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Boo! So You Want To Become A Ghostwriter?

I sat looking out my office window one blustery, eerie, day.

Drifting in thought from desperately going through the avalanche of emails in my in box,  I was clicking delete faster than a raven can fly. Suddenly my finger grinded to a halt just before this particular email was sent to an electronic grave.  It simply said in the subject line, “been reading your articles.” I had been writing plenty of articles, so I was hooked with those simple words. But with a little hesitation I clicked the mysterious email, truly hoping that it was not another craftily worked piece of spam.

From beyond the electronic veil the writer wrote, “Been reading your articles for a year. I want you to ghostwrite for my company. Let me know if you are interested.” That was the end of the mysterious letter.  It hit me like – BOO! A little scary that someone had been reading my work for a year and never reached out, felt a bit like stalking. It was a little scary that the letter was so brief, with no listing of the company name or credentials. Yet, I was dying to know what this was all about.

Nervously I responded, “I am interested.”

Click. I awaited a response and nothing, cold lead, most dead. I did not hear a thing for weeks.  I was a little agitated but blew it off as spam.  Then one day, while I was once again deleting emails faster than a raven can fly, the mysterious writer replied in the subject line, “will advise of ghostwriting assignment.” I wrote back, “Thanks.” I was very excited, but still a little apprehensive. This was a style of business etiquette out of my league. I am from a very formal business world. This type of communication was totally unorthodox.

So I waited, and waited, and waited. Then out of the blue, another email came.  The subject line read, “First ghost assignment.” I hit click and the next set of words blew me away – “I have negotiated your first assignment.  Hope $5,000 is not too small an amount for your skills.  Please contact this client.” I almost passed out and when I got the check in the mail, I truly was now dying to become a ghostwriter. True story and 5 years later it has been one of the best experiences of my life. Over time my experience has more than doubled my rates.

What is the moral of this story?

If you want to become a ghostwriter, be a good writer. Your skills determine your entrance into this community of writing ghosts. Actively write and post your writing everywhere.  Posting articles is one of the best forms of marketing you can use. Contact ghostwriting companies in your area and ask for opportunities.  Once you become a ghostwriter learn the trade.

It is so much more than writing a book. You have to learn about contracts, how to negotiate them and how to enforce them.  You will become more than a writer for the client. You will be their doctor to give birth to their dream.  All during their “book pregnancy,” you will become their coach, their caretaker, and you will go through labor with them and deliver the book.  You will write and re-write. You will make decisions in the best interest of the client and they won’t like you for it.  You won’t get a lot of rest for 6 to 18 months while the book is being developed.  Then when it is all done, you won’t get a shred of credit and will be sworn to secrecy. However, it will be one of the most exciting and financially rewarding journeys of your life. Need more information on becoming a ghostwriter? We have workshops available. Contact me at bookmarketingprofessionals At gmailDotcom.  Put in the subject line ghost workshop. If you enjoyed this article, please share it.

By Linda Leon, a contributing blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.