PS has worked as a freelance writer since 2012. When she's not traveling and writing, she helps people with web design and development.
Ghostwriting is not just about being a successful writer, it also requires you to have excellent verbal skills, according to the ghostwriter Jon Reiner. Ghostwriting, indeed, is a highly-paid profession. Though some people may not agree with this fact, yes, the elite ghostwriters receive a hefty amount for their work.
But, first of all,
Who is a Ghostwriter?
A ghostwriter is like a playback singer, whose presence is felt only through their voice, which rather comes in some other people’s identity. In other words, writers who write books, posts, articles, memoirs, web copy, newsletters and speeches for others and are not given credit for their work are called as ghostwriters.
The credit is given to your client, who hires you. It also means that you don’t have the rights to publicly display your work anywhere without the permission of your clients. Surely, you would be thinking,
Why Become a Ghostwriter?
It is worth questioning the fact ghostwriters don’t receive credit for their work, so why to become one? Well, it has its own advantages:
- It is highly competitive than other writing services.
- You don’t need to market your work.
- There is very less research you need to do on the writing part. Most of the material is provided by the client.
- It improves your communication and interviewing skills.
To simplify your journey of becoming a well-paid ghostwriter, here are some guidelines that you should know:
Important Steps to Become a Ghostwriter
Jumping directly to job hunt with half knowledge of this profession is way too risky for your career. As someone once said, half-knowledge is dangerous. So, it’s better to go step-by-step and find a rather high-earning profession at the end. So, let’s go:
1. Start with Freelance Writing
To get into ghostwriting, first, grasp the knowledge of freelance writing. Learn the techniques, interact with the clients and ask for feedback. Hence, build your portfolio and here you have an enriched CV to ghostwrite for others.
Also, build a website to showcase your skills. Clients, sometimes, fear if you have the potential to write their thoughts, your samples and feedbacks will assure them of your reliability.
2. Work as Freelance Editor
If freelance writing doesn’t excite you much or you are already into it, but still not able to find ghostwriting jobs, then freelance editors are also in huge demand.
To be assured their work is flawless, clients look for editors who can proofread their work. Sometimes, they also add your name to the final work as an editor. Thus, giving you higher visibility in the market.
3. Binge on Big Projects
Work on writing projects that ask you to write at least 50,000 words or more. This can be a fiction or non-fiction book, memoir, white paper or anything else.
Some people may not readily accept this point because writing long projects is a big headache, and sometimes may not give much money in return.
On the other hand, taking into account all the aspects of earning, you can surely make money doing small freelance writing tasks, blogging along working with big projects. As per estimation, it can help you earn at least 3,000 to 4,000 dollars a month.
4. Begin with Writing a Book
No one is born with professional expertise. You might be a born-dancer or a singer, yet you need years of training to excel in your field. Similarly, you need to dive deep into the technique of writing long content to become better accommodated with ghostwriting. You must know that most of the successful ghostwriters got their award-winning gigs, after having years of experience in the publishing industry.
Clearly, you can not put yourself in someone else’s shoes directly and empathize with their thoughts, if you haven’t written anything for yourself. Try to write at least 40,000 - 50,000 words. It may sound too much, but it will help you to elaborate your feelings and correct your voice and narration.
Now, which one to choose among, fiction, non-fiction, and memoir? Surely, no one can teach you that better, except yourself. You should try each one of them and find yourself, what kind of writing suits you better.
5. Be a Professional
Imagine the situation, when you meet someone at a party and they ask you about your profession.
You say, “I work as a ghostwriter.”
They reply, “That’s great. I’m the head of ABC company. I was looking for a ghostwriter. So, where can I see your work?”
And if, at this point, you fall silent to the question. Then, you surely are not prepared. You never know when the opportunity comes knocking at your doorstep. So, remember these points:
- Build a website
- Have a professional email address (not something that ends with gmail.com, yahoo.com, outlook.com or something similar. It should have your website name such as firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Prepare your Business Cards
- Be active on Social Media Accounts
- Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date
- Treat your work as Business.
6. Build your Experience
Ghostwriting is a complicated job. People prefer experienced ones over the novice. Try to contribute to different websites and magazines to leverage your reputation.
Websites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur and many more offer to write guest posts for them. Having global recognition, your writing will reach to a higher number of potential clients within a shorter time.
On the other hand, send emails to magazines relevant to your genre (fiction or non-fiction). You should have a good command on storytelling. If you get to show your work through a magazine, it will be a powerful addition to your resume.
Simultaneously, keep updating your blog about ghostwriting, including and especially your favorite niche. Showing your specialization is also a good way to display your expertise in a particular field.
7. Show off your Portfolio
Big success is a result of small accomplishments. There is no denying that many writers achieve their dream job in the first place, but sometimes you need to start small. Here are some very helpful tips from successful ghostwriters to help you build an effective portfolio:
- Talk to your Family and Friends: Your family, friends, and colleagues are your foremost clients. Reach out to them and practice ghostwriting with their stories.
- Help People and Companies with Web Content: Many individuals and organizations struggle to write the justified content for their websites. This is a good opportunity for you to help them such as by writing about section. Writing in the first person for others will help you to improve your ghostwriting skills.
- Help others with the structure of their content: You can find thousands of people who are finding it difficult to finalize their manuscript. Help them with the content structure. This is a good strategy to increase your confidence by collaborating with real-life clients. And don’t forget to ask for feedback.
8. Try Different Voices and Styles
Trying different voices and styles doesn’t mean to mimic your favorite celebrities’ voices. Here, it means to find and perfect your clients’ thoughts and their voices. This is the key to making money as a ghostwriter.
The only way to indulge in this habit is to move out of your comfort zone and visualize your clients’ vision. Accepting others’ opinion and writing them in your words; expressing their feelings is a tough job, but that’s what makes ghostwriting a well-paid profession.
Before proceeding with the writing part, dive deep into your clients’ voice and research thoroughly. Try to enact their style. While everyone says, “Be you”, at this time I would say, “Be them.”
9. Practice Customer Support Skills
Being a freelance writer, you are not just a professional, but also a business owner and an entrepreneur. Your job is much more than writing for others. You need to handle all sides of your business, including the art of dealing with your customers.
Most of your clients or customers, I must say, expect you to write in their voice in the first attempt, but that’s not feasible. Educate your customers. Make them understand, ghost-writing requires the process to go back-and-forth to receive the best result.
Discuss with them all these common problems before starting the project. So, they are prepared for the process. You can also explain to them about self-publishing option and help them become an author themselves. As a ghostwriter, it is a plus to boost your demand.
10. Be a Constant Researcher
To excel in your writing field, you need to put equal focus on two main areas i.e. Business and Creative.
Business Side: Make yourself well-informed about pricing, administrative tasks, contracts and financial aspects of your business. Help clients develop stories and build their stories through chapters.
Creative Side: Keep on writing and watching useful stuff. The more you indulge yourself in books and movies, the more you gain knowledge of others’ voices. When writing an article such as a memoir about your client. Don’t just pay attention to their situation, rather develop a complete setting. Talk about their physical surroundings, emotions, clothing, body language, voice and thoughts as well, that they have at that time.
How to Market Yourself as a Ghostwriter?
Here are a few tips to help you market yourself as a Ghostwriter. These are tricks (smart tricks) that you need to work upon carefully since as a ghostwriter you don’t have a pleasure to showcase your samples.
1. Write a Guest Post
I have talked about writing a guest post in my previous articles as well. I always put emphasis on this point because it really works. You surely can’t talk about your previous ghostwriting work through the guest post, but, certainly, can educate the readers what ghostwriting is? Write a post that talks about the working and hiring process of ghostwriting and how you managed to become one.
Discussing your knowledge with the readers will help you reach potential clients. This is a smart way to build your portfolio.
2. Social Media is the King
Join Social Media Groups, write an informative bio and post comments on relevant stuff. You can write these hash-tagged lines in your bio, “available for #ghostwriting your story”, “ready to #ghostwrite your work” or “#GhostWriter for Hire”. Hashtags have their own strong game to play. Do not forget to use them. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are major social media platforms where you can see many writers promoting themselves as ghostwriters and yes, of course, Instagram too.
Where to Find Ghostwriter Gigs?
Ok, now you’re done with writing an attractive bio on your social accounts. You may already be working as a writer or an editor. But, in case you are new, there are fewer chances that clients may come knocking at your door and ask you to ghost-write for them. So, what to do? Really, not a big deal. Let’s see the possible solutions you can implement:
1. Network Marketing does it all
Network Marketing is a huge plus for every business irrespective of its genre. Pitch your existing clients, friends, family, and colleagues to help you find someone to do business with.
2. Approach to Small Business Owners
As a freelancer, you must have realized that results come after getting out of your comfort zone. So, approaching small business owner is one more addition to your anti-comfort zone league. By small business owners, I mean doctors, attorneys, start-up companies and so on, who are still building their business.
Find out if they have websites and need someone to write content for their web pages and blogs. Even they don’t require a ghostwriter, they may know someone who needs your help.
3. Online Sites for Freelance Writing Jobs
There are many sites that it may confuse you which one to go for. So, here are a few suggested ones. I won’t say they will pay a huge amount, but they can help you get started in your career:
- All Freelance Writing Job Board
- Pro Blogger
- LinkedIn Profinder
Can you Earn Huge Income as a Ghostwriter?
Let’s be a little honest. Yes and no. It depends on you. As you must have read my above-mentioned tips that how you need to first become a freelance writer and write a book. It surely needs time to make a huge amount of cash out of ghostwriting profession. But, IT IS WORTHY ENOUGH. Yes, it is. Because there are many people who have managed to make a hundred dollars an hour working as a ghostwriter. Thus, helping them earn around $10,000 a month. Isn’t it lucrative? So, keep working smart and hard to become one of them.
BE PATIENT AND DON’T LET YOUR EGO FAILS YOU!
© 2019 Prachi Sharma
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 09, 2019:
Good information and advice. Thank you for sharing.