
14. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Going for long drives to enjoy the gorgeous Pacific Northwest scenery. And to take walks in our local parks, down trails by the water. This is great during the summer months especially. In the winter, I love nothing more than being contented to read wonderful books of all types and varieties. I keep on the lookout for new books that I’m likely to get a big kick out of. Books that challenge my mind, and books about “Star Trek” and other subjects near and dear to me that are more fun than challenging.
15. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I am going to continue running Ghost Writer, Inc. and handling incoming ghost writing related leads, including marketing, promotions, sales, publishing assistance and other such business. Hopefully until I’m ready to fully retire, which should be around 2028 or so. Or later. If I want to or must, I’ll work until I’m 90 or 100, if I’m around that long. It’s fun!
You can find our ghost writing services company or agency at or by Googling Ghost Writer, Inc. Be careful on the spelling, there are other companies like us out there. But none of them offer you the bestselling authors and ghost writers we have at GWI. For the most affordable ghost writing prices, rates and fees on the open market. Email me at (remember, there’s only one “w” in rainbowriting) and call me at 425.205.9707 West Coast Time, Seattle area.
Our blog website is located at and is loaded with blogs about the business and nature of ghost writing and editing. You can find a list of my short stories at also. As to books, three are currently published under my own name. You can get print versions on Amazon under author name Karen S. Cole. But here are free ebook versions you can download to check out the quality of my own writing:
- The Rainbow Horizon: A Tale of Goofy Chaos. This is probably the world’s very first multicultural humor novel. It’s set in the Pacific NW and is a rollicking romp of a good time.
- Woody Allen Makes a Nice Sandwich: Horror Pastiche, Stories & Poems. This is a tribute to a great man and artist, whom I still am loyal to in spite of the scandals about him. The book is a collection of short stories, not mainly about Woody, though.
– The Book of Nice Monsters: A few Scurrilous Drawings. This book shows my side as a Native American artist, and it’s inspired largely by the works of Dr. Seuss.
Clancy's comment: Well done, Karen. Thank you. I hope you live to a long and successful age.