Customized Letters

Glenn Alperin, Letter Ghostwriter

Brookline, MA (map)

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About Glenn Alperin, Letter Ghostwriter

hired 2 times on Thumbtack

I write customized letters for people. While a person may know the message they wish to communicate in general terms, being able to compose a letter with the proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, and most importantly, tone can be a real challenge.

Letters are a very personal form of communication, deserving of a great deal of consideration and thought. Being able to communicate a precise message with the right words and tone of voice is very important. Doing so in a letter sends a strong message to the recipient that this is something very important to you, and it should be important to the recipient as well.

For example, a resume cover letter will look very different from a complaint letter, and that will look very different from a letter inquiring about a particular service or a thank you letter. Whatever the purpose of the letter, I can compose it in a way which will be received in the precise way that you wish it to be received.

Here is how it works: You call or email me with a request to write a letter for you. I discuss with you the nature of your situation. I take a whole bunch of notes, and then I compose a letter for you which you can then print, sign, and send in the mail. I will send the letter I compose for you to your email address.

I charge $25 per page plus $15 per hour for consultation and writing. I expect that most letters will be one page long, and will generally take between two and four hours of work between consultation, writing, and editing. As a general rule, I do not expect my first draft to be the final draft. There are almost always details I am not aware of, or small changes which I expect will be requested. An additional consultation can hash out those details and give your letter the polished look it deserves.

Payment is expected via USPS money order, the Bill Pay feature of your on-line bank, or via PayPal. Specific details for completing payment will be provided to you at the time I provide the letter-writing service to you.

My only restriction is that I will not compose letters of a legal nature, as I am not qualified to do so.

I look forward to hearing from you soon so I can get to work on writing your letter.

Location

Brookline, MA 02446

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Question and answer

Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.

A. Resume cover letters and thank you letters seem to be the most common types of jobs I handle.

For a resume cover letter, it is important for me to know something about previous job history and skills used at those jobs. A resume cover letter is a place to introduce yourself, describe how that previous job history will be applicable to the job currently being advertised, and conclude with a call to action to further along the hiring process. Once those three tasks are accomplished, it is time to conclude the resume cover letter.

A thank you letter is a place to describe one's gratitude for something somebody else has done. These range from fairly short to quite extravagant depending upon how much gratitude you wish to show.

Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

A. Writing letters is a very specialized skill. Many people do it, though fewer than in the past, but how many of those people do it really well?

Writing a letter isn't the same thing as writing an email message. You can't cut corners if you expect your message to be taken seriously.

Therefore, customers should be able to determine that you have a great deal of skill with writing and communicating. Customers should read some of your prior written material, preferably some of your previously written letters. From reading these, a customer should be able to determine that your writing and communication skills are top notch.

Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?

A. Its very difficult to write a good letter without all of the details. Regardless of whether or not those details are prominently placed within the context of the letter, such details form the underlying basis for writing the letter.

Writing a letter using somebody else's voice can be a tricky thing. It does take some experimentation to make sure that I get the proper message and tone correct. Sometimes, that requires an explanation to my customers about my perceptions of the intent and goals of the letter, particularly when it comes to deciding about inclusion of certain details or a certain phrasing of an idea.

Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?

A. Can you write well?

Have you written a lot of letters in the past?

Why do you usually write letters?

What has been the result of the letters you have written? Have you gotten responses to the letters you have written?

Some of my thoughts and ideas may not actually be suitable for a letter. Can you find a way to phrase them so they will come across more professionally?

Are there some types of letters you would refuse to write?

Can you guarantee that the letter you write will achieve the desired result? (The answer should be no, because the desired result is not really up to the professional. That is up to the receiver of the letter.)

Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?

A. Buyers have to know a bit about their desired audience. The words used and the tone of the letter will be based, in large part, upon the expected audience of the letter to be written. Writing a letter to a professional will probably require a slightly more formal style of writing. A letter to a friend or acquaintance can be a bit more informal.

Is a letter the best way to communicate my thoughts and ideas? Would a phone call, an in-person meeting, or an email be a better alternative?

Do I feel comfortable writing about this topic to the intended recipient, or would it be better to hire somebody who can do it just as well, if not better? It can be easy to get emotional throughout the writing process, and sometimes, getting emotional has the potential to make for less effective writing.

Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?

A. I don't believe there are a lot of people who do what I do. Even so, I have a keen ear for listening, and the ability to turn what I hear into a clear and concise message. While I can not guarantee how your letter will be received by the intended recipient, I can guarantee that your ability to communicate your message will be greatly enhanced by my skills with writing letters and with my use of language in general.

Anybody can write a letter, but writing an effective letter which really communicates your point of view precisely does take some practice. I am particularly skilled with writing and with writing letters, so I know you will not be disappointed.

Q. What do you like most about your job?

A. I like being able to talk to so many different kinds of people. I also enjoy the process of writing and being able to take the ideas, thoughts, and intentions of other people, and forming them into a letter which has a lot of cohesion around the topic of concern to them. Most of all, I enjoy being able to present a completed letter to my clients, and receiving their approval of how I put their thoughts and ideas together into a final product. Each one of these makes the entire process worthwhile to me, but all of them together is what makes this profession most enjoyable to me. I hope you'll give me the opportunity to show you my enthusiasm for my job.

Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

A. I had a customer who was describing his situation to me. It had the potential to be pretty explosive to him professionally, and he had been asked to present a document describing his perceptions of how certain specific events had transpired. As he was describing to me what happened using some colorful language, he suddenly stopped and said, "I can't say that, can I?" to which I replied, "No, you can't, but that is where my job comes in."

Other common questions pertain to the amount of turnaround time I need to complete a job. Usually, my turnaround time is within a day or two. In very rare circumstances, it might be longer, but to date, I have not had a situation so complicated that I have needed more than two days to complete a job.

Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?

A. Being a letter ghostwriter pretty much means you are on call all of the time. However, I am not always available to answer when people call. I will always respond within 24 hours if you leave me a telephone or email message, so please don't hesitate to do so.

Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?

A. I am both an excellent writer and an excellent communicator. It was, therefore, a natural fit for me to decide to begin a business focusing on the skill of writing letters. I also realized that there was a need for such a service as the art of writing letters seems to be going out of favor, but the need for writing letters has not. If anything, the need for writing letters has grown a lot, especially in the highly competitive job market that exists at the moment. A resume won't be read without a cover letter, for example, and refusing to followup a job interview with a thank-you note is considered extremely poor etiquette. Nonetheless, a good cover letter is actually very difficult to write without a lot of practice. In fact, it is far easier to write too much than to write not enough. Realizing this, I decided that would be one area I was interested in focusing on.

Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?

A. Email and the reduced cost of telephone communication has already largely usurped writing letters. However, that makes receiving a letter that much more of an exciting event. When you receive an envelope in the mail which has a hand-written address, you tend to take notice of that. The immediate message is that somebody took the time and energy to put a letter together to you, so it must be pretty important.

I do advise that the address on the envelope be hand-written, because otherwise, it may look more like a bill or automatically generated marketing maneuver.

Otherwise, writing letters is pretty much as it always has been.

Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.

A. I received a phone call for a job that, essentially, was to be completed "yesterday". Between the amount of time I dedicated to consultation and writing, I probably spent about four hours on the job. The person was very gracious and paid me $100 for my efforts due to the short-notice nature of the job. My turnaround on that job was less than 2 days from initial consultation to completion to payment received.

Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.

A. I charge $25 per page, plus $15 per hour for my time. Most letters will require only one page, but I also realized that I did not want to be spending all of my time on a one page letter for a potential client. This allows me to charge a reasonable fee taking into account both the time involved and the amount of tangible work performed.

Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?

A. You are going to hear from all kinds of people with all kinds of communication challenges. You must have the patience to be able to listen effectively. You will also need to be able to intuit what your clients say. Sometimes, your clients may not be able to communicate to you in a very logical manner, but it is nonetheless your job to take what they describe to you and put it together into a usable letter which will effectively communicate what they intend to say. If you can do that, then this is the profession for you.

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