A Lucrative Niche for Writers: How to Become a Ghostwriter

A Lucrative Niche for Writers: How to Become a Ghostwriter

Thomas Jefferson might as well have been describing how to break into ghostwriting when he wrote, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

In the summer of 2014, I quit my job to pursue full-time self-employment as an author and editor. Knowing that a majority of my income would likely not come from my books, I focused on seeking editing work. In less than a year, I shifted my focus to ghostwriting, a professional avenue I thought would be forever closed to me because I simply didn’t have the connections. I knew no celebrities, political figures or rich business types, but I did have three key assets: experience, patience and luck.

This isn’t just my story either. In taking an informal poll of online connections who also ghostwrite books, common threads of experience, patience and luck wove through every story of how they first got paid to help other people tell their stories.

Before I cover the practical aspects of how to become a ghostwriter, let’s consider why you should add “Ghostwriter” to your writing services:

  • You’ll get paid upfront. No more waiting on royalties like you would for writing your own books!
  • It’s lucrative. With the right clients, you can earn substantially more than other writing services you provide.
  • No need for marketing. Because your name isn’t on the book, you don’t have to do any marketing, which means you can proceed to the next project ASAP. Authors who don’t enjoy marketing often see this as even more beneficial than how much they earn from ghostwriting projects. (Unfortunately, you will still have to market yourself to get clients, but that’s content for another post.)
  • You can keep emotional distance. Because the book is not your own child, you’ll be able to see its strengths and weaknesses clearly, bringing a helpful perspective to the client.
  • The subject matter is fascinating. When you choose the right clients, you learn as you write: about other people’s lives, their professions and industries you otherwise might not come across.
  • It will make you a better writer. Ghostwriting consistently challenges your writing skills. If you’ve ever had trouble meeting your daily word count goals, try ghostwriting a book for a client who has already paid you!

With those considerations in mind, it’s little wonder that writers want to know how to break into ghostwriting, but the process isn’t easy or fast. Becoming a ghostwriter is equal parts patience, determination, experience, confidence, marketing, and, well, luck.

It’s that last part that most aspiring ghostwriters don’t want to hear, but it’s true — and we’ll get to why luck is a necessary ingredient in a moment.

ghostwriter

Here’s how to get started in this lucrative profession:

1. Gain experience

Journal. Blog. Guest post. Write for publications like The Write Life. Send letters to the editor. Make insightful comments on websites. Self-publish a book (properly edited, of course). Create a family email newsletter. In whatever ways you can, write, write, and write some more.

And don’t forget to read. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write,” Stephen King wrote. “Simple as that.” Read high-brow, low-brow, classics, and today’s popular books. Alternate between fiction and nonfiction — nonfiction authors must know how to tell a compelling story. Read books about the craft of writing and storytelling, like King’s On Writing and McKee’s Story.

Put in your 10,000 hours of reading and writing. Earn the right to write for others.

2. Be patient

Ten thousand hours is 1.14 years, but that means you’d have to be doing that one single thing every hour of every day. Let’s say that five days a week you read for an hour per day and write for two hours per day, a generous assumption for most writers with full-time responsibilities outside of writing. At that rate, it will take you 12.8 years to become an expert writer.

My story witnesses to this Gladwellian opinion. I began to take my writing seriously as a freshman in college at the age of 18. Every one of my post-college jobs was related to reading or writing, but I also suffered serious doubts about my abilities and so let the blinking cursor blink for long stretches at a time. Sixteen years later, I was offered my first ghostwriting gig.

By no means do I believe myself an expert. Hemingway, who one could argue was an expert, said it well: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Patience doesn’t mean biding your time until the right person contacts you. Patience means constant practice until you’re ready for the right person to contact you.

3. Get lucky

Of the six online ghostwriters who responded to my question about how they broke into ghostwriting, every single one said they’d been working on smaller writing projects before “getting lucky” and breaking into ghostwriting:

  • Mike Loomis started in multimedia curriculum development and book and product marketing before realizing he could help authors through offering ghostwriting services.
  • Pat Springle wrote for two organizations who loved what he produced and helped others finish their manuscripts before launching into a successful 20-year career as a ghostwriter.
  • Emily Chase Smith was an attorney, financial coach for business owners, and an author before witnessing how her combined passions would lead to success as a business book ghostwriter.
  • Alice Sullivan wrote web and magazine copy for Country Music Television (CMT) during an internship before being asked by a major publisher to ghostwrite two books.
  • Joy Wickholm Bennett had been doing short-form ghostwriting for clients when she was approached to ghostwrite a full book.

In my case, I proofread bills and laws for the Texas Senate, directed communications for a large church, wrote copy for a law firm, edited a content marketing website, and became a self-employed editor before breaking into ghostwriting through a fortuitous referral. At the time, I thought I was lucky to have earned the opportunity to write for someone else and be paid for it.

That job has led to two more direct referrals, which makes me feel even luckier to have been granted that first step into the world of ghostwriting. But before getting lucky, I gained experience and practiced patience. The luck would never have been achieved without them.

If you’re a ghostwriter, how did you break into the business? If you want to be a ghostwriter, what questions do you have about finding ghostwriting opportunities?

Filed Under: Freelancing
Find Your Freelance Writing Niches

Featured resource

Find Your Freelance Writing Niches: Make More Money for Less Work

If you’re not satisfied with your income from freelance writing, you need to start specializing. This ebook by John Soares will show you why and how.

127 comments

  • Emma-Lee says:

    I would love to become a ghost-writer to earn a bit more money, but I am only a student. I have no connections, and I have only written essays for school. Although I have not written a blog, I am a frequent member of Wattpad.com, I have a few poems and stories up there. But I feel I should really move away from fiction for a bit and focus on non-fiction work, can someone please give any advice on how I can do this? I really want to have a career in the writing field, it is something I am passionate about and would love to make my livelihood. So how would I go about setting myself up to become a ghost-writer, is there anything I should do/know before putting myself out there?

    Thanks,
    Emma-Lee

    • Tamara says:

      From someone who has done ghost writing for many years now, may I offer some potentially helpful tips? If you want to make serious money ghost writing, you will, of course, need to have a body of work in your portfolio. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be paid work. Write some non-fiction pieces, some short bios, add any of your stories you feel represent your skills. It would also be a good idea to gain some experience by offering your writing services free of charge to a non-profit organization and add that work to your portfolio. As with any work or career it doesn’t happen overnight, but if you love it it’s worth the hard work.

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Emma, I echo what Tamara shared. It’s not likely that you can become a ghostwriter while still a student, but it would be absolutely beneficial for a future ghostwriting career if you focus on learning how to write well and showing that you know how to do so by any number of means: guest posting for blogs that share your interests, offering your writing skills to people you know, submitting articles to magazines, etc. If you focus on small writing projects now, they can lead to larger writing projects in the future.

      Challenge yourself to write something every day, to get your writing in front of people you don’t know on a consistent basis, to allow meaningful criticism to change you, and to make connections with other writers and people who need writing services.

  • Shah Wharton says:

    Ghostwriting became an option for me when I needed funds for an editor. I looked online for freelance writing jobs and came across a guy who needed a romantic novella. Romance wasn’t my genre, but I earned a nice lump sum and enjoyed the learning curve.

    After that, I found a few regular customers who require a steady flow of short romantic fiction, and I receive regular enquiries for other fiction jobs along the way.

    I never stop writing (or learning and earning), which is pretty good for a writer. 🙂 My only regret is the time it takes from my own projects.

  • I became a ghostwriter when I began calling myself one. My first manuscript was a family history and from there, I began to market myself as being able to do the same for others. That first project only brought in pennies but eventually, I was able to bring in 5 figure numbers for manuscripts. I think that it is a love for words and writing and a desire to serve others that are the skills that will serve any ghostwriter well. Awesome post and site!

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Thanks for sharing your story, Garrett. That part about “a desire to serve others” is spot on.

    • Tamara says:

      I also like Garrett’s comment about serving others — as a ghostwriter, you need to delight in other people’s stories. That delight will help you find all the little details and deeper points of interest that can bring a story or even article to life. I did a political piece last week that I was pleased with because it ended up really reflecting the person I wrote it for — because I put a lot of time into getting to know the person. To me it’s exciting to look at something I’ve written and be able to say it sounds like someone else. The other great point Garrett makes is the step of calling yourself a ghostwriter. Labeling yourself as what you want to be is often the first step to becoming it.

  • It take over 12 year to become an expert, it’s a long way but it deserves to try . Thank for your post! I have plan to be freelancer writer and you inspired me so much.Thank again!

  • LaniKay says:

    Great article; It seems I have barely scratched the surface in becoming a ghostwriter. Over the past year and a half I have finished four project for a fellow classmate I met in online classes.
    The first project started out as an editing project, but quickly changed to ghostwriting. I would love to make this type or work a career (perfect fit for a foster parent).
    My questions are; one how do I really break into the business and two, I have no idea how to develop a set rate for my services. Right now the author I work for is basically an “unknown” and I have been charging ten dollars for 2,500 to 3,500 words.

    • Blake Atwood says:

      For setting rates, I recommend checking the EFA rates pages (http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php), or grabbing a copy of “Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks” (http://amzn.to/1O16AwF). The experienced ghostwriter of that book shares a long list of the projects she’s worked on and how much she charged for them.

      You’re currently charging far less than the going rate for ghostwriting—which is OK when you’re starting out, but as you accrue more experience (and more confidence), you can begin to charge more.

      For instance, at $10 for 2500 words, you’re charging less than a cent per word. The lowest ghostwriting rate on the EFA site is 25¢ per word. Even if you chose to charge less for ghostwriting for the web (as some do), you’re still offering ghostwriting for an insanely cheap price.

      To me, breaking into the business is equal parts hard work and luck. You have to seek out the work, do good work, and get word-of-mouth referrals. A great starting point is to tell everyone you know that you’re looking for ghostwriting projects. Maybe they need help, or know of someone who does. I’ve used my personal connections as well as those I’ve made online to find clients.

  • Charlotte says:

    Thanks for the article. I was worried that I didn’t have the experience but in reality I have just completed a scientific PhD with a large thesis and several journal articles. I am curious, as a ghost writer do I need to have a perfect handle on grammar? I write quite well but I am aware that I do make grammatical errors along the way.

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Even the best writers aren’t perfect grammarians, which is why, thankfully, editors exist. That said, having a strong grasp of spelling, grammar, and the building blocks of storytelling are certainly the foundation for being a go-to ghostwriter. However, if you’re fearful of making notable mistakes before sending a ghostwritten manuscript to a client, hire an editor!

  • C.N. says:

    I’ve been ghostwriting for the past few months on freelance sites, and the pay is low. I no longer accept jobs under 3 cents per word. It’s mentally exhausting to write, let alone write books you’re not really invested in. However, I’m a quick writer and can easily write 1500 words an hour, and these words are clean with minimal to no editing required.

    In essence, I’m able to make about $45 an hour minus site fees and taxes (which brings the total down to a little less than $30 an hour). This would be great if I a.) had more contracts, and b.) wasn’t mentally exhausted after writing 5K a day.

    In addition, I also publish six full-length novels a year under my own name. This are books that have a small, but loyal audience, but they don’t pay he bills. They all have good-to-great reviews, and I’m running myself into the ground trying to find a decent ghostwriting job that pays at least 10 cents per word. In that regard, I could easily write 12 books a year. Six that bear my name, and six written under the clients name.

    I have no intention of ghostwriting for the long term, just until I’m able to make a full time living from my work alone. This is the only reason I ghostwrite currently; to make ends meet while I whittle away at my own work.

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Freelance sites are good avenues to gain experience, but as you know, they’re not typically overflowing with clients who can pay the going rate. Per the EFA Rates (http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php), you should be looking to get 26¢ to 50¢ per word. To get those rates, you have to find the right kinds of clients, learn how to market yourself to those kinds of clients, do good work, and generate beneficial word of mouth advertising about what you do.

      For what it’s worth, I’m not charging within that price range for ghostwriting quite yet, but I’ve also been able to enjoy ongoing professional relationships with clients who want to keep producing books—a tradeoff I’m willing to make. Plus, I’m less than two years into editing and ghostwriting full-time, but every year my rate will increase.

      If you’re interested in learning more about how to discover and target your ideal customer, I’m a big fan of Paul Jarvis’s Creative Class: https://creativeclass.io

      Also, I feel your pain regarding writing for others vs. writing for yourself. I have no good answers for how to find the time to do all of that or how to ensure your personal work could sustain you.

      • Karina says:

        Dear Mr. Antwood,
        thank you for your post. Considering that it was published back in 2015 and still gets comments to-date, you seem to have considerably underestimated your expertise.
        I currently work for a not-so-freelance custom writing service that mostly targets students. My colleagues and I each produce 8, or more, pages daily, mainly essays and papers. I am not a native English speaker. No creative writing programs or courses to speak of, although I have a baccalaureate in Philology. If I may, I would like to ask a few questions to you as an expert.
        Do you think it is possible for a non-native English speaker to become a book ghost writer for English-speaking clients?
        Is it at all possible to painlessly switch from a tight-deadline writing regime (1 hour = 1 page) into freelance?
        Finally, do you think there is any chance for someone living on the outskirts of the planet to work with the civilized world? Working online in my country as a freelance translator, I have had a number of payment incidents. This is currently not an issue but the anxiety persists. Payment aside, a writer has to keep some contact with their clients. Would you say it is possible to have an entirely web-based client base?
        Thank you in advance.
        Best regards,
        Karina.

        • Karina says:

          Dear Mr. Atwood,
          please accept my sincere apologies for misspelling your last name. I am commenting from my smartphone, and my autocorrect seems to have its own vision of what your last name should look like.
          I sincerely hope you will not take my mistake as an offense.
          Best regards,
          Karina.

        • Blake Atwood says:

          Karina, some of these answers are only my best guesses, and I hope that any non-U.S. based freelancers might provide their experience to help better guide your way.

          I do think it’s possible for a non-native speaker to become an English ghostwriter, but I also think the journey might be difficult. For instance, I took Spanish courses in college, but the amount of work I’d have to do now to become fluent would be immense. I’ve also found that some of my best clients are those I’ve met in person, which leads to your question about being a solely web-based business.

          You ABSOLUTELY can be a web-based business, as I still conduct at least half of my business through email and lead generation through my website and social media. I can’t speak to the (very important) payment aspect though. Are PayPal or Stripe viable methods for you to receive payments?

          As for keeping in contact, you can always use Skype to have virtual meetings with new clients, and you can send out a monthly or quarterly email newsletter to keep in touch with your clients (along with the one-to-one emails needed for each client’s respective project).

          I’m not sure I entirely understand your question about switching from a “tight deadline writing regime.” If you’re able to quickly write what the client wants, that’s a great ability! When you work for yourself, you don’t have to charge by the hour. Rather, you can charge by the project, and whether that project takes you fifteen minutes or three hours, the client won’t know, and if they’re happy with the work, they won’t care how long it took you. Consequently, if you price yourself so that you can get paid and the client feels like they’ve gotten their money’s worth, being able to crank out good work quickly would be an asset you could certainly build—and earn—upon.

          I hope I’ve answered some of your questions, and I do hope that non-U.S.-based freelancers join in the discussion.

  • Jaquan Bryant says:

    Hi, I’m Jaquan, and I’m breaking into ghostwriting. I am a spoken word artist, who writes short stories, poems, greetings, words of encouragement and a variety of other written and literary art & I’m wondering how should I get started.

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Ideally, whom do you want to ghostwrite for? From your experience, it sounds like you’ve written a lot of short-form content, which may lead you toward writing for particular niches.

      Generally speaking, part of starting out is finding that first person who’s effectively taking a chance on you. Maybe you offer to do the work for free or for a significant discount (but definitely not if it’s a book-length work).

      But I would encourage you to really think about the kinds of people you would like to work with before trying to engage anyone and everyone with your desire to ghostwrite. Then be specific about the people you target.

      And be sure to have a website where people can sample your writing. New clients won’t believe you when you say, “But I’m a great writer!” They have to see the proof for themselves.

  • Cavelle says:

    I have been in journalism for over 10 years, and was just offered a ghost writing job for a book. I’ve never taken on this type of work, is there any tips you have for becoming a successful ghost writer? Are there things you should know before beginning , questions that should be asked, things that should now be done.

    He wants to do it in the format that I interview him relentlessly and then I take those and turn it into a book. In this way, would it be easier for me to do all the interviews up front and then write? Or perhaps, interview in chunks as I would I vision the chapters to be and then write the chapters before continuing onto the next.

    I think this is my stroke of luck and I really want to make sure I am settings it up for success. Do you have any articles out on the learning curves of ghost writing ?

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Get Kelly-James Enger’s “Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks” (http://amzn.to/1WD4Yl2). She’ll answer your questions much better than I could.

      As for your interview question, use your first interview to nail down the broad strokes of the book: what’s the main idea? Who’s the audience? What will the chapters be? Write a few sentences about each chapter.

      At the next meeting, dive deeply into one of those chapters. Then write. Then meet again and dive into another chapter.

      Unless it’s a very short book, trying to cram all of that information into just a few meetings would be exhausting and purposeless. From my experience, one interview per chapter works well.

  • Hi, Blake! Thanks for the article. I’ve just started to write in ghostwriting here in Brazil (so, forgive my english mistakes) and your information were very useful. I’d like to ask you about personal marks: how do you absorb the “author” personality? How do you absorb his personal style to transfer this to the story?

  • Michael says:

    Thanks for your amazing article! It`s a pity, that only six online ghostwriters responded to your question. I became a ghostwriter through editing. Kind Regards from Germany.

  • Garrett Ellis says:

    Blake,

    How do you overcome the obstacle of building a portfolio to show potential ghostwriting clients when the clients you have request non disclosure agreements?

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Great question, Garrett. I struggled with that early on too. You have options:

      Consider guest posting, like I did here at The Write Life, on topics relevant to writing or to the kinds of clients you’re seeking. That will provide an easy way for you to send a link in order to say, “Look, I know how to write.”

      Alternatively, you could pitch a shorter project to a potential client before asking for a book-length project. A few months ago I worked on a 12,000-word ebook with a client as a test run. (I charged for the work. Don’t do it for free.) The shorter project could even be a blog post.

      Consider blogging (or blogging more) if you haven’t already done so. You just need to have clips ready and waiting for potential clients to read. And while a blog is a fine place for that, you’ll earn more “legitimacy points” if you’re being published on well-known websites.

      Or write your own book.

      Or ask your current clients for word-of-mouth referrals. In my experience, those are always the best. If you’ve provided great work to a client, they’ll be more than happy to share your name with people in their field who are looking for a ghostwriter.

  • Sheila Schultz says:

    Thank you for all the insightful information on the GW topic. My question is how do i negotiate pay? Is there a standard practice or rule of thumb if you will? I wouldn’t want to throw myself out of the running for a specific job because my expectations were excessive. At the same time I wouldn’t want to sell myself short either. Thank you for your advice and please keep up the good work! I know I sure appreciate it!

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Negotiating rates is one of the more challenging aspects of ghostwriting. Kelly James-Enger lists many different total costs she’s charged for many different projects in her book (http://amzn.to/2bEFFvh), ranging from a few thousand dollars to $20,000 (if memory serves me well).

      My best suggestion—and this is challenging for early projects—is to figure out what you’d like to make per hour and multiply that by how many hours you think the project will take you. Don’t forget meetings, calls, and research in your hour tally. The EFA rates page (http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php) lists $50–$60 as an average rate per hour for ghostwriting.

      Alternatively, you could set a per-word fee. The EFA lists 26¢-50¢ per word as a typical ghostwriting rate. To put that into perspective, a 50,000-word book could cost $13,000–$25,000. However, I also know a ghostwriter who charges a flat fee of $15,000 for almost any project he undertakes.

      You have to find the sweet spot between what works for you and what works for your client. You should absolutely value what you bring to the table, but you also have to be able to show your client what value you bring.

      Lastly, there’s no shame in offering a slightly lower price than the average if you’re just starting out and want to gain experience. As new clients sign on, you can quote a higher, more average rate.

  • Jermaine Hunt says:

    I love writing, I don’t read often as I should. Often friend tell me I should ghostwrite when they hear my poetry. People see my writing or listen to me and say you’ll be a good motivational speaker. I have a book I working on self- publishing. My question is do I have to have a college degree to start my ghostwriting career?

  • Jack Warner says:

    Thank you for article. I am looking for a ghostwriter for a book, based on a true story, that I want written, but can’t seem to find the right connection. I have emailed the larger operations, that have writes, editors, etc on staff, but their prices can get very expensive. Additionally, I have emailed with ghostwriters that felt ameturish and unprepared to engage in a professional context.

    What have you found to be the best way for clients wanting a book written to find ghost writers that fit into the selected genre?

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Jack, I don’t have a great answer for your question. All of my ghostwriting work has come by word of mouth. My first client led to my second client and so on. Additionally, all of these clients have been in the same field. My best advice is to ask others in your field whom you know have used ghostwriters for referrals. This may be challenging because you may not know anyone who’s used a ghostwriter (and they may not want to tell you that they have).

      I’m curious as to which larger operations you’ve already contacted.

      Lastly, would you mind emailing me the details of your project, including the book’s expected length, your deadline, and your budget? I may be of assistance, but if not I may be able to refer you to someone. From my perspective, it is often much more difficult to find a quality ghostwriter than it is to find a quality editor simply because you have more choice with editors.

      I can be reached at blake[at]editfor.me.

  • Jerri Collins says:

    Hi Blake,

    Your post was incredibly informative- just the kind of thing I need to help keep me going. I’ve been professionally ghostwriting for over a year now, with self-published romance authors as my main clientele. It’s helped pay the bills, and I’ve managed to accomplish eighteen projects, as well as having written five of my own full-length novels. It’s been a busy year, but I’m nowhere near making the money I feel I ought to be making. I’ve been happy to do it, but am looking to broaden my horizons and work at a higher rate finally (currently I’m charging $0.03/word) so I’m trying to figure out the best way to network with others, and seek out possible new clientele. Fiction mainly, but I’m really open to anything.

    Are there any groups or organizations that help freelance writers out with putting them in touch with clients, to your knowledge? Thank you so much for the post once again!

    -Jerri

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Jerri. Your rate is low, but it sounds like you’ve received a great amount of work for it. Pricing is always a difficult subject. Have you tried increasing your price now that you have so many books under your belt?

      As for organizations, the only one I know of is http://associationofghostwriters.org, but I am not a member, so I can’t speak to the type of job leads you may get through that organization.

      For what it’s worth, nearly all of my ghostwriting leads have been word-of-mouth from former clients. Have you considered reaching out to your former and/or current clients and directly asking them for referrals? For instance, for every new client I have—whether it’s a writing or editing project—once we’ve finished the project, I send an optional post-project questionnaire. One question directly asks, “Would you refer me to other writers you know? If so, could you provide contact information?”

      Best of luck finding more work!

  • Amelia Jones says:

    Thanks for this post! Over the past few months, I have been thinking profoundly about stepping into ghostwriting. But I’m stuck on how to go about it. Where would I go to seek out clients? Social media? Other writing sites?

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Figure out the kind of client for whom you’d like to ghostwrite. Do you want to help CEOs write business books? Or would you rather help people with fascinating life stories craft their memoirs? Then target that niche. That may require cold-calling (or cold-emailing) just to ask if a person has any writing needs, or if they’ve had a book idea but simply no time to write it.

      Definitely use your social media. Let all of your connections know that you’re pursuing ghostwriting work and that you’d be glad for any leads. I landed my first client as a result of a friend who referred me to the client. Then that client referred me to another client and so on. Eventually, word of mouth becomes a better marketing tool than anything else, though I’ll still cold-call/cold-email potential clients when work gets slow.

      It can be difficult to land that first major ghostwriting client, but if you find someone in a niche you like (and in which you’re able to ghostwrite well), turning that experience into future gigs is somewhat easier.

      Lastly, don’t think that ghostwriting always means ghostwriting a book. You can start smaller and pitch a person or company on ghostwriting their blog. The great thing about that is that the gig could conceivably last much longer than writing a book.

      Best of luck in your pursuits.

  • GhostPoet says:

    I just ran across your article on Ghostwriting. My question is, what’s the best route for expanding my field of future work as a Ghostwriter, and land more jobs? I have ghostwritten already, but want to get more jobs; however, I want to stay hidden to the general public, and continue to use my ghost name.
    Thanks for any suggestions.

    • Blake Atwood says:

      I don’t have any advice on staying anonymous while still marketing yourself as a ghostwriter. One of my earliest pieces of advice to someone who wants to ghostwrite is to tell everyone they know that they’re seeking ghostwriting clients. The follow-up piece of advice is that the ghostwriter should also be able to tell their friends and connections the specific kind of client they’re looking to work with, e.g., CEOs.

      In other words, landing more jobs means figuring out what your niche could be, getting yourself in front of those people, and then pitching your ability to write on their behalf. I would think that would be very challenging to do if you want “to stay hidden to the general public.”

      How did you land your first ghostwriting gig(s)?

      • Beatrice says:

        I wrote a bio for a retired clergy because his grown up children wanted to know his life story, but once I was paid and sent them the dogt copy, they never got to publish as their curiosity was sated. I would like to wrtr more
        Could you send me some work?

  • Reviews says:

    This is surely a great post. I have, however, found out that getting ghostwriting clients is easy job. I’d be happy to get a few tricks from your side.

  • Deidra says:

    What are your thoughts on ghostwriting while you still have your day job? I’m not in a position to quit the 9-5, but I write often in my spare time. I don’t know what to expect as a ghostwriter in terms of deadlines and turnaround time. Like everything else, I’m sure it varies from one projector the next but I’m not sure if the average client would be willing to work with (wait around on) someone who couldn’t work on their project full time. Have you had any experience with this?

    • Blake Atwood says:

      Trying to ghostwrite a book in your spare time isn’t impossible, but I think it’d be very challenging. Deadlines and turnaround times are whatever you and the client agree upon. If you’re absolutely sure you can ghostwrite a book for a client and meet their preferred deadline in the margins of your life, you’re welcome to try.

      However, when I’m working with a ghostwriting client, I try to ensure that it’s as easy and convenient as possible for them to contact me or for us to meet. While I set aside family time and ensure the client still respects my non-working hours, I also try to be available during my working hours. If you have a day job, that could prove difficult.

      If you’re intent about trying to launch your ghostwriting on the side, I suggest two options:

      1. Offer to write something shorter than a book, like a blog post, an article, or a short ebook.

      2. If you still want to pursue ghostwriting a book, be up front with your client about your availability. They’ll likely figure that out on their own if you can only meet at night, or if your suggested deadline is much longer than they expected.

      A large part of ghostwriting is essentially customer service, and it’s hard to provide the kind of personal hand-holding ghostwriting often requires when you’re not able to pursue it for most or all of your working days.