How to Make Money as a Ghostwriter

Person typing on laptop to be more effective at writing for money

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Are you looking to make money as a ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters save content creators time and effort by writing content for them in exchange for payment. Starting your own business as a ghostwriter means you'll get to write in a variety of different ways for a variety of projects.

You'll get to meet different types of people and network with business owners, bloggers, and even professionals who need speeches written, depending on what your area of expertise is.

Let's get started and talk about what ghostwriting is, the difference between ghostwriting and freelance writing, how much money you can make as a ghostwriter, and how to begin a ghostwriting career, even if you aren't currently a professional writer.

What is ghostwriting?

A ghostwriter is someone who is hired to write content, such as books, articles, blog posts, songs, and speeches but receives no credit for their work. Instead, the credit is given to the person that the content was written for.

A content creator, such as a blogger or author, may hire a ghostwriter to write some or all of their content. The content creator then takes credit for the work of the ghostwriter.

Ghostwriters may write for fiction or nonfiction. In addition, they may write for academia, a website, write songs, or in various industries.

People use ghostwriters for various reasons, including:

  • They aren’t talented enough to write on their own
  • They don’t have time to write and hire a ghostwriter to do the bulk of it.

Ghostwriters must have excellent writing skills as they will have to adapt their writing style to the voice and style of their potential clients.

What’s the difference between ghostwriting and freelance writing?

Ghostwriters do not receive credit for their work, whereas freelance writers place their own names on their content. Because ghostwriters don’t receive credit for their work, they can often charge more for their work than freelance writers can.

Ghostwriters write to the voice and style of their clients, whereas freelance writers use their own style and voice when writing.

How much money can ghostwriters make?

The amount of money a ghostwriter can charge varies significantly by the ghostwriter and by the project. For articles and web content, rates can range from $0.15 per word to as high as $4 per word. This range is based on how much research the ghostwriter has to do, any additional knowledge the ghostwriter needs, such as SEO writing, the experience of the ghostwriter, and the type of project.

When writing an entire book, it’s more common for the ghostwriter to charge a flat fee based on the project’s scope. This includes determining how much of the work that the ghostwriter will do, such as writing, editing, submitting to publishers, and any additional tasks required.

Some ghostwriters may charge an hourly rate for other tasks such as writing letters to publishers and doing editing services.

With this in mind, it’s difficult to determine precisely how much to charge when you first decide to become a ghostwriter. It’s best to do market research and see what others are charging for similar work, then consider the value you can provide to your client and determine your pricing from there. 

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How to Start Ghostwriting

There are several ways to get started with a ghostwriting career. Let's go over some of the things you can do when you want to offer ghostwriting services.

Create a Portfolio of Your Writing

As a professional ghostwriter, you won't be credited for the writing that you do. To show off your writing, it's a good idea to create a portfolio of your own writing. You can do this by creating a blog and writing blog posts, writing your own book, or by writing several sample chapters of a variety of content. If you're going into speechwriting or songwriting, you can write sample speeches and sample songs as well.

Do Freelance Writing First

Starting as a freelance writer will help you get experience writing professionally as well as building your portfolio. Putting your best work forward when you do freelance work can lead to networking opportunities with others who need writing services. You'll get used to the professional writing process and hone your writing ability. You can also build an online presence simultaneously, which will allow you to continue to network with others.

Learn to Write from Many Voices

Ghostwriters must write in the voice and style that matches their clients' needs. This takes practice and years of experience to master. Depending on your client, you may need to write to persuade, tell a story, or inform. You may need to write for an experienced audience or a casual audience. You might have to write different tones, such as confident, formal, informal, funny, encouraging, and so on.

By putting in the hard work and mastering different forms of writing, you'll get a wider array of ghostwriting clients, which will help you earn more money for your efforts.

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Better Your SEO Skills

If you plan to write for readers on the web, such as blog writing, you'll want to become proficient with SEO. The heart of SEO is providing as high-quality content as you can, based on the topic you're writing about. Blog and business owners want to maximize their traffic to gain more leads and earn more income, and search-optimized content will help them do that.

A lucrative way to earn extra money ghostwriting is to be proficient in SEO writing, as this saves the client money from having another person optimize the content you write. In addition, by understanding how to write high-quality content in a search-optimized way, you can increase your rates, as you'll be putting in more time to do research and to optimize your writing.

Get Started With Your First Client

When you're ready to start your freelance ghostwriting hustle or career, it's time to find your first client. A good way to find your first client is to touch base with any freelance writing clients you had and see if any of them would like ghostwriting services for future writing needs. You may also be able to network with clients' colleagues as well as find clients in business groups, such as on Facebook. Word of mouth will also help you land your first client, as well as many more.

Start with Small Projects and then Take On Big Projects

It makes sense for your first ghostwriting gigs to be small. For example, a first project might be a series of social media posts, an article, or a few short booklets. This will allow you to get used to writing for your client's voice and style versus your own. Once you get more comfortable with writing in other people's voices and styles, you can then move to bigger projects, such as writing whole books like business books or a full-length novel.

Where to find ghostwriting jobs

Now that you've started your gig as a freelance ghostwriter, it's time to start looking for clients more regularly. Here, we'll talk about ways you can find more clients to earn more money.

Network through Existing Clients

A great way to find more clients is to ask your existing clients if they know anyone who is also seeking ghostwriting services. One incentive you can offer is a referral fee to your clients as a kickback for anyone they refer to you that hires you. This is known as affiliate marketing and can be very useful for picking up new clients.

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Reach out in Facebook Groups

Facebook is home to many groups containing people who may need your services. For example, some groups are dedicated to people looking to hire a Virtual Assistant, or VA, and some VAs offer ghostwriting services. You're likely to find potential clients in groups like these.

Looking for Facebook groups for people in the niches that you want to write for, such as bloggers, small business owners, musicians, and so on, you can increase your visibility and find clients.

Websites for Ghostwriters

Here are some websites to get you started on your next ghostwriting project.

For a full review on these websites with additional writing websites to choose from, check out this article on Noomii.

Pitch to Small Businesses

No one likes cold-calling, but you may land ghostwriting jobs by reaching out to bloggers and business owners in your niche. If there's a topic you're adept at writing about, then there's a good chance that you can sell your services to a blogger in that niche should they be looking to outsource. In addition, a successful pitch could lead to a longer project that can give you regular earnings and open your network further.

FAQs About Ghostwriting

Let's talk about some of the most common questions that prospective ghostwriters have.

Is it worth being a ghostwriter?

This is a question that will depend on how successful you are. A ghostwriter that gets regular gigs can earn a lot of money, as ghostwriting generally pays more than freelance writing. That said, as a ghostwriter, you won't have your name on anything you write, so if you value being known for your writing, then ghostwriting might not be right for you.

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Who uses ghostwriters?

Ghostwriters are commonly used by bloggers, authors, celebrities, political leaders, business coaches, and singers. Ghostwriters are also sometimes used by people who need an autobiography written and don't have the writing skill or time to write it themselves.

Is ghostwriting ethical?

When the client provides an outline of what they want to be written and then reviews the content and checks for accuracy, making edits where necessary, it is undoubtedly ethical, as the person publishing the content under their name provided the basis for the writing and reviewed it. This is because the ghostwriter serves as the tool that the client uses to reach their audience. The client provides all of the essential information, and the ghostwriter transforms it into a document, such as a book or an article.

Why should I be a ghostwriter and not a freelance writer?

Ghostwriting can be more lucrative than freelance writing because you can often charge a higher rate since you won't be credited for your work. You'll also improve your skills in writing with different voices and styles a great deal as a result of ghostwriting.

Is ghostwriting right for me?

Ghostwriting may be right for you if:

  • You're looking to earn more money than a typical freelance writer.
  • You want to improve your writing from a wide array of voices and styles.
  • You don't mind not being credited for your work.

Ghostwriting may not be right for you if:

  • You want to build a writing portfolio
  • You have a hard time writing in voices and styles other than your natural voice and style.
  • You want to be credited for your work.

Wrapping It Up

In this article, we discussed how to make money as a ghostwriter by talking about what a ghostwriter is and how to get clients as a ghostwriter. Whether you choose to go into ghostwriting or simply freelance writing is up to you.

What are topics you're interested in ghostwriting about?