Learn how to be a ghostwriter so you can ditch your 9-5 and work from home.
You’ve seen many people make good money writing online, and it seems easy enough to do, right? You set up your own writing website, created a Facebook page, and set up a LinkedIn profile, but all you hear is crickets.
Then someone mentioned ghostwriting. But, you’re not exactly sure what a ghostwriter is, much less how to start offering ghostwriting services or how to get ghostwriting jobs.
You’re a little lost and confused. Or maybe you’re wondering how much money you can make as a ghostwriter or if it’s even a legit way to make money working from home.
Ghostwriting is a fantastic way to earn good money as a freelance writer, and it’s one of the easiest writing businesses to set up. You can start a ghostwriting business quickly and start finding clients your first day if you’re motivated.
In this post, I’m answering all your questions about ghostwriting to give you everything you need to know, including:
- How to start ghostwriting
- What is a ghostwriter?
- Is it easy to become a ghostwriter?
- Is ghostwriting legal?
- Why you should become a ghostwriter
- Why people hire ghostwriters?
- How to market yourself as a ghostwriter?
- How much do ghostwriters make?
- How to be a ghostwriter for singers
- Do ghostwriters get loyalties?
- How much should I charge to ghostwrite?
- What makes a good ghostwriter?
- What is the difference between freelance writing and ghostwriting?
Want to start a freelance ghostwriting business? Check out my eBook that tells you everything you need to know about becoming a successful high-paid ghostwriter.
You’ll learn things like how to find ghostwriting gigs and potential clients as week as smart advice from an experienced ghostwriter.
What is a Ghostwriter?
A ghostwriter is someone who writes content under someone else’s name and writes in their client’s voice. As a ghostwriter, you don’t get to claim the writing as your own or a byline. The downside is often you can’t add these pieces to your portfolio.
Because the credit goes to someone else, you may not think you can make good money ghostwriting.
You may hear stories about how you can’t charge premium prices for ghostwriting, but that’s simply not true. You may not get credit for your work, but I’ve made more money ghostwriting than I ever did as a police officer (it’s sad but true).
Many writers are earning five figures and more per month ghostwriting.
Professional ghostwriters write everything from articles, speeches, books, emails, sales pages, website copy, blog posts, and many more types of writing projects. You can even learn how to become a ghostwriter for rappers or how to be a song ghostwriter.
Book writing and blog writing are very popular, in-demand writing services for ghostwriters. But ghostwriting books is more for experienced writers who have written books before. And book publishing and writing are a whole different ball game.
Ghostwriters essentially write in the voice of their clients and their writing style.
Now, why would anyone want to write without getting any credit for it? Because it’s a lucrative way to earn money as a writer. And ghostwriting services are in demand.
Many people use ghostwriting services, such as teachers, businesses, and bloggers- even authors use ghostwriters. So, if you want to find work as a ghostwriter, there are plenty of jobs out there.
How can you build a writing business without getting samples for your portfolio? I’ll tell you a little more about how to land a ghostwriting project without portfolio examples and the pros and cons of ghostwriting in a little bit.
Is it Easy to Become a Ghostwriter?
You may be wondering, is it easy getting started as a ghostwriter? The answer is yes and no. It really depends on the type of ghostwriting projects you want to do. You will not be able to start ghostwriting books for clients with no experience.
One easy ghostwriting service you can start today, even if you have no experience, is ghostwriting blog articles for businesses. This is also known as freelance blogging.
With a little bit of determination, experience, and good marketing, you can work your way up over time to ghostwriting books if that is something you really want to do.
Is Ghostwriting Legal?
I’ve heard this question before, and yes, it’s totally legal. Whether you’re ghostwriting a blog post or book, you should have a ghostwriting contract with terms you agree on.
You need to start if you’re not using a contract with your writing clients! A contract allows you to take legal action if a client refuses to pay you.
As a ghostwriter, you’re offering a service similar to a freelance editor. Sometimes the ghost even gets credit for a project, but this isn’t the norm.
Why Becoming a Ghostwriter is Smart
If you’ve explored my website or been on my list for any length of time, you’ll see I have a lot of information on where to find freelance writing jobs.
But you haven’t seen as much on ghostwriting, and I’ve been saving it until I finished this eBook on the topic. But more on that later.
Becoming a ghostwriter is a smart move because you can make big bucks ghostwriting! Another nice thing about ghostwriting is you’re done once you finish a project and give it to your client.
Ghostwriting also helps you become a more efficient writer and improve your skills. You’ll also learn more about how to communicate with current and prospective clients and turn them into your biggest fans.
You also get to hone your research skills which are critical these days. Finding the right resources for your projects is a vital skill, and you can even offer it as a service.
Sometimes less research is involved because the client often supplies you with the sources you need to write the requested material. But other times, the client may just provide you with a general topic, and then you must do research.
Now that you know what a ghostwriter is, learning how to be a ghostwriter is easy, so how do you get started?
Why People Hire Ghostwriters
Here’s the part where you learn how to be a ghostwriter. First, let’s talk about why people hire ghostwriters. Businesses, authors, and entrepreneurs hire ghostwriters for many reasons, but there are two primary ones:
- Most clients have the expertise but don’t have time to write
- Or they have the expertise but aren’t good at writing or hate it.
Becoming a freelance writer is your first step to making the most money as a ghostwriter. But here is a secret, my first projects as a freelance writer were actually ghostwriting assignments, and I didn’t even know it!
Short story here – I never expected to start a writing business. I just needed to work from home for health reasons and wanted to make enough money as a writer to supplement my disability.
I found Jorden Makelle over at Creative Revolt, and she had an amazing class called Killer Cold Email. As I took her course, I realized that I was essentially starting a business (yes, that is how clueless I was 🤣).
The writing projects I did before finding her course were indeed ghostwriting jobs, except for the magazine gigs I did.
So, when I say start as a freelance writer first, being a freelance writer and ghostwriter kind of goes hand in hand.
But when you start a freelance writing business, you choose a profitable niche to target and create a freelance writing website. It makes finding your perfect client easier.
Want a way to improve your writing and become more efficient? Check out Grammarly. There’s a free and a paid version. If you want to know more about the difference between the free version and Grammarly Premium, check out my honest review of the best editing tool.
What is the Difference Between Freelance Writing and Ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is essentially a subset of freelance writing, as ghostwriters are just a type of freelance writer. In general, freelance writers can claim credit for their work while ghostwriters don’t, so they can often make more money.
The critical skill to learn is the ability to write in the style and voice of your clients, so ghostwriting is something not all writers can do.
How to Make Money Ghostwriting and Be Successful
Ghostwriters can make money in several ways. You can earn $2,000 upwards to $60,000 ghostwriting books or $50 to $300+ writing blog posts for businesses.
How much you get paid depends on the word count, your experience, the types of projects you do, your niche, and your client’s budget and goals. Mix things up to make more money – want to know how?
1. Start with Freelance Writing First
Many people say to become a freelance writer first, and I agree to a certain extent. While many people don’t think you can start ghostwriting as a beginner, they are right and wrong.
No, you can’t jump in and start ghostwriting books, as I mentioned above, but you can begin by ghostwriting blog articles as I did and still do.
Businesses will pay good money to write high-quality blog posts. And you don’t necessarily need freelance writing experience to ghostwrite, but it can help you win over potential clients easier.
But I agree with other freelance writing coaches that being a freelance writer first builds your credibility. Since it’s harder to get testimonials as a ghostwriter, starting as a freelance writer lets prospective clients see your writing, so they know if it’s high-quality.
To become a freelance writer, check out this huge resource I have on freelance writing for beginners.
It’s also a little easier to find ghostwriting jobs because you already have the benefit of networking in place.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
The more you write, the better you get. Successful freelance writers often write every day. I do! Practice makes perfect if you want to get better at writing; like any other skill or job, practice makes perfect.
That’s why I suggest all freelance writers start a blog because it’s a great place to show possible clients your writing style and showcase your niche expertise.
As your reputation grows, you may find clients coming to you, which is an awesome feeling. Starting a LinkedIn account and optimizing your profile is a great way to find all types of writing jobs.
If you want to command higher rates for each ghostwriting gig, you need to be able to write well, so practice doing it.
3. Get Used to Writing Long-Form Content
Get used to writing long-form content because many ghostwriting projects are definitely long. I love long-form content. In fact, I recently updated my ghostwriting eBook, and it’s 172 pages!
Books are obviously long writing projects, and so are case studies, white papers, and many other types of ghostwriting content. Writing long posts for your blog is a great way to practice.
4. Learn How to Write in Someone Else’s Voice
This is huge and can often be the trickiest thing to learn. While learning how to develop your voice is important as a blogger or freelance writer, writing in other peoples’ voices means you need to become a chameleon of sorts.
By learning to write in other peoples’ voices, you become a better writer; this talent is crucial for marketing your ghostwriting services. Writing in other peoples’ voices well showcases your flexibility as a writer.
Luckily, as a blogger, I write conversationally; this is essentially what many businesses and other bloggers want. However, some will want you to be more professional.
I’ve made a name for myself as an SEO content writer for other bloggers, so it’s easy to speak conversationally on most topics. But you will find some clients can be a pain when it comes to how they want their content.
Some companies have brand and content guidelines, which is quite helpful as they spell out what they want.
Just understand that writing in someone else’s voice can be challenging, but you can improve over time the more you do it.
5. Learn SEO
Learning SEO is vital if you plan on ghostwriting blog articles (which is the best way to start as a newbie). Most successful business owners and content creators optimize their blog articles for SEO, so this is something you can offer as an extra service that’s in demand. Plus, you can charge more for your articles.
And learning SEO is also beneficial to your business. It teaches you how to rank your own content and get more clients. It also helps you become a better writer if you focus on blog posts, as SEO teaches you how to structure your content (or your clients’) to rank higher on Google.
How to Market Yourself As a Ghostwriter
There are several ways to market yourself as a ghostwriter. Here are some of my favorite ways.
1. Market in Your Email Signature
One of the best ways to market your writing services is to use a professional email signature, even on your personal email. It’s easy to set up in something like Wise Stamp or even create a simple one in your Gmail, Outlook, or whatever you use.
I also have templates to create a signature in Canva too, so you have plenty of options.
2. Guest Posting
Guest posting on other blogs is another great way to market yourself. You can write guest posts on blogs in your freelance writing niche or industry segment, or you can guest post about ghostwriting.
It’s also a great way to create samples for your freelance writing portfolio when you’re just starting because it proves someone else trusts your work enough to publish it on their blog.
Eventually, you can use writing projects you do for clients in your portfolio, although this can be tricky with ghostwriting.
3. Networking on Social Media
You can also network on social media to market your services as soon as you decide to become a ghostwriter. Facebook is perfect for this as you can join other Facebook groups for writers or join groups for solopreneurs and online business owners that could need your services.
I just try to be really helpful, give free advice, and answer questions. Now, after doing it a while, people tag me when someone says they need a freelance writer.
You can join Facebook groups that are essentially freelance writing job boards too. Look for groups with “freelance writer” or even try “ghostwriter” That’s how some people find their first jobs.
Also, did you know that Twitter is another great place to find freelance writing jobs? It’s not my most active social media channel, but you can follow job boards and hashtags on the platform to get notified about the writing jobs you’re interested in.
4. Add Ghostwriter for Hire in Your Freelance Writing Bio
Another great way to show people you’re available for ghostwriting work is to add that you’re a ghostwriter for hire in your freelance writing bios on social media. Your writer bio can be powerful if written right, so put it to work!
Here is an example of someone using their freelance writer bio on LinkedIn to announce they are for hire.
5. Find Ghostwriting Jobs Online
My final tip on getting started as a ghostwriter is to look online for ghostwriting jobs. There are plenty of places to find these jobs online, such as Indeed.com, FlexJobs, ProBlogger, LinkedIn Jobs, and other job boards.
Job boards are some of my favorite places for beginners to find freelance writing jobs, especially when they are trying to decide on a freelance writing niche.
I wrote a whole blog post on the best places to find freelance writing jobs for beginners, so check it out.
Cons of Being a Ghostwriter
We’ll get the negative aspects of ghostwriting out of the way first.
1. Often, You Can’t Take Credit for Your Work
Not getting credit for your writing can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. It can be challenging to work on a writing project and not get a byline.
Plus, you might want to talk about the amazing project you just wrote, but a confidentiality agreement may prevent you from doing some.
But this scenario is common and not considered theft. It’s definitely not wrong. It’s a standard business practice for companies that don’t have time to create their own content.
Ghostwriters work in every single niche, and that’s acceptable. Hell, there’s even such a thing as a ghost designer.
If you are a designer and work for a big fashion company, when you design something, the house gets the credit, not you. If someone writes software for big-name companies such as Apple or Microsoft, guess what, they don’t get credit; Apple or Microsoft do.
NASA even has writers who don’t get credit for their work besides payment. This arrangement is how the world of ghostwriting works and always has.
If you get paid well, is it really that important to get credit? But this is something to consider if you want to become a ghostwriter.
Do you want to learn more about being a successful freelance writer and making money working from home in your pajamas? Check out my eBook Freelance Writing for Beginners: The Basics.
2. It’s Challenging to Find Clients
Yeah, this part isn’t fun for most writers, but it’s crucial to your success. It’s tricky to get testimonials when you’re a ghostwriter, mainly because some people don’t like to admit that they used a ghostwriter, though that is changing over time.
Make it a habit to ask everyone you work with for a testimonial. Since ghostwriting content such as blogs and case studies is becoming more popular, many of your clients may not mind admitting that you write their content.
Content marketing is a necessity for successful businesses.
3. Deadlines are Critical
As a ghostwriter, you’ll have strict deadlines that you can’t change. You’ll need to be disciplined in your writing timelines and finish your work on time.
I treat the businesses I work with as if they are my own, if not better. I’m deadline-driven, and my clients love me because of this. Always treat your clients’ business respectfully, and you’ll be golden.
Deadlines are both a con and a pro. Ghostwriting will train you to write on demand and on deadline. These freelance writing skills are very valuable. This type of work definitely pays off because the faster you write, the more clients you can retain. It will also help with your writing, as well.
I’ve seen a tremendous change in how fast I write now. When I break down some projects, I make between $70-$100 an hour and more. Now that’s not too shabby. It also allows me to keep raising my prices with each new client I get.
I write EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yep, no breaks. I’m crazy too and essentially run two businesses, so that requires A LOT of writing.
So, if you’re thinking about becoming a ghostwriter or any writer for that matter, you may want to start writing every day.
I like the website 750 Words to use for writing every day. It makes writing daily a fun challenge.
4. Researching is Part of the Process
I love research, and I’m a lifelong learner. It’s why I continued my education for years, literally, but many people like writing and don’t enjoy researching.
As a ghostwriter creating content around someone else’s idea, you will have to do research. Sometimes it takes longer than the writing.
If it’s an especially dull topic for you, it may be more draining than something you like. But if the subject is something you enjoy, learning about it may lead you down a rabbit hole, and you’ll spend too much time researching.
Monitor how much time you spend on both writing and researching. Time management is a critical part of running a writing business.
However, understand that some topics may take longer to research than others. Use a time tracking app like Toggl to document how much time you’re spending on each part of the writing process.
I’ve seen an incredible change in how fast I write now. When I break down some projects, I make between $70-$100 an hour and more. Now that’s not too shabby. It also allows me to keep raising my prices with each new client I get.
I write EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yep, no breaks. I’m crazy too and essentially run two writing businesses, so that requires A LOT of writing.
5. There’s No Room for Ego
Sometimes you’ll create something truly incredible for a client, and it may be painful to let it go. However, remember that it’s still valuable to other people whether you get the actual credit for writing it or not.
You’re getting paid, and essentially that’s credit. You also gain invaluable knowledge and experience, which is another critical factor to consider.
I come from the old school way of thinking where, in law enforcement, I worked my way from the bottom up.
I gained valuable life experience, although I hated that term when I was 21. I donated a lot of free time to get that experience and prove my work ethic and reputation.
There’s no room for ego here, except, of course, you can believe that you’re writing skills are the shit. But when considering becoming a ghostwriter, you don’t want to get TOO cocky.
The thing to remember is that your level of experience often dictates how much money you make. So, in the beginning, you may want to consider prioritizing experience over how much money you make, as I did in my law enforcement career.
There’s a lot to learn initially, like any other entry-level career, and if you focus on gaining more experience, the money will come.
The Pros of Ghostwriting
Now onto the fun part, the pros of being a ghostwriter.
Ghostwriting is In Demand
The great thing about ghostwriting is it’s an in-demand career. People will always need ghostwriters, often because they don’t have the time to write their own content and books or aren’t good writers.
This is good for us writers. Businesses will always need us for content writing, from case studies to blog posts to white papers and more.
So, when you become a ghostwriter, there’s no shortage of clients.
2. Ghostwrite and Write Your Novel at the Same Time
What’s incredible is that ghostwriting may be the perfect career if your goal is to earn good money writing. Plenty of ghostwriters make six figures a year and more doing what they love.
Plus, it doesn’t stop you from pursuing your dream of making it big as an author. Ghostwriting can free you up to become the famous author you always dreamed of being.
Not to mention that your writing will improve while getting paid upfront for it. It’s a win-win situation.
Plus, if ghostwriting books is your ultimate dream writing job, write two or three of your own books for practice.
3. Ghostwriters Are Multi-talented
If you write well, are good at project management, and understand your industry, you’ll make excellent money if you decide you want to become a ghostwriter.
To start, knowledge of the publishing industry is helpful but not necessary. I only have basic knowledge in this area, and I make an excellent living writing, so don’t let that scare you.
The longer you write for a living, the more you learn.
You may even be able to get work with a writing agency. However, even without all the knowledge, many internet marketers, bloggers, and others need someone to write their content.
You don’t have to be Shakespeare to make great money writing if you can write at the 10th – grade level.
Ghostwriting is also a way to make an income while you start and grow a blog. Your personal or business blog is a way to showcase your skills. Many business owners look for blog writers, so they check out the company’s blog first to scope out the writer’s skills.
You’ll also get experience in marketing, building your first website, design, technology, and other aspects of your business. All of these things are necessary to run a successful writing business. As a ghostwriter, you’re kind of a jack of all trades.
4. You Can Start with No Experience
I love ghostwriting because you can start ghostwriting blog articles with no experience and no special credentials.
As long as you set your expectations on the types of projects you start with, you just need a few freelance writing samples (you can simply create them), a freelance writing website, and I recommend at least a LinkedIn account. And boom, you’re ready to go.
However, I would suggest that you get some of your own clients because something could happen to that income if they let you go, and then you’re stuck without money to pay your bills.
To learn how to start a freelance writing business step-by-step, check out this ultimate guide to freelance writing. It’s an in-depth guide to help you get started and avoid all the mistakes I made.
5. Improve Your Skills While Making Money
Writing is a craft. Ghostwriting provides you the freedom to improve your skills and become a better writer. It’s almost like a well-paid internship where you can practice writing in a client’s voice daily.
Every writing job I’ve ever had has taught me something, whether it be formatting articles, up-leveling my writing skills, or learning how to be a ghostwriter.
As I mentioned above, the best way to get better at something difficult is to do it more often.
6. You Can Ditch Your 9-5
One of the best things about being a writer is you don’t have to go to work every day at a cubicle farm listening to your co-worker next to you whine all day.
Ghostwriting is a convenient way to earn money working from home. No more long commute, and you don’t even need to put clothes on!
Now my commute is from my bed to the coffee pot. All you need is creativity and a desk with a laptop. Heck, become a digital nomad and work wherever you are.
Ghostwriting gives you the freedom and flexibility to work while traveling. Imagine sitting out on the beach under an umbrella, writing a blog article for a business.
When you become a ghostwriter, you choose when your workday starts. If you’re a night owl like me, don’t start work until 10:00 AM. If you’re more productive in the morning, write then. You answer to no one but yourself, well, and the businesses you write for, but you get the gist.
Flexibility is one of the main reasons it’s worth learning how to be a ghostwriter, whether you want to work full-time or part-time.
How to be a ghostwriter for singers?
If you love music and enjoy writing, you can learn how to become a music ghostwriter. You can even learn how to be a ghostwriter for rappers!
First, you want to focus on writing music because you can’t be a song ghostwriter if you don’t know how to write music. In fact, many song ghostwriters are musicians themselves, opening up an extra income stream. You need to practice just like other artists.
Do ghostwriters get royalties?
Most of the time, when you’re ghostwriting a book, you do not receive any royalties for the books they ghostwrite. But, if you and the author agree, it’s something you can add to your ghostwriting contract.
How much should I charge to ghostwrite?
How much you charge depends on your experience level and the types of projects you work on. For books, you can make $2,000 to $9,000 on the low end, where you may only be able to charge $100 for a blog post as a beginner ghostwriter.
As an experienced ghostwriter, you can make up to $60,000 a book and even more.
What makes a good ghostwriter?
A good ghostwriter knows their niche and industry well. You also always want to continually improve your writing skills and stay up-to-date on what is going on in the ghostwriting world.
Final Thoughts on How to Be a Ghostwriter
No matter your goal, there are no downsides to learning how to become a ghostwriter despite the cons you read above. And the sky is the limit with the amount of money you can make.
Whether you hope to make a consistent income, become a better writer, or publish your own work someday, it’s possible with ghostwriting. Ghostwriting is a fantastic way to write your way to the life you love and have always dreamed of.
As you can see, there are quite a few things you need to think about if you dream of being a ghostwriter. You know yourself best, after all. Write the good and bad points of ghostwriting down on paper.
Decide on a profitable niche, and give it a try. You may find that you love it. You may find that it’s not for you. What have you got to lose if you DON’T TRY?
Want to learn more about how to make money as a freelance writer? Check out my guest post for It’s All You Boo, How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer, or sign up for my free email course that teaches you how to make money as a freelance writer and the different projects you can do.
I can’t wait to see you be a ghostwriting success!
For more information on ghostwriting, check out my eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Ghostwriting, to learn how to set up your own ghostwriting business.
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