Making a living as a writer can be hard. Sometimes, it helps to remember that publishing our books isn’t the only way to achieve this. Ghostwriting can be a satisfying and lucrative profession that can help put bread on the table when things are slow.
This guide to becoming a ghostwriter is a guest post by Brenda Savoie, a freelance blogger, private English tutor, and desperate dreamer who’s writing her first romantic novel and seeking contentment through mindfulness. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.
A Basic Guide to Becoming a Ghostwriter
There are plenty of people out there with amazing ideas, knowledge, experience, and ingenuity who are willing to share all of that with the world, in order to help others and inspire them. But, when their capacity for innovation doesn’t correspond with their ability to put everything into writing, they will turn to ghostwriters to shape their thoughts into words.
Ghostwriters benefit as well. Ghostwriting books allows them to increase their income, develop contacts, work on varied and interesting topics, and hone their writing skills. It can become a career in itself, which can be as satisfying as publishing your own work. If you are interested in becoming a ghostwriter, check out my guide on how to become one.
Key Benefits of Being a Ghostwriter
You Will Get Paid in Advance
When you publish your own book, you have to wait for a while before the funds start rolling in from royalties. There is no telling how much you can earn, whereas if you’re a ghostwriter, you get paid in advance, before you have even written a single word, which allows you to handle your finances more easily.
While your earnings will depend on how much your client is willing to pay, according to the Editorial Freelancer’s Association, the rates for ghostwriters range between $50 and $60 per hour, which is as much as 25-50 cents per word.
As a ghostwriter, you don’t need to spend time on trying to market your book, because it’s won’t be your name that is on the cover. You can use all that extra time to find another project right away. Of course, you will have to market yourself to the clients, but that is an entirely different matter.
You Can Be Less Emotionally Involved
By being able to distance yourself from the subject matter, you will be able to be more objective and ready to correct potential flaws as you see them, instead of falling in love with your own work.
Fascinating Topics You Wouldn’t Usually Write About
If you are lucky enough to score a client who has an interesting story to tell, you will get a much better insight into their life, which can be very inspiring.
You Will Improve Your Writing Skills
Trying to write about subjects outside of your comfort zone will force you to stretch your writing muscles, try out different styles, and become more disciplined.
Not For Beginners
Successful ghostwriters rely on their portfolio and their previous writing projects to score big clients. This demonstrates your ability to write using different voices, which is why you should always have samples prepared.
It is About the Client, Not You
As mentioned before, it is about finding a voice which your client will like, and through which you will be able to tell their story in the most effective way possible. It is their story, after all, and you need to accept that.
You Need to Act as a Publishing Adviser, Too
With all these different publishing options available today–including self-publishing–you will probably be expected to consult with your client about the best way to publish their book, in addition to writing it.
Project Management Skills Are a Plus
You will be expected to meet deadlines every single time, organize your work and notes so that you have immediate access to everything you need, and even work on multiple projects at the same time.
Be Your Own Manager
As a ghostwriter, you are in charge of everything, and that includes protecting yourself with a contract, so that you get paid, sending out invoices, and being able to leave in case a client starts making outrageous demands.
How to Find Your First Client
Reach Out to Literary Agents
Literary agents and book editors are usually tasked with finding a ghostwriter for their clients, which is why you could start by getting in touch with them to provide you with new work. You can start by having a look at AAR – Association of Author’s Representatives, Publishersmarketplace.com, Literary Market Place
Get on the Radar of the Author/Client
Many clients nowadays are choosing to self-publish their books, instead of relying on publishers. But, they still have to reach out to self-publishing platforms. If you do, too, they can recommend you for a project.
Ghostwrite Other Material, Not Just Books
Don’t forget that, in addition to writing books, you can also ghostwrite blogs posts, articles, tweets, social media accounts, keynote speeches, and academic papers for writing services such as Essay-on-time, Essayontime.co.uk, and UK-dissertation.
Rely on Previous Writing Jobs and Relevant Skills
Even if you don’t have any ghostwriting experience, you can still score a client with your previous writing projects, and even skills which they may find useful, such as being an expert on content marketing, or social media
Stand Out from the Pack
Make use of your social media presence, offline contacts, and a positive word of mouth from your former clients to become visible in the eyes of potential new clients. Let other people know about your work. You never know who may connect you to a person looking for a ghostwriter.
Ghostwriting can be a very satisfying and lucrative profession. Sticking to the advice shared in this article may help if you choose to pursue it. Good luck!
Very interesting post Nicholas and Brenda. I was once asked to ghostwrite for someone and happily declined. It’s not in me to distance myself, and not put my name on my writing, but I do know what a lucrative business it can be for the right person. 🙂
Yes, that distancing thing is what puts me off as well. I can imagine terrible fights over creative differences 😀
Interesting post. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂
Thank you, Tess 🙂
You are welcome, Nicholas. 🙂
Excellent post. Ghostwriting has been brought up with me at times. Though I can’t pull off that emotional distance thing.
I have the same problem. I can’t decide if it’s a good or a bad thing.
Thanks to Brenda for all the great information on Ghost Writing and thanks to you Nicholas for having her as a guest on your blog. 🙂 — Suzanne
And thank to you for leaving another kind comment 🙂
Never thought about this, though I have had (free of charge to them) specific articles published on other blogs. Good advice as always, from the ‘Prince of Tips’!
Best wishes, Pete.
Lol – thank you, ‘Always Kind One’ 🙂