Becoming A Ghostwriter How To Get Started (Expert Advice)

I’ve been a ghostwriter for about 10 years, and in that time I’ve written more than 100 books. And while I can tell you exactly how much money I made on each project (I’m not sure why, but it’s like an addiction), other things have surprised me. Things like:

How to Become a Ghostwriter For Books | Brian Tracy – YouTube
1. Embrace the Craft: Understand the intricacies of ghostwriting and the importance of honing your writing skills.
2. Seek Expert Guidance: Learn from seasoned ghostwriters’ tips and advice to navigate your journey into the world of ghostwriting.
3. Consider Hiring a Ghostwriter: Understand the benefits of collaborating with a professional ghostwriter to bring your ideas to life.
4. Freelancing Success: Discover top tips for freelancers aspiring to excel in the competitive realm of ghostwriting.
5. Demystify Ghostwriting: Gain insights into the role and significance of ghostwriters, and explore opportunities to start your career.

What Is A Ghostwriter?

The word “ghostwriter” is often used interchangeably with the term “author.” It isn’t, though: An author is someone who writes books or articles and gets credited for it. 

A ghostwriter is someone who writes books or articles for other people usually celebrities, politicians, and business leaders, and gets paid for their work without having their name on the final product.

Here’s a quick quiz to help you understand how this works:

Q1) What do you call the author of a book?

A1) Author

Q2) What do you call the person who wrote a book but isn’t credited as its author?

A2) Ghostwriter

Discover the intricacies of the ghostwriting world through real-life experiences. Learn why some of the most successful ghostwriters emphasize the importance of understanding the craft and the industry. Check out our expert advice on Things You Should Know About Ghostwriting to gain valuable insights and improve your writing journey.

What Does A Ghostwriter Do?

A ghostwriter is a writer who writes for someone else. The term “ghostwriting” is very broad and encompasses a range of different types of work.

In general, though, when you hire a ghostwriter you are hiring them to write your book or article (or another piece of written content) while giving credit to another person. It’s not entirely clear who will end up getting credit for the work since it’s not always clear what it means to be “credited.”

What’s Wrong With Ghostwriting?

As with any career choice, there are some things you should know before entering the ghostwriting world. First off, many people have a negative opinion about ghostwriters. 

The media is often quick to vilify them as unethical and immoral people who sell their souls for money in exchange for deceitful work. But there’s more than one side to every story:

Ghostwriters often face criticism from the public and their peers alike because they’re seen as “dirty secrets” in an industry that values transparency and rightly so! Many writers struggle to make ends meet while pursuing their passion full-time; 

They may even get paid less than minimum wage when working on an assignment that takes several weeks or months to complete. 

In this case, being a “ghostwriter” could be seen as taking advantage of someone else’s hard work by profiting off of it without giving credit where credit is due (or even worse plagiarizing). 

This puts ghostwriters at risk for lawsuits related to copyright infringement or plagiarism if they fail to disclose who authored works created through collaboration with others during the production process(es).

Should You Become A Ghostwriter?

Do you want to earn money from home, and work in your pajamas? Ghostwriting is a great way to do that! You can choose the topics you write about, and you can take as much or as little time writing per project. The only thing that matters is meeting your deadlines.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, read on for tips on how to get started.

Enhance your ghostwriting skills and stand out from the crowd with these expert tips. Our comprehensive guide on Ghostwriting Better Than Anyone Else explores the strategies used by seasoned ghostwriters to create compelling content that leaves a lasting impact on readers.

Can Anyone Be A Ghostwriter?

Before you can become a ghostwriter, it’s important to know that certain skills are essential to being successful in this career. It’s not enough to simply be a good writer; 

You’ll also need to be able to do research, edit your work, communicate clearly with clients and editors, solve problems quickly and efficiently, and manage your time well.

These skills are all equally important when it comes to writing as an expert contributor or a full-time employee at an agency or company. 

If you’re just starting as a freelancer and don’t have much experience yet (or maybe even none), these tips will help you build up those skills so that one day soon when someone asks “Can anyone be a ghostwriter?” the answer will be yes!

How Much Do Ghostwriters Make?

It’s common to see ghostwriters charge anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 per book. How much a ghostwriter charges are directly related to their experience, skill, and reputation. A first-time writer probably won’t get paid as much as an experienced one.

Ghostwriters typically make between 20-30% off the cover price of each book they write—so if you write a 100-page book that sells for $20, you’d earn between $1 and 2 per page (assuming your payment was based on 20%). 

If you’re writing 5 books per year at that rate, your earnings would be between $6-$12k annually ($120-$240k over ten years). 

This number can grow substantially once you build up clients who want more than one book from you in a given year; however, those clients are harder to come by so don’t expect them right away!

Authors, are you struggling to find the right words for your book? Consider the benefits of hiring a professional ghostwriter to bring your vision to life. Learn more about the advantages of collaborating with a skilled writer in our article on Hiring a Ghostwriter to Write Your Book.

Where Do You Find Ghostwriting Jobs?

There are many different ways you can find ghostwriting jobs.

Freelance marketplaces: A great place to start is Upwork, which has a huge community of freelance writers and editors that you can tap into for work. If you’re looking for more specialized work, check out some other freelancer sites like Hubstaff Talent or Guru. 

You can also search for freelance writing jobs on Craigslist, Problogger, and LinkedIn (the latter two may not have as much volume).

Social media: Like with all things in life, the best way to find opportunities is through friends and family! If anyone in your social circle mentions needing help with their writing needs, ask if they’d be interested in hiring someone like yourself. 

Also, think about paying attention to hashtags that relate directly or indirectly to what you do (for example #ghostwriter) because people tend to post jobs there when they’re seeking help from others who share similar interests or skillsets.

Blogging: If it’s possible within your niche market (and legal), do some research on how blogging can help provide income streams other than just writing books or articles full-time it’ll give an added boost when pitching potential clients.

Because they’ll see how dedicated and knowledgeable about subjects related topics like yours are based off what type of content gets shared regularly via social media platforms.”

What To Look For In Ghostwriting Jobs

The first step in becoming a ghostwriter is to look for opportunities. The best way to do this is by networking with people in your niche, who can introduce you to potential clients and help you build your portfolio. 

It’s also helpful to find freelance writing jobs on sites like, Upwork, and Fiverr.

There are different types of projects that require a ghostwriter’s services: an entire book or e-book (usually under 10k words); an outline for a book; blog posts; 

Articles; press releases; newsletters; social media content; ads/flyers/brochures/dossiers/etc.; reports (white papers); scripts for videos or podcasts; speeches or lectures.

The type of client matters to you may not want the responsibility of working with celebrities who need constant attention from their ghostwriter! 

Some authors prefer one-on-one time with their writers while others prefer email exchanges only every so often when they have new ideas they want to be incorporated into their work-in-progress (WIP).

Payment can be hourly or per project based on word count, ranging anywhere between $25-$200+ per 1000 words depending on what kind of content it includes (expertise level required) and how much research goes into each piece completed upfront before any actual writing takes place (note taking & interviewing). 

With either system though expect some type of retainer upfront before beginning work to avoid any cancellation fees after signing up together than realizing once starting there won’t be enough money coming back anytime soon without renegotiating terms midstream!

Attention all aspiring ghostwriting freelancers! Are you looking to break into the ghostwriting market and succeed as a freelancer? Explore our top 11 tips in Ghostwriting Freelancers and embark on your journey towards becoming a successful ghostwriter.

How Do You Write An Awesome Proposal?

How do you write a proposal that will stand out?

Be brief and to the point. A good ghostwriting proposal should be no more than one page unless your client requests otherwise. The shorter your document, the more likely it is to be read. 

The more concise and clear you are in explaining what you offer, the less time they’ll have to spend figuring out what exactly it is you want them to do with their book idea or manuscript. 

If they have any questions about what they should do next, answer them at the end of your proposal in an “About Me” section or appendix (which allows for extra space). 

If there are still unanswered questions after reading through all this material, email them or call them but don’t include those details in your proposal!

How Do You Write Client Profiles?

The Client Profile is a document that outlines the client’s needs. It is a tool to help you understand the client’s project, their expectations, and their budget. It also helps you understand their timeline.

The Client Profile will be different for every ghostwriting project because each client has different needs and goals. As you get more experience as a ghostwriter, you will develop your unique way of creating this document based on what works best for your clients and projects.

How Do You Price Your Work?

How much you charge is a delicate matter. You want to be paid enough to make what you’re doing worthwhile, but clients understandably balk at paying too much for writing services. 

If you’re just starting, it’s best to start by charging less than your competitors and see how that affects your business in the long run.

Once you’ve decided on a price (and if you’re working with a client who wants more than one book from you), there are two ways of handling payment:

The first option is to do an hourly rate or by the word count. This could mean anything from $15 per hour up to $100 per hour or more depending on how experienced and talented the writer is and how much work goes into each project it depends entirely on both parties involved. 

The second option is charging by simply purchasing X amount of hours upfront. This can be beneficial as well since then clients don’t have any reason not to pay up when they receive their invoice!

What Are The Different Types Of Ghostwriting Gigs?

There are many types of ghostwriting gigs you can do. Some of the more common ones include:

Ghostwriting for businesses. This is where a company hires an expert to write content for their website, blog, newsletter, or social media posts.

Ghostwriting for books. This is when an author hires you to write a book under their name and publish it through them (this is also called co-authorship). The most popular example of this would be James Patterson co-authoring his later books with Maxine Paetro and Liza Marklund.

Ghostwriting for magazines and journals. This can include writing articles based on interviews with experts or researching information before interviewing experts directly. 

For example, if you’re writing an article about how millennials feel about technology in general you could interview multiple people who are experts in the field – psychologists specializing in adolescent development; 

Neuroscientists studying brain activity; marketing managers from tech companies like Facebook and Google etc – then turn what they said into an article that’s easy to understand yet still includes enough detail so readers get a sense of what each expert thinks about this topic without actually having read their work first hand! 

You don’t even have to mention which sources were used unless it’s relevant: maybe one person says something different from another source, but both are valid opinions worth sharing with readers. 

That way everyone knows there was research involved rather than just regurgitating facts blindly without any real knowledge behind them.”

Curious about the art of ghostwriting and its significance in the literary world? Unravel the mystery with our expert insights in What Is Ghostwriting? Discover the role of ghostwriters, their impact, and how you can get started on this fascinating career path.

How To Organize Your Files And Stay On Top Of Things

You’ll want to keep your files organized. I use a system that separates my files by project, with subfolders for each client and their individual book/project. 

Within each folder are separate folders for different types of documents, such as “outline” and “notes.” This helps me easily find the right document when I need it.

I also use Trello to track my projects. Trello is an online project management tool where you can create lists of tasks (called “cards”) and move them through different stages in the process toward completion (called “boards”). 

The advantage of using Trello over Google Drive or Word doc spreadsheets is that you can share boards with other people who are collaborating on your project which means they can add their tasks without having to email them directly! 

For example: if you’re working with an editor on a manuscript edit, they might create a card for every change they make so everyone can see what’s being done at all times (and also so no one has to ask!).

Common Challenges Of Being A Ghostwriter And How To Overcome Them

Communication: If you’re a ghostwriter, you’ll likely be working with several people. This can be challenging if those people don’t all speak the same language or have different expectations of how writers should communicate. 

It can also be difficult if one client is not very good at communicating what they want or needs from a project.

Time management: The demands on your time will vary depending on the type of work that you do and whether or not you work full-time as a writer (or in addition to being one). 

However, regardless of how much time you have available to devote to each project/client, it’s important that every project gets done efficiently and on time – especially if this is your livelihood!

Deadlines: Deadlines are an important part of any business venture – including ghostwriting! 

While deadlines are often set by clients, they should always be met by the ghostwriter themselves because failing to meet them has consequences both professionally (in terms of reputation) and personally (in terms of stress).


So, are you ready to take the plunge into ghostwriting? If so, don’t hesitate! The best way to learn how to ghostwrite is by doing it. Start small and work your way up as you gain experience. 

And remember that the key to success in this industry is finding a niche or specialization that works for both you and your clients. Good luck out there!

Further Reading

Indeed: How to Become a Ghostwriter A comprehensive guide on the steps to becoming a ghostwriter and developing a successful career in this field.

Reedsy Blog: How to Become a Ghostwriter Learn valuable insights from industry experts on how to kickstart your journey as a ghostwriter and secure writing opportunities.

Kindlepreneur: How to Become a Ghostwriter by Someone Who’s Actually Done It Gain practical advice and firsthand experiences from an established ghostwriter, guiding you through the process of becoming one yourself.


What skills are essential for a ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters need strong writing and storytelling skills, the ability to adapt their writing style, maintain confidentiality, and collaborate effectively with clients.

Is a formal education required to become a ghostwriter?

While a formal education can be beneficial, it is not a strict requirement. Many successful ghostwriters have built their careers through experience, practice, and continuous learning.

How do I find ghostwriting opportunities?

Networking with authors, publishers, and literary agents can lead to potential ghostwriting gigs. Online platforms and freelance websites are also valuable resources for finding opportunities.

How much can I earn as a ghostwriter?

Earnings vary based on factors such as experience, project scope, and the client’s budget. Established ghostwriters can earn a significant income through their writing assignments.

How can I protect my work as a ghostwriter?

Maintaining a clear and comprehensive ghostwriting agreement with clients can help protect your work and ensure proper attribution and compensation for your contributions.