Content Writing

How to Become a Ghostwriter: A Step-by-Step Guide

To put it simply, a ghostwriter is a person who writes a text and some other person gets the credit for it. However, there are several other things to consider when you take up the ghostwriter role. You can make out how tricky it is to pursue this profession. Yet, this profession has been booming for decades now. Some people have the ideas but not the skills to pen them down. As a result, the ghostwriter becomes the person to take that responsibility. They get paid for the job as well.

As mentioned above, there are other things to consider when pursuing ghostwriting. Several other aspects like collaboration, learning make ghostwriting an enjoyable and attractive profession for freelance and other writers.Though, some people would mind writing for others without getting any credit. That is quite normal. People want to make their name for the work they do. Such recognition will indeed help them grow as an individual.So if they work anonymously, how would they make their name? How can they progress as a writer? What are the things that make ghostwriting an attractive profession?

These questions will get answers in detail further. Along with that, you will discover steps to becoming a ghostwriter. Additionally, you will learn which principles to follow and avoid while being a ghostwriter.

Also, there is a content writing course by Henry Harvin which guides you to become a successful ghostwriter. We will discuss it further as well.

Ghostwriting training from Henry Harvin

What does a ghostwriter do? 

The authors or employers are politicians, celebrities, well-known writers, musicians, organisations, or individuals. Anyone can hire a ghostwriter. Mostly the employer who does not have the skills to put the words down on the page effectively hires a professional ghostwriter.

Ghostwriter has a primary task to write for them in their voice. The author will be the person who will provide ideas, topics and information to the ghostwriter. 

In other words, the ghostwriter receives an outline from the author. So along with that outline, the ghostwriter also interviews the author to gain extra pieces of knowledge. That include: 

  • Desired writing language and style 
  • Focus points
  • Tone
  • Structure of the text 
  • Audience type
  • Author’s previous work, etc.

Above all, the ghostwriter must produce the final text that matches the author’s existing work using the received information. Neither author nor the ghostwriter would want otherwise. 

Often authors desire to produce more work in a year while consistently maintaining the quality. That often leads them to have a ghostwriter for their aid. However, the author will be the one to receive the credit for the text despite not writing it.

However, it does not mean that the ghostwriter will receive nothing. Generally, the author and the ghostwriter create a non-disclosure agreement. Therein they specify the details regarding the copyright and payments for the work. 

So, if the author wants to give credit to the ghostwriter, it will be mentioned in the agreement. Otherwise, the ghostwriter receives the cited payment.

It is simply up to the author and ghostwriter to perceive that project concerning themselves.

Can anyone become a ghostwriter? 

Now we will see why ghostwriting is a tricky field. 

No writer in the world would want to write for someone without assured credit. Yet, some are ready to do it. Why is that?

Firstly, writers need to understand why ghostwriting exists. Not everyone equips the skills in writing, but it should not stop them from producing the work at all. 

Many known personalities publish their autobiographies without prior knowledge and experience in writing. Still, they manage to produce a compelling piece. A ghostwriter gets hired to write and improve the text with the help of the author. Therefore, people need other knowledgeable people to help them.

The ghostwriter aims to help the author to produce a well-versed piece. As a result, their collaboration turns out effective. If not receiving a credit does not matter to a ghostwriter, it is a perfect choice to opt.

However, some writers have issues dealing with ghostwriting principles like not getting recognition, due credits, etc. Hence, it will be hard for them to sustain themselves in this field.

Sometimes, it is easy for some writers to get an idea and write for it. Though no one is alike, and a professional ghostwriter will have to depend on the provided material and use it. That is the need. Moreover, they can be creative with the obtained material, but in the author’s specified way.

In short, if you are okay with the concept of ghostwriting, you should go for it.

How to become a ghostwriter? 

An author hires a ghostwriter for two reasons: 

  • To either produce written text off of their ideas 

or 

  • Edit the already documented text

Either way, the ghostwriter must prepare well to meet the author’s demands. Therefore, any person who wishes to be a ghostwriter has to follow the necessary steps. These steps will help them prepare well and be better at the job.

Firstly, do some fundamental preparations for a better start. Those are like: 

  • Choosing a writing language, 
  • Improving writing and language skills, 
  • Getting better at grammar, 
  • Learning about different writing styles and tones, etc.

This preparation will kick start your ghostwriting journey on the right note.

So now, we will see the steps that will help you become a better ghostwriter.

1. Research about ghostwriting:

Ghostwriting is a concept most people know, but they also have a few misconceptions about it. Before going into any professional field, you must clear your doubts regarding it. So researching is the best option to clear your doubts and gain deep knowledge of that field.

Thus, you will have to conduct a thorough research about ghostwriting from various sources. Reading out the material explaining ghostwriting will help you deepen your understanding.

Also, try to meet and talk to ghostwriters currently working in the field. You can use social media such as LinkedIn to make connections with professionals from ghostwriting field. You could also ask for tips for beginners from a more industry perspective.

That way, the interactions with them could bring more details to your notice about ghostwriting.

Even if you gain all the knowledge, don’t forget to use it your way. Adapting and getting comfortable with the acquired information will be essential while working with clients. Then you will be able to adjust to the style of the client or author.

2. Write on different topics with different styles: 

From speeches, blogs, books to music lyrics, ghostwriting happens everywhere. A ghostwriter should be ready for any topic or field of writing.

Hence, try to write about various topics and subjects, including in-demand ones. Out of knowledge topics will force you to research and think differently before and while writing.

Therefore you will gradually get into the habit of adapting to the topic, style of writing it, and required principles to follow. The flexibility needed to pen down a particular themed subject will come naturally to you.

Your writing samples from this exercise would also be a fit in your portfolio. Moreover, we will discuss this in detail in the next point.

3. Create a diverse portfolio: 

Following are the different fields of ghostwriting:

  • Digital 
  • Academic 
  • Fiction 
  • Non-fiction 
  • Medical 
  • Music 
  • Political 

A ghostwriter could choose any field to pursue a ghostwriting career. However, it is up to the ghostwriter to follow a specific or all the ones mentioned above.

You will gain the author’s confidence significantly with a diverse portfolio. In addition, you will be able to capture the author’s view and energy easily after exploring different fields of ghostwriting.

However, if you want to stick to a particular field, go for it. But again, you should write consistently in the chosen field.

Also, create a business email address and social media account to communicate with others as a ghostwriter. You can also build a free website to post your sample works.

4. Improve research and interview skills: 

You can efficiently improve your research skills following the mentioned steps. However, it will take time for you to be perfect. Usually, we are good at research. From school life and through college, we constantly research things. 

Most of the time, for a specific subject, we only research essentials. We avoid redundant things. Likewise, a ghostwriter should gather the required information while filtering out other things.

In addition, the ghostwriter should go through the author’s notes. It can bring a lot of vital things to the table. Besides, it also helps ghostwriters find the research direction.

Just as authors’ notes, so too are essential their spoken words. 

In addition to researching, interviewing is also crucial as a task and a skill. Only the authors can share the method they use in writing, no one else. However, the ghostwriter may or may not use it in writing. The author will want to have a specific type of result. No matter what method the ghostwriter uses.

Hence, interviewing is imperative before writing anything. The ghostwriter should develop this skill to the highest level. In that way, catching a minute detail will explain the author’s real-life and writing personality.

The ghostwriter can also understand the author’s way of thinking through the interview process. It will optimise the result similar to the author’s previous work.

5. Do any ghostwriting work initially:

You will have to apply the previous steps to learn more practically. Thus, getting assignments is the only option. Without doing any practical work, you can’t implement the learnings.

However, you will not receive high paying assignments at the start. You will have to take up any projects coming your way. Thus, it will establish you as a ghostwriter.

For that, you can try to get projects through online websites. Many authors try to find a suitable ghostwriter, even out of their country. Additionally, a ghostwriter can improve his credibility by working on those projects. 

As a result, the online mode becomes an excellent option for everyone to collaborate. Following are some examples of the hiring websites:

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Toptal
  • Reedsy
  • Guru
  • Fiverr
  • Writology, etc.

Getting the projects done professionally and earnestly will gain you positive ratings on the website. Therefore using those ratings, you can earn more projects with heavy pay. And also you will gain a good reputation on your side.

So, these things will only make you grow more in the ghostwriting industry.

6. Publish your owned work:

You may produce work that has your unique voice. It helps a ghostwriter to increase credibility among peers. Additionally, you value your voice and work.

Besides, the ghostwriter validates a skill to the client: writing from the rough idea or outline. This skill is imperative, indeed.

It also helps to diversify your portfolio, as discussed earlier.

Again, you can be specific to a field or try everything out. The ghostwriter makes this choice and advances further to produce:

  • Blogs/Articles
  • E-books
  • Fictional stories
  • Informational pieces
  • Technical content, etc.

The ghostwriter can pick anything or everything to produce independent work. It will create diversified samples of your work. Hence, your experience will also get underlined to improve your credibility further.

7. Build your ghostwriter network: 

The ghostwriter makes new connections while working on different projects. It results in a strong network of professionals from the same field.

Hence, that network includes fellow ghostwriters with several clients as well. 

Additionally, it is easy for already working freelancers to shift into ghostwriting. Those freelancers have a network in which they can find ghostwriting prospects. Many freelance networks have a variety of opportunities in different fields for ghostwriters.

8. Keep collaboration healthy: 

It is one of the essential skills of ghostwriting. The ghostwriter will spend most of the time with the author. So, the author stays with the project from its infancy up to the final product.

The challenge for both parties is to keep communication error-free. They should be clear on what should be the desired product.

However, some compromises may happen during the process on both sides. And that only leads to a positive experience and result. With ego, you can not achieve anything.

The ghostwriter should not be afraid to ask for feedback as many times during the process. In addition, this helps both sides to improve and yield a quality product.

9. Maintain a journal for work: 

A ghostwriter should habituate maintaining a journal to register the work. The ghostwriter can update it with personal learning notes, current project tasks completion, particular project guidelines, etc. 

Hence, it allows structuring the writing well while abiding by the author’s instructions. That results in an orderly text to share at any writing stage. So that way, the author can also give effortless feedbacks to the ghostwriter without any fuss.

Also, the collaboration maintains to be healthy throughout the process.

Keeping a journal also smoothes out the payment processes for both parties. The issue of payments decreases by keeping a record of past charges. 

So, both parties could end the project on a positive note and pick it up for the next project whenever it happens.

10. Review your content: 

As a ghostwriter, you may write for different fields at the start. Then, you can gain experience and choose a particular specialisation to carry on.

However, you must maintain the habit of reviewing your content. You can learn several things by going through your past work. Evaluation and re-evaluation are vital in any writing field.

As a result, you can evolve from your early ghostwriting stage. 

For example, a novelist hires a ghostwriter in an attempt, either to increase the audience base or to create a new one. The assistance has to come from both sides. Hence, the ghostwriter can, like the novelist, evaluate the existing work and aim for efficient growth in career.

The skills like capturing the author’s voice, style, the tone will develop more effortlessly for the ghostwriter.

11. Enhance collaborative skills:

Collaboration is the key. It has been mentioned a few times earlier in this article, and here it is again.

The author does not just provide a project and demand the outcome. For the desired result, the author and the ghostwriter have to collaborate. So to improve that skill, you need other skills as well.

We have already discussed interviewing skill, which plays a crucial part in the collaboration. Project by project, you will hone your collaboration skill by interviewing authors. You will also have a broad collaborator network.

In addition, the ghostwriter and the author should create a transparent contract to explain roles and set boundaries regarding the project. Let’s discuss this in a bit more detail in the upcoming point.

12. Create a transparent contract with the author:

A ghostwriting contract states roles and responsibilities of the ghostwriter. It also defines essential collaboration schedules like interviews, feedback and revision sessions. 

The ghostwriter should look into every detail of the contract while creating it with the author. If any concern arises, resolve that with the author to avoid future misconceptions.

The ghostwriter is the business and only owner of it. So keeping an eye while dealing with the clients at every step is imperative.

Also, both parties should decide on the payments. If the author wants the ghostwriter as a co-author, mention it and the fees in the contract. 

Perks of being a ghostwriter: 

Employers need a ghostwriter to produce quality content for them. The ghostwriters gain the perks from that particular project. They also benefit from constantly working in that field.

The perks are complementary to growth. Also, you can say that growth is the essential perk. Every ghostwriter wants growth in that field and multiple rewards with it. We all work for and with motivation. Hence, the perks inspire us to be better at each stage and unique from others.

Following are some perks a ghostwriter can gain by working in the ghostwriting field:

1. Explore different writing fields: 

Once you start ghostwriting, the initial projects will differ from each other. New ghostwriters should accept whatever projects come along.

As a result, the ghostwriter gets to experience a diverse range of subjects for writing.

The ghostwriter can try out different styles and voices in writing. Using the favourite writer’s fashion to get familiar is a great option too.

It also helps to test different fields before settling for anything particular. However, some ghostwriters prefer to keep writing in various domains in the future. 

The perks are great for both types of writers. 

So, the ghostwriter working in one field may gain vast, deep knowledge about it. And it will help the ghostwriter to be a specialist in that field. Hence, the reputation coming along will be invaluable.

And, the other type of ghostwriter may soak up the different ideas and styles to create a unique presence in the field.

2. Free from promoting your work: 

The main perk is to stay away from promoting the work. 

Many writers find promoting the creation difficult. The significant reason is, “writing is the only thing we can do.” Besides, it is okay for writers to only focus on writing. 

So, these writers will be happy working in the ghostwriting industry.

The authors are the ones who look into the promotions. The well-known author requires minimum effort to promote their new project. And, other authors have a team ready to promote the work on various platforms.

The only task a ghostwriter performs is completing the project in the author’s voice, nothing else. Hence, most ghostwriters enjoy working in this field without getting into a promotional fuss.

3. Being the boss of your own: 

Freelancers enjoy being the boss of their own. The ghostwriter is not an exception at all.

The ghostwriter receives a deadline from the author to execute the writing process for the edit. During the process, the ghostwriter is free to work anywhere and anytime. 

However, the ghostwriter should present the draft at any stage if the author demands it.

It is a massive perk to assign and manage the tasks at any time for yourself. And there is no daily deadline to follow or meetings to attend. So, ghostwriters can work effectively at their preferred time.

Also, it results in; the ghostwriter living a healthy and stress-free life. And it is also the most sought out perk by professionals.

4. Get connected to respected personalities: 

As you work with multiple clients, you create a pool of opportunities for yourself. Moreover, you earn some well-known personalities of your network or all over.

So, if you manage to complete their projects with high regard, it benefits you in future work. 

Working for celebrities as a ghostwriter makes you a reputed choice for others. And getting more work will result in professional and financial growth. 

The ghostwriter could also become an independent established writer in future. The chances of that glimmer intensely as you work more with those types of clients.

5. Ghostwriting pays big:

As mentioned, the financial growth is exponential in this field once the ghostwriter acquires and hones all the required skills. The payment is usually per word, page or per hour.

For example, working with a former president as a ghostwriter to publish an autobiography is a significant task. It is also an opportunity for the ghostwriter to engage in more high profile work in the future. Moreover, it pays big to be in that position.

Hence, several ghostwriters have achieved success with these types of outings.

Initially, it might be tough for ghostwriters to find such assignments. However, with the experience, you can gain such prospects.

Demand for a ghostwriter: 

The ghostwriter has prospects in various writing fields. As we cited these fields in one of the initial pages, we will discuss them here specifically.

1. Digital ghostwriting: 

Digital ghostwriting include writing for online content like:

  • Blogs
  • Social media content
  • Website content
  • Press releases
  • Emails, etc.

The ghostwriter prominently does this type of writing for famous personalities, government officials, organisations, etc.

2. Academic ghostwriting: 

Academic ghostwriting include academic content like:

  • Term papers
  • Thesis
  • Subject assignments
  • Essays, etc.

This ghostwriting type is not illegal in a few countries. However, this type of writing is controversial in many parts of the world.

3. Fiction ghostwriting: 

Fiction ghostwriting content includes:

  • Novels
  • Short stories
  • Screenplays
  • Theatre plays, etc.

The ghostwriter will usually collaborate with the author for the project. So, the author provides ideas and outlines to the ghostwriter. Then, the process of developing those ideas and other activities commence.

Some authors allow ghostwriters to serve as co-authors on the project. However, most authors do otherwise.

4. Non-fiction ghostwriting: 

In this writing field, the author hires a ghostwriter to pen down real-life events in the form of a text. Sometimes, the ghostwriter could come into the picture to just edit the text and form a structured piece.

Non-fiction writing content includes:

  • Autobiographical books
  • Articles
  • Memoir
  • How-to books, etc.

5. Medical ghostwriting: 

Medical ghostwriting happens when a ghostwriter writes the medical content with the assistance of medical professionals. Usually, medical professionals can not be orderly and structured to produce the researched writings.

The ghostwriter helps bring the research to the general public and other professionals.

Following are the different medical ghostwriting content:

  • Journals
  • Research papers
  • Health instructions
  • Precautionary guidelines, etc.

However, the medical professionals must hire a ghostwriter from the medical background and expertise.

6. Music ghostwriting: 

Music ghostwriting include content like:

  • Song lyrics
  • Score writing
  • Compositions, etc.

This type of ghostwriting has been happening for a long time in almost every music industry in the world.

7. Political ghostwriting:

Political ghostwriting include content like:

  • Speeches
  • Press releases
  • Mandates
  • Letters, etc.

The ghostwriter pens the above contents for political figures addressing fellow personalities and the public.

Opportunities to earn from ghostwriting: 

A ghostwriter can earn more money than a traditional writer. Generally, the ghostwriter gives up his credit as an author and lets somebody else take that. This hikes up the paying fees for the ghostwriter.

The more important the work is, the more pay a ghostwriter gets. Previously mentioned writing fields are the arenas a ghostwriter can search through to take up preferred ones. 

For example, Upwork is a platform to start in this field. The ghostwriter will look for a suitable project and then bid for it. Hence, these biddings happen for ghostwriters to secure the place on that specific project with determined fees.

So, the earning amount depends on the ghostwriter’s writing experience and the project they take up. With more experience, they can handle challenging projects to earn sizable amounts.

Learn ghostwriting from Henry Harvin: 

Henry Harvin includes ghostwriting training in their content writing course for learners.

This ghostwriting training provides detailed knowledge about ghostwriting. It also offers you an industry perspective to higher the chances of getting the work post-training.

From the introduction of ghostwriting to the comprehensive understanding of the ghostwriting agreement, you will learn everything in detail.

Besides, Henry Harvin’s content writing course also includes other writing programs for the learners. 

Following is the course programme of content writing course offered by Henry Harvin:

  1. Academic Writing
  2. Research Writing
  3. Copywriting
  4. Technical Writing
  5. Business and Marketing Writing
  6. Creative Writing
  7. Email and Review Writing
  8. Resume Writing
  9. Business Proposal and Grant Writing

More than 18,000 learners have already completed this course to get the desired job.

Conclusion: 

So, this has been the ride through ghostwriting. However, it will take time to understand everything in detail about ghostwriting. Still, this article will give you that initial push to explore more. In addition, you could try to meet people from the ghostwriting field and have a chat. That will be a more significant experience for you.

Again, writing for others while giving up the credit will be morally wrong for some people. But everything has pros and cons. You have to analyse every aspect before deciding to enter this field. So that way, you will not have to regret not thinking through the processes and the following consequences. Ghostwriting is the field for passionate writers who are ready to give up their credit to enjoy the writing.

Moreover, the ghostwriter is a valuable partner for the author who does not have the skill to put thoughts on paper. However, eventually, they manage to produce something together for the best. And that best comes from the process and the result for the author and the ghostwriter.

FAQs:

Q. What skills are essential for ghostwriting?

Ans. A ghostwriter will need good research and interview skills to understand the author’s vision for the project. Similarly, writing skills need to match the level of the author. Any skill to bring the author’s voice into your text is imperative.

Q. Who interviews the author?

Ans. The ghostwriter interviews the author to get clear ideas about the project. And, these interviews are also essential to decrease the chances of miscommunication during the project process.

Q. Who can hire a ghostwriter?

Ans. The authors and celebrities hire a ghostwriter to pen down the ideas into a novel or a non-fiction book. And, a politician would hire a ghostwriter to write speeches or mandate. Then, an individual or organisation can hire a ghostwriter to write a blog or social media post. Anyone with the need for writing out their ideas can hire a ghostwriter.

Q. What is a ghostwriting contract?

Ans. A ghostwriting contract is a written agreement in which the author and the ghostwriter set the guidelines regarding the project. The contract also consists of details regarding payments and copyrights of the project.

Q. How can a ghostwriter be a co-author on a project?

Ans. Firstly, the author and the ghostwriter agree on being the co-authors for the project. Then, the ghostwriting contract states it after the inclusion of the credits.

Nitesh Durgude
the authorNitesh Durgude
Nitesh is an engineering graduate who turned towards his understated passion, writing. He likes to write about anything that opens up the doors to knowledge of new things and fields. Besides, he also enjoys writing fictional stories and screenplays.

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