Frequently Asked Questions

Copywriters tend to work for big PR agencies or freelance “content mills”. While the latter are cheap, the quality of their writing tends to reflect this fact and anyone with basic literacy could do a better job writing their own copy. At the other end of the scale, PR agencies charge their clients hefty fees to cover the cost of admin and other overheads, and to cover the expenses of high-flying spin-doctors who will happily spend your hard-earned money wining and dining journalists in return for “placement” in a newspaper. Invariably, the article will look like a “puff piece”; readers will not even know why they have flicked the page without reading it. A ghostwriter won’t do anything as blatant as ask a journalist to place an article; a ghostwriter won’t ask you to pay for anyone’s lunch; a ghostwriter will be your secret!

No. The purpose of hiring a ghostwriter is to present the work as if it is your own; I am your secret! As a journalist for nearly four decades, working in many different newsrooms, I can assure you that journalists – and, more importantly, readers – always prefer an “authentic” story to “PR-led”, placed “copy”. An eloquently worded, powerfully engaging article sent in by a politician, an expert academic or the Managing Director of a company is infinitely more attractive to a newspaper editor than a press release from a PR agency or anything written by an in-house spin-doctor.  Best of all, you get to keep the fee the newspaper pays you for “your” article.

Not as a ghostwriter. You must know what you want to say before you ask me to say it; I will only provide the words. Remember: I am your voice.
Yes. This is an automatic part of the ghostwriting / copywriting service for no extra charge, and I take pride in my proofreading skills. If, however, you just want me to proof-read a piece you have written, there will be a reduced fee (please see “Prices”).

I have worked for more than three decades in the mainstream media, including the (Irish) local, national and international press. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists and a former member of the National Union of Journalists (I allowed my membership to lapse and am reluctant to re-join because I believe the union’s active participation in political campaigns is incompatible with an organisation representing journalists). Anything I write for you will be tailored to your readership (or audience if it is a speech) and will have the unmistakeable polish of the “mainstream media”, whether it’s for a broadsheet or tabloid. Check out the selection of cuttings on this site for an idea of my range of writing styles, which, while diverse due to the publication and subject-matter, have one thing in common: professional journalism. Of course, individual editors may cut your article or wish to make changes; if so, feel free to come back to me for a quick edit.

No. Even the best translations have that “translated” appearance unless the finished piece is in the translator’s mother-tongue. It is virtually impossible, even for a life-long bi-lingual person, to capture all the nuances of language equally well in both languages. Add to this the fact that there is no such thing as an “exact” translation (because languages were not developed in tandem), and the fact that a language is about shared culture as much as it is about words, and it is easy to see how a piece of writing “loses something in the translation” unless it is written with great sensitivity. While I can certainly communicate effectively in Italian, and can easily find the words to say anything I need to say, I would not presume to speak it like a native or life-long resident.
Not at present. While I have a working knowledge of French, I learned it academically and have not yet had the opportunity to become fluent in that language, which I believe can only be achieved by total immersion. I also intend to re-ignite my love affair with my native Irish language (preferably in local dialect form rather than the standardised version I learned in school). At present, I only offer translation from Italian into English.

Please see “Prices”. I charge fifty per cent of the fee before I start work, and the remainder on delivery.  And, as your ghostwriter, I only charge for the words I give you; you get to keep the newspaper fees, and, if I write a book for you, you keep the royalties and any advance paid to the author (that’s you!).

Unlike the big PR and translation agencies, I operate as a sole trader, and I work remotely, so you won’t be paying for the usual overheads including expenses. An added advantage of this is the fact that I won’t be delegating your project to a trainee or junior; you will have the full benefit of my broad journalistic experience spanning more than thirty years in mainstream media.
As a veteran journalist, trained at a time when newspaper reporters kept a healthy distance from PR and politics, and still maintaining my professional ethos, I will look at your story with a clear head and tell you frankly if I can’t do it for ethical reasons. However, if it is merely a case of your opinions not matching my own, and it does not go against my core principles, I will tell your story – and tell it well, as I have done for the many people I have interviewed over the decades. I am not easily shocked or outraged, and certainly not a prude. Just don’t ask me to compromise my principles or break the law!