I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I know mine was snowy and work filled, for the most part – you have to love retail. Today, we’re going to be looking at ghost writing. On Thursday, we’ll be talking about freelance writing. Let’s dive on in, shall we?
What is ghostwriting? I can tell you it isn’t a ghost sitting at a computer as the post image suggests. Ghostwriting is when you take your words and type them for someone else’s ideas. If that doesn’t make sense, then here’s the short of it: you write someone else’s story.
“Why on Earth would I ever want to do that?” some of you may exclaim with bewilderment.
- You get to try out a bunch of different genres. You can write fiction, non-fiction, romance or sci-fi. It’s up to you.
- There’s a lot of work out there for you. Someone, somewhere, needs content written. That content can change as well depending on what you’re looking for. Businesses are a huge market for this. They’re looking for someone to write blog posts, social media, and/or articles, to name a few, for their businesses. They’ll put a fancy name on it (“marketing”), but you’d be doing a lot of the leg work on it.
- It should pay more. You’re being asked to write in someone else’s voice and style, which can be difficult.
- Repeat business. If they like you, then they’re going to want to keep working with you. Plus, as you keep working with the same company the easier to work with them it is going to be.
Now, this is all good on paper, but you are giving up your right to say “that’s mine!” It is the number one drawback to ghostwriting, in my humble/not-so-humble opinion. It’s one of the main reasons as to why I haven’t pursued it like crazy, though I’m starting to a little bit with business marketing.
Why should you avoid ghostwriting:
- You don’t get the credit. Your words are not your own. They belong to whoever hired you. They’re going to get the credit for the well written whatever. In fact, you may even be asked to sign a NDA, or non-disclosure agreement, which means you’re legally obliged to keep quiet. You can’t claim involvement with the project, you can’t imply that the authorship is not the claimed authors and you can’t claim that it is yours. You’re even going to need to ask permission if you can credit yourself if you’re looking at another job (more on this later).
- Someone else’s voice. You have to sound like another human being, which can be hard at first. Like the adage says “practice makes perfect.”
- Picky clients. You are going to have people that will tell you to change this or that or to start all over again. They’re trying to make sure it stays to their brand or their voice and, on top of that, they’re responsible for what you write. So, just be patient and understanding with them, then go bang your head on the wall when it’s all done.
- Ethics. Make sure you know the laws and ethics around your project. You may be asked to misrepresent someone or something – just be careful when asked to do something like this and always know that you can say no.
After going through the lovely lists above, you’ve decided like this is the best thing ever and want to try it out. Well, there are going to be a couple more things you should consider, on the business side of things, before you dive into ghostwriting. Here are those things to consider:
- Contracts! These are great because they outline expectations, monies to be received, and any other odds and ends. They protect you and your employer. Don’t assume anything and get it spelled out for you. Also always make sure you read the fine print!
- Study their voice. They are already going to have some articles and blog posts up on their site. So, do your research and find some material for you to copy. It’ll save you and your employer some time and grievances – you hopefully won’t have to rewrite something a hundred times before it’s deemed good to go.
- Balance! Make sure for every piece of ghost writing you do, you’re writing something with a byline (aka your own name attached to it). This way if you are looking at a new job and they want to see some samples of your writing you can point them to it. It’s going to be hard to do this if all your work is ghostwritten.
- Ask for a testimonial. This way you can have your former boss give you a recommendation without having to point out exactly what you did for them. It’ll keep the illusion that your former boss was writing the posts the entire time. This really helps if your portfolio is a little thin.
There you have it. The pros, the cons and the making the best of it. If you for sure know this is something you want to do, or at least try out, there are plenty of different online sites that you can sign up for – some are free, some are not (they’ll ask for an annual fee or a cut of your profit.) Do some research into this. Upwork is a really popular website to use for freelance and ghostwriters. I’ll talk about it a bit more in my post on Thursday. Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for a special Valentine’s Day edition – it’ll be a bit funny, dirty and cute.