So you want to learn how to become a ghostwriter but haven’t figured out where to begin or even what the term actually means. In this ghostwriting guide, I take you through steps that you need to take in order to launch your ghostwriting business.
What is a Ghostwriter? What is Ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is about telling someone else’s story, from their own perspectives, using their own voices with the help of your own writing expertise.
So, someone who writes a book for someone else and is not credited for the work is known as a ghostwriter.
As a ghostwriter, you will be paid for the writing works but all the credits will go to your client. This means that you are not allowed to share your client’s works anywhere or even disclose this unless your client allows it.
So, you are thinking, why on earth would you ghostwrite a book that someone else will put a name on it?
Why Become a Ghostwriter
- You have great writing and research skills but don’t have an established name or brand
- You are looking for a great way to make money online as ghostwriting is highly paying
- You have willing clients who are willing to submit information that will help you in ghostwriting their books
- You have no problem in someone else’s having credit for your work
- You get paid upfront so you won’t have to rely on royalties that trickle over months, years and rely on the number of sales
- Ghostwriting is lucrative as you get to command rates based on your level of experience
- You get to hone on your ghostwriting and general writing skills as you work on diverse projects with diverse clients with diverse backgrounds and stories
8 Steps on How to Become a Ghostwriter for Beginners
Becoming a ghostwriter is different from becoming a freelance writer, starting a resume business, a social media consulting business or even a becoming a freelance blogger. The following are critical steps that you need to take in order to become a ghostwriter.
1: Start off as a freelance writer.
If you want to become a ghostwriter, we assume that you’ve already honed your writing skills. However, you are not ready yet to start a ghostwriting business.
Starting off as a freelance writer or a freelancer blogger will help you learn how to work around deadlines, taking different and challenging tasks etc. These skills are what you need for your long-term ghostwriting career.
As a freelancer, you will get to network, acquire long-term clients who might end up being your future ghostwriting clients, boost productivity as well as build up a compelling portfolio.
2. Brand Yourself Professionally
You will only be taken seriously if you seem professional in what you do. Start by designing a professional website that portrays you as a professional. Buy web hosting from Bluehost and get domain address for free.
You do not have to be an expert to design a stunning website. Use theme builders like Elementor Pro that comes with stunning landing page templates to get you started.
Once you have a domain name, grab a professional email address e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org instead of using Gmail and Yahoo. For professional emails, we recommend using Gmail for Work Basic plan. This way you can access your emails just as you do with Gmail.
Having beautiful business cards is also part of your professional branding. Order hundreds of them and hand them out in events and seminars. Indicate that you are a ghostwriter.
Generally, you want to have your business branding assets developed. Your brand colors, your logo, your website favicon, business mockups etc.
3. Practice Your Ghostwriting Skills
If you want to master how to become a ghostwriter, you’ll need to practice how to become one. It’s not enough to know how to write.
Ghostwriting involves writing using someone else’ voice and view of the world. To hone this skill, you’ll need to take time to work on different voices and styles, other than your own. You want the final product to be an almost representation of your client’s works and not yours.
You need to be fluid as some ghostwriting projects will require you to easily transition from business to conversational, formal, business-informal and back to business tone based on the client and the type of work.
To truly represent your client in your works, spend some time studying your client. Read their works, follow them on social media. Spend time with them. Ask, then ask again.
Adopting your client’s voice is a big undertaking. If you fail to get it right, you end up over-representing or under-representing them, resulting in works of art that are not truly your client’s
4: Become an Editor/ Proofreader.
Every writer is an editor. Every ‘perfect’ pieces of writing has undergone dozens of tweaking, omission of words, rewording, restructuring, and sometimes total scraping! That’s editing.
Editorial skills are crucial if you want to perfect your writing skills. It makes your writing sharper, brilliant, touching and descriptive. You’ll start using less words by intentionally choosing words that result in the punch effect that you wish to create.
As a freelance editor, you also get to connect with authors who can end up being your ghostwriting clients. Do great work, and don’t be afraid to also let them know that you’re a ghostwriter as well.
5: Find Your First Clients from Family and Friends
They say there’s always a book in every one of us. Somebody just got to dare write it out. As you begin your ghostwriting career, approaching your friends and family members could help you land your first client. There is always that person who has a great story but hasn’t had time or even skills to put it down.
While you will likely charge them less, these first clients will lay a great foundation for your writing career. Treat every work as your goldmine undertaking, regardless of the pay. Great referrals are always a result of great work delivered to the referrers
6. Develop Your Executing Strategy.
Treat your ghostwriting as a business. While you are a solo owner, you should always know that there are different facets of it. From client acquisition, on-boarding, customer support to soliciting testimonials, there are several tasks that revolve around running an online ghostwriting business.
The most important lessons for freelancers is to streaming their processes, so that they can do more while satisfying every client that they choose to acquire. Use tools such as chat bots, Slack, Evernote etc. to help you tract your progress. You should also know which tasks that should be outsources, and where to outsource them from
7: Join the Associations of Ghostwriters.
Professional associations are a great way to enhance your skills as you get to meet other professionals with years of experience. There are several benefits that come with them as well. For instance, by joining Association of Ghostwriters, you’ll enjoy the following benefits Job leads from potential ghostwriting clients delivered to your inbox
- Listing in the public member directory, which clients use when searching for a writer
- Participation in quarterly office hours
- Monthly content-packed professional development teleseminars
- Monthly e-newsletters packed with news, tips, and interviews
- Members-only networking in the private Facebook group for Professional members, where you may learn, grow and share
- A listing in the public speaker directory
- Opportunities to write guest blog posts for the Association
8: Get Clients from Market Places
Build a compelling profile on sites like Upwork and Guru and Fiverr. These are great places to start when you don’t have direct clients yet. Many prolific freelancers write market places off as they tend to pay less, but the truth is, most of them actually started there. For market place websites like Upwork, you will need to learn how to write the perfect pitch. Read this Upwork pitching guide to learn how
Anyone can learn how to become a ghostwriter and start making money online. However, ghostwriting isn’t for everyone. Giving out all the rights to your work is a big an ask, so unless you’re comfortable with it, then consider other ways of making money online.