What are the skills required to become a ghostwriter
If you are a fantastic writer searching for a job that pays you, but you don't care about the fame and glory of your work, you can become a ghostwriter.
- Who is a ghostwriter?
- Why become a ghostwriter?
- How to become a ghostwriter?
- Types of jobs in ghostwriting
- What skills are required to become a ghostwriter?
- How to get ahead as a ghostwriter?
- Why do people hire ghostwriters?
- How to land gigs once you are a ghostwriter?
- Is ghostwriting ethical?
Who is a ghostwriter?
Ghostwriters are freelance writers hired to pen a text for their clients, but they receive no credit for that work. Ghostwriting is a professional relationship involving two parties:
An author or client
Who hires a freelance writer on an agreed fee to write for them. They can take credit for the original work produced.
Ghostwriters are writers for hire who are paid for the work produced. They can write either under their client's name or as a collaborator. Ghostwriters write articles, nonfiction books, online content, book proposals, blogs, public speeches, emails, newsletters, etc. They cannot share their client's writing anywhere else without their permission. Many of the bloggers these days hire ghost bloggers who write content for their blogs. Thus, ghost bloggers serve similar to ghostwriters.
Why become a ghostwriter?
By becoming a ghostwriter, you can grow your freelance writing business or take the next level. It can be the most lucrative one among all other freelancing. Benefits of ghostwriting includes:
Interesting new subjects
Ghostwriting allows you to work with exciting clients who can provide you with new interesting subject matter.
Freedom from promotion
Once your client's project is done, there is no need to promote it on social media or press junkets. There is no need for personal marketing.
It gives you a chance of more distance from your work. Being a freelancer doing work-for-hire, you can be emotionally free from your content.
Your writing skill also becomes better over time as you have learned how to write in other people's voices. Ghostwriting provides you a chance to groom up your writing skills which can be useful when you write your books.
A wide audience
It can help you to enter into the world of publication.
Upfront payment for your job
Ghostwriters charge a flat fee depending on their skill of writing.
Clients supply you with research generally. So it saves your time of research. Even during economic crises, there is always room for writing professionals and freelance writers.
How to become a ghostwriter?
To become a ghostwriter, you have to be both a good writer and a good listener. A good ghostwriter represents their client's thoughts so that your writing should "sound" like that person's thoughts when they are speaking.
If this kind of work sounds good to you, then consider the following steps to start ghostwriting:
First, be a freelance writer
This is ultimately the first step; as a freelance writer, you can create your credibility easily. You don't have to do much marketing for your services. Your ideal client can easily see the value of your writing. Being established will also help with networking.
Or be a freelance editor
If you don't want to be a freelance writer, instead you can become a freelance editor. Being a freelance editor is a great lead-in to your ghostwriting services. Some clients add the name of their editors as one of the authors as a "with" notation or as the editor.
While editing a book for your client, it will be easy to convince them that you will be happy to ghostwrite a book for them if they don't have the time or they want to produce more books in the year.
Write big projects
The most lucrative ghostwriters are those who can ghostwrite books. Book writing is a separate skill from blog posts or article writing. It is easy to write shorter content than a full book. If you are looking to earn a handsome amount of money out of ghostwriting, it can come from big projects like book writing.
Write your books
If you are a freelance book writer, you can be a ghostwriter too. It will perfectly fit with your business as you know all steps involved in book writing.
Learn to write for someone else
It's a big deal to adopt someone's voice. Crafting your thoughts as a freelance writer or blogger is a skill. Unfortunately, this is the hardest for many writers. Able to adapt to someone else's writing style is crucial to becoming a ghostwriter.
You can ask for links from your client to see their way of writing. They can provide you with a writer guideline that gives you more information about their voice. You can read their content, books, follow on social media, or join their email list to know your client as much as possible.
Develop client's voices and styles
In ghostwriting, you are not writing as you but for someone else. So you need to match the client's style and tone. Maybe their style includes unique metaphors, curses, and exclamations.
Build a network
To find potential clients, you should have a good network. Your reputation in the world of ghostwriting and word of mouth can get you new clients who are seeking ghostwriting services. Network whenever possible as personal connections can help. Once you have a solid network, you are ready to pitch. Market yourself on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter by adding ghostwriter in bio.
Let the people know that you are looking for a ghostwriting job. If people in your social circle know about your writing skills, it will be a great help. In addition, your connections with other writers, editors, or anyone from publication houses can put good words for you.
Perfection in writing skills
Hard work always gets you a long way. Try to circulate your sample writing out in the world. You should be confident in your abilities to write fantastic content.
Unique personal style
Since one job can lead to more referrals, make your name with a particular publishing house. Along with writing for someone else, maintain your unique personal writing style. Finally, spruce up your writing skills by writing blogs under your name.
Put ego aside
It's not about you; it's for your client. Apart from being a good writer, you need to be comfortable switching your writing style to match your clients, even if yours is better. Remember that you are being paid to keep quiet.
When you are writing for someone else, you need to work on deadlines, organize your notes, and do some research. At times you have to manage multiple projects at once. In addition, you have to maintain your rhythm.
Types of jobs in ghostwriting
This kind is not a very popular one, but occasionally you can get fiction-based ghostwriting projects.
This can be a lucrative ghostwriting job if you have a talent for writing songs or poems for the film industry. Unfortunately, you can't find them on job boards; you need to network in the film and music industry if you want to do this.
Ghostwriting speeches or memoirs
Some celebrities or public figures hire ghostwriters to publish or edit their autobiographies or memoirs. Sometimes they just act as editors for them.
Ghostwriting ebooks or blogs
This is the best type of ghostwriting you can pick up. There will be abundant projects to do if you focus on this field.
This kind of ghostwriting is academic dishonesty and is unethical. If detected by the universities, it can be punishable or can be charged as academic fraud. However, some ghostwriting companies and freelancers sell entrance essays, term papers, theses, and dissertations to students on the internet.
Pharma companies pay professional ghostwriters to write papers for them and pay scientists or researchers to attach their names to them before publishing these papers in journals.
Some celebrities, public figures, CEOs have their blog websites or social media handles for marketing and public relations. As they are too busy to write their blog posts, they hire ghostwriters to post or edit blogs under their names. These ghostwriters match their writing style, tone, and content with the credited author.
What skills are required to become a ghostwriter?
You need to be a fast, committed, flexible, and compelling writer. Your ability to collaborate is very important. Your voice should match your client's voice. You should connect with the stories you are writing and the clients you are working with. Hence communicate with your client regularly. You can easily find lots of work in ghostwriting if you can improve your client's SEO by your writing.
How to get ahead as a ghostwriter?
Though it isn't often publicized, ghostwriting is a common practice. Hence, you need to understand the publishing industry to get ahead for this job. Then, you can establish connections with agents, ghostwriting firms, editors, publishers, authors, etc.
Tell others that you are a ghostwriter on social media. You will get the buzz out there that you offer ghostwriting services, e.g., ghostwriting books for authors, ghostwriters for hire, ghostwriting content for small businesses.
Why do people hire ghostwriters?
A paid professional freelance ghostwriter is generally hired to have a well-written website copy or other quality content. For personal or professional use, when someone plans to create a new copy for a website, write an ad or business copy, or supply new or rewritten material, they hire a ghostwriter. Ghostwriters can either work as a staff writers or as freelance writers.
Ghostwriters also write books for people. But when the published author of the book is the person who is hiring the ghostwriter unless he wants to share some of the credit with the ghost. Then, the ghost can be listed as co-author or editor or listed somewhere on the acknowledge page.
How to land gigs once you are a ghostwriter?
Finding jobs will not be a tough task once you have laid a good foundation like becoming a freelance writer, have published a few books of your own, etc.
If you are a freelance editor or writer, look at your close professional contacts and network. Don't hesitate to pitch to your existing clients, friends, family, other authors, and writers.
Pitch to small business owners like doctors, lawyers, dentists, stylists, coaching businesses, new start-up companies, etc., for their email marketing or landing page. Job boards are a good entryway for freelance writers, but be selective about them if you want to be a ghostwriter.
Is ghostwriting ethical?
Ethics are not always clear-cut black and white. It's a debatable issue. If the client is providing a well-thought-out outline and links of research carried out can be seen as a more ethical approach. The client is not actually up to his words on paper, but his message is being communicated.
On the other hand, if a client handles projects to ghostwriters without planning or direction, it would be unethical. So ultimately, it's up to the ghostwriter if you are comfortable with the situation; not much can be done despite external objections.
If you can impersonate others, then it will be a quality of your good craftsmanship. But, unfortunately, being a ghostwriter is not an easy one and doesn't happen overnight.
It will take time to build a good portfolio and shine out among others. However, if you can overcome all obstacles, you can become a promising ghostwriter.
About the author
Dennis Hoinkis has been working as a web developer and in online marketing since 1998. After building up a marketing agency and the exit in 2013, he consulted international groups as a freelance consultant. Since 2022, he and his team now offer staffing services in this field.
Dennis Hoinkis CEO, GLOMASTCO Ltd.