Need a ghostwriter? In recent years, there’s been something of a renaissance of big-name creatives coming out of the closet and revealing that they have employed ghostwriters to help them in their careers. Some are novelists, some are rappers or singers or actors, but they’ve all relied on co-authors in one way or another. And when you hear about how much money these stars make for their efforts, it only makes sense that you’d want to explore the possibility of working with ghostwriters.
If you’re not clear on what ghostwriters are, here’s a quick definition. Ghostwriters are authors who write a book for another person, either as a favour or for money. They work behind the scenes and don’t receive credit for their material or by-line. When the book is published, the credit and royalties go to the person who employed them.
How To Become a Ghostwriter
Finding work isn’t hard, but it’s not something you can do all independently. You have to find someone who needs your services and is willing to pay you for them.
Here is how to go about it:
Build Your Portfolio
One of the first things you need to do is build up your portfolio, demonstrating that you have what it takes as a ghostwriter to be successful in this field. You can’t rely on writing samples from other sites because they’re not necessarily relevant to ghostwriting. For instance, if you’re applying for a ghostwriting job for a rap artist, you probably won’t want to include samples of your work with children’s books. Suppose you don’t know where to find potential clients (a publisher or prominent musician). In that case, there are sites online like Reedsy and Upwork that specialise in connecting employers with freelancers who can help them complete projects. Once you get some jobs under your belt, use these samples in your portfolio when prospective clients call.
Ghostwriting is a prevalent job within the creative community. Most of the major players in every industry know they can rely on ghostwriters to handle certain aspects of their careers. So it would help if you networked with as many people in your field as possible; they’re the ones who will recommend you when clients come calling. Networking also involves blogging and using social media to get your name out there, so prospective clients can see that you’re putting in the effort necessary to succeed in this line of work.
Write Like a Pro
Once you have your client and your contract, it’s time to start writing. These days, most ghostwriters work through email, with the client sending over notes on what they need in each section of the news blog. They might offer some examples of press releases to give you an idea of their taste and style. Sometimes they’ll send over specific questions they want addressing or introductions for particular sections. Be sure not to copy any material directly from these notes or emails because publishers use programs that can detect plagiarism, which will cost you the job. Instead, take notes on what you’re being asked to do, then go home and write out your drafts before sending them back to the creator for approval. Once all parties are happy with what you’ve written, go ahead and send it in for publication.
Work With Professional Ghostwriters
In most cases, the person who has requested your services will be the one to retain the publishing rights to the finished book. This means that you cannot take credit or accept royalties for your efforts no matter what, even if they haven’t done anything to improve the project. In some rare cases, a client might ask you to give them publishing rights so that they can have a hand in promoting their book, but this is very unlikely and not recommended because it puts you at legal risk should something go wrong with their efforts.
Register In A Writing Platform
Registering in a writing platform might feel silly since you don’t have anything to show that you’re an author at this point. However, it’s still important because many of these sites can help connect writers with people looking for writers. Look through the list of ghostwriting services and see which ones interest you. If someone contacts you about one-on-one work, they will likely be able to negotiate more money for your time than if they had large companies or agencies find someone for them. Create a profile that shows you are an experienced writer. If you have experience, then you can show samples of your work. Try to avoid any writing services that require too many fees to join the site or do not pay commissions on sales they generate for writers.
Get Your Foot In The Door
Using these online resources is essential because it helps get your name out there and find people who want to hire you. However, it does take time for this kind of thing to take off, so it’s also a good idea to connect with authors in real life. One way of doing this is by starting your blog to become an authority on some topic or another within the industry. You could even start a Patreon account to show people that you’re an expert and worthy of being hired. Once you’ve connected with a client somehow, the next step is to discuss their vision for the book and what they expect from you. They will likely want to meet with you several times before agreeing on anything and signing a contract about your work.
Work With A Publisher
Publishers who work with ghostwriters generally have a roster of people they turn to regularly. They typically handle the publishing and marketing aspects of the project. At the same time, you’re responsible for hiring assistants to help with things like transcribing audio, conducting interviews, and putting everything together into your desired manuscript layout. These kinds of publishers might offer contract work or full-time employment, but both mean that you will not receive royalties from your work, since the publisher pays for it.
Ghostwriting can be a lucrative, rewarding, and enjoyable gig for any writer, even though it is often the type of work that goes unnoticed. Working with an author to help them get their message out there through a book is such an important thing, and you will likely find yourself learning a lot while working on something that has lasting value for both your client and their readership.