Before we jump right to how to become a ghostwriter, it’d be great to examine who a ghostwriter is in the first place. A ghostwriter produces some type of written work for pay but is not credited with owning the work. Ghostwriting work intersects with being a freelance writer, the only difference being that a freelancer may be credited for ownership of the work. In ghostwriting, that is never the case.
You might be wondering then what the incentive is for becoming a ghostwriter. If you are more interested in gaining experience and having your works credited to you, you may have some hang-ups with a ghostwriting arrangement. The chief attraction for ghostwriting is an unbridled ability to make money. There is a wide range of areas you can test your skills in —writing ebooks, making a guest post for paying clients, etc. Beyond this, ghostwriters also have some other benefits that could encourage you to take up the responsibility full time. Those and more are some of the things we will discuss in this article.
If you are looking to get fully into ghostwriting, you are in the right place! This article shows the steps on how to become a ghostwriter.
Perks of Being a Freelance Writer
Why should you consider becoming a freelance writer? Basically, everyone claims to be one these days. Thus, it is understandable if you feel put off by this saturation. However, as any writer would tell you, ghostwriting has its perks. Thus, when you become a ghostwriter, you automatically become privy to these benefits. These advantages would perhaps incentivize you to take up writing seriously. Let’s discuss some of them.
It is Lucrative
Ghostwriting work is good work. Also, freelance writing online is one sure-fire way to make money —loads of it if you are diligent. Ghostwriting jobs are a dime a dozen. You need only find the perfect niche and then hone your skills in it. Expectedly, the more experience you have, the higher your chances of snagging worthwhile deals. Thus, from the start, things might be a little slow. However, if you keep at it, eventually, you will get to break even. It might begin with just one client trusting you with their work. Then another, and another, and soon you’ll take off. If you are looking for a steady source of income, ghost writing might just be it.
Steady and Upfront Pay
When people hire ghostwriters, they bear in mind that the deal expires as soon as the work gets done. Hence, they would have to pay for the ghostwriting services upfront. This is amazing. This sort of arrangement makes sure that you aren’t at the mercy of an employer or a middle man. As a freelancer, you decide the rate at which you’d work. You can even come up with arrangements where you get paid in batches, even before completing a commission. You have more bargaining power, even better than when you write books. In freelance writing, you are your own boss.
You are a Walking Advert
The great thing about making a business out of writing is that your reputation precedes you. People hire ghostwriters mostly on recommendation. Even on freelancing sites, prospective clients go through your profile before accepting your pitch. Thus, unlike when you write books or sell any other product, you won’t have to go through the motions of advertising as a ghostwriter. This does not mean that you shouldn’t talk about your ghostwriting services. Of course, you should. You can make a post about it every other day and tell one or two people about the services you offer. The idea, though, is that you may not need to take out an advert in the newspaper or anything of that sort.
Ghostwriting jobs give you the room to work on your writing. If you consistently put in some effort towards your writing, the result will be fascinating. No matter how good you are, you can always get better. This, you can achieve through ghost writing. For instance, the process helps you to learn how to develop and stick to deadlines. This is because you realize that other people depend on your work, so you need to come through. You also learn how to reach an expected word count within a strict timeline. Finally, it could lead to an improved imagination. A ghost writer is always on their feet. They know that to stay ahead of the pack, they consistently have to outdo the competition. All of these skills would be helpful when you start writing your own books.
Tips Employed by Great Ghost Writers
Becoming successful as a ghost writer is not a myth. Some people have ghostwritten books that have gone to sell so many copies, making them really healthy. However, like most things in life, a successful ghost writing career will not come on a platter. You will have to put these tips to work. Here goes.
Gain Some Experience
You cannot just up and start ghostwriting books. That is not possible because you would need to grow your client base. Even if that were possible, you would probably make a mess of the process because of a lack of experience. Ghostwriters who have been long in the game, or are even full time, started out slowly. They amassed a lot of experience and now can finish whole books unsupervised.
So, the first thing you need to do is read as much as you can about how to become a ghostwriter. If you have questions, you can reach out to those established in the business and have them answer any of those. Part of what you should want to figure out includes the best sites to begin from —there are a couple of them that exist — how to identify and follow a client’s voice, write a killer pitch/proposal, and so on. Of course, you would have to keep learning as you go along. Thus, there’s no timeline within which you would have learned enough to set off. However, just keep garnering experience till you feel ready to begin.
Build Your Portfolio
Generally, a client will trust you more if you have completed some tasks before. Thus, you need to build your portfolio before you get started as a ghost writer. Admittedly, a newbie writer might find it hard securing a client or getting anyone to trust them. So, begin by offering your services for free. You can offer to make blog posts for blogs and websites without getting paid. You could also consider sending out your work to literary magazines. This works best if you write fiction. Some of these magazines pay so that it would be a win-win for you. You may also want to project yourself on social media. Be loud about what you do so that people get to associate you with ghost writing. (You never can tell when a recommendation can come in handy.) It is sad that the more experience you have, the more likely you would be successful in the process of becoming a ghostwriter. Just make sure you do your own part. Eventually, everything else will fall into place.
Dabble into Editing
Typically, when a person hires ghostwriters, they do not expect to spend more funds hiring someone else to edit. That is, except in exceptional cases. This puts writers at a disadvantage, given that both spheres are distinct. However, the average client might want to get the two packages at once without paying more money to such ghostwriters. Thus, you may want to try your hand at being a freelance editor.
Learning the intricacies of editing will not come easy. It demands hard work, but sure enough, it is doable. The truth is, being an editor as well as a writer improves your portfolio and keeps you ahead of the pack. In fact, to be a successful ghostwriter, you need to be a great editor, too. To put out excellent ghostwriting work, you need excellent editing. You would not want to sound like some authors and writers without a firm grip on their tenses.
Never Stop Reading
This is one crucial tip to becoming a good writer. The same goes if you want to become an excellent ghostwriter. Ghostwriting involves writing; the only difference is that you do not get credit. Nonetheless, you will still need to apply the strategies needed for book writing. One of them is reading. Read books, articles, social media posts, etc. Just make sure you are consuming some material, even if it does not relate to what you are currently working on. At first, you may not see the difference, but eventually, you will. You could even up your hourly rate for a ghostwriting gig. Thus, you will get paid for literally reading and writing well. That is a win-win on both counts. One indispensable tip you should employ on the way to becoming a ghostwriter is a healthy appetite for books.
Leverage Your Existing Clients
When you’ve been in the ghostwriting business for a while, you get to have clients for who you’ve carried out one ghostwriting project or the other. Always treat them like royalty. Whether you are asked to write a book or to do something as simple as making a blog post, always do it to the best of your ability. Each ghostwriting project should impress the client. That is one sure way of generating ghostwriting success. Eventually, you’ll get well known and might even get to employ your own team of writers. Some clients, however, can be pretty difficult. If you have ever completed some ghostwriting projects, you must have met this one client who always sounds like they are unsatisfied, regardless of how hard you worked. Do not fret. Folks like that are few and far between. In fact, do not get started with that mindset. Rather, work with the belief that you’ll not have even one grumpy client. That could shape both your attitude and reaction to such recalcitrant people.
Ghostwriting can be pretty intense. It is a little like fishing: you create your profile, attach a bait (in the form of a stellar proposal), and then wait to see if any client will bite. If you have ever gone fishing, you’d recognize that one of the skills good fishers have is patience. Thus, to enjoy ghostwriting success, you have to be patient.
Keep sending out pitches even if they get turned down time and again. To be a successful ghostwriter, you should find a niche that best suits your skills. Generally, nonfiction books seem to sell best in the ghostwriting industry. Thus, you may want to seriously consider focusing on that area. While you wait for clients, you could engage in other activities. We’d earlier mentioned that there is no such thing as too much experience. So, keep gathering experience as you go along. Also, you could publish a book in the meantime. The publishing world is not as ruthless as the ghostwriting industry. Hence, it might be easier for a writer to be successful at it. In any case, the experience from it might just be invaluable.
Conclusion: Becoming A Ghostwriter
Ghostwriting success is indeed possible. You can start with just ghostwriting and get the attention of publishing houses and even get offered book deals to boot. This is because writing copy for guest posts refine and solidify your writing style. In the book publishing world, precious little is needed to get you started. However, to make it as a ghostwriter, you need to abide by the tips and suggestions here. Success is achievable, but hard work and persistence are two traits you need to get there.