Working As A Ghostwriter: 8 Cautions

If you’re thinking about becoming a ghostwriter, you may have questions about what it’s like and whether it’s right for you. 

We’ll try to answer those questions here. But first, we’d like to put in a word of caution: don’t be overconfident! It’s not as easy or lucrative as some people might lead you to believe. You need the right mix of skills, experience, and personality traits before embarking on this path.

How to Hire and Work With a Ghostwriter – YouTube
1. Establish clear communication with clients to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts during the project.
2. Understand and respect the confidentiality agreements to maintain trust and professionalism.
3. Be prepared for the potential challenges of ghostwriting, such as lack of recognition for your work.
4. Set realistic deadlines and manage your time efficiently to deliver quality content on schedule.
5. Negotiate fair payment terms and ensure you are compensated appropriately for your efforts.
6. Develop a strong contract outlining project details, rights, and responsibilities to protect both parties.
7. Keep up with market trends and industry standards to stay competitive in the ghostwriting market.
8. Prioritize self-care and work-life balance to avoid burnout and maintain creativity in your writing.

1. Don’t Be A Hero

As a ghostwriter, you are not the person who should be writing if you don’t feel like it. You may not want to spend the day researching and writing about something that doesn’t personally interest you, but if your client needs it done and your pay depends on it, suck it up!

Don’t do anything that you aren’t comfortable with or qualified to handle as part of your job duties (and always ask permission).

Even if a client has no problem giving you access to sensitive material and even if they offer additional compensation for taking on extra work you don’t have to take on everything they throw at you all at once just because they think their idea is good enough for publication (or whatever).

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2. Know The Risks Of Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting can be a great way to make money, but it’s important to understand that there are risks involved. 

If you’re new to writing and feel like you don’t have much to offer as a ghostwriter, know that clients may not agree with your assessment and might ask for revisions or even refuse payment altogether. 

Ghostwriters also risk having their work stolen by other writers who are looking for free content on which they can build their portfolios although this is less likely if you’re working with reputable clients who ask permission before publishing anything from your collaboration together.

It’s also worth considering any legal issues that might arise from ghostwriting if someone else publishes material under your name without permission (or if someone steals material from your portfolio), then it could cause problems for both of us down the line.”

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3. Get Your Risks Identified And Minimized By A Competent Professional Before You Start Writing

The first thing you should do is have a lawyer review your contract to make sure that you understand it and have the rights you need to do the work. 

If you don’t already know someone who’s an expert in contracts, I recommend finding one through UpCounsel or Avvo (both legal websites), but another option is contacting a staffing agency that hires writers for ghostwriting projects. 

These are agencies that specialize in placing writers with clients and helping them negotiate contracts.

The truth is, many people start writing as soon as they can agree on terms with a potential client without consulting an attorney first and there’s nothing wrong with that if they’re confident they know what they’re doing! 

But when it comes to writing professionally, it’s important to take precautions against getting screwed over by unscrupulous clients and publishers who could hold your future career hostage by refusing consent for reprints (or even worse).

4. Get It In Writing Before You Do Any Writing

As a ghostwriter, you’re essentially doing work for hire. You’re creating content for other people to use in their books, articles, or other types of writing. 

As such, you must get everything in writing before you start the work. This includes the details of your contract and payment schedule (more on this later).

That said, there is one exception to this rule: if you have an established working relationship with your client and trust their word on what needs to be done next without spelling it out in black and white; 

Or if they’ve hired you multiple times and trust that no one else could write like them (which would make sense).

However, most clients will want some sort of contract signed before any work gets underway, and rightfully so! It helps protect both parties from misunderstandings down the road when things get hectic as well as protects both parties from legal issues associated with ownership over intellectual property rights (IPR)

5. Demand A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) And Substantial Compensation For Breach Of Such Agreement Before Giving Your Client Any Preliminary Work You’ve Done Or Even Telling Him Or Her About It Or Why It’s Needed

If an NDA can’t be negotiated, then ask your client to sign an addendum to the contract stating all ideas.

Materials and concepts developed by you during the writing process are property of their company and must not be used by anyone else without their permission (including yourself).

Have your attorney prepare all contracts in which you’re involved before you sign them, even if they just review documents sent to you by email.

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6. Make Sure You Own The Copyright To Whatever You Write, Even If The Client Pays For It

This is one of the most important points to take into consideration. As a ghostwriter, you will be writing for your client on their behalf. The copyright for the finished product then belongs to them.

Although this may seem obvious, it can get tricky if you’re hired as an employee rather than a contractor because then the company owns all rights to your work and they can do with it what they please even if that means taking sole credit for what you wrote!

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7. Stay Ethical In Your Dealings With Clients And Others Who May Be Involved In The Creation Of The Final Product

As a ghostwriter, you are the author of the final product. This means that you must take responsibility for it and ensure that it meets all legal and ethical standards. For example:

Be sure not to plagiarize. In other words, don’t borrow text from elsewhere without giving proper credit or writing your material entirely on your own. 

Make sure to cite sources whenever possible when using quotes or paraphrasing other people’s works in your writing–and make sure those sources have been cited correctly.

Don’t use copy-pasted articles from other websites as if they were your content (unless they are part of an article series).

The exact rules will depend on what kind of project you’re working on; but generally speaking, no matter what industry you’re working in, ethics should always be a priority!

8. Don’t Be Overconfident; At Risk Of Being Redundant, Don’t Be A Hero!

If you’ve been working as a ghostwriter for a while, you may get the urge to tackle bigger projects than before. You might even start to think that you can do more than what’s required of your position which is fine if it’s true and your clients agree to the extra work. 

But don’t push yourself too hard because there is only so much that one person can reasonably do in any given day (or week), especially if they’re writing fiction or non-fiction books on top of other things they’re responsible for doing in their lives (including spending time with loved ones).

Don’t procrastinate! This goes hand-in-hand with point #8: don’t be lazy either!

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As you can see, working as a ghostwriter can be a great way to get paid for your writing. However, there are also some downsides to consider before getting into this line of work.

Takeaway: Ghostwriting is an important and lucrative career option for writers who want to make money from their craft. But it’s not an easy one!

Further Reading

Tips for Collaborating with Your Ghostwriter: Enhance your collaboration with a ghostwriter and receive exceptional content with these helpful tips.

Becoming a Ghostwriter: A Step-by-Step Guide: Learn the essential steps to kickstart your ghostwriting career and make a name for yourself in the industry.

Understanding Risks in Freelance Ghostwriting: Be aware of potential risks and challenges that come with being a freelance ghostwriter to navigate your career effectively.


What qualifications do I need to become a ghostwriter?

To become a ghostwriter, having excellent writing skills, a strong portfolio, and the ability to adapt to various writing styles are crucial. A degree in English, journalism, or a related field can be beneficial but isn’t always mandatory.

How do I find clients as a freelance ghostwriter?

Networking within the writing community, utilizing freelance platforms, creating a professional website, and showcasing your work in online portfolios are effective ways to attract potential clients.

How much should I charge as a freelance ghostwriter?

Ghostwriting rates vary based on experience, project complexity, and word count. Research industry standards and tailor your rates accordingly to strike a fair balance between your expertise and client’s budget.

Is ghostwriting ethical?

Ghostwriting itself is not unethical; it’s a legitimate writing profession. The ethical aspect lies in transparency with clients, ensuring they understand the ghostwriting arrangement and claim authorship of the work.

How can I ensure a successful collaboration with a ghostwriter?

Open communication, clearly defined expectations, providing constructive feedback, and establishing a good working relationship are key factors that contribute to a successful collaboration with a ghostwriter.