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How to Become a Ghostwriter: A Beginner’s Guide

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Last Updated on November 13, 2021 by Daniella

Wondering how to become a ghostwriter but not sure where to start? Ghostwriting is writing that can extend to publishing a variety of different types of content from books to white papers, articles and more without being shown as the author.

Regardless of the kind of work that you’re creating, as a ghostwriter you will not receive a byline. That means you’re writing anonymously, more or less. So this type of writing won’t necessarily help you build up your brand or expertise online but it can still be very rewarding and lucrative – plus, it’s a great side hustle for those who want to stay out of the spotlight.

We will dive into this further, looking more at what a ghostwriter does, pros and cons of ghostwriting, how much ghostwriters get paid, what services they provide, how to become a ghostwriter, and more.

How to become a ghostwriter in 4 steps

You can become a ghostwriter in four simple steps:

  • Work as a skilled writer
  • Test large projects
  • Get clients
  • Start your first ghostwriting project

1. Become a skilled writer

First, you want to start by refining your writing skills to ensure you’re a good writer before trying to take on ghostwriting work.

You can do this by working on your craft which can include taking writing classes, blogging, writing for platforms like Medium or News Break, etc.

2. Test large projects

Next, it’s time to test your skills by writing for a large project.

Many ghostwriting jobs are big projects like creating a book, writing a white paper, or other work that requires you to write up to 10,000+ words.

Try your hand at working a large project to get comfortable with this kind of work.

3. Secure bylined writing clients

Then, get freelance writing clients for bylined work. These jobs are typically a little lower paying than ghostwriting jobs. You can find gigs through many channels including:

4. Take your first ghostwriting project

Once you’ve taken these steps, you can feel confident in taking your first ghostwriting project.

Ghostwriting services

What ghostwriting services will you provide?

You may find a variety of different projects available that are hiring ghostwriters from:

  • Book or ebook writing
  • White papers
  • Articles
  • Blog posts

Ghostwriting salary

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a ghostwriter can range from $30,965 to $50,926 per year.

If you specialize in a specific niche or type of writing, this can make you stand out and help you earn more.

For example, a book writing project can command $30,000 to $60,000 per book. If you write 3 books for the year at the average of that range, $45,000 then you can earn $135,000.

How to become a ghostwriter on Fiverr

Working on Fiverr is an opportunity to write on a variety of topics, taking on a high volume of work. Some writers like Alex Fasulo earn a very high income, nearly $400,000 per year from Fiverr alone.

To join Fiverr, all you have to do is visit the site and sign up as a Fiverr seller. Then, start creating your gigs for the ghostwriting services you can provide.

Once you’re all set up, you just wait for your orders to come in and when they do, you’ll fulfill the order and move onto the next order that comes in.

Bonus tip to get started: Look for free online courses to level up your writing abilities but all you really need to get started is to start looking at listings by searching for “Ghostwriting” to see the type of listings that are there, what they are charging, and which ones are the most popular. Decide what type of ghostwriting you want to do, then list your own services using a price point you’re comfortable with on Fiverr (and using some of that inspiration you got from looking at the other listings) to try and start attracting clients.

7 Ghostwriting jobs for beginners

For beginners, here are 7 ghostwriting jobs you can look at starting with:

1. Ebook writing

Ebook writers create copy for ebooks. This can be on any topic or niche from food, fashion, travel, politics, etc.

Ebook publishing is a growing field. Many publishers are looking to expand their digital footprint by selling ebooks in their field.

2. Book writing

Book writing is similar to creating ebooks except you’ll be writing book copy for physical print publication.

Book writing jobs tend to pay more than ebooks, typically because ebooks are much shorter than books.

An ebook might run 2,000 to 10,000 words while a book would start at 10,000+ words, making it a more long-term project and more lucrative endeavor than ebook writing.

Pro tip: Another option is to work as a freelance proofreader and proofread books for others. You can get started with this free training.

3. Blog posts

Blog post writing is in demand by bloggers and webmasters looking for content for their websites.

You’ll write blog posts around a particular topic ranging from up to 500 to 5,000 words usually.

4. Article writing

Article writing is similar to blog posts but your clients can range from small to large publications, magazines, journals, newspapers, etc.

Like blog post writing, when you write articles, research will be involved, fact-checking, along with getting sources and quotes. This can be for print or online publication.

5. Speech writing

This is about writing a speech for someone who will speak publicly. You might consider the venue, occasion, group of people and other factors when writing the speech.

Speechwriting is done a lot for political figures or elected officials. If you land one speech writing job and do a good job, this could be an opportunity for a recurring role.

6. Grant writing

Grant writing involves writing grant proposals for individuals and organizations for the purpose of obtaining funding.

The grant writing process is critical to obtaining funding which is why companies outsource this job to professional grant writers who have the knowledge and skills to craft well-written grant proposals.

7. Songwriting

Songwriting is an interesting field which may work for you if you have a background and experience with music and composition.

The way you earn money is different from other ghostwriting jobs on this list, as you’ll earn a royalty each time the song is sold or reproduced.

This is a competitive field but it can extend to a variety of jobs from writing jingles to creating full length songs for recording artists.

Pros and cons of being a ghostwriter

The perks of ghostwriting include:

  • High earning potential
  • Credentials and specialized expertise or education not required
  • Low barrier to entry
  • Covers a wide array of topics

The drawbacks of ghostwriting are:

  • Boring, generalized topics
  • No byline
  • High competition

In general, ghostwriting is an additional income stream you can add for yourself if you’re a writer. If you’re unsure about it, you can try it out with one ghostwriting project and see how you like it. Here are some common questions you might have about ghostwriting.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ghostwriting

What is a ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter is a writer that creates content and is not credited for their work. That means that you will not receive a byline and the credit will go to your client.

Writers want to receive credit for their work, build a reputation and brand online. Clients know this and so they’re willing to pay a premium for your ghostwritten content. That’s why ghostwritten work can command a higher rate than bylined writing.

The type of work you do as a ghostwriter may not differ from bylined writing as much as you think however, it’s common for many longer term projects like book writing to be performed by a ghostwriter.

More long term projects equal higher pay coupled with the higher rate for not attaching a byline and you can see why ghostwriting can be a high paying writing opportunity.

Where can you find ghostwriting work?

You can find ghostwriting gigs in these places:

Who will you work for?

Your clients can include blog owners, webmasters, small to large publications, teachers, attorneys, coaches, etc.

Any entrepreneur, business or individual from any industry can potentially be your client.

They are outsourcing their writing project to you because they aren’t the expert or they don’t have the time.

This can be anyone with ties to publications, someone who wants to earn passive income through digital products, etc.

Is ghostwriting worth it?

I think so!

It’s a great opportunity for you to further strengthen your writing skills and potentially work long-term, high-paying projects like writing a book.

If it’s not a big deal for you to be listed as an author online and your goal is just to secure work and make money, then ghostwriting can be a lucrative writing field to pursue.

Final thoughts on becoming a ghostwriter

So, is ghostwriting really a viable career? Can you make a living at it?

The answer is yes.

There are writers that solely work ghostwriting jobs for steady work and for the higher income potential. If you’re a writer, pursuing ghostwriting can be a solid option for you.

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