How To Become a Ghostwriter

Many people have a story to tell or have the ability to gather in business writing copy. What they lack is the ability to write in a clear, concise manner within specified perimeters. What they need is a ghostwriter.  Perhaps you possess the abilities required to be successful as a ghostwriter. But how do you go about finding opportunities to solicit and accept ghostwriting assignments? Here are a few suggestions to help you locate and secure those assignments so that you can realize your goal of becoming a successful ghostwriter.

  1. One of the first things you have to do with ghostwriting is to develop writing samples that indicate the range of your ghostwriting expertise. As an example, do you see yourself as ghostwriting a biography? Pull together a sample chapter based on your own life. Perhaps you plan on writing copy for web sites? Develop three or four keyword rich articles that will demonstrate your ability to work with keyword optimization. If you see your ghostwriting strengths being more along the lines of fiction writing, prepare a chapter or two that you can present. The point is to position yourself so that you can take on projects that are a natural match for your skill set, which will help increase the chances of a successful collaboration.
  2. Once you have your portfolio established, the time has come to begin looking for work. Trade magazines often have ads from people who are seeking ghostwriters or collaborators for a specific project. The ads themselves may be very detailed or very broad. It is not unusual for persons to state the basic nature of the project and then invite persons to contact them for more information. By all means apply for any and all that interest you. The fact that the ad was not very detailed is not necessarily an indication that there are not some very specific goals for the project. Once you have received the guidelines, do not be afraid to ask clarifying questions. The more you know, the easier it is to determine if you and the owner of the project are a good fit.
  3. Along with trade magazines, there are a number of ways to find work via the Internet. Message boards set up by and for writers of all stripes often feature sections where projects for pay can be posted. Some writer sites also have a daily listing of opportunities that have been identified on various job sites. In addition, there are several bidding sites online that allow ghostwriters to bid on open projects. Many of them do not require the writer to pay anything up front, although the payment for the completed project is often processed through the website owners and a fee extracted from the payment.
  4. Last, get an agent. The good thing about an agent is that he or she has a vested interest in keeping you working. After all, if you aren't making money, the agent is making any money either. Take your portfolio around and find a reputable agent that is willing to represent you. One word of warning:  Do not leap at the first agent who offers to represent you, especially if he or she offers to do so without giving your writing samples due consideration. And sign nothing until you have an attorney look over the contract. While the majority of agents are highly ethical, the sad fact is that there are those out there who will harm your career rather than advance it. Make the right choice when you choose an agent.

Becoming a successful ghostwriter means honing your skills, presenting yourself as a professional, and being prepared to do a great deal of legwork in most cases. But with proper preparation and solid writing skills, you can have a productive and rewarding career.


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