Eva Shaw, author of Ghostwriting: How to Get Into the Business beautifully sums up the heart of being a ghostwriter. She writes, “You put your ego aside to perform an invaluable service, write brilliant words, produce wonderful copy, and work harder than anyone believes is humanly possible.”
Yep, that pretty much describes every ghostwriting assignment I’ve ever had but I’d also add—the hard work is totally worth it. And, ghostwriting isn’t just reserved for those of us who write nonfiction for adults; children’s writers are often called upon to ghostwrite for celebrities, politicians, TV personalities, and even ministers of megachurches.
The 411 on Ghostwriting
Definition: Ghostwriters are behind-the-scenes writers. Unnoticeable. Usually unnamed, though you can sometimes get a “with” on the cover if negotiated in the contract. And, ordinarily, well paid. Yay!
Duties: A ghostwriter writes on an assigned topic, under someone else's name, with that person’s consent and input. Some of the clients I’ve worked with are very involved—talking through every line of the manuscript—and others, not so much. Each client is different, and every assignment is a challenge.
Why so challenging, you ask? Well, if you’re like me, you’ve worked very hard your entire career to find your voice. In ghostwriting, you are asked to lose your voice and find the client’s voice. You have to wear an entirely different hat.
Marketing Yourself As A Ghostwriter
Get a Website: Develop a website that tells what services you offer, comments from satisfied clients (you can use first names only), your bio, etc. Or, simply add a drop down ghostwriting menu on your existing website.
Get a Brochure: Vistaprint.com is a very inexpensive way to put together a professional-looking brochure that touts your writing skills and ghostwriting services. Carry the brochures with you because you never know when or where you’ll encounter your next ghostwriting client.
Talk it Up: When you’re at conferences, let publishers and agents know you offer ghostwriting services specializing in nonfiction children’s articles and books. Because I do this, I’ve had more than one agent contact me with high-profile clients in need of a ghost.
Also, talk it up on social media and list it under your skills on LinkedIn. You might even consider advertising yourself on www.upwork.com as a ghostwriter for children’s projects.
Join a Ghostwriters National Association/Group: http://associationofghostwriters.org/why-join/
This is just one of several associations/groups geared specifically for ghostwriters.
Ghostwriting is quite lucrative, so if you’re not married to that coveted cover credit, go for it! It’s a great way to make money, meet some very interesting people, and tell some amazing stories—even if they aren’t yours.
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The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas and a strong belief in The First Amendment. The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.
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