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Advertisements for ghostwriters

Topics/tags: Rants, rambly, language, long

For some reason, I’ve started getting email messages advertising ghostwriting services. I knew my writing wasn’t great. However, I hadn’t realized that it was of a caliber that suggests I need a ghostwriter [1]. Or perhaps it’s that the InterWeb has figured out that I’m friends with someone who does a bit of ghostwriting and thought that means I was looking for one.

Here’s the email that I received.

From: Ghost Writing LLC
Subject: [Bulk Mail] Samuel Rebelsky, Hire a Ghost Writer at 85% Off for your Book Writing & Publishing

Hello Samuel Rebelsky ,

We believe in your ideas and it is time to turn them into reality! It was this very thought that got things going for popular figures like Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Stephen King, Bills Gates and J. K. Rowling.

As a part of our promotional week (ending today), we are offering you this once in a lifetime chance to become a Best Selling Author in the U.S and other parts of the world by bringing your ideas to life. But do you find it hard to make time and put your ideas down on paper? We can help! View Pricing

HIRE TOP GHOSTWRITERS AT 85% OFF TO CREATE YOUR MASTERPIECE & BECOME A BEST SELLING AUTHOR

About Ghost Writing LLC .

Ghost Writing LLC is a premium ghostwriting and publishing services are aimed at assisting you to achieve your professional writing and publishing goals. Right from the initial stages to the moment when you open your book for the first time, our diligent ghostwriter, editor and a seasoned consultant will be at your service to ensure perfection in your publication.

This is what we have been doing for decades and we are the best in business. Our statured client list is a testament to our dedication and premium service to our clients, and we promise you the same service standards. Book Writing INC.’s service includes everything you will ever need to transform your ideas into a beautifully drafted, published book.

Our services are highly recommended by various renowned online publishers, including Google Books, Amazon, Ingram and Barnes and Noble.

We have helped thousands of authors to get their work published. Are you next?

HIRE TOP GHOSTWRITERS AT 85% OFF TO CREATE YOUR MASTERPIECE & BECOME A BEST SELLING AUTHOR

Don’t forget that this is a LIMITED TIME OFFER ending Today! If you have what it takes to become a top-selling published author.

Looking forward to hear from you ASAP!

Regards,
Richard Brown
Senior Writing Consultant

Fascinating, isn’t it? Ignoring the bigger issues (e.g., that one who hires a ghostwriter is not really an author and that it is unlikely that Edison, Twain, King, and Rowling hired ghostwriters [2,3]), I’m not sure why anyone would hire someone so given to hyperbole and challenged in style and grammar [4].

Just for fun, I’ll sic Grammarly on their text.

Are you ready? I know that I am!

Looking forward to hear from you ASAP!

hear -> hearing

The verb hear is usually in the gerund form when following the word Looking forward to [5]. Consider replacing it with the -ing form.

Good advice. [6]

We believe in your ideas and it is time to turn them into reality!

, and

It appears that you are missing a comma before the coordinating conjunction and in a compound sentence. Consider adding a comma.

I agree that the sentence is poorly phrased. I’d suggest a more significant edit because the two parts of the sentence are so disjoint.

Right from the initial stages to the moment when you open your book for the first time, our diligent ghostwriter, editor and a seasoned consultant will be at your service to ensure perfection in your publication.

, and

Your sentence contains a series of three or more words, phrases, or clauses. Consider adding a comma to separate the elements.

It’s nice to know that Grammarly believes in the Oxford comma. But it’s also a weird sentence. Do they only have one diligent ghostwriter? Why isn’t there an article with editor?

This is what we have been doing for decades and we are the best in business.

, and

It appears that you are missing a comma before the coordinating conjunction and in a compound sentence. Consider adding a comma.

_I appreciate that Grammarly is grouping all the criticisms of and. Once again, I’d suggest a different change. Perhaps a semicolon. They also need "the best in the business*, but I assume Grammarly will come back to that issue later. [7]_

Our services are highly recommended by various renowned online publishers, including Google Books, Amazon, Ingram and Barnes and Noble.

, and

Your sentence contains a series of three or more words, phrases, or clauses. Consider adding a comma to separate the elements.

In case you weren’t sure, Grammarly dislikes the and in Barnes and Noble. That’s wrong. But the recommendation for an Oxford comma is appropriate. [8]

Hello Samuel Rebelsky ,

Rebelsky , -> Rebelsky,

It appears that you have improperly spaced some punctuation. Consider removing a space.

I’d missed that. Good catch! (And careless formatting, Richard Brown! That’s yet another reason I won’t hire you.)

About Ghost Writing LLC .

LLC . -> LLC.

It appears that you have improperly spaced some punctuation. Consider removing a space.

Shouldn’t there be a comma before LLC? My quick search of the InterWeb suggests that either is acceptable. Of course, most of that advice comes from lawyers rather than writers, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.

But do you find it hard to make time and put your ideas down on paper?

ideas -> thoughts

The word ideas appears repeatedly in this text. Consider using a synonym in its place.

’Eh. I see some value in repetition, at least in this piece. I also expect that clients will want their ideas rather than thoughts recorded.

It was this very thought that got things going for popular figures like Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Stephen King, Bills Gates and J. K. Rowling.

popular -> famous

The word popular is often overused. Consider using a more specific synonym to improve the sharpness of your writing.

I’m not sure whether famous is more appropriate for this audience. I’d also replace figures with writers or authors, since that’s the focus of the advertisement.

And that’s it? Wow. Grammarly let me down. It didn’t identify the grammatical errors I mentioned earlier. It missed the repeated use of to be verbs (e.g., It is time … It was this …). It missed the use of this as a pronoun (This is what …) [9].

What next? Let’s see what Microsoft Word suggests!

Hello Samuel Rebelsky ,

Word also wants them to drop the space.

As a part of our promotional week (ending today), we are offering you this once in a lifetime chance to become a Best Selling Author in the U.S and other parts of the world by bringing your ideas to life.

Word suggests hyphenating Best-Selling. I’m surprised that it doesn’t suggest a change in capitalization. And isn’t once-in-a-lifetime supposed to be hyphenated? [10]

Um, that’s it. And I thought Grammarly let me down. I guess the world needs better writing tools [14].

Wait a minute! I may have configured Grammarly for the musings. Let’s see … My intent is to Inform. I can keep that. My audience is General. I can keep that. My style is Informal. Perhaps I should change that to Formal. My emotion is Mild. While their text is filled with bold and all-caps, we’ll pretend that they want to be mild, too. My domain is General. I guess there was only one setting to change. Or perhaps I can clear all of the goals and see what happens.

Let’s see what new criticisms [16] Grammarly can come up with.

If you have what it takes to become a top-selling published author.

Sentence fragment

This appears to be an incomplete sentence. Consider rewriting the sentence or connecting the fragment with another sentence.

I’m glad to see that Grammarly does catch some incomplete sentences. I’m surprised that it ignores them in informal writing.

Ghost Writing LLC is a premium ghostwriting and publishing services are aimed at assisting you to achieve your professional writing and publishing goals.

Passive voice

This sentence appears to be written in the passive voice [17]. Consider writing in the active voices.

A reasonable recommendation. Let’s see. Perhaps We aim to assist you ….

This is what we have been doing for decades and we are the best in business.

Unclear antecedent.

It may be unclear who or what This refers to. Consider rewriting the sentence to remove the unclear reference.

I’m glad to see that Grammarly caught the This.

Our services are highly recommended by various renowned online publishers, including Google Books, Amazon, Ingram and Barnes and Noble.

Passive voice

This sentence appears to be written in the passive voice. Consider writing in the active voices.

Looking forward to hearing from you ASAP!

Sentence fragment

This appears to be an incomplete sentence. Consider rewriting the sentence or connecting the fragment with another sentence.

I wouldn’t be as concerned about that one.

And that’s it. Grammarly missed some things that I’d catch. But that’s life.

Oh, I do have one more tool! Linux spell check suggests that statured is misspelled. In rereading the text, I think it’s just that it’s the wrong word. Statured is a valid word, but not really in this context.

In any case, We have established that the folks at Ghost Writing LLC aren’t even up to the standards of these tools.


Postscript: Note that I am not opposed to the concept of ghostwriting. While I would not hire a ghostwriter, I do understand that they can provide useful services. And, as I said, I do have a friend who does some ghostwriting [18]. But Ghost Writing, LLC is clearly not worth hiring, even at an 85% discount [19].


[1] Or ghost writer.

[2] What about Gates? I’m less certain. I’ve heard of Bill Gates. But I’m not sure who this Bills Gates person is.

[3] Come to think of it, I’m not so sure about Edison, either. He was known to claim the work of his underlings.

[4] The two sentences that stick out to me are Ghost Writing LLC is a premium ghostwriting and publishing services are aimed at assisting you to achieve your professional writing and publishing goals and If you have what it takes to become a top-selling published author.

[5] Dear Grammarly: I’m pretty sure that Looking forward to is not a word.

[6] However, Grammarly is critical of its own text. It notes,

It appears that the phrase hear is contains an unnecessary verb. Review the sentence to determine the appropriate correction.

[7] I was wrong; it did not.

[8] When I inserted the comma after Ingram, Grammarly closed the complaint.

[9] One of my early editors regularly commented on my use of this as a pronoun. It’s a good piece of advice, and I’ve carried that caution into my own editing.

[10] Grammarist [11] suggests it should be hyphenated when used as an adjective. Some random Free English Punctuation Guide also agrees, even though it phrases it as one in a lifetime [12].

[11] Not to be confused with Grammarly.

[12] If they can’t get the phrase right or consistent, should they be trusted? Their analysis of under-graduate in the next paragraph is also awkward. However, their rationale that Using hyphens make these multi-word compound adjectives makes them easier to read is good, although perhaps not sufficient.

[14] Perhaps I just need access to better writing tools [15].

[15] editing tools, critiquing tools, style tools, grammar tools … whatever you want to call them.

[16] suggestions, observations, whatever.

[17] Grammarly also thinks that it’s own sentence appears to be written in the passive voice.

[18] No, I won’t tell you who it is.

[19] Of course, the fact that the firm that needs to give discounts on their services suggests something.


Version 1.0 of 2018-08-21.