Getting Ghostwriting Gigs
by Dawn Josephson
If you're willing to swap your byline for a handsome check, you could be on your way to a successful ghostwriting career. But if you're looking for the fame and glamour of publication, ghostwriting may not be for you.
In a nutshell, ghostwriting is selling your words and sometimes ideas to another person who then gets credit (the byline) for the written piece. To some this may sound illogical (after all, does't everyone want to see his or her name in print?), but to others it's a way to earn big money and enjoy great satisfaction.
How to Start
First things first: Ghostwriting is not a game for amateurs. If you've never written anything short of a postcard or letter, you'll need to prove you can write and get published on your own before someone will hire you. If you're having difficulty getting published in the traditional consumer markets, the next best thing (and the quickest and easiest) is to write something for the trade markets. That's where I started.
Once you determine your topics or niche markets, locate trade publications that deal with those topics. You can find these publications online (type your category name into your favorite search engine), at the markets page on the WritersWeekly.com site, and other writing sites. Read their guidelines and then submit various articles that fit the publicationís needs. Whether or not you make tons of money at this isnít important. Your goal right now is to simply get some clips.
Also write pieces for you local newspaper, community newsletter or church weekly. Your clients wonít necessarily care where your clips appeared. They simply want to know you can write well enough for publication.
Getting Your First Gig
Armed with your clips (most clients feel comfortable hiring someone with at least five published clips), youíre now ready to secure your first assignment. But how? Now is when some patience and perseverance come into play.
Contact local businesses that are in the public eye and speak with someone in the sales, marketing or public relations department. Tell them about your services and the importance of keeping their CEOís name circulating in the trade magazines. If you have to, offer your services for a discounted price. This will help you gain ghostwriting experience, the clientís trust, and repeat business.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
Another great way to get your first gig is to simply network. Attend business and community meetings, mingle with the crowd and learn about the various services people are in need of. Youíre bound to find at least one or two that need a ghostwriter.
When you attend these functions, donít dominate the conversation by bamboozling people with your skills and services. Simply listen to people. Theyíll tell you exactly what theyíre looking for.
Iíve never cold-called a business to generate assignments. Instead, Iíve listened to peopleís needs. When someone says to me, "One day Iíd love to write an article (or book) about my __________ (business, life, experience, etc.)," I casually ask the person, "Have you ever considered using a ghostwriter?"
If the person Iím speaking with isnít sure what Iím talking about, I quickly fill him or her in on what a ghostwriter does and the advantages of hiring one. Itís very rare that I get a sale that instant, but I leave my business card and usually get a follow-up call within a few days. The next time youíre at a networking event, try it for yourself. It works.
To learn about ghostwriting articles for business leaders, non-fiction books for prominent authorities, or speeches for political candidates, surf here: http://www.booklocker.com/bookpages/djosephson.html
Dawn Josephson is the author of over 250 published articles, many of which she ghostwrote for various professionals. She has also ghostwritten four published books. She currently offers complete editorial services to new and experienced authors who desire the professional expertise that makes any written piece sell.