How to Become a Successful Ghostwriter: The 10 Crucial Ghostwriter Skills

Ten skills every ghostwriter should have

by Kehinde Dada

Although ghostwriting has been operating for quite a while, ghostwriting remains one of the most lucrative and high-income skills of the 21st century. Ghostwriters play an important role in content creation.

Who is a Ghostwriter?

Ghost writer

Businessman Hiding His Face Behind Card With Ghost Writer Text Sitting In Front Of Desk

A ghostwriter is not a writer that is a ghost as the name may suggest; it refers to a person who authors a book or piece of copy on behalf of a person or organization without being acknowledged for it. 

He/She is a writer who decides to be anonymous in exchange for payment. They author material for people, usually clients or employers, without seeking recognition in return for money.

A ghostwriter is hired and paid by an individual or establishment to write articles, speeches, proposals, research works, reports, literary works (fiction and nonfiction), journals, online content such as email newsletters, blog posts, eBooks, web copy, or any other text. 

These writings are generally not credited to the ghostwriter, except on a few occasions where the ghostwriter is acknowledged as a researcher or research assistant by the person who hired him or her. 

Basically, a ghostwriter works for the money and not recognition since he allows another author to take and publish his writings without taking credit for it.

A ghostwriter is often hired by politicians, celebrities, executives, artists, movies producers, bloggers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, authors, and others to draft and edit speeches, autobiographies, business proposals, lyrics and songs, scripts, screenplays, stories, manuscripts, memoir or any other written document. 

They hire ghostwriters either because they are too preoccupied and lack time to draft a full book or manuscripts independently or because they do not feel confident in their writing skills.

Ghostwriting jobs are numerous and surprisingly very common. 

As a ghostwriter, you may decide to ghostwrite in any area, or you can decide to have a niche. For example, you may choose to specialize in ghostwriting eBooks, speeches, fiction, autobiographies, songs, and screenplays, or you may ghostwrite all.

Read also: Publish on Amazon Kdp Without Writing a Single Word: a Guide

 

Benefits of Becoming a Ghostwriter

Many writers and freelancers engage in ghostwriting because of its numerous benefits. 

Some of the major benefits include:

  1. Getting paid good money to write 

Ghostwriters are paid huge money by clients such as celebrities, authors, politicians, executives, and others to write for them. These monies are usually paid upfront. 

As a ghostwriter, you can get paid a lot of money for doing what you do best – writing, and as a result, you can make a large sum of money depending on your consistency and how often you get jobs.

  1. Being able to work from the convenience of your home.
  2. Knowing that you have helped someone turn their ideas into manuscripts.

Read also: High-Paying Niches in Freelance Writing Worth Exploring

 

The Ten Ghostwriter skills you Need to Become Successful

You already know ghostwriting jobs are very profitable, and there is a growing market for them; however, there is another thing to know. 

There are some ghostwriter skills a writer needs to have to be a great ghostwriter. 

These ghostwriter skills help ghostwriters to be able to effectively manage and deliver the best write-ups to their clients.

Some of the ghostwriter skills include: 

  1. Good writing skills 

writing skills

Writing skills

Writing is an essential ghostwriter skill. When it comes to ghostwriting, a ghostwriter needs to be very vast. In addition, you must be able to communicate in a way that the reader can understand and relate with. 

They should be able to read and understand the message you are trying to pass across to them. 

You must be able to write correctly, precisely, and void of ambiguity. Your write-up must be compelling enough for readers to take action. A good ghostwriter is a skillful writer.

  1. Research skills 

reaearch skills

Research skills

Another ghostwriter skill that a writer needs to have is research skills. A good ghostwriter must be able to conduct proper research before penning down any word. 

You may be required to write on a subject you are not familiar with. Therefore, you must be able to gather sufficient accurate and up-to-date information about the concept you are about to write on before proceeding to the writing stage. 

Gathering information may involve surfing the internet, interviewing your client and other individuals, evaluating sources, gathering, reviewing and analyzing data.

  1. Listening skills 

Listening skills

Listening skills

One of the ghostwriter skills that you as a ghostwriter need to possess is the ability to listen effectively. When writing on behalf of someone, you need to learn to express yourself as that person would. 

You need to listen to the client’s ideas and philosophies and understand their thoughts and point of view to write in a way that would reflect their personality. 

For you to reflect on a person and adopt the person’s voice in your writing, you need to know and understand them, and you cannot do this without successfully listening to them.

  1. Ability to adopt a person’s voice

This is another ghostwriter skill that a ghostwriter needs to be a great ghostwriter. It is a different thing to be able to successfully listen to your client; it is another thing to be able to adapt their voice in your writing. 

A ghostwriter needs to be adaptable. You need to be able to mimic and adopt the style and voice of your client in your writing. 

If you have a strong personal style and voice as a ghostwriter, you may find it challenging to emulate your client. Ghostwriting requires a degree of adaptability.

  1. Flexibility

Another ghostwriter skill you need to have as a ghostwriter is the ability to put aside your personal preferences. 

To adapt your client’s style, voice, ideas and preferences, you need the ability to lay aside your ego and personality – to put your client first. 

You must also have the ability to adjust to your client’s schedule. In most cases, it might not be convenient for you.

  1. Creativity

Creativity

Virtual lightbulb with brain on background for creative idea concept

As a ghostwriter, you need creativity as one of your ghostwriting skills. Once you have been hired to ghostwrite, clients most often leave you with the task of conceptualizing and organizing their ideas, conducting research, editing, and rewriting. 

You may have generated story ideas, developed the plots, arranged articles or book chapters, and developed new approaches to subjects on which you have earlier drafted. All these need you to think creatively.

  1. Self-discipline

Self discipline

 Self Discipline.

Self-discipline is a very important ghostwriter skill that you need to be a successful ghostwriter. The ability to work without being prompted, motivated, or pushed. 

To deliver your work successfully and at the appropriate time, you need to be self-disciplined, self-motivated, responsible, diligent, honest, and time conscious. 

All these are the foundation of a good working relationship; without them, you will fail as a ghostwriter. 

  1. People management skills

This is a ghostwriter skill that you cannot but have as a ghostwriter. Ghostwriting requires you to deal with people with all sorts of temperaments and mannerisms. 

You need to be able to manage people and tolerate and accommodate their excesses. 

Also, you should be able to relate and communicate effectively with them. Therefore, it is not wrong to disagree with them. 

However, you need to know how to communicate your disagreement to your clients.

  1. Publishing knowledge

This ghostwriter skill is not much of an issue if you ghostwrite shorter things, such as articles, blog posts, and speeches. 

However, if you have the intention of ghostwriting books for clients, you would need to have an idea of how publishing works. 

Having publishing knowledge and experience could be of great assistance to you and your clients. 

Ghostwriters who have published some works traditionally and online have a significant advantage over writers who have excellent writing skills with little or no publishing knowledge.

  1. Confidence

Confidence

Confidence

Every ghostwriter should have this ghostwriter skill. You must be confident in your writing and ability to deliver a wonderful job. 

For numerous reasons, confidence is an important key to your success as a ghostwriter. First, a confident ghostwriter is more likely to attract clients than a ghostwriter who is not sure of his works. 

Clients prefer to work with someone who knows what he or she is doing. Also, your confidence makes it easier for you to negotiate, relate and discuss strategies with your client to create a piece of writing that originated from their ideas.

How to Become a Ghostwriter

You have learned all the ghostwriter skills you need to become a successful ghostwriter. How then do you become one? 

  1. Develop your writing skills

writing skills

Writing skills

As an intending ghostwriter, you need to build your writing skills to the extent that others will want to hire you to write for them. Therefore, you need to improve your writing skills by practicing consistent writing. 

Learn how to write properly and consistently, build a routine for yourself, practice writing with personal projects, write for your friends, and take a course on writing to enhance your writing skills. 

With time, you will get better at writing and eventually start earning from your writings.

  1. Read

Read

Two females are reading a book together in the bookstore.

Another way to be a good ghostwriter is to be a voracious reader. Reading helps you enhance your writing skills by exposing you to a vast wealth of knowledge and widened vocabulary. 

It also exposes you to ideas, levels of writing, styles of writing, and different genres of works that you can learn and adopt in your writing. A good reader is a good writer.

  1. Get experience

Get

Know how and business concept.

After building your writing skill to the level you are comfortable with, the next thing is to get professional work experience. 

For people to hire you, they need to see some of the work you have done. This is only natural as no one would be willing to pay you to test run with their work. 

Therefore you need professional work experience. The best and easiest way to get professional work experience is the intern or work for free for a writing agency. 

These could be blogs, Press companies, publishing firms, and other writing agencies. 

Another way to get professional work experience is to be a freelancer.

  1. Have a Writing Portfolio  

Writing Portfolio

Writing Portfolio

Every writer needs a writing portfolio, something to showcase the writer’s work samples. This is because it is beneficial for proving a writer’s expertise. 

The portfolio establishes a strong record and shows off the writer’s skills. These portfolios should be tailored toward the job in question. 

For instance, if you intend to ghostwrite for a client who wants a novel, your portfolio should showcase the novels you have written for various clients, and if it is a client who wants songs, your portfolio should display the songs you have written for other clients.

It will also be of great benefit to you as a ghostwriter if you have larger projects. It would help you build an impressive portfolio that clients would not be able to resist. 

  1. Market yourself

After putting your portfolios together, there is a need to go ahead and market yourself. 

Your duty as a ghostwriter is to market your writing skills and your ghostwriter skills to find profitable clients because clients need to feel comfortable knowing that the writer will document their feelings accurately and with great care.

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Most ghostwriters often find their own work by marketing themselves online through social media, job search websites, and word of mouth. Some work with agencies that market and send their portfolios to clients, making finding jobs easier.

Read also: How to Become a Successful Freelance Writer in Nigeria

Ghostwriter’s Salary

Ghostwriting charges in Nigeria vary and mostly depend on the ghostwriter. Some ghostwriters charge per hour, some per word, some per gig, and others per client. 

Depending on the professionalism and the scope of service being rendered, a ghostwriter’s charge can vary from 100,000 – Million. Then, of course, others charge less depending on the clients, their negotiating power, and the number of pages.

Conclusion

As a freelance writer who typically sets your own fee rates and hopes to work as a ghostwriter, you may increase your normal fee by a substantial amount in exchange for not attaching your name to your work. After all, you are not only charging for the writing but also for the credit.

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About Author

Avatar of Kehinde Dada
Kehinde Dada
Dada Kehinde is a content writer, editor, transcriptionist, teacher, and entrepreneur. She is passionate about educating and helping people to be a better version of themselves.
She is a graduate of the English language and holds a Master's degree in the same field. She enjoys reading, watching movies, and designing.

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