Learn How to Increase Your Ghostwriting Business
Ghostwriting can be a lucrative business for a writer if you know where to look for work. If you're thinking of becoming a ghostwriter, or have done some ghostwriting and want to do more, according to writer Marcia Layton Turner, founder and executive director of the Association of Ghostwriters, there are plenty of opportunities for ghostwriting work. Here's Turner's advice on where to find ghostwriting work:
Approach Acquisitions Editors or Literary Agents for Ghostwriting Work
Often, it's an author's book editor or a literary agent to find and suggest a ghostwriter. (This happens when an author has a solid platform and/or a great idea for a book but doesn't have the time or the skills to write the book.) Many seasoned ghostwriters might tend to rely on editors and agents as sources of new business, though today it's wise to also…
Look to the Source for Ghostwriting Work: the Author
Many potential ghostwriting clients today are going the self-publishing route rather than signing with a major publisher. For example, entrepreneurs who want to self-publish a book to market their businesses typically look for ghostwriters. Connect yourself with self-publishing services and gurus who might be in a position to recommend your services directly to authors.
Hobnob with Fellow Ghostwriters
Fellow ghostwriters can be an excellent source of work. Only inexperienced writers see colleagues as competition. The truth is that there is plenty of work to go around. So get to know other ghostwriters, pay attention to their specialties and tell them yours. Then send projects that aren’t right for you their way. Recommend colleagues to editors and agents who contact you about projects that aren’t right for you.
The more work you refer elsewhere, the more likely you are to be on the receiving end of referrals more in line with your interests and expertise. For that reason, it's great to network with other writers and ghostwriters through organizations, and conferences.
Become Affiliated With A Writer's Agency
If you are an established author with good credentials, you might try to affiliate yourself with an agency. An agency takes a commission for its services of not only connecting ghostwriters with authors but managing the author-ghostwriter relationship, establishing the contractual parameters, negotiating and managing the payments, etc.
Agencies do tend to vet their ghostwriters fairly strictly, as befitting their clientele. For example, Gotham Ghostwriters in New York City generally works with high-profile clients and they screen their writers accordingly.
Expand Your Ghostwriting Market Beyond Books
Books are not the only documents that use ghostwriting services. While writing books and book proposals account for a large portion of ghostwriting projects, they are not the only source of income.
Ghostwriters are also hired to blog, craft tweets and Facebook posts and otherwise manage social media accounts, write white papers, articles, and speeches—even memos and correspondence. Anything that someone else may be asked to write could be ghostwritten.
For non-book types of work, reach out to marketing firms or public relations agencies, who would be offering their clients services such as ghostwriting op-ed pieces or articles for placement in trade journals, etc.
Leverage Any Previous Experience You Have to Target a Ghostwriting Niche
This is especially true if you're a writer breaking into ghostwriting. Without actual ghostwriting experience, you can show you might be right for a ghostwriting job because of your writing skill plus your in-depth knowledge of a market, your extensive social media expertise, etc. This will make you attractive to those hiring a ghostwriter.
Make Yourself "Visible" As A Ghostwriter
That is, don't forget to use good old-fashioned word of mouth, as well as your online and offline social networks. While you're working the sources suggested above, make sure to let everyone know you're a ghostwriter. That casual acquaintance from the PTA or the executive in line next to you in the deli might just be in need of someone to author their book.
Marcia Layton Turner has authored, co-authored, or ghosted nearly 30 non-fiction books… and articles like this one. She currently earns the bulk of her income from ghostwriting books for entrepreneurs and senior executives and is the founder and executive director of the Association of Ghostwriters.