thinking of offering new service on my web site

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Had a thought today for a service that would tie into the content on my personal site. What do you guys think about a ghost writing service for poetry? Here's some thoughts I just wrote.

Need an original poem, but don't know how to write one? Let me be your Cyrano or John Smith. Send me the details of your poetry requirements and I will write one for you. I will be your ghost writer. The poem will be yours in all ways - including copyright. I will not publish the poem or use it for my own purposes in any way.

The poem could be to a lover, a goodbye to a loved one, or any other subject you require. The style will be suitable for the intended use. It could be for use as a marriage proposal or for something as different as a funeral address. I need to know the subject matter and the use it will be put to. If it is about a particular person, I will need details of their personality and appearance. It wouldn't do to write about her 'lovely green eyes' if she has blue eyes.

Why give her a $20 bouquet of flowers that will only last a few days when, for half that price, you can give her a poem that will last forever?
This would be for an 8 to 16 line poem on any subject the buyer wants. I could offer a 24 hour turn-around from time of order. Payments could be made through PayPal. The only thing I can think of that I'd need to add to my site would be a few poems that are suitable examples for this kind of service.

Does anyone think there would be any call for a service like this?
Might I suggest a name for you new service?

Big Nose Prose

Custom written poetry by John Allen
Not a Cyrano or John Smith (who ever that is)
Whatever you heart is saying, I would gladly turn into poetry.

Just for the Fun of it
Missing you
Just Because

Affection and Love
Marriage Proposal
Missing you
Just Because

Sympathy and Condolences
Get Well

Why give her a $20 bouquet of flowers that will only last a few days when, for half that price, you can give her a poem that will last forever?
The style will be suitable for the intended use. You provide the details of the occasion and or any special rememberances or physical attributes you want referred to.
Upon payment the poem will becomes the sole property of the client.


It seems to me Mr. Allen sir, if I may be so bold,
It's a nice idea to add finesse to words that must be told.
You're idea is good, you have a plan, the notion it is strong.
A dozen lines, it needs no more, or it will be too long.
But variety might be a snag, any topic could be called for,
A happy day, a swollen foot, a bloody throbbing cold sore,
May I suggest you try it out, take it for a spin,
Lets set you some to make you think, and see if you can win.
Sharing thoughts out loud for now, also bear in mind
Other poets do exist, of a similar kind.
But don't let that stop you, venture forth, dilly-dally you should not,
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, give it your best shot.

Jonra, I believe that would be a great idea, but what if the customer isn't
satisfied with the poem or wants a re-write. You need to specify the terms in such a way that you are compensated for your time even if the buyer is not happy with the result.

And of course all your overflow work can go to JWJ! :)

Some great points.

I laughed and laughed and laughed at Sharron's post. Big Nose Prose, indeed. :D Still smiling.

JWJ, I take your point - I need to have some good examples for various scenarios.

Arlen, you touched upon something I've been thinking about. How to ensure I get paid while still guaranteeing satisfaction. That's kind of tricky. I obviously can't show the poem to the customer before payment, otherwise I'll get stiffed all the time. The only things I can think of is to provide plenty of samples so the customer can be assured up front and/or to let them read the first 4 lines of the poem after it is written.

I've been thinking while I wrote this post and have come up with some other ideas. The order form for the poems could have a bunch of dropdown lists so the customer can specify almost everything they want. Occasion, mood, gender, feel, type, etc...

I think that's a lovely idea!

All too often I have tried to put into words what I have wanted to say, but haven't had a clue where to start. Especially occasions like weddings and funerals, etc.

Do go ahead with this. But yes, make sure you have Terms and Conditions too. xx Beware, you might get more work than you bargain for... :wink:
Movingetc said:
All too often I have tried to put into words what I have wanted to say, but haven't had a clue where to start. Especially occasions like weddings and funerals, etc.
Now you really have me thinking. Why limit it to poetry? I could offer to write speeches for special occasions. I could also offer to write letters - thank you letters, breakup letters, etc... Any kind of short prose or poetry that require a special touch. I'd need to write a sample for each type. hmmm... Might be worthwhile.

And, yes John, I'm aware there are other writers out there offering ghost writing services. My main advantage is that my sites do well in the search engines. It shouldn't take long to get my site to show up in the top 10 for certain key words. I'd probably be better off using a separate design for the services pages, including my portrait pages. I could offer a bundle of services as an writer, poet, and artist.

I need to start pursuing some of my dreams. I'd love to make a living as an artist, photographer, writer, and poet. Be a neat biz card. :) Too bad I couldn't add musician to that. :) Oh well, that's my nephew's area. His band just signed a record deal. We've got great hopes for them.
I had a thought, although I don't know how good or easy it would be to implement.

You could do sound bites of you reading the poems. Then limit the access to the sound bite to one time per ip address maybe. You could ask for half of the fee up front, and the other half is completely refundable if not satisfied. Of course only for items delivered electronicly. Or something like that.

My sister makes church banners and has her own site. She has written some poems too, one in particular that is about Pastor Appreciation. You know they have a Pastor Appreciation day. Any way folks kept taking her poem, so she made a graphic with only part of the poem on it. Then suggested if they wanted the rest it was for sale, delivered either via email, or printed on nice vellum paper. Both were different prices of course. She has sold several that way. She has a paypal account to handle the money handling.
John can I be your first customer? My folks are celebrating their ruby (40th) wedding anniversary next month and I need a short poem to put in the card I'm making.
Perhaps my flippant response to your post was not as helpful as it could have been.

jonra01 said:
And, yes John, I'm aware there are other writers out there offering ghost writing services. My main advantage is that my sites do well in the search engines. It shouldn't take long to get my site to show up in the top 10 for certain key words.
Absolutely. The existance of others should not deter you. The great thing about Internet based businesses is the minimal overhead and set up cost, and for someone such as yourself, the overhead and set up cost is zero. The time it takes to design some appropriate web pages is all.

I also suspect the writing will become easier as time goes on for you will find many of the works will be re-useable, just with minor alterations of a persons name, etc. So you will accumulate a stockpile of phrases and short poems.

As has been mentioned, Terms and Conditions of business will need some thought or you will be ripped off. Samples must be carefully chosen or people will use them as freebies. Testimonials will, in my opinion, carry more weight but they won't be available from day one.

Just as an extra idea, consider the matter of presentation. Mostly the poem will be acceptable on a good quality vellum, but for those very special occassions, where it is being given as a gift, a framed or mounted version might be more appropriate?
jonra01 said:
Too bad I couldn't add musician to that.
Maybe not Musician, by why not Lyricist? There are plenty of musicians out there quite capable of throwing together some pleasant jingles, but adding emotive, poetic lyrics to the tune defeats them. Hey, team up with a musician and you can do "A song for every occassion" :wink:

With your web skills lifting your site to high SERPS levels, and a well designed professional site to draw in the customer, this has every chance of success and, as I said in my first post, you should give it a go. What have you got to lose? :wink:
Sharron, I like the idea of doing sound bites. I've got a microphone so recording the poems wouldn't be hard. I'd need to learn something about working with sound files, but that shouldn't be too difficult. Poems are best when read aloud anyway. The presenting the first few lines as a graphic is also a good idea. Can you post a link to your sister's site? I'd like to take a look at it.

Kelly, since you were the first person to ask you get a free one. :) Why don't you pm me some details - names, number of children, and any other details you would like to incorporate and I'll see what I can come up with.

John, your 'flippant response' was helpful and creative at the same time. :) Your comments and Sharron's about presentation is something I hadn't thought of doing. I was just thinking about digital versions delivered by email or direct download from the site. I could certainly charge more for a printed version on vellum and more yet for a framed and matted copy. This is something I should have thought of myself. I made more money off copies of one of my portraits than I got for the drawing itself.

I've thought about writing lyrics. It's something for the future, along with dozens of other things I want to try.
Sharron said:
She made this site herself. And doing very well with it.
Wow! Those are real works of art. Looks like she gets a really nice price for them.

I see how she handled the poem. That's probably the best way, unless the soiund files will work.

Have you offered to help her with the site? The reason I ask is that I noticed that all of the links open new windows so the back button doesn't work. You should suggest that she change this so that all of the pages open in the same window.
:wink: whoops was going to include a link to one of her photos, that kind of shows off a banner I made. But she has a bunch of pictures in one graphic.

oh well, my banner is very small in the picture anyway. I have made two, but have no pictures to share.

She does beautiful work.
John, I have pm'd you some details to be incorporated into a poem. As a thankyou for getting this for free, please use the finished work as a sample on your site when you go 'live' with the service.
Here is my first sample, courtesy of Westmoors. Now the question is what to charge for a service like this? I'm thinking of $25 for a poem similar to this and another $10-$15 to create an image from their photo. Maybe, $50 wouldn't be too much to ask for an image / poem combo. What do you think? I'm asking because I have a bad habit of underpricing my work.

On another note, my portrait sales are doing lousy. It's hardly worth having it on my site. I lowered my prices recently and am beginning to think that I am actually hurting myself with the lower prices. I've been thinking about raising them. It sure won't hurt business any, since I've only had one order in 3 months from the web site. The reason I'm thinking of raising prices is that if I've undervalued my work people are going to think there is something wrong with it. If the price is higher people will think they are getting something special. I'm thinking of going to $100 for an 8x10 up to $175 for a 14x17. What do you think?
John, knowing the reaction I will get from my folks, I would have gladly paid $35 for the work you have done, even $50 would be worth it.

As for your portraits I don't think $100 is too much to ask.
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