How Much Can Ghostwriters Make?
Lots of aspiring ghostwriters wonder how much one can make doing this. Well, the answer really depends on how motivated you are and what types of projects you are working on. How organized you are, and how good your research skills are. These skills and your mindset can affect your earnings significantly.
What Is a Ghostwriter?
A ghostwriter is a person who writes a piece of work such as non-fiction or fiction, but does not put their name on it. Rather, they allow another person to claim authorship. The client puts their name on the work and the ghostwriter transfers copyright to them – that is, full permission to use the work as if it were their own.
Ghostwriters commonly produce what is termed work for hire, including:
* Blog posts
A ghostwriter works on a project with the person who hires them, on the understanding that the written outcome of the two working together will be a product the client will get full rights to. The ghostwriter will not try to sell it to another person, or use it themselves. They will keep the work confidential and not share terms of the working relationship, or the materials and research that the client might have given them.
Thanks to the internet, content is king. Every business with a website needs fresh, up-to-date content on a regular basis. Some clients will pay by the word, others by the article. The longer the piece of content, the more you can expect to earn. However, this might also mean the project will take up a lot more time, especially if you have to research the topic for the client.
While it is true that there’s a lot of free information available on the internet, some of the topics can be highly specialized. But this can be a good thing. If you are an expert in a particular field, you can charge more than just a general ghostwriter.
A lot of clients want to market themselves and/or their products and services by publishing a book in their name, so they can claim or show off a certain degree of expertise. However, they might not have the writing skills or the time to do the whole book themselves. In this case, you might interview them, read over the papers they give you, and so on. You can then use this material to ghostwrite the book. The client will then usually sell the book, or give it away for free as a type of business card that will drum up business for their consulting service, for example.
A lot of famous people publish autobiographies, but that does not mean they write them themselves. They will usually hire a ghostwriter and give interviews. Then the writer will assemble the book and wait for final approval. This can be a high-earning project, but you might also end up with some very demanding clients who are not always easy to work for.
Being Clear about Scope
You will only ever be able to earn good money if you are clear about the scope of the project from the outset, and stick to it. You need to know how long the written piece has to be, how much you will get paid, and when it is due. For longer projects, it is a good idea to get paid a retainer to secure your services, and then set milestones where you deliver certain parts of the project and get paid. Otherwise, cash flow can start to become a problem.
Beware of scope creep. This is when you have agreed to a project and start it, but then the client starts to make other requests and tries to add other elements. Only agree if the additional elements make sense, and once you have renegotiated the contract.
Be professional by understanding the value of your time and your skills, and you should find it relatively easy to earn what you are worth.
Finally, aim for repeat customers. It is a lot easier to earn money if you don’t have to spend a lot of time applying for ghostwriting jobs.