The 12 Things I Wish I Had Known About Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting is a creative way to help people share their stories with the world. It’s also a lot more than that. It can be a great way to make extra money, as well as build up your resume or portfolio. 

I wouldn’t have gotten started in ghostwriting if I hadn’t been inspired by two different professionals who were making their living doing it: my former boss at my day job and the ghostwriter who managed his blog for him. 

Neither of these people told me much about how they got started in ghostwriting (or what it was like) before they did it themselves, which is why this post exists! So here are 25 things I wish someone had told me about ghostwriting before I started doing it myself:

The Basics of Ghostwriting – YouTube
1. The importance of understanding the ghostwriting process.
2. How to effectively communicate with clients and authors.
3. Tips for managing deadlines and handling multiple projects.
4. Insight into the challenges and rewards of ghostwriting.
5. Ways to improve your ghostwriting skills and techniques.
6. The significance of maintaining confidentiality and trust.
7. How to navigate negotiations and set fair pricing.
8. Understanding the legal aspects and agreements in ghostwriting.
9. Tips for building a successful career as a ghostwriter.
10. The impact of ghostwriting on your overall writing abilities.
11. The role of research and knowledge in effective ghostwriting.
12. How to find and create opportunities in the ghostwriting market.

1. It’s Lonely

Being a ghostwriter is lonely. I often have to spend hours at my computer, with no one but my cat for company. There are times when it feels like everyone else in the world is having a good time and you’re just stuck in your room.

You’ll need to be good at listening, not just talking. You will be working closely with someone who has something important to say but may not know how best to express it or put their ideas into words that make sense for others who don’t know as much about the subject matter as they do. 

You’ll need patience and empathy because communicating effectively isn’t always easy for anyone (including writers), let alone people who aren’t used to putting themselves out there like this!

You’ll need to be able to write well, constantly edit yourself and others’ writing, research effectively…and then probably rewrite everything again once you’ve found the right angle on things!

If all goes well, you might even end up editing some of your own work after seeing other ways around issues which came up during earlier drafts; being open-minded helps us grow as individuals too 🙂

Building a successful book requires a skilled writer’s touch. If you’re considering writing a book, check out our guide on why you should hire a ghostwriter to write your book to understand how a professional can bring your vision to life.

2. You Will Have To Write About Things You Know Little About

You will have to learn a lot about a lot of things. You will be expected to have read the subject matter in which you are writing, or at least be able to fake it convincingly enough for your client that they don’t know the difference. 

If you are writing about something like cooking or gardening or anything else that is not your area of expertise you must do additional research before starting work on any given project. 

Researching may involve reading books and articles about the subject at hand (which can be tedious), talking with people who know more about it than yourself, or even visiting locations where these subjects are practiced (such as museums). 

The more information you gather from these sources and experiences, the better prepared you will feel when tackling an unfamiliar topic for a client’s book project.

3. You Will Write About People You Don’t Like, But Can Still Make Interesting

This is a big one.

You will write about people you don’t like, but can still make interesting. You will write about things that scare you and things that make you uncomfortable, even if they’re deeply personal or controversial. 

You will learn to make your own judgments as a writer while simultaneously being open-minded and curious enough to dig deeper. 

If a client wants me to write about their dog’s bowel movements down the street at 2am (true story), I will do it without complaint because I know what they are paying me for: fascinating information that no one else has access too!

Curious about ghostwriting? Learn what ghostwriting is all about and how it can help you in our comprehensive guide. Discover how ghostwriting can save you time and still deliver exceptional content.

4. You’ll Need To Learn How To Block Out Noise

If you’re going to be a successful ghostwriter, you need to learn how to block out noise. This might seem like an odd suggestion since we’re talking about how much work it’ll take for you to become a ghostwriter and that doesn’t even include the actual writing portion of your job. 

But what I mean by blocking out noise is that when you’re working on client projects and trying to finish them in a timely manner, anything other than what’s right in front of your face can get in the way.

I’m not just talking about email distractions either though those certainly do count as “noise” too! 

Even if there’s nothing else happening in your life at the moment (which would be rare), there will still be plenty of things that try their best not only stop you from being productive but also distract and discourage you from completing tasks quickly and efficiently.

No matter what it may be, whether it’s another project or something completely unrelated (like checking social media), getting into this habit now will help keep distractions down later when they really start piling up!

5. You’ll Have To Learn How To Write ‘good Bad’ As Well As ‘bad Bad’

I’m not going to pretend that everything I write is perfect. I once wrote a biography of a man who died in the First World War and left behind only one letter from his sweetheart. 

It was a touching story, but it did require me to do some serious research on something I knew little about: trench warfare during WW1. 

Luckily for me, this client was happy with my work on his book; he told me later that my passion shone through even when the writing wasn’t quite up there with what he was used to seeing in historical novels or other non-fiction books by better-known authors.

When it comes down to it though, what’s important is that you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and learning new things so long as they’re relevant (and even if they’re not). If you can do this then ghostwriting may very well be right up your alley!

As a freelance writer, you can boost your income with ghostwriting projects. Find out how ghostwriting can help you land high-paying freelance writing jobs and explore new opportunities in the writing world.

6. You Will Have To Sharpen Your Research Skills

A ghostwriter is a researcher. This may sound obvious, but it’s not quite as simple as it seems. 

A good ghostwriter does more than just dig up facts they know how to find those facts, who can help you locate them, and how to put them in the right order so they make sense to your readers.

You’ll need to learn how to do research on your own if you want this job. 

You’ll also need to learn how to get people who know what they’re talking about onto the phone or into a meeting with you when there isn’t already an existing relationship between the two parties involved (e.g., between writer and subject). 

Finally, once all of this information is collected and organized into something coherent and readable you’ll have another set of skills waiting for you: writing itself!

7. Good Ghostwriters Must Be Good Listeners

This is not something that you hear about as often as you should, but it’s a critical skill for any professional writer to have. 

Listening is not only overlooked and undervalued it’s also not taught enough at our schools and universities. It’s one of those skills that would be great to develop, but we don’t really know how to do it, so we just kind of ignore it altogether.

But listening isn’t something you can really teach yourself; it takes time and practice. Listening well will help give your writing more clarity and depth, which means that if you want to become a good ghostwriter (or just write better), then start by learning how to pay attention effectively!

8. You Will Write About Things That Make No Sense To You

When you’re ghostwriting, it’s possible that you will be writing about things that make no sense to you. It’s also possible that the words coming out of your fingers will have little or nothing to do with your own interests, values, and knowledge.

Consider this: if a client has asked for a book on how to design their dream kitchen but they don’t actually know what goes into designing a dream kitchen what are they going to ask you? 

They’re going to ask questions like “What’s the first thing I should do when looking into redoing my kitchen?” or “What kind of cabinets should I get?” 

Without experience in either area (or any interest whatsoever), there is no way for the writer not only answer these questions but also write an informative book about them without sounding like an idiot.

Are you considering becoming a ghostwriter? Dive into our guide on becoming a ghostwriter: how to get started (expert advice) to gain valuable insights and tips from seasoned professionals in the industry.

9. You’ll Hear A Lot Of Bad Jokes And Lame Pitches

It’s a hard truth to swallow, but most people are not funny. This is true for writers and ghostwriters alike. You’re going to hear a lot of bad jokes and lame pitches, which is why it’s so important that you learn how to filter them out.

You’ll be tempted we all are to ignore the bad pitches, because they’re just too easy to dismiss as unfunny or silly or weird in some way. 

But don’t make this mistake: the more pitches you get through your inbox, the better your chances will be of spotting some diamonds in the rough (and then turning those diamonds into money).

10. No Matter How Well-Known The Author

Even when you’re writing for a celebrity or well-known expert, you’ll still be the one taking all the credit. And that’s not just because it’s your name on the cover of the book.

Here’s what I mean:

The author’s name is on every contract with publishers, agents, and distributors. It doesn’t matter who wrote this book if it says “Joe Blow” on that contract, then Joe Blow is going to have to deal with whatever consequences come from signing it (or not signing it). 

Pretty much everything that happens after that point will reflect back on him or her (and by extension, his or her professional reputation). 

If someone asks why they should take advice from someone whose last few books tanked in sales numbers and reviews? You better have an answer ready!

The author also has control over how their name appears in marketing materials such as social media posts and press releases; therefore any promotional efforts associated with your book will reflect back upon them as well. 

This includes things like whether or not its bio includes your credentials as well as which hashtags get used when promoting content about its release date/title/etcetera.”

11. Ghostwriting’s Not Glamorous Work

While ghostwriting can be a lucrative venture and a great way to make your name in the writing world, it’s not always as glamorous as you think.

Unlike other writing gigs, ghostwriting doesn’t allow for much creative freedom. You’re hired to produce content on behalf of someone else’s vision, so you don’t get to come up with your own ideas or write about what interests you most. 

You may feel like the author is taking advantage of you because they’re paying less than they would if they had hired an employee or staff writer.

But remember that this person has been working hard on their book for months (or even years) and probably needs some help getting it done on time and without losing their mind!

It’s also important to keep in mind that just because it isn’t your book doesn’t mean people won’t recognize your work when they read it. In fact, people do tend to assume that authors are their own biggest fans when their books hit shelves.

But authors will often treat themselves differently than others do when critiquing each other’s work! 

This means if there are any problems with grammar or clunky phrasing within these pages (which we all make mistakes), readers will notice them immediately regardless of whether or not those issues were caught by someone else before publication day arrives later this year.”

Ghostwriting freelancers can face unique challenges and opportunities. Learn from the experiences of others with my top 11 tips for ghostwriting freelancers and discover how to thrive in this specialized field.

12. In The End, It’s Just Work, Not Art (With Exceptions)

Let’s get one thing straight: ghostwriting isn’t the same as being an author. The client is the author, and you are a ghostwriter. 

Your job is to take what they say and put it into words on a page in such a way that they sound like they wrote it themselves and then never mention that writing wasn’t their idea of how this project should go.

There are several reasons why authors hire people to write for them instead of doing it themselves:

  • They don’t know how to write well enough yet; or
  • Their writing has been rejected by publishers more than once (this happens); or
  • The topic is too specialized for them to approach without first doing extensive research (this also happens).


The best way to get the most out of ghostwriting is to be honest with yourself, learn from other people’s experiences, and understand what being a ghostwriter really means. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of having a good relationship with your ghostwriter. In the end, you’ll want someone who works hard and understands your writing style well enough that they can fit into your routine without disrupting it too much and vice versa!

Further Reading

10 Things You May Not Know About Ghostwriting: Discover lesser-known insights about the world of ghostwriting and how it impacts various industries.

Ghostwriting: The Inside Story: Get an inside look at the world of ghostwriting, its benefits, and how it can help both writers and clients.

Ten Things You Should Know if You Wish to Be a Ghostwriter: Considering a career as a ghostwriter? Learn ten essential tips to kickstart your journey in this rewarding profession.


What is ghostwriting?

Ghostwriting is the practice of writing content on behalf of someone else, where the credited author takes full ownership of the work.

How can ghostwriting benefit authors?

Ghostwriting allows authors to save time and effort while producing high-quality content. It also helps them leverage the expertise of skilled writers.

Is ghostwriting limited to books?

No, ghostwriting extends beyond books and includes various forms of content, such as blog posts, articles, speeches, and social media content.

Do ghostwriters receive credit for their work?

In most cases, ghostwriters remain anonymous or work under a pseudonym, and credit is given solely to the author or client.

How do I become a successful ghostwriter?

To excel as a ghostwriter, focus on understanding your client’s needs, adapting to different writing styles, and maintaining confidentiality and professionalism.