"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Goods on Ghostwriting...

Is it a career for you?

Truth be told, the thrill of a byline never gets old. I admit that after many years of professional writing, and hundreds of pieces published, the “magic” has yet to disappear.

In fact, every time I visit a bookstore or newsstand, and see my name reflected between the printed pages, I blush like a smitten teenager. Even now.

But here’s the reality: I’ve got grown-up bills to pay.

For the uninitiated, Ghost Writing is providing creative work without the benefit of a byline. The true author remains anonymous for a fee. Think of it as “role playing” on paper.
Other than copy writing, it's one of the most lucrative forms of writing around.
One friend shared how one of her first assignments paid her mortgage for seven months.

Why do people seek Ghost writers?

  • Lack of time to produce quality results
  • Lack of strong communication skills
  • The desire to collaborate with someone who has expertise in certain areas

Here are some of the most common projects ghostwriters are often used for:
  • Books
  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Speeches
According to Kelly James-Enger, author of Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks, "An estimated 80 % of celebrity authored books are ghost written." Additionally she states that "Ghost writers can make good money, even in today's economy."
The figures she provides are: book proposals going for $5000.00 to $10,000, and book projects starting at about $10,000.00.

So, if you're tired of finding new ways to fix Ramen Noodles, this might be something to explore this year. Based upon my experience here's what you can expect...

The Practice:
Ghostwriting projects categorically pay in advance of work being performed. If the assignment is long-term (like a book, for instance), payment is usually divided into thirds; with the final payment due upon completion.

The Payoff:
No more chasing down the mailman, or waiting 30-90 days after publication to see a return on your sweat equity. No more "dreams deferred." It also cuts down time spent on collection efforts
and follow-up invoicing.

The Practice:
Clients that hire for a specific project, typically require assistance for other related written projects. For instance, someone in need of a person to help write a book quite often needs marketing and promotional work done as well.

The Payoff:
Repeat business is usually easier to come by than cultivating new customers. It allows writers to "work smarter, not harder."  

The Practice:
In exchange for the use of your work without a byline, ghost projects offer generous pay.

The Payoff:
More pay means that you can be more selective about the other projects you take on. No more writing for content mills or bidding sites.

Ghosting however, is not suited for everyone.
Would you have a "ghost" of a chance at being successful in this field?

You would if you are...
  • Able to keep confidences
  • A person with a good work ethic
  • Able to demonstrate a broad knowledge base
  • Able to research well
  • Good at managing your time and meeting deadlines
These are a few things to keep in mind as you seek to build your writing business and your bottom line. I highly recommend it. I think you'll find it to be love at first write!

Questions? Comments?


  1. I've been meaning to look further into ghost writing, so I appreciate the info. This year would be a great year to get started. Thanks, Jen!

    1. There's no time like the present! :-) Good luck. Thanks for stopping by and starting us off, Karen.

  2. This is actually a type of writing that's get's on my Writing Radar once in a while, and indeed also frequently results in assistance with several other related writing projects.

    It makes me wonder if besides 'Tailormade' Ghostwriting, it might be possible to also - just as with Celebrities that release their Video Clips, & 'Canned Interviews' etc. etc. to several Media -

    To also be able to somehow write special collections of 'Readymade' PLR-material, for special audiences that content users can easily buy from a webpage, for creating some additional constant extra income streams.

    1. That's something worth considering. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, H.P. :-)

  3. Is there an easy way to find the work? I love the idea!

    1. Is there ever an easy way? LOL Many openings can be found on popular job boards like Pro Blogger and Craigslist. I also get some by referrals. There's a National Ghostwriters Assoc. that has a job bank and leads as well. Great to hear from you.