I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how I could best pursue a ghostwriting opportunity that has been presented to me.I'd go the syndication route, but I'd also check WM for buyers of longer pieces, with more detail. This site offers a weekly writers' market listings, too, for free. Woodenhorse Publishing offers a good list of magazines. Cost is $1.99 for a 24 hour sample. I think you can also buy a month at a time, which is what I do.
One of my closest friends is one of the top oncologists in the nation. I’ve mentioned to him that I’ve picked up a few dollars on “content mill” type websites, researching topics for an hour or so and writing up a brief article organizing and expressing the information in layman’s terms for $2-$10 plus pennies for page views.
His suggestion is that I ghostwrite for him and that we bypass such bottom feeder sites for online or print entities that pay a lot more. His theory is that they’re paying for the “name” as much as anything, so to offer them pieces with his name on them would generate significant money. I don’t think he knows this any more than I do, but he’s speculating.
The money generated depends largely on the sites you're able to sell to. AFAIK, there's no central area that gives actual prices, particularly for blogging. I strongly suggested you invest in the Writer's Market, 2011. I've been using various editions since 1968 and have sold a lot of words because of that book's leads. The version that gives you an on-line subscription is really the best bet: it's a bit high, at $49.95, but IMO it's worth it.
He is severely dyslexic, and wouldn’t be particularly interested in writing the articles himself even if he wasn’t, as however lucrative they might be they still wouldn’t make more money for him than just investing that same amount of time into his practice.
But what he envisions is that he and I would discuss a certain topic in medicine until he was confident I understood it and could paraphrase it for laymen, he perhaps would recommend some additional references to me if I needed them while writing, I would write the piece, I would give him the piece, he would go over it carefully to make sure I didn’t screw it up, he would point out to me any necessary adjustments, we would go back and forth until he was satisfied in having it go out under his name, and we would submit it as his.
He would be doing it primarily as a favor to me, as he doesn’t need the money. He’d take a small cut, but the bulk of what we made would be for me. But that means pretty much all the auxiliary work is on me. I have to figure out who would be interested in paying the most for such material and make all the arrangements. He’ll just help me with the content and allow his name to be used, but he isn’t interested in researching websites and magazines and such.
We’re not so much interested in pitching a one time article to a publication, but something more ongoing. The content mills certainly fit that style, in that you can even submit multiple pieces per day if you want, but of course the money is horrible. Is there something like that that would have a roughly similar format of allowing as few or as many submissions as you’re able to produce, but would pay substantially more if it were good quality content from a top professional in his field?
Syndication. There are several health columns syndicated locally and nationally. You might pitch to one of the syndicates offering such material. Often, syndicated articles will have the syndicate's name as well as the author's name on the piece.
He also suggested some sort of “Ask the Oncologist” feature somewhere, where he would address any and all cancer and cancer treatment questions from the public on a regular basis, which I agree could be interesting and valuable.
Should I be looking at medical sites like WebMD?
If you were in my shoes, how would you approach this to get the most out of the opportunity?
Most consumer syndication outfits tend to like shorter work, 500 to 750 words. There's not a thing wrong with that if you can cram the information into that few words. As you may already know after writing for content mills, writing shorter is one helluva lot harder than is writing longer. You may need to get a few articles under your belt, pieces done for national or regional publications. That will help your selling the idea, so work on articles that can be placed in a top newspaper or magazine. Do not stop your syndicate search and your sample articles for them. You'll be sufficiently busy, drawing no paycheck, but having fun. Or you should. It's hard work, but if it ain't fun, it's too hard to keep up.