Starting Out

How Do I Become A Ghostwriter?

Have you considered becoming a ghostwriter? What is holding you back?

I have written eBooks, articles and blogs as a ghostwriter. It can be quite a lucrative niche, and once you have finished the project your work is done. There is no need to spend copious hours and days promoting your work that could otherwise be spent on other writing projects that are providing an income.

How Do I Become A Ghostwriter?

What are the perks to being a ghostwriter?

But not every writer enjoys ghostwriting. For one, your name is not cited as the person who wrote the piece. And for many, having an author bio is a great marketing strategy.

But, ghostwriting is profitable. Many writers can charge double or triple for a ghostwritten piece. So, what other perks are there to ghostwriting and how do you break into this high income niche?

Why Ghostwriting?

I believe there are several great reasons for being a ghostwriter.

  1. There is usually less research and legwork involved then when authoring a book yourself. Generally, your client will be responsible for providing you with background material and is a walking, talking source of information.
  2. You don’t have to spend all your time on marketing and promoting your books. This means you can spend your valuable time elsewhere, such as other writing projects and pitching to potential clients.
  3. Ghostwriting allows you to help someone else achieve his or her dream of publishing a book.
  4. You get to collaborate and work with other people, instead of all by your lonesome!
  5. You can expand your skills and knowledge as you write about topics and subjects you may not have had prior dealings with.

Who Hires Ghostwriters?

You may be surprised by the variety of people who hire ghostwriters! From celebrities, politicians and professionals (such as doctors and lawyers) to publishers, authors and every day people. Really, anyone who wishes to publish a book or blog content however lacks the ability or time to do so, could be a potential client.

What Qualities do You Need as a Ghostwriter?

As with other writing services, you need to possess solid writing skills, be able to meet deadlines and clearly communicate with your client. There are other skills that I consider of the utmost importance to establishing yourself as a quality ghostwriter:

  1. You need to understand your role as a ghostwriter. You need to remember that whilst you may be writing the words, it is someone else’s idea and concept you are portraying. Ghostwriters need to leave their ego at the door to ensure they capture their clients’ voice.
  2. You will need strong management skills. The scope of the project you are ghostwriting will determine your level of responsibilities and management. You may be responsible for keeping your client to a schedule, researching, interviewing, approaching other collaborators, organizing meetings, and don’t forget writing your piece!
  3. You need to be able to capture your clients’ voice. This may be the hardest skill to master as a ghostwriter. Every body has their own unique way of talking, writing and portraying ideas. This is what makes up our rich literary culture. However, as a ghostwriter it is up to you to quiet your own voice and allow your clients’ voice to come through loud and clear in your writing.
  4. You need to be able to work well with others to be a confident and trusted ghostwriter.
  5. You need to collaborate with your client, and keep up a steady stream of communication.
  6. It goes without saying that you need to be organized! Not just in terms of getting work down in the time frame, but organizing your notes, thoughts and client ideas into a cohesive and well written project.

If you believe you have these qualities, then what is holding you back from earning money as a ghostwriter?

How Do You Find Ghostwriting Jobs?

Firstly, you need to consider your strengths and market yourself towards them. There is no point putting your hand up to write a blog post on motorbikes if your passion and majority of your knowledge lies in health. Unless it’s about how riding without proper protective equipment is a very unhealthy behavior!

Once you have established your “niche” then start looking for jobs. You can find posted jobs on places such as Craigslist, in newspapers, job boards, community groups and through word of mouth.

You can spread the word on your website and other social media. You may have to put in the hard yards initially with a lot of promoting, pitching and applications, but it will pay off in the end.

Getting Started on a Project

So you found your first client? Fantastic! But don’t relax just yet, the hard work isn’t over! Before you 100% commit to the ghostwriting project, you need to have a thorough understanding of your clients’ expectations and how they wish to work with you. The level of collaboration, time frame, budget and scope of the project will determine how much you should charge for a particular project.

For example, your client may wish to split the work straight down the middle, so they do most of the legwork and you do all the writing. Or you may have to do most everything including interviews and research based on your clients’ idea. The differences between those 2 scenarios create a very different workload for you as a ghostwriter, and should therefore be reflected in the amount you charge.

There are generally 3 basic ways to quote – by the hour; by the word or page; or by the overall project. Generally I find it easiest to quote a fee for the whole project. Once I have taken a thorough creative brief and understand what my client needs from me I will decide on a charge for the book that I would be happy to receive.


If you are still not convinced about the lucrative trade of ghostwriting, or wish to know more, here are some other great posts about ghostwriting:

How to Be a Successful Ghostwriter – Kelly James-Enger

How to Become a Ghostwriter for Beginners (Step-by-Step) – Elna Cain

Over to you – have you considered being a ghostwriter?

Rachel Maree is a freelance writer and blogger from Melbourne, Australia. You can read her blog on writing, freelancing and her journey to becoming a published author at rachelmaree. Rachel loves to hear about other peoples’ experiences and is always up for a chat so feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or even Pinterest.

Leave a Reply


Hi Rachel, thanks for this post! I know ghostwriting can be lucrative but the one thing that holds me back is capturing the client’s voice. Not really sure how to do that. But it’ll be an option I’ll surely consider. Many thanks!Reply to June
Rachel Maree Hi June, Capturing your client’s voice can be difficult, and that is where great communication and an in depth creative brief are an absolute must. Before you agree to take on any ghostwriting projects (especially big ones) you need to have a complete understanding of what your client expects from you, and how they wish you to achieve it. The more you know about the project and your client, the easier it will be to capture the voice and style they want. And the great thing about being your own boss… can say no! If you believe that you will be unable to deliver what the client wants, simply don’t take on that particular project. I hope this helps! Thanks for reading.Reply to Rachel
This is an interesting post, Rachel! I’m curious if you ever feel an ethical or moral dilemma about ghostwriting. I’ve had conflicted feelings about it myself (and wrote about my thoughts on it here: Keen to hear from you!Reply to Katie
Rachel Maree Hi Katie. Thanks for your comment. I think we can both agree that one of the great benefits of freelance writing is being your own boss. You can choose which projects you take on. If I feel that there would be an ethical or moral dilemma, then I won’t take on the project. In regards to your article, I agree with some of your points. I don’t interview someone unless my name will be on the article. Once again, the great thing about being your own boss is picking your clients and what projects you are comfortable with. I am interested to know, when you write website content, blog posts, marketing emails and advertising copy is your name on all those products? If it is not, essentially that is ghost-writing. I have no doubt that there are people out there who will take on any writing project, regardless of what it is. I, however, always think about whether or not it would compromise myself in anyway before I agree to take on any ghostwriting gig. I hope this helps to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more, or wish to discuss this further. Thanks!Reply to Rachel
I’ve always found the concept of ghost writing very interesting. You make a good point that a good ghostwriter needs to be able to capture other peoples’ voices in order to be successful. I might try this out one day.Reply to Jack
Rachel Maree Hi Jack Mulligan, You should try it. It is a great way off earning some money, without the stress of promoting and marketing. Another important piece of advice I should have included in the article is to make sure you are happy with your client. If it is a big project you will be working with this person for an extended period of time, and you do not want to be working with someone who drives you crazy! It may come across in your work, and also be more likely to lead to procrastination and lack of motivation. I learnt this the hard way. I hope you try your hand at ghostwriting, and that you enjoy it as much as I do! Good luck. Rachel MareeReply to Rachel
Hi Rachel, What a great intro post to ghostwriting. Not many people know that it can be lucrative only because there are lot of cheaper ghostwriting jobs out there. But, if you can ghostwrite for an influencer or entrepreneurs, you’ll be able to get premium rates for your service! At lest, that’s what I found.Reply to Elna
Rachel Maree Hi Elna, Thanks! It was fun to write. There are a lot of cheaper jobs out there, so it is a matter of finding the right job for you and with a price tag you are happy with. I always get a thrill when I see an article/blog/book I have contributed to published, regardless of whether or not my name is on it.Reply to Rachel