When I started working towards building a career as a writer, I never for a moment thought that ghostwriting would become my No. 1 source of income. However, that’s exactly what’s happened.
Although I still write content for my public blog sites, if I’m honest, they’ve taken a back seat due to the amount of ghost articles and blogs that I’m writing at present.
Now, the nature of ghostwriting, means that I can’t reveal the names or publications that I write for (even though I’d love to). But what I can tell you, is that I’m currently crafting several articles or blogs per week for clients from countries such as the U.K., U.S. and China.
If you’ve read any of my previous content, you’ll know that I’m a non-fiction writer, who loves to cover a wide-variety of topics, including: business, health, marketing, social media, technology and writing.
These are the topics that I enjoy and have real-life experience with. However, ghostwriting work can often require you to write about topics that you know little – or even nothing about! For example, this year I’ve found myself writing about fashion, furniture and… a quirky article about how to strike up conversations with strangers on a train!
How to Get Started as a Ghostwriter
If you enjoy writing, and you’re of a decent level, then ghostwriting could be another string to add to your professional bow.
If you want to give ghostwriting a go, then there are five things that you need to be aware of:
- You’ll have to be able to adapt your writing ‘voice’
- You’ll have to be able to quickly learn about new subjects
- You’ll have to get used to receiving negative feedback
- You’ll have to get used to your content being published under someone else’s name
- You’ll have to learn to write quickly
To be honest, I learned these things the hard way.
For instance, I remember being given an assignment to write a 2,000-word article on financial software. This subject was something I knew next to nothing about! However, the assignment was well paid, and I was keen to complete it. Unfortunately, I massively underestimated the time to do the research, planning, writing and proofreading. Instead of taking three hours (the time period I had expected), I ended up spending more than eight hours on my first draft of the article.
But there was worse to come…
After I submitted the draft to the agent, they came back the same day and asked me to make some small changes. This seemed reasonable to me, and it only took me 30 minutes or so. However, and here’s the killer part, after the agent submitted the article to the client, I then heard back from the agent saying that the client had several further changes they wanted to make. I did these as well, but they took me about another hour. So, all in all, an anticipated three-hour article took me almost 10 hours to complete to the satisfaction of both the agent and the client. What I thought was a well-paid article – turned out to be more like slave labour!
Fortunately, writing that article provided some valuable lessons to me. Namely:
- It’s much easier to ghostwrite if you know your subject well
- Try to work directly with clients – as you’ll have less edits to do as a result
- Working for the same client is easier than working for lots of different ones
- Before agreeing an assignment, make sure you’re confident about how long it will take to complete
So, how do you begin working as a ghostwriter?
Well, the first thing to do is make sure you already have a decent portfolio of writing content. These could be articles, blogs, e-books or even real books! These items will be your sales cards. They’ll open the door to attracting potential clients.
In my case, I was approached by a company – who had read some of my online articles – to ghostwrite content for some of their partners. This was my first introduction to ghostwriting, and for sure, it didn’t find it to be a walk in the park! However, over time, I was able to build a discipline of research, planning, writing and proofreading. This has allowed me to take on ghostwriting assignments, knowing that I can deliver them on time – and of a consistently high standard.
Of course, you may not want to hang around waiting for someone to offer you ghostwriting work. Instead, keep an eye on some of the freelance writing job sites, such as:
These sites publish new freelance writing vacancies every day, and some of the positions are for ghostwriters.
Why Should I Consider Ghostwriting?
It’s a good question, as you may not be suited to ghostwriting.
Here’s one way to tell…
What’s your response to the below statements?
- I like to have my name associated with my writing content
- I like to do my own thing, with as little outside input as possible
- I like to take my time with my writing, and often wait for inspiration to strike
Clearly, if you found yourself agreeing with the above statements, then ghostwriting is unlikely to be a thing for you. On the other hand, if you don’t mind writing anonymously, and are happy to make changes and edits when required – then ghostwriter could definitely be for you!
I guess the real test is to take on some ghostwriting assignments and see if you like the feel of that type of work.
To be successful at ghostwriting, you must be able to research and write quickly. This is the only way you’ll be able to make decent money from this line of work. (Although, let me tell you, ghostwriting typically pays much more than writing under your own name. This is because, in most cases, you’ll be writing on behalf of big companies – or even the CEOs of these companies!)
For me, ghostwriting provides a steady source of income, allows me to learn lots of new things, and has also pushed my writing skills to a whole new level.
I’ve also come to realise that the majority of people are either lousy writers – or simply don’t like to write. This is the reason ghostwriting is in-demand. Countless people are ready and willing to pay good money for someone to write compelling content on their behalf. And that someone could be you!
If you want more information on ghostwriting, or would like to hire me to write on your behalf – please get in touch.