If you're new to ghostwriting you're probably wondering what kind of people would want to hire a ghostwriter.
Most ghostwriters are hired by people writing novellas, fiction, graphic novels or any other works that have been left unfinished.
When it comes to writing and producing books there are three kinds of ghostwriters:
1. The author has unclear ideas, notes and no outline.
2. The self-publishing author unclear on how to finish their book and sees a ghostwriter as the only way to finish their book
3. A self-published author who's looking for a writer to finish their book or maybe add a few chapters.
The author has unclear ideas, notes and no outline
If your client happens to have no outline your job will be to draw that information out of them in order to complete the project.
Normally all you have to go by is genre and a concept, it's up to you to see where focus is required, then what elements are needed to develop the rest of the story by yourself.
The self-publishing author unclear on how to finish their book and sees a ghostwriter as the only way to finish their book
Self-published authors already have the experience of publishing a book, but often their lives or careers have taken over and they are left unable to finish the work they started. In this case you'll be left with an abundance of ideas and material to draw from. Your function lies in clarifying and refocusing the project. All of this can be done by immersing yourself in their story, getting to know their voice, and all of these are done seamlessly.
A self-published author who's looking for a writer to finish their book or maybe add a few chapters
This leaves the publisher, client or content producer turning to other writers to emulate the style of the authors they already have in their books. Usually you'll have a detailed outline from the get-go. Along with a deadline that will be set in place. Familiarity is the name of the game, which is where your own writing experience comes in.
What are the genres for fiction?
You're more likely to be writing in a particular kind of genre fiction which could be anyone of the following:
- Science Fiction
- Urban Fiction
- Chick Lit
- Young Adult (YA)
These days genres come with sub-genres like science fiction that can be separated into hard science fiction, space exploration science fiction, science fiction adventures, the list goes on.
Ghostwriting blog posts, speeches and other non-fiction is a great way to get into the ghostwriting market. Shorter assignments means they're not as well paid, but you can incorporate all of that into your pricing.
Just like any other ghostwriting job your name won't be mentioned or recognised anywhere.
We're going to focus on how you can get more clients if this is the road you want to go down as a ghostwriter.
The seven types of clients are:
2. True Stories
3. How-Tos and Advice Guides
4. Blog Posts
5. Social Media Posts
Many sports personalities, politicians, musicians lack the skill and time to write their own biographies, that's why they turn to a ghostwriter to do it for them. Usually the business of writing the book is left in the hands of the publishing house to work with the author.
In this case it's best to start asking questions to your author about their life, then start building an outline from there. It will take more than just one interview to get the information you need.
It's also good to contact the fans and people that closely follow, but all of this is done discreetly without revealing who you are and what your intentions are.
2. True Stories
The world is full of extraordinary experiences and stories from everyday people. People who may have been through some of life's worst trials and tribulations. All of these experiences need to be woven together by the hand of an experienced writer to bring them to life. You need the skills to strike a cord with your audience, but also the ability to strike the right tone. Regardless of how bad the history was of the author your manuscript should always end on a happier note.
3. How-Tos and Advice Guides
People seek out books from professionals, this can be anything from karate to cooking.
This kind of knowledge is highly sought after because people want to emulate that particular person's achievements, and discover what it was that gave them the success they have in their life. Most people struggle to write a book and have a successful career. And more often than not don't have the required skills to write a book.
When you start writing this kind of book you need to determine who your audience is, and to what level your writing is for. For example, if you're writing a book for beginners you don't want to use complicated language that that particular audience would find difficult to understand. But rather get down to your readers level.
It's your job to write and restructure the book from the information you're given by the author, and if there are any holes in the information that the author provides that as well.
4. Blog Posts
Blogging is an ever-growing market for writers, and leaves a lot of scope when you're looking for ghostwriting gigs. If you haven't started your own blog already you may not realise how much work it takes to run and maintain a blog. One of the biggest challenges is creating fresh content regularly. One of the upsides to starting your own blog is that you can showcase your own writing for all the world to see, and this can often turn into a full-time job as a writer doing other people's blog posts.
Specialising in a particular area means that people will trust and acknowledge that you're an expert in your chosen field. Letting you charge more for your articles and blog posts, anywhere up to $1000 per article.
Make sure you keep your own blog up-to-date, and show your audience that every blog post has been well written and is in keeping with the current trends and news of the time.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) skills will also help when you're looking for this kind of work. Business and blog owners want writers who know how to get their blog posts ranking high on Google and other search engines.
5. Social Media Posts
Both personal and business people are constantly on the look-out for writers who can write informative and entertaining personal posts for their brand. It's another weapon in your arsenal as a ghostwriter that's really handy to have, and there's no better place to start than on your own social media platforms.
If you do start looking for this kind of work, start looking at what the client is posting and draw from their own personal updates.
Often creating social media posts isn't just about writing them but also setting up a schedule and interacting with the audience. This kind of work can easily be learned or you could grab a quick course online.
All social media platforms have their own particular style, you just need to find a way of familiarising yourself with each platform and adapting the material yourself.
If someone has a limited grasp of the English language, then sometimes they might look for a writer that does.
There is a particular market for cross-cultural correspondence which ghostwriters may find as an interesting line of work. These clients can be anything from entrepreneurs and business people, to everyday people just wanting a beautifully written letter done for them. Letter writing calls for the writer to be psychologically, culturally and stylistically perfect.
There is an art to letter writing that requires a lot of skill, like everything you can find plenty of books and courses on the subject to help you master letter writing.
It's best to ask your clients for a rough draft first with everything you want them to say, then rewrite the content you have as an elegantly crafted letter.
You usually assume speeches are only given on special occasions such as weddings, but for some people they're a more regular occurrence, or part of a job. Like a politician for instance.
You need to draw out from your client their best life experiences, and make those the most entertaining part of the speech.
Jobs done with 'professional speakers' are usually done by politicians at a higher level, and can be a very lucrative market to be in.
All speeches should flow naturally and sound like the author is talking to the audience. Observation via video is the best way to hear how the person sounds. This just means you can go back and ask the author about how they would have said something given the chance again.
Political speech writing is a skill that can be gained by simply analysing the particular party's style and content.
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