by Cris Yeager | DIGITAL MEDIA GHOST | GHOSTWRITING
A lot of writers want to get into ghostwriting, but few ever make the transition from wondering to doing. It’s hard work to make money by writing other people’s thoughts and ideas down, but it can be rewarding when you get the hang of it and start getting consistent gigs, sales, and reviews from your customers. To help you get started with ghostwriting, here are four common weaknesses that may stop you from succeeding in this field, and ways to overcome them so you can start earning a steady income right away!
1) Understanding ghostwriting
Before you can start ghostwriting, it's important that you understand what ghostwriting is. Essentially, a ghostwriter is someone who takes on an assignment without receiving any credit for it—something which may sound unappealing but in reality is often extremely rewarding. As a freelancer or entrepreneur, there are many reasons why you might consider becoming a ghostwriter: to build your portfolio, improve your skill set or even earn additional income. While writing professionally may seem like an insurmountable task at first glance (especially if you’re not confident with your writing abilities), there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for success.
2) Working on writing skills
You can work on your writing skills, or you can hire someone who’s already got them. But no matter which route you choose, it’s important to remember that copywriting is an art. While there are some basic fundamentals every writer needs—grammar, spelling, sentence structure—there are many ways of writing well. The trick is finding what works for you. It could be that sitting in front of a computer helps put your thoughts into words; maybe you do better dictating into a phone or tablet app; or maybe when you really need words flowing, it helps to read your work aloud. If only there were one way that worked for everyone! Of course, if there were one way that worked for everyone, we’d all be awesome writers.
3) Working on research skills
The number one skill you need as a ghostwriter is research. And it’s not just finding facts or numbers, but finding people—and then convincing them to talk with you. If you can do that well, your writing skills don’t matter as much because everything else flows from there. Ask anyone who knows how to write well but doesn’t know how to find good sources for interviews or stories—they can tell you first-hand how limiting bad research skills are. It doesn’t matter if you're writing an ebook on small business marketing, memoirs for celebrities, or case studies for Fortune 500 companies—the ability to source reliable information is paramount.
4) Choosing a niche topic
Choosing a niche topic might seem overwhelming, but there are actually quite a few advantages. When you choose a niche topic, you can devote your entire existence to that one subject. Your passion will be evident in every piece of content you produce. You'll be able to grow your audience by speaking directly to them about things they care about. With time, you'll establish yourself as an expert in your field and develop an online presence that is synonymous with your niche topic. And perhaps most importantly, choosing a niche topic is all but required if you want to become a ghostwriter—without it, there's no way for clients (and employers) alike to know what kind of writing expertise you bring to the table.
5) Choosing interesting topics
One of ghostwriting’s biggest weaknesses is that you are writing about topics that are not interesting to you. After all, if you can’t get excited about it, how can you expect your readers to get excited? There are several strategies you can use to overcome that weakness. The first is pretty simple: focus on what makes an idea interesting rather than simply writing about something because it’s popular. People love seeing things in new ways or learning surprising information they didn’t know before. Be sure your articles or books do both of those things. You don’t have to do anything crazy with your topic; just be creative in how you cover it.
Writing is hard. Writing well is even harder. Some writers excel at making it look easy, but that’s because they’ve put in countless hours honing their craft. What I’ve found over my decade as a ghostwriter is that clients, especially new clients, often feel like they have to choose between ghostwriting success or ghostwriting weakness—as if you can't have both. But nothing could be further from the truth! To achieve real success as a freelance writer, you have to understand your weaknesses so you can move toward improvement.
About the Ghostwriting for Profit group on Facebook:
Sharing tips, tricks and resources focused on ghostwriting as a profession.
Experienced and aspiring writers are welcome to join, as well as those seeking writers to hire!
Share your bio, books links, projects you're working on, questions, ideas for collaborations - anything ghostwriting related. We have lots of folks here searching for writers, so be sure to work on your pitch - and (first tip) have a portfolio with work examples handy for those seeking to hire you!
Join Ghostwriting for Profit today!