Ghostwriting: The Art of Doing Other People’s Words

Before you can start ghostwriting, you need to learn a few things. You need to understand how ghostwriting works, what you need to do it well, and who you’re working for. 

In this article, we’ll walk through 32 tips for success in the business so that you can make a great living as a ghostwriter — or maybe just get started on the path toward becoming one!

The Art of Ghostwriting: Interview with Michelle Burford
1. Ghostwriting involves writing on behalf of someone else, where the writer remains anonymous or credited under a pseudonym.
2. The world of ghostwriting is intriguing, with many secrets and nuances to be explored.
3. Ethical considerations arise regarding ghostwriting and its impact on writing and authorship.
4. Ghostwriting is a prevalent practice in various industries, including publishing, entertainment, and business.
5. Experienced ghostwriters use various techniques to capture the voice and writing style of the credited author, ensuring authenticity.

You Need Thick Skin And A Soft Touch

You need to be able to take criticism and give it, too. It’s important to know your voice and not feel defensive or upset when someone gives you their opinion. In the end, if they don’t like something you’ve done, it’s not about you. 

They’re entitled to their opinion and can feel as strongly about it as they want without taking away from their feelings on the subject matter.

You’ll have a lot of people who don’t know what kind of writer you are reading over your work: editors, agents, publishers even friends who have no business critiquing your writing because they aren’t in that field. 

So when someone is giving his or her thoughts on one of your pieces of work (for example: “This story needs more action!”), try not to take it personally! This isn’t personal; this is part of the process as a writer trying new things to improve his craftsmanship.

The world of ghostwriting is intriguing and mysterious. Discover the secrets and nuances of this profession in our expert overview of The Secret World of Ghostwriting, where we delve into the hidden art of writing for others.

Be Your Own Biggest Critic

As a writer, it’s important to be your own biggest critic. You can’t please everyone and you have to be able to take constructive criticism. If a sentence doesn’t flow well or there is too much repetition, your reader will notice. It’s on you to make sure that isn’t happening!

You also have to be willing and ready for feedback on your work. You might think that all of what you wrote was beautiful prose but if no one else thinks so, then it wasn’t good enough. 

Even if someone else isn’t as critical or picky as they should be with their work (and we don’t want them being), it is still important that they let you know where things could use some work so that next time around everything will be better.

Be Honest About What You Don’t Know

Be honest about what you know and don’t know. You might be tempted to pad your resume by saying that you have experience in a certain field when the truth is that you’ve just read an article or two on it. 

Don’t lie it’s not worth it, and if someone finds out, it will cost you more than just some embarrassment.

In addition, be honest about how much time and effort goes into a project before agreeing to do it. It’s easy for clients to underestimate how much work goes into writing books or articles.

But if they find out too late that they’re asking for something outside of your skill set or faster than what you can deliver comfortably (and profitably), then everyone loses out.

On top of being honest about your skill set and experience, also be candid with potential clients about how much money they can expect from the project(s) at hand so they can make an informed decision regarding whether or not pursuing this opportunity makes sense for them and their business goals/objectives as well as yours.”

Curious about the life of a ghostwriter? Learn from firsthand experiences in How I Survived as a Ghostwriter for 7 Years and Counting, as we share valuable insights and tips on thriving in this rewarding but challenging career.

Understand Your Role And How It Is Different From Other Writing Roles

The first thing to understand about ghostwriting is that it’s not the same as writing a book, blog post, or magazine article and it’s certainly not the same thing as writing a press release (though there are similarities).

Ghostwriting is different from other forms of content because you are working with someone else’s ideas and information. 

You should never be the one with all of the good ideas; instead, you’re working collaboratively with your client to develop his or her ideas into something useful for their audience.

You Need To Be Invisible, But Find A Way To Keep Writing Even When You’re “Invisible”

Be invisible. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you need to be invisible as a ghostwriter. People don’t pay for your writing, they pay for their own words. The more you can make yourself disappear, the better your job will be.

Don’t focus on your own identity. If you think about yourself too much, then you’re not focused on doing something good for another person (and therefore worth paying). 

Remember that writing is an act of service and being a ghostwriter is all about being of service in this way so if you’re worrying too much about yourself, then that’s just selfishness creeping in…and not something most people want out of their professional relationships with other writers!

Don’t focus on your career too much either; otherwise when things go wrong (because things often do go wrong).

It could end up very depressing for both parties involved since there isn’t anything either side can do about improving those situations since one person isn’t even present at all times during production! 

Plus when someone’s paying me less than half what my usual rate would be anyway because they “don’t have any money” then sometimes I’ll have trouble sleeping at night because who wants someone else working off-hours without any extra compensation? 

That’s just not fair…but luckily there are some things we can control here: like how well we communicate and whether or not these clients get paid back once they start making enough money again…

You Have To Be Responsive And Flexible

The clients and projects you’ll work with will have unique requirements, timelines, styles, and voices that may not always match your own. But you have to be responsive and flexible.

Some writers dream of writing the Great American Novel or Pulitzer-winning piece of journalism. But most freelance writers I know are happy to get paid by someone willing to pay them for something they love doing anyway: writing!

Writing is an art form that requires practice, discipline, self-confidence, and a lot of rejection before it starts paying off in a big way (if it ever does).

Have you ever wondered what ghostwriting is all about and how much it costs? Get all the answers you need in our comprehensive guide to Ghostwriting – What Is It and How Much Does It Cost?, where we break down the ins and outs of this writing service.

You Have To Be Accountable But Not Territorial

Being a ghostwriter means that you have to be accountable, but not territorial. It’s a balance of giving and take, of knowing when to turn off the editor inside you and let the writer do what he or she does best to write. 

And it’s about being willing to accept feedback from others with an open heart and mind, even if it means making changes that don’t quite line up with your preferences.

But at the same time, as a ghostwriter, your work isn’t done until it’s done right by which I mean perfectly polished, grammatically perfect prose crafted into an engaging narrative that conveys exactly what readers want (and need).

To achieve their goals because only then can you truly walk away feeling like you’ve completed your job well done!

Learn To Embrace “Kill Your Babies”

As the old saying goes, you have to kill your babies. If you can’t do that, then writing a book is not for you. You have to be able to say no without guilt or fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. No one wants their manuscript rejected; 

But it will happen and on occasion, it will be because something isn’t working within the text. This is where having an editor comes in handy they can help identify issues like this before they get out of hand!

As long as we’re talking about editors: another important piece of advice is to hire them early on in the process (preferably before starting actual writing). 

Having someone who aligns with your vision can make all the difference when it comes time for revisions or even just getting started with brainstorming ideas for your book project

Find As Many Ways As You Can Be Creative On The Job. (Be A Sponge)

As a writer, you should be constantly learning. It’s easy for us to get stuck in our ways and fall into ruts. That’s why you must find as many ways as possible to stay fresh and creative on the job. Here are some ideas:

Learn about the subject matter: Read books, magazines, and blogs about your client’s industry. Find out what their customers need or want by doing interviews with them. 

You can also talk with people who have been successful in this field they’ll likely have some tricks of the trade that you may not know about yet!

Ghostwriting Is Just One Part Of Your Freelance Business Make Time To Market Yourself While You’re Busy Doing Other People’s Words

As a ghostwriter, you are essentially doing the work of the client. But just because you’re doing the work of your clients doesn’t mean that you should stop marketing yourself as a writer.

Marketing yourself as a writer is different from marketing yourself as a ghostwriter, but it is still important to keep the jobs coming in. 

When people think about freelancers who do other people’s words versus writers who write their own stories and have their voices.

(and yes, I understand that not everyone views this distinction quite so starkly), they tend to think of one thing: how much money they can make writing for someone else versus writing something original. 

This may or may not be true, there are plenty of books out there written by ghostwriters that have gone on to become bestsellers.

But it’s also true that if you’re looking to build up your credentials as an author (rather than just get paid quickly), then being able to say “I wrote this book” matters more than anything else. 

And since most publishing houses won’t represent work done by someone else unless you already have significant experience in publishing under your belt (or unless your first book is incredibly successful).

Marketing yourself as an author rather than simply as a writer might help your chances of landing representation down the line when it comes time for publishers or agents to decide whom they want to represent them

If you aspire to become a skilled ghostwriter and earn money through writing for others, look no further. Our guide on How to Become a Ghostwriter – Make Money Writing for Others provides valuable insights and practical steps to kickstart your ghostwriting career.

3 Big Mistakes That Turn Great Ghostwriters Into Hacks

Some things can turn a great ghostwriter into a hack. Here are the top three:

Not taking the time to learn their craft. Ghostwriters need to have a deep understanding of the topic they’re writing about and have an eye for detail. 

But this takes time and if you don’t take it seriously, you’ll end up sounding like an amateur even if your subject matter is sophisticated or complex. No one will want to work with you again!

Not doing research (or not being open to feedback). If there’s one thing bad ghostwriters should never do, it uses Wikipedia as their sole source authority on their topic of choice; 

Doing so shows that either you haven’t bothered looking any further than its pages (and therefore won’t be able to offer much insight).

Or worse: that you’re lazy and unconcerned about providing quality work for your client’s projects (which means they won’t want to hire you again). 

In addition, good writers ask questions when they don’t know something not because they’re trying to trick anyone but because they genuinely care about providing better results every time out there into the world.”

Learn More About The Art Of Ghostwriting In This Article, Which Includes 32 Tips For Success!

Writing is a solitary profession, and ghostwriting is no exception. It’s downright lonely. But if you have the right attitude and approach, you can make this work for you and do it well. Here are 32 tips that will help:

  • You need thick skin and a soft touch.
  • Be your own biggest critic (not the client’s).

Understand your role as an interpreter not a writer in your own right; this means making tough decisions about what to keep or cut from clients’ drafts without being territorial about those choices when questioned by clients.

Or editors who are looking at your work from their perspective as readers/editors rather than yours as someone who knows everything about the project inside out (and who might not see things that way anyway).

Be responsive and flexible; try not to take criticism personally unless it’s clear that there has been a clear miscommunication between us because I am often getting asked things like “Why didn’t you tell me?” 

When I did so clearly communicate something but maybe not exactly in the way intended (or vice versa). No one likes being told what they already know! If we’re both on board here then great! Let’s move forward together 🙂

Want to know the secrets to writing faster, earning more, and enjoying life as a ghostwriter? Discover the keys to success in Ghostwriting – The Secret to Writing Faster, Getting Paid More, Enjoying Life, where we share proven strategies to excel in the world of ghostwriting.


It’s a great article that offers some useful tips for ghostwriting success. You’ll also find some great resources at the end of the post, from other articles to books on the subject. I hope you enjoyed reading this and learned something new about yourself or your business!

Further Reading

The Art of Ghostwriting: Discover the craft and intricacies of telling someone else’s story through the skillful art of ghostwriting.

Ghostwriting: Ethical or Fraudulent?: Delve into the ethical considerations surrounding ghostwriting and explore its potential impact on writing and authorship.

The Art of Ghostwriting: Uncover the artistic aspects of ghostwriting and learn how this writing style brings life to various narratives.


What is ghostwriting, and how does it work?

Ghostwriting is a writing practice where one person, the ghostwriter, authors content on behalf of another person who is usually credited as the author. The ghostwriter remains anonymous or takes on a pseudonym while allowing the credited author to claim authorship.

Is ghostwriting considered ethical?

The ethical considerations of ghostwriting can be subjective. While some argue that it provides a valuable service to individuals with compelling stories but limited writing skills, others question the transparency and authenticity of authorship.

What are the common industries that utilize ghostwriting services?

Ghostwriting is prevalent in various industries, including publishing, entertainment, business, and self-help. It is commonly used for autobiographies, memoirs, articles, speeches, and social media content.

How do ghostwriters ensure the voice of the credited author?

Experienced ghostwriters employ various techniques, such as interviews, studying the author’s previous works, and closely collaborating with the author, to understand their voice and writing style, ensuring a consistent and authentic narrative.

Are there legal implications in ghostwriting arrangements?

The legal aspects of ghostwriting often involve contractual agreements between the ghostwriter and the credited author. These contracts define the scope of work, confidentiality, payment terms, and authorship rights to avoid potential disputes.