These days, it seems like everyone is making money online–not just as a side hustle anymore, but as an actual career. All an ecommerce guru has to do is contact drop shipping wholesalers, and they’ve started a new business. Creative types become famous on Instagram and make money by endorsing products, and blog about subjects they’re knowledgeable about, making a passive income with on-site ads. And lately, as a writer and lover of literature, you’ve been thinking of becoming a ghostwriter. Maybe you’ve worked as a content writer before, and want to work on longer writing projects. Or maybe it’s a way for you to learn about writing so that one day you can write a novel of your own, or you think it’s a business you could run well.
Whatever your reasons for becoming a ghostwriter, it’s a challenging industry to break into–but once you have, you can make quite a lot of money. Here’s how to make it happen.
Get tons of writing experience
Like with any writing-heavy job, it’s extremely important to have lots of writing under your belt already. Remember, if you’re going to be working for a client who wants a huge bulk of text completed in a small amount of time, they need to know you’re capable of doing it. So on your website (which we’ll get to in a second), show off the stuff you’ve written in the past. Post blog posts often, about the subjects you’re interested in writing about. (Are you interested in writing YA literature, or memoirs “by” rock stars?) If you can, write for a couple of companies as a content writer, too–and get writing-related certifications to show that you know your stuff.
Additionally, get experience directly related to ghostwriting. Write your own book and publish it yourself, and make it available for free to interested clients. Think of this project not as your Great American Novel (otherwise you’ll never finish it!), and instead as a way to show off your skills. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be structured and complete. Using a guide like this one will help you create an outline that’s easy to follow, with the additional benefit of being a lot like the work of a ghostwriter, who’s given some material to work with beforehand.
Considering that many ghostwriters start their pricing at $5,000 for a full-length book, getting the right preparation can be great for your writing career.
Market yourself online
Once you’ve got experience that will get you taken seriously by clients, it’s time to show that off somewhere. The best place to do that is your website. Take a look at other ghostwriters’ websites to see what aesthetic works best. Choose a writing niche that you think you’d be good at, too, and enjoy writing about. Memoirs, murder mysteries, bilingual children’s books–see what the leaders in your field are doing and create a similar website. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile, and if you aren’t a designer and can’t hire one, use a site like Wix or Weebly to get the job done.
Whatever you do, remember to include a blog post section. This will allow you to not only show off your writing skills (and that you can write a lot every day), but it will also get more people visiting your site. Anytime anyone Googles something related to what you write about, they’ll end up at your website. An aspiring writer might look up “how to structure your mystery novel, red herrings and all,” stumble upon your page, and decide that instead of writing their idea they’d like you to do it for them.
Last but not least, be active on social media. A blog isn’t going to cut it anymore; if you want people to notice you, you need to be posting regularly on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In June 2018, Instagram hit 1 billion monthly users, up from 800 million in September of the same year–so you can see why social media can be so effective.
Make the right connections
Finally, it’s smart to make connections in the industry. If you’re lucky, you can get some work through a ghostwriting agency or find a new client. According to The Balance, “Freelance website FreelanceSuccess.com is a good start, as is the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), where experienced writers congregate, or the Association of Ghostwriters (AOG), which is specifically for the anonymous-minded help keep you in the know about developments in the marketplace.”
According to Tucker Max, clients looking for quality ghostwriting should be paying around $40,000 a book. That means that, once you’ve got the right experience and connections, you can start making a great living.
These are some of the best ways to break into the ghostwriting industry. What other strategies do you think would work?