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Have a Q that isn’t A’ed? Just hit us up. We’re down to help.
You won’t be stranded in the shade unless you fail to yelp.

Have a Q that isn’t A’ed? Just hit us up. We’re down to help. You won’t be stranded in the shade unless you fail to yelp.

General

We can’t tell you we’re the definitive best. That sort of thing is in the (dotted, italicized) i of the beholder . . . but we’re good at what we do, our customers are always pleased, and our prices are comparatively low. Subterranean low. You shouldn’t have to mortgage your home to get with a publishing house—and you don’t.

The Specter Staff is talented all around. Each of our writers is professionally trained, active in the field, and patient as a saint. For this reason, most projects will simply be allocated to whoever is available at the time of your outreach. Be that as it may, some pieces require niche specialization—especially when it comes to ghostwriting, nonfiction, screenplays, and poetry. In such cases, we’ll make certain to provide the agent whose skill set is tailored to your needs. Furthermore, all coaching exchanges are handled by our website founders.    

Wrong. Unless they have a printing press and contract in hand, the party who promises publication is lying through their teeth. Amazing, well-written stories are rejected every day, and no one can really read tea leaves. All we’ve got is coffee and gumption. What we can pledge is an edge.  

In short, we value the privacy of clients and personnel. “Our” writers are their own writers and maintain every right to keep commission work separate from more personal endeavors. Anonymity doesn’t, however, equate to impersonality. We’re fully invested in long-term ties and don’t believe this policy to loosen or prohibit them. As some guy put it, what’s in a name? 

Ghostwriting

It should come as no surprise that this depends greatly upon a variety of factors. Amongst them are genre/topic, approximate word count, and the desired date of completion. Before your contract is drafted, all pertinent details will be discussed at length, including the timeline—and one thing we’re never is late.  

This is our spendiest service, and we wouldn’t expect anyone to simply “hope for the best.” Enter milestones, which allow a client to review the work in progress and pay as it progresses. Where (in-house) ghostwriting is concerned, said system isn’t just allowed. It’s actively encouraged. Effective collaboration requires effective communication, and you’re not the only one who’ll want to know that things are on track (moving in the right direction). No one can pat the back of a ghost, but words of praise mean much.

Herein lies the chief benefit of milestone creation: numerous opportunities to oversee an expansive project prior to its completion. After each review, we’ll alter content per your instructions, and when the document is done, you’ll receive three additional revision rounds. Once these final amendments have been made, a discrete (fresh-eyed) specter will step in to work their proofreading magic.  

You do—100 percent. A contract transferring all rights will be drawn up at the time that your order is placed. This agreement will also contain service inclusions and a confidentiality clause. 

Editing

Almost everyone should, but let’s be real: despite our competitive pricing, even a Specter Services edit isn’t cheap. (It’s time-consuming work, and the rates reflect as much.) For this reason, we never push anyone to spend beyond their means. Still unsure of where to start? We’ll evaluate a ten-page sample and get back to you with our thoughts. If you’re sticking to a strict budget, please make note of the fact, and we’ll take this into consideration as well. It isn’t in our interest to advocate needless edits. We thrive on your satisfaction and hope you’ll mention us to that prolific entourage of yours.

YA? Upmarket fiction? You name it. All literature must conform to a style guide. The day may come when everyone agrees about serial commas, but, for now, the only consensus is this: whatever you’re writing, consistency is key. (Random commas trigger comas.) Whereas The AP Stylebook is favored for journalism and corporate communications, The Chicago Manual of Style is most popular in the book publishing industry, so that’s what we generally use. Don’t worry, though. Rules are meant to be bent. We’re here to lend a hand—not wrestle for creative control.

In the end, it’s your book, and you’ll be free to accept or reject our revisions as you see fit. Any changes deemed “controversial” will be accompanied by a note from the editor, and if you have further questions, they’ll be answered promptly. Ask and you shall receive. 

Going all in with one’s art is a valiant act, but we don’t want anyone to go bust on our watch. If a full edit is presently beyond your budget, we have another option for you: a partial one. Literary agents rarely ask for more than fifty pages of an unsolicited manuscript, so—sure—we’ll spruce up the start of your book and save the rest for later. This isn’t ideal, as you’ll find yourself scrambling when asked for a full submission . . . but sometimes the best way to play your cards is bluffing a stronger hand. 

Queries

Beginning your query letter with “Dear Literary Agent” spells “spam” (i.e., rejection), but there’s no reason not to reheat the same old meat and potatoes. Adding custom spice is nice. Our protein and carbs can stay.  

It’s important to be diligent throughout the querying process. Most agents have a “wish list,” and contacting someone who doesn’t deal with your genre is a waste of time. Put on a pot of joe, and read those profiles carefully. It’s always advisable to seek out those who quarterbacked books that are similar to your own.  

As many as it takes . . . but don’t rush. We’ve all heard the statistics. Everyone is more likely to have an accident near home. You’re wiped after a long (word) haul and complacent on the familiar roads (of email). You’re ready for stature’s sofa and prone to make mistakes. Here’s our advice: slap yourself awake, switch off the radio, and navigate more carefully than ever. This is no time for speeding. Come to a stop after ten or so agents. Wait for responses. Drive on.   

This isn’t so different from online dating. Think of your prospective agent as a clear catch who’s constantly barraged by proposals. You feel you could impress ’em over dinner, but getting to tapas is tough. They’ve heard all the one-liners, and—let’s face it—you aren’t that good-looking. So how do you get attention? (The proper, not creepy PM kind.) Plainly enough, a potent profile is needed, but writing about yourself requires surprising skill. Flattened out on the page, dynamic attributes can look lame . . . or downright detrimental—not to mention the fine line between poise and pomposity. You aim for “assurance” but often miss the u, r, a, n, c, and e. You really want a partner? Let us spiff you up a bit. We’ve got to nail your introduction. 

Synopses

No one is closer to a work of art than its creator—wonderful, surely, but often a curse. If someone asked you to tell your life story in sixty seconds, you’d no doubt be confounded. Information overload, right? If someone asked one of your chums to step in and do it for you, things would run more smoothly. Why? Regardless of the friendship’s solidity, compadres don’t care about that bummer breakup you went through in middle school—even if it did set the stage for all else that followed. Such is the case with synopses. It’s just easier for those in the background to determine details of foremost importance. Our specters make awesome BFFs, but first, of course, they need to know you . . . thoroughly—through and through. 

To reiterate, every literary agency has its own submission guidelines, and even within a single shop, one writer’s rep. may differ from the next. This means that assembling a “catchall synopsis” is basically impossible. You may be free of spirit, but breaking the rules is no way to demonstrate your desirability to a possible business partner. If they request a lone page, that’s what you’d better send them—no more, no less. If room is left for a longer version, why not fill it up completely? Make no peace with “good enough.” You need to strut your stuff. 

As soon as the plot has been set. Even if your manuscript still needs mechanical corrections, we can get started on the synopsis. In fact, an early start means significant savings, as you won’t have to spring for a separate reading fee (if you place your order before the editing process begins). Who would think to double charge you? Monsters. Not us ghosts.  

Fiction and nonfiction synopses are decidedly different. Whereas a work of fiction must be finished at the time of its proposal, nonfiction titles are often considered pre-completion. (A handful of chapters will generally do.) For this reason, the latter synopsis requires far greater detail and will always include market research as well. Projects bearing little meat had better boast bodacious bones. What’s more, your dino’s skeleton should always be assembled.   

Book Blurbs

Been tucked away in a technophobic cave since the ’90s? No problem. SEO is the process of positioning a site or product page to channel quality traffic from respective search engines. Now, we don’t profess to understand every in and out of these corporate algorithms. No one honestly could. (For all their datamining, tech giants are strikingly secretive by nature.) That said, we always do our homework and build each blurb around a list of keywords intended to boost your book’s ranking. Patently, the Amazon is teeming with unstudied species. Your beast shan’t be one of those. Facilitate discovery and global excitation.   

From movie posters to product labels, taglines are everywhere. Even this website has one. (It’s meant to broadcast our wit, warmth, and imperative function, but you already knew that . . . subconsciously.) Some brand slogans garner enough fame to concretize as household terms—the holy grail of marketing. Others serve as a glam-free subtext. (Here is what this is, so there.) Book taglines aren’t designed to dominate the cultural consciousness or frankly inform. They’re meant to sorcerize perusers—draw them down the title well. We wouldn’t dream of not including such a vital spell. 

Capital Y-E-S. If you’re not completely happy, we’re completely miserable. Let us know what isn’t grand. Your wish is our command.

Sure, to a certain extent—just like (enjoyable) books do. There isn’t anything wrong with formulas . . . ’long as they’re used correctly, of course. They work for infants and mathematicians. Artists should feel no shame.

Coaching

Content with your level of expertise? Feel no need to improve? Sorry, bub, but you’re in the wrong line of work. (Doesn’t matter which one.) Actually human? Aware that perfection’s carrot is doomed to dangle forever? Nonetheless stoked about chasing it? Awesome. Nothing will whip you into better shape than pursuing an impossibility. Call it “The Artist’s Workout.” Don’t run yourself ragged, though. There’s always the danger of that. A “personal trainer” may be just what you need. Someone to keep an eye on your progress. Someone to point out your weaknesses (gently). Someone to keep you on track, instruct, and offer moral support. 

There isn’t one right way to avail yourself of coaching. This system can be used for general improvement, ideational consultation (viz., “spitballing”), or throughout the course of an arduous venture. Do remember, however: a genie’s magic is only as good as the lamp-rubber’s wishes. Yes, we’re trained to read between lines, but—still—it’s a skill with limitations. Don’t just provide an open book. Embody one yourself.

Typically, we recommend sticking with one coach, but if you see fit to change things up, that’s just fine. Burning for a brand-new view? We’ll pass you like a torch.

Never.