If you like writing, you may have entertained the idea of becoming a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter writes on spec for other people, usually without credit. The person who contracts the writing is usually credited as the author. That fact is often a stopping point for many writers who dream of fame and riches. Ghostwriting as a business model has many layers.
Most people like seeing their name on a byline and feel sick thinking of doing all that work and not getting credit. For others, that idea sounds great. Get paid to do something they love and stay in the background, awesome. Many introverts love the idea of ghostwriting. But, you don’t have to be an introvert either to love ghostwriting. Let’s look at some pros and cons of working as a ghostwriter so that you can decide for yourself whether you’ll love ghostwriting or not.
Let’s start with the cons of ghostwriting and get those out of the way shall we:
You Won’t Get Credit
This can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be hard to work on something using all your skills and then get no credit. But, did you know that this is not uncommon? It’s not theft. It’s not wrong. It’s very common. There are ghostwriters in every single field and it’s totally acceptable. There are even ghost designers.
If you are a designer and work for a big fashion house and design something, it’s credited to the house, not you. If you write software for Microsoft or Apple guess what, it’s not credited to you, it’s credited to them. There are writers for NASA who get no credit for their work other than payment. This is how the world works and has always worked. If you get paid enough, do you really need credit?
It’s Not Always Books
Sometimes you won’t get to write books. This is a con to some people. Sometimes the writing you do will be…should you think it…boring? It may be technical writing. It may be blog posts about a topic you find mind-numbing. Of course, you don’t have to take on topics you don’t like writing about. However, by learning to write well about something you don’t enjoy, you will improve your writing exponentially.
Finding Clients Can Be a Challenge
It’s hard to get testimonials as a ghostwriter. Mostly because people don’t typically admit that they used a ghostwriter. However, there are cases where someone will give you credit and a testimonial. You should make it a habit to ask every single time you work for someone to either give you credit with a discount or to provide a testimonial of some kind.
You’ll Have Strict Deadlines
When you are a ghostwriter you’ll be working on deadlines. These deadlines usually are strict and usually cannot be changed. That means you’ll have to be disciplined in your writing timelines and get work done on time. This is a con but it’s also a positive. If you want to learn how to write on spec on deadline ghostwriting will train you to do that. This can only pay off for you because the faster you can get work done the more clients you can take on. Additionally, it will help you when you are writing for yourself too.
You’ll Have a Boss (sort of)
When you are a ghostwriter you work for yourself. You are a business owner. You can think of yourself as the owner of a ghostwriting firm. In fact, if you get enough work you can hire other writers too. But, you will have people who are paying you that are like a boss. Your clients will expect certain things in certain ways at certain times. You’ll have to answer to them and that can be hard sometimes.
Researching is Part of The Job
Many people like to write but they don’t like to do research. As a ghostwriter creating content around someone else’s idea you’re going to have to do research. In fact, sometimes the research part takes longer than the writing part. If it’s a particularly boring topic for you it may be more exhausting than something you like. But, if it’s something you enjoy you may get sucked down the rabbit hole and spend too much time on research. Set time limits.
You Have to Let Go of Your Ego
Sometimes you’ll write something for someone else that is truly amazing, and you may feel some pain at letting it go. But, try to get pleasure out of the fact that people will still get value from it whether you get credit for it or not by letting go and learning how to drop the ego. You are going to get paid, and that is a type of credit. You’re also getting the experience and knowledge which is also an important factor to consider.
Now let’s move on with the pros of ghostwriting:
Most Authors Don’t Get Rich
The truth is, most traditionally published authors never sell more than 3000 books. The likelihood of you selling enough books that you publish in your own name to make a living is low, and it’s much less likely that you’ll become rich. That’s not to say you’re not a great writer, or that it’s impossible – not at all – but if you aren’t already famous it’s almost like winning the lottery to truly make it big in today’s book market. But please do not let this deter you from ghostwriting as a business model.
You Can Do Both; Ghostwriting As a Business Model and For Authorship
What’s awesome is that if your goal is to make an income with your writing, ghostwriting can be that career for you. Many ghostwriters make six figures a year doing what they love. Plus, it doesn’t stop you from pursuing your dream of making it big as an author either. In fact, ghostwriting can free you up to become the famous author you always dreamed of being. Not to mention the fact that your writing will improve while getting paid up front for it.
Ghostwriters Are Multitalented
If you are good at writing, listening, project management and understand the publishing industry you’ll make good money in the ghostwriting field. You may even be able to get work with an agency. But, even if you have none of that there are plenty of bloggers, internet marketers, and others who need ghostwritten content that you can make good money writing if you can write at the 10th grade level about a topic.
Make Money With Your Writing Without Giving Up Your Dreams
If you like making money, like writing, and enjoy being of service to others and helping them make their dreams come true you’ll likely love ghostwriting as a business model. This is especially true if you’re an introvert who just likes writing but would rather let other people have all the attention. But, as mentioned above, that’s not really a necessity because being a ghostwriter can finance your bigger dream to become a famous writer.
Hone Your Ghostwriting Craft While Earning Money
In many ways being a ghostwriter can allow writers to gain the freedom to hone their craft and become better writers. No matter what your goal is there really is no downside of being a ghostwriter despite the cons you read above. Whether you hope to make a consistent living, become a better writer, or someday publish your own work, it’s all possible with ghostwriting as a business model.
You Can Leave the J.O.B. Behind
One thing that often gets in the way of realizing a dream is a job that keeps you stationary working typical hours for someone else. Often not even doing anything close to what you wanted to do. If you have a job that has nothing to do with what you want to do with your life it can cause you to lose hope. But, when you have a job that is working in the area you need to improve, such as writing skills, you’ll be able to make everything you do count.
As you can see there are quite a few things you need to think about if you have a dream of choosing ghostwriting as a business model. You know yourself best, after all. Write down in your mind the good and bad points of ghostwriting, determine a potential niche, and give it a try. You may find that you love it. You may find that it’s not for you. But, at least you tried.
I’m Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.