Ghostwriters are employed to create content of all kinds while remaining anonymous and never getting any credit. It might sound like a bad job but getting to work with influential or famous people is an excellent way to get your gig off the ground. So how do you become a ghostwriter?
Ghostwriting is a confusing job that could mean you do several different things, not just writing. However, there are ways to get into the game that you might be doing already! So how do you become a ghostwriter?
How to Become a Ghostwriter
One of the professions in writing and content creation you might not know much about is ghostwriting.
It sounds like something reserved for the deceased, but you would be surprised how many best-selling novels and award-winning blogs have people working behind the curtain to make a living.
Let Folks Know What You Can Do for Them
Sometimes the only way to convince someone you are good at something is to show them.
While they might not understand how the process works, you must ensure that they are getting what they need from you, and having some proof of what you can do is an excellent way of showing the folks what you can do.
A few ways to display your work as a writer are:
- Portfolio – One of the most impressive ways to show people your work is by creating a portfolio of all the projects you knocked out of the park. Portfolios should feature the best of your work, not just projects where you were paid. By showing a level of craft, people will flock to have you ghostwrite for them.
- Samples – A subdued way to get people to notice your work is by submitting samples. These samples could be those you have made writing for a blog or small bits you wrote for friends’ branding. Samples usually go hand in hand with a resume, so use your best work if going the samples route.
- Profits – Being a writer isn’t a money job, but showing how your content has made a profit for other businesses is extremely powerful. For some business owners, it is about the bottom line and proving that what you do generates business is a great way to show what you can do.
Showing people your work is like having impressive bullets on your resume.
By handing in a white paper you have written or a blog post about an event, you give potential clients a preview of what you can do.
This could excite the person and should excite the writer. Every project is different, and you must learn to roll with the punches to be a good ghost.
Make Your Way as a Freelance Writer
It is time to make your living as a freelance writer. Freelancing is a writing job that is not easy.
It will put you through the wringer as you learn how to write everything from novels to magazine articles. Being a freelancer is the best way to get a foothold in ghostwriting.
Some ways that being a freelancer primes you for ghostwriting are:
- Marketing – You must learn to market yourself and your writing as a freelancer. Ordinary writers who work with companies have their marketing strategies arranged within the company. As a freelancer, you must market yourself and learn to fold the marketing into your typical writing day.
- Swiss-Army Writer – Being a freelancer makes you capable of writing several different types of styles, tones, and voices. Part of a ghost’s job is to mimic their employer’s tone, and being a freelancer builds a solid base of knowledge to mimic any style or tone.
- Authority – Being a freelance writer builds up your authority. That means when people hire you, they know you have a set of skills and aren’t just some geek off the street. Having authority also means that people in the industry will begin to seek you out for projects and possible ghost jobs.
Freelancing is a hard profession at first. Looking for jobs and not having guaranteed pay is stressful and could be hard on a person trying to support a family.
However, in time, freelancers gain a foothold and take jobs that see them making more on a single project than they made in their first few months as a freelancer.
Practice Writing Different Content
Another critical thing for ghostwriters is the ability to write different kinds of content easily and quickly. Don’t be confused!
Writing is a job, just like being a plumber or a carpenter. You must work on different parts of the craft until you grasp everything the industry entails.
Practicing is a fantastic way to improve your content and get noticed.
A few ways to practice writing different types of content are:
- Guesting – A popular way for writers to get some practice is by guest blogging for friends. The method comes by writing these blogs on subjects you might not be familiar with and crafting things for audiences outside your routine.
- Love Writing – One of the best ways to practice is by loving what you do. Writing can be challenging for some people, so the best thing to do is develop a love for the craft and improve your writing daily. By loving what you do, you will place more time and emphasis on it.
- All-Comers – As a writer, one of the best things you can do is take on All-Comers who want to hire you or seek different material than you are used to producing. This makes you a rounded writer who can switch gears at the drop of a hat and produce at a high level, no matter the job or deadline.
Practicing your craft is imperative if you want to be a good ghostwriter. The objective isn’t just to get jobs in the field but to ensure that when people hire you, they will get top-notch content that will reinforce their brand and make them money.
Reading is the Largest Piece of any Writing Job
Writers need to read. That seems like something that would inspire a chorus of “no-duh’s.”
However, some people think that anyone can be a writer, which is true, but if they don’t read, they won’t be as effective as someone with a reserved seat in the library. Readers often better understand what it takes to be a ghostwriter.
A few reasons readers make good ghostwriters are:
- Grammar – Readers often have a better grasp of grammar than people who don’t. The English language is complicated, and knowing the rules to make copy that is readable and effective will make or break you as a writer. Grammar can be tedious and monotonous, but it pays dividends (Literally!) when you are a writer.
- Range – Something that ghostwriters must be able to do is write in a range of different voices and styles. As a ghost, you will search in all areas and fields of writing to find clients that need your skills. Writing with range makes you capable of different things, from memoirs to blog posts.
- Training – Ghostwriters are going to need training. You don’t need a perfect GPA from the best writing schools in the country. Tons of trade-school-type colleges train writers to work on all media types, and these writers are just as influential as those with upper-level degrees.
- Autonomy – By and large, writers are autonomous because they know they should be working and will actively pursue it without question. Like reading, they set aside the time to make conditions ready for work until they are finished. Being a reader teaches you what you need to work by yourself and concentrate without distractions.
Reading is an essential part of writing. You must know the ins and outs of the language while having a firm grasp of several different writing genres. Being a ghost means taking no credit and learning to stay out of the spotlight.
Market Yourself Like a Top-Notch Celebrity
Marketing is joined with writing, no matter what kind of content you create. Marketing your work like it is the biggest game in town is an option and making lots of noise is a definite way to get people’s attention.
However, there are ways to market yourself that don’t rub the nerves raw and will create a client base hungry for your content.
A few things to keep in mind when marketing your writing are:
- No Face – If your goal is to become a ghostwriter, you must learn to have several different faces or none at all. The important thing to concentrate on is showing that you have a voice that can work in any niche, and the people will come running.
- Marketing is a Job – Make no mistake, a marketing position for yourself is a different job from being a ghostwriter. The trick is to use things you have learned while writing to create content that makes people want to read. This way, you are working to improve your voice while marketing all the good things about you.
- Added Bonus – Being a good marketer is like being a good writer. It will take time and training to get the most out of it but being a good marketer is a bonus to your other skills. Now that you are a writer, marketer, and designer, you can afford to ask for the large paydays you deserve.
Marketing is crucial to a ghostwriter. They must learn to market themselves to clients and keep tabs on social media and other outlets to ensure their projects are being seen and are getting to the appropriate audiences.
Write What You Love
Writing what you want is another way to get some ghostwriting skills. Often people will not hire someone to do a job they have never done before.
By writing the things you like, novels or screenplays, you create an experience for yourself and have physical examples of what your work looks like.
A few things to write to grab the attention of potential clients are:
- Novel – One of the best things a writer can do is write a book. People think of novels when you tell them you are a writer; having something to show them is pretty impressive. It doesn’t have to be a bestseller, but it needs to be a good solid show of what you can do as a writer.
- Web Site – Another way writers can get clients’ attention is to have a website. You will draw their eyes if you post blogs a few times a week or have interviews with people in the news. Writing for your webpage could be the thing that gets you traction. Be professional, and you will have a career in ghostwriting.
- Screenplay – You might not think people need help to ghostwrite screenplays, but it is common. If they reach a point where their script isn’t getting shopped around, or people don’t have an interest, they will bend over backward to get back in the limelight.
Writing what you love doesn’t have a downside. While it could not make you money, it is a sure sign that you have taken the time to sit down and accomplish the task.
Of course, not every book goes to the top of the charts, so be sure that whatever you choose to write is a fitting vehicle for your ghostwriting job.
Being a ghostwriter is a tough job requiring you to know more about the craft than just how to attract readers.
Learning about the language and how grammar works are just the first part of a career that spans everything from blog postings to novel publishing. Being a good reader and writer gives you a firm base on which to build a career as a ghostwriter.
The other parts of the job force you to work on the tone of your writing and, more importantly, to learn how to disassociate yourself from a personal tone and learn how to take the tone of your client.
By switching styles and showing authority, your ghostwriting skills will be hard to miss, and your work calendar will always be full.