Monday, January 11, 2010

What Is Ghostwriting?

Short answer: It's what I do.

Of course, that's not enough to warrant a new post. Some of you reading this may not know much about the topic. When someone says ghostwriter, you frown. I'm catering this post to the newbie but I do welcome more insights from the pros out there who might read this. Ghostwriting can be a great way to earn money. Okay, so what is it?

Define Ghostwriter

First, I'll give you a simple definition. "A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person." (Wikipedia) That is what you're doing folks. You write something for a paycheck and someone else gets the credit. Does that sound appealing to you? It isn't for everyone. You may prefer to go it your own way and find work you can attach your name to. (Who doesn't want credit for the hard work they put in to write great content?)

On the other hand, if all you are worried about is a paycheck so you keep the bills paid, then you might consider ghostwriting. Also, if you like to write about variety of topics, you may be a great candidate for freelance ghostwriting.

Drawing A Distinction Between Web Ghostwriting And Other Kinds

Now, I want to make things clear. There are two dimensions to ghostwriting. You can choose to use the internet to find the work you need or you can pursue ghostwriting outside of this medium. In other words, you could write hardcopy books and articles that get published in print media. Primarily, I am addressing those who've chosen to be a writer online and who have taken advantage of the many opportunities that are out there. (Specifically, as I said, I am talking to those of you who may be thinking about starting their own freelance writing businesses.)

Possible Rewards of Being A Ghost

There are definitely two key benefits to being a ghostwriter.

You get to write about all kinds of subjects. This can be a great way to expand your knowledge base. The phrase "Knowledge is power" still resonates in the world of content creation. This is especially true when you work primarily online.

You can make a good living. This is definitely true when you've been at it for a while. If you take the time to build up your freelance ghostwriting business, you can easily make enough money each month to pay your expenses. In fact, the more that you spend searching for the right customers and expanding your writing base, the more opportunities may come your way.

Make no mistake though, it can be hard work. It will take time to get a steady stream of clients. You may encounter dry periods where the business slows. It's like that out there. You need to have a dynamic strategy in place to cope with these changes.

A Ghostwriter's Strategy
What do you need to increase the odds that you will maintain your workload when other writers may be suffering from a lack of steady projects?

Don't forget to diversify your income streams. This is one of the biggest mistakes that newbies make. You find one outlet for work and you stick with it. No matter what, you bid on projects or join a single freelance writing team. Things are going good for a while. You're finding good projects on a consistent basis. The money is flowing in regularly. It's all going great. Then, the ball drops and the work stops - or at least slows down.

Solution: Spread yourself out. There are plenty of outlets that you can choose from for freelance writing projects. Better yet, approach people directly if you think they might be receptive. There are plenty of web businesses that need quality content or, perhaps, a face lift on their websites. If you're a good ghostwriter, then you might secure some other gigs while you continue to bid elsewhere. Again, the key is diversification.

Network on social media sites. Get the word out. Join Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all of those other sites. You might also log on to freelance writing forums. They offer you a place to contact other writers, prospective employers, and also provide a place to showcase your work.

Have an online presence. This is another way of saying that you should have a website or a blog. This gives you a place to direct prospects. You can include portfolio samples and whatever else you like. Don't leave out profiles you may have on other freelancing job sites like Elance or Guru.

Keep At It

The main point is that it's important to keep moving when you want to be a successful ghostwriter. There are no shortcuts in this process. Be a professional. Be someone clients like working with. With that said I wish you good luck on your own writing endeavors.

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