How do you become a ghostwriter?


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How To Become a Ghost Writer

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How can someone become a ghostwriter?

To help you become a ghostwriter, we asked experienced ghostwriters and marketing professionals this question for their best insights. From finding a niche to trying freelance writing and editing, there are several things you may do to prepare yourself to start writing as a ghostwriter.

Here are eight things to do to become a ghostwriter:

  • Find a Niche
  • Start From Your Current Position
  • Show You Can Be a Long-Form Writer
  • Master Writing Skills and Marketing
  • Connect With Other Writers
  • Get Some Speech Writing Experience
  • Listen and Understand Client Needs
  • Try Freelance Writing and Editing First

Find a Niche

Start by finding a niche that you’re an expert in. Create a list of 50 to 100 professionals in that niche who are successful, but who haven’t written a book yet. Write a short invitation to each one asking if they’d like to be interviewed and quoted for a (print) newsletter you’re writing. Send these invitations to your list via physical mail. You should get at least a few responses. Once you’ve created your newsletter, mail it to the entire list. Include an ad for your writing and editing services in the newsletter. Repeat this process every month and keep building your list. If your newsletter is good (it doesn’t have to be fancy), you will start getting contacts. All it takes is one book ghostwriting deal to pay for an entire year of your newsletters. Two projects a year, and you’re profitable. This is how I landed a ghostwriting project with a New York Times Bestselling author.

Seth Czerepak, VQ Success

Start From Your Current Position

Get ghostwriting experience as part of your day job by offering to write for the leaders within your organization. Offer to take over their social media accounts, write some blog posts under their name, or submit to a local publication on their behalf. With the leaders that agree, you can explore matching their tone and learn how to adjust your style based on their writing approach. This experience can then be leveraged to gain opportunities outside of your primary work.

Logan Mallory, Motivosity

Show You Can Be a Long-Form Writer

Ghostwriters aren’t called on to do quick-hit pieces. They have to show they can do the necessary research and write long stories that flow well. Above all, they have to show they can write looking through the prism of their subject. If you haven’t had a long-form story published, take time to write one. Open a blog and get to work. Write a piece on a subject that you enjoy, but one that requires you to do some legwork. Show the reader that you’ve cited sources and done the background research. Once you’ve done that, start sending your portfolio to those looking for ghostwriters. If you can show the capability of creating great content, someone out there somewhere will give you a shot.

Trevor Ford, Yotta

Master Writing Skills and Marketing

Ghostwriters need strong writing skills and an intimate understanding of marketing theory and branding to be successful. You can work with a marketing agency to create content for clients, write for PR, or work directly with an executive out of their email inbox. The best ghostwriters develop a voice and tone that match each client’s branded content. These writers have to consider their clients’ marketing goals and strategically develop a brand voice that best addresses those objectives directly.

Most of the time, ghostwriters need some level of collaboration with their clients to be able to speak for them, answer questions, and accurately represent clients’ businesses. Master your understanding of grammar and the written word, then study up on business copy and brand tone for good measure!

Tom Mohr, Tom Mohr

Connect With Other Writers

Seek other writers when searching for a ghost-writing position. Joining an online network is a fantastic way to connect with a huge number of writers in a short amount of time. Sometimes ghostwriting gigs are hard to find, but those who recruit ghost writers will seek these networks and attract talent from there. Not only is joining a writing network a sound professional move, but you might even make some new friends while you’re at it!

Thomas Yuan, Sanebox

Get Some Speech Writing Experience

Effective ghostwriters master the art of communicating in someone else’s voice. Writing speeches for others is a role that offers a tremendous opportunity to gain hands-on experience with this skill set. Being a good speechwriter requires one to remove themselves from the habit of communicating in their own voice and teaches them to identify the particular tendencies that make someone else’s voice unique. These are the traits that any ghostwriter must be equipped with if they are to be convincing. Ghostwriters create memos, pen songs and even author entire books by fitting themselves into the communication style of another person. Speechwriting is the ideal experience and practice for becoming a ghostwriter.

Katy Carrigan, Goody

Listen and Understand Client Needs

To become a ghostwriter, a person needs not only writing skills but listening skills too. I believe that a ghostwriter should be a good listener in order to understand what clients want and how to communicate. Therefore, a ghostwriter should be able to represent their clients’ voices and intentions. He needs to practice active listening so that his write can match up with the clients’ vision as closely as possible.

Chiara Sternardi, Passport-photo Online

Try Freelance Writing and Editing First

To become a ghostwriter, first, you need to establish your position as a freelance writer and editor. Being a freelance writer boosts your credibility and recognition and builds your portfolio. Having online articles published on popular (or less popular) websites makes it possible for new people to find information about you and your work and finally offer you a job. Along with establishing your positioning in the marketplace, you develop a strong network. Referrals are an invaluable help in this business. Don’t forget to run your personal website or a blog at the end of the day. Think of it as your business card.Nina Paczka, MyPerfectResume

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