If you’re building a writing career, consider ghostwriting.
As a career path, ghostwriting tends to be hidden. You can’t tout yourself as a ghostwriter who writes (whatever), because you’ve agreed to provide your clients with confidentiality.
Above all, ghostwriters are discreet.
But why would you choose to write books and other materials for which you can never claim credit?
Ghostwriting: why choose a secret career?
- Making more money than other forms of writing (except copywriting for large companies);
- Getting to know influential people;
- Gaining experience—you’ll increase the strings to your bow. Diversifying your writing is always a good thing;
- Less stress: ghostwriting tends to be hassle-free.
Let’s look at those reasons in a little more detail.
1. You’ll make more money as a ghostwriter
Once you’ve gained some experience as a ghostwriter, you have the potential to make an amazing income, depending on how much you choose to write. That’s a major benefit of ghostwriting: you make more income for fewer words.
Even inexperienced book ghostwriters can make $25,000 per book, but you don’t need to restrict yourself to books. Today, everyone and his dog has a blog, as well as a social media presence.
Spoiler alert: few of those “influencers” write their own social media posts, or anything else. They hire ghostwriters.
I’ve been happily ghostwriting nonfiction and fiction for 25 years. Over the past decade, with the growth of Kindle Direct Publishing, fiction ghostwriting has provided growing opportunities.
Ghostwriters have always existed. I fell into writing chapters for books, then entire books, when I was under contract to write business books for the publisher Prentice Hall. In those early days, I was a little naive. It shocked me how prevalent ghostwriters were on both the fiction and nonfiction bestseller lists.
2. It’s who knows you, rather than who you know
Although you can’t put your own name on the books, articles, and other materials you ghost, your name gets known. It’s reassuring to high-value clients to know that you’re discreet, and trusted.
You can parlay a few ghostwriting gigs into many more writing gigs. Indeed, that’s one of the attractions of ghostwriting: you can quit the endless striving for writing jobs.
3. If you’re a writer, diversification is always good
Love writing? You’ll enjoy the mix of things you write as a ghost, but it’s always a good idea to have lots of things you can write. Sometimes, the roof can fall in on your career, suddenly and disastrously. You need a way to climb out of the rubble.
An example. Back in 2000, much of my income came from writing for tech magazines. The tech wreck put paid to that. Overnight, my magazine writing income went poof.
Luckily, I’d diversified into copywriting and ghostwriting.
4. Like a hassle-free life? Ghostwriting delivers
Mostly, ghostwriting is hassle-free. Your client knows what he wants, you agree on a deadline and fee, and deliver. Your clients tend to be “anchor” clients. That is, you’re on a long-term contract.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.