Animators, the 1938 ad claims, can earn up $20,000 a year, which would be the equivalent of nearly $700,000 in today’s money.
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Amazing what adjusting for inflation can do and how upside down things are these days when it comes to who gets paid the big bucks.
Maybe you should stop to think of yourself as extremely talented (that’s the fourth time I see you using those words).
No thank you, I’d prefer not to be harassed or buried under thousands of nutty messages.
So quit trying to make yourselves feel big by talking sh*t to me when you don’t even know what you are talking about.
Cartoons back then were more complicated to make too, but at the same time you had far more time and freedom to make them on top of a bigger budget.
Its a shame how animators have gone from making a good living to having to drown themselves into debt to even HOPE to make an honest living in animation. Did anyone else click on this article hoping to find the identity of the “Former Walt Disney artist” involved in this school?
It’s pretty remarkable to see what Art Babbit risked in the Disney strike, knowing how much he himself was pulling in.
I think animators should continue to produce their own stuff (when they can) and find ways to make it more of an opportunity for them. But instead, they just grab people to do the same thing of Adventure Time, just a little different.
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There are not many that can pull that look off, holgs is one of the few that make that look work. When your hair gets referenced as "The McCracken" on national television, why in the hell would you ever change it?! I thought about that a lot back when my freelance work mainly included writing for blogs and a local newspaper. That first project gave me the street-cred I needed to become a full-time freelancer and ghostwriter. Want to learn how to land your first contract to ghostwrite a book and grow your freelance business? As a ghostwriter, you really have to get into the mind of the person you’re writing about to capture their voice, personality, and conversational style before you can tell their story. Take closer look at your own network of contacts, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a ghostwriting opportunity there if you ask the write questions. My first clients came through personal relationships: the mentor who ran a large nonprofit, the financial advisor who visited the same coffee shop where I wrote every day, the family friend I’d known since I was nine years old.
For example, this simple question connected me with a veteran artist with a book idea to teach up-and-coming painters how to make a full-time living as an artist without a side-gig at Starbucks. They either have the funds to hire a ghostwriter or they have a large platform that could entice a publisher. If you can find someone with all three of these things, you’ve found a new potential client.
If you can write, like telling stories for other people, and don’t mind the anonymity of ghostwriting, it’s worth pursuing to grow your freelancing business. Ghostwriting is one of the most rewarding jobs you can do in the writing sphere, both personally and monetarily. Just remember to ask that simple, but all important question, “Have you ever thought about writing a book?” And you’ll be one step closer to finding your first ghostwriting client.
Joe Bunting is a ghostwriter and founder of the award-winning website for writers, The Write Practice.
I had never imagined that ghostwriting a book could be so lucrative, especially for someone just starting out. My personal stock reply when people approach me about books or ebooks is that my floor to even talk about it is $10,000.
I very much appreciate seeing actual numbers paired with actual experience being quoted here, by both Joe and Carol. It’s so important to get milestone payments with book projects, because often, the book never sees the light of day. Wow, Joe, that was some great experience You’ve had with ghostwriting, and seriously, I would have really loved to walk majestically into ghost-writing. But well, I’ll bookmark this page till I have the right network for ghost-writing around me.
My Take-away here is the project cost division as I’ve had a kind of not-so-good experience in that aspect. When you are working on book projects, do you single thread or complete other projects concurrently?

Thank you for your post, i have liked ghost writing though they charge highly but am going to start saving. Ghost writing is something i’ve been researching and this article has been super informative and helpful. As you said in this article, ghostwriting really needs to get such a pay for the efforts of the author.
My experience is most of the $20K-$50K book ghosting deals come through the big agencies that tend to represent a lot of these deals, and through your own network of connections — so start building them!
I have no formal writing experience (except for a few company newsletter articles) but I would like to write for a living.
Wanting to keep it a secret that you want ghostwriting work will really make it tough, David. Stop trying to avoid putting anything on your LinkedIn profile, and make it reflect who you want to be.
You can earn an additional $50 per week for each person you refer and $1 per hr viewing for each person they refer.
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That probably didn’t happen very often, if at all, but animator Art Babbitt did make $11,363 at Disney in 1936, which would be $455,000 today.
This problem of time management with the workload is not just a work problem, it starts with the animation schools demanding these fast turnarounds, and it follows them into the industry. Quick work times keeps the budget low, less pay to the crew, episodes are done quicker so they can be revised like mad.
The way I see it, they should stick to user feedback on the internet and episode ratings, free things without the trouble of a controlled enviorment. IMO They have too many Calarts graduates, nothing against the school, they should just look in more spots. For animators (both students and professionals), creating more and more indie content actually is a refreshing product for internet viewers.
For Cartoon Network, I feel they have forgotten who they are (Mufasa anyone?) and they forgotten how they got such great content in the first place.
But instead of bidding on ghostwriting projects for people I didn’t know anything about, I tapped into my network to find my first client. If you were going to grant someone access to tell your life story, you would want to make sure it was someone you knew and trusted. A surgeon friend of mine said he wanted to write a book to share his  unique surgery process to put his patients at ease and grow his practice. When I started freelancing, I wrote blog posts and newspaper articles for as little as $10. I think smart business owners, thought leaders, and anyone responsible for leading a community of people all know how life-changing books can be.
I was approached earlier this week by a publishing company who wanted to hire me to ghostwrite a book for one of their clients.
And yes, as I was just saying in another comment, so many of these projects never end up panning out, and you don’t end up with a credit that helps your portfolio, or a testimonial, or referrals, or anything. It’s really useful info for those of us just starting out, who have a tendency to undervalue our work. You don’t think university presidents, CEOs and such as sitting around crafting their own speeches, right? I see an awful lot of book or ebook projects go sideways, grind to a halt, have to hire a second writer, because there wasn’t clarity on what needed to happen, who would do what, and by when.
Not sure if I’ll have the patience to work at a book for so long, so I think $10000 starting pay is about right. The process can be a bit different, depending on whether your’e working with an established writer or someone without credentials. Just that I don’t have a good network to tap into, or atleast, ones that will pay to satisfaction.
As well as having my own books and kindles published I have been a contributing author to others and also write for the Huff Post Business Africa’s Female Entrepreneurs series and others. As someone that likes to dive deeply into projects, I could see this being a significant part of my future writing given the opportunity. Today, it has become a trend that people are searching such ghostwriters to get their autobiography written by them.
They can’t stop you from being a freelance writer — plenty of people do that on the side of a full-time job! I just let them know who I wanted to freelance for, so they could see I wasn’t writing for any of their direct competitors, and they were fine with it.
This makes it sad and frustrating, as they accumulate a lot of debt doing this kind of work for classes, then turn around in the work force and not receive the funds to pay back the schools.

Most of the old guard are either doing independent stuff (as more CGI is taking over for the preferred medium) or moved on to other movie production studios instead of television.
I think more and more animators need to follow Ralph Bakshi’s advice which is to do your own thing and find ways to get paid for it. That or let the writersartists decide things, the people who’ve been trained in their profession.
Networks and executives have yet to grab the product of internet produced animations like indie animators and indie animation studios.
Should executives bring that back that control to the artists, who knows what we’ll see. Doug is wondering when is it time for a man to admit that he needs to shave his head or at least cut it very short. I get to hang out with people who are at the top of their professions, people with 30 years of experience doing what they love. I’ve always wanted to write a book about…” It’s sparked some interesting conversations and landed me some ghostwriting book gigs. And it even got my dad to spill the beans that he was planning to write a new adventure novel. One of the biggest reasons ghostwriting gigs fizzle out halfway through is because of unmet or unclear expectations. When I get stuck during the writing process, I imagine asking my client questions and then simply writing those answers down. My question is about how I credit myself on my website, since obviously I can’t post a clip. I’ve never worked with them before but knew enough about ghostwriting to ask probing questions and learn more about the project. She had received a prestigious award and needed to address a group of professional colleagues. For the former, you will probably work on spec, expecting that the author’s credentials will be enough to get a publishing deal and thus a paycheck, but for the latter, you would do a similar process as outlined above. After I delivered and it was time for him to pay, he held back about $5 and there was Nothing I could do about it.
If you don’t know people who want to write a book and can pay a fair wage, I bet you know people who do. I love telling other people’s stories and I do it well, so have recently been seriously considering ghostwriting.
Mutt and Jeff creator Bud Fisher pulled in $150,000 in 1916, or $11.9 million in today’s dollars. A total unfair situation for animators and students, only the executives and school administrators win. It really shared all the different styles, storytelling, and projects people (not just kids) were willing to watch and demand.
For example, if you’re ghostwriting a book for someone, explain the process and timeline, how many revisions they’ll get, and when you’ll need specific feedback from them. Requiring a client to sign a contract will weed out the people who aren’t committed, while protecting you in the case that a client does flake out.
To capture your client’s voice quickly, transcribe those recordings and pull exact phrases and sentences from the interview. Now I charge $25,000 to $35,000 to ghostwrite a book. More than anything, ghostwriting can allow you to do what you love while serving amazing people and getting paid what you deserve.
They offered $1,000 to write a 23,000 word book requiring an 8-week turnaround time and one chapter per week.
Writers just DO NOT understand what a HUGE time and energy commitment ghosting a book for someone is.
Practice this exercise, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you begin to think like your client.
Listen carefully to the conversations you have with your clients or examine their writing for the vernacular that makes them unique.
I would have a quick chat with your client about it, ask what he or she is comfortable with, and go from there.
Then make a note of these words and phrases, add them to a client style guide, and use them in your writing.You usually figure this out as you go.
You’ve also given me the outline I needed on how long and how many hours to require for such projects. But more often than not it’s usually the small miscommunications and confusing expectations that cause a gig to fail.

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