How to be a ghostwriter

Ghostwriting is a fantastic way to earn money, gain experience and help other people write their stories and share ideas.

But what is a ghostwriter?

Put simply, you are hired by someone to take their ideas and turn them into a blog post, article or even a book.

Why would you choose to be a ghostwriter?

So why would you choose to go to all that time and effort to write something that won’t even have your byline? You don’t receive credit, so what is the point?

  • It is rewarding. You are helping other people achieve their dreams by having their voices and story heard.
  • You don’t need to market or promote the work. Once you have written it you send it off to your client and they have to do all that hard work to get the article, blog or book seen and published.
  • You can expand your skills and knowledge in areas you otherwise wouldn’t. Say, you usually work in the pet niche but you are contracted to write a book on “a smoothie a day keeps the doctor away”. You will research this topic and learn so much.
  • It is an opportunity to collaborate and work with someone instead of by yourself in isolation at home.

Who hires ghostwriters?

You would be surprised by who hires ghostwriters.

  • Celebrities
  • Politicians
  • Professionals such as doctors, surgeons or lawyers.
  • Authors who may have too many projects on the go.
  • Publishers
  • Everyday people who have a story to tell!

How to be a ghostwriter.

Now you know the what, why and who of ghostwriting, lets chat about HOW to be a ghostwriter.

What skills do you need?

  • Solid writing skills. This goes without saying! Of course you need to know how to write to offer your services as a ghostwriter.
  • The ability to meet deadlines.
  • You need to be able to clearly communicate with your client throughout all stages of the project.
  • A ghostwriter must be adept at capturing the style, tone and voice of their client (or what they want in a book). You need to put your own persona aside in order to completely immerse yourself in your clients voice so any work you produce will truly reflect them.
  • You must be able to work well with others!

Where do you find ghostwriting jobs?

There are so many places you can look! From job boards, newspapers and community groups to word of mouth, cold pitching and your own website.

Ask your nana. She may have the next bestseller floating around in her head waiting for you to capture it!

Or maybe your best friend who runs her own business has a book she wants written for that business?

You won’t know until you ask around. So ask.

How do you get started?

The first, and one of the most important, steps to getting a ghost project started is to undertake a thorough creative brief. So, what is included in the creative brief? The most important things are:

  • Objectives of the project
  • Target audience
  • Tone and style
  • Length of the project
  • Deadlines
  • Budget

These questions will help you form the outline of the project and the tone and style of it. You need to understand exactly WHO the project is for and how your client wishes it to be written. This way you will meet your clients’ expectations and produce an amazing piece of writing that truly captures your clients’ voice.

The other steps you will need to take are to form a quote, timeframe and expectations of your client.

What next?

I know most freelancers will still be asking, but why would I be a ghostwriter when I don’t receive any credit? I cannot even add it to my portfolio to boost my reputation and showcase what I can do.

However, there are several ways you can circumvent this.

  • With your clients permission (and include it in your contract or Letter of Agreement) you could add a link to your clients website on your portfolio. I have done this with several of my clients.
  • You can include a permissions clause in your contract or LOA that states you can show an extract of the piece within your professional portfolio.
  • You can ask for client testimonials and reviews.

So there you have it! A guide to becoming a ghostwriter. What are you waiting for? Go add it to your service list now! You will not regret it.

I would love to hear about your experiences as a freelance writer, whether ghostwriting or not! Comment below.

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