How to Become a Ghostwriter

Aspiring professional writers have many different choices at their disposal these days, and ghostwriting is one option that brings many opportunities to the table. Here’s what you need to know about how to become a ghostwriter and succeed.

Updated: May 10, 2023
how to become a successful freelance writer

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Ghostwriters are professional writers who specialize in producing written material on behalf of another person, company, or brand.

They’re also an integral part of any digital-age company’s larger content marketing strategy, so there’s plenty of work out there for a genuinely great ghostwriter.

Today’s brands and marketing departments rely on ghostwriters to produce everything from books, newsletters, and blog posts to speeches, scripts, and advertising copy.

Here’s a closer look at how to become a ghostwriter yourself and take advantage of these incredible opportunities.

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    Essential Skills and Traits of Successful Ghostwriters

    As with any other career choice, some people are especially well-suited to a career as a ghostwriter. The best ghostwriters have these personal qualities:

    • Deadline-oriented
    • Organized
    • Honest
    • Creative
    • Patient and communicative
    • Great at collaborating and taking direction

    Ghostwriters need to be able to work well as part of a larger collaborative team, and qualities like these help. So do freelance writing skills such as the following:

    • Blog writing
    • General content writing
    • Digital marketing
    • SEO
    • Storytelling
    • Publishing

    The most successful ghostwriters have mastered multiple types of writing. They also have at least a basic working understanding of digital marketing and SEO; these are musts when crafting any content for the web.

    Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Ghostwriter

    Whether or not you decide to specialize in ghostwriting, it’s an excellent skill to develop and offer to clients as a service. Some of the benefits of ghostwriting include:

    • It’s potentially lucrative, especially if you choose the right clients.
    • You get paid for your work upfront instead of having to wait around for royalties.
    • You’ll have the opportunity to write about diverse topics and connect with lots of different clients.
    • You’ll become a better, more varied writer.
    • You can work from anywhere, including your own home.
    • You get to help others find their voices.

    The challenges you’ll face as an aspiring ghostwriter include the following:

    • Ghostwriting work is plentiful, but the field is competitive, so be prepared to sell yourself.
    • You won’t be earning bylines for your work.
    • Bringing other people’s ideas and stories to life isn’t for everyone.
    • Some writing topics will be more interesting than others.

    How Much Does a Ghostwriter Earn?

    Although a ghostwriter’s income can vary significantly from one assignment to the next, ghostwriting is a great opportunity to earn a solid living. For items like blog posts and articles, average rates fall between $0.15 and $4 per word. However, a big book writing project could earn a writer as much as $2,000 to $70,000.

    How to Become a Ghostwriter

    Are you ready to start your journey toward a rewarding future career as a ghostwriter? Keep the following must-know tips in mind.

    Get a degree

    Although a formal degree in writing or digital marketing isn’t absolutely necessary to become a ghostwriter, getting one is still a very good idea. Writers with degrees generally earn more money.

    Build experience

    Even the best degree isn’t a substitute for hands-on writing experience, and the only way to get that is by actually writing. Keep a journal, start a blog, and look for even more opportunities to hone your writing skills.

    Build a portfolio

    When you’re ready, it’s time to start looking for your first ghostwriting gigs so that you can build your portfolio. Try ghostwriting for businesses or organizations in your area. You can also volunteer your services at first if you’re not comfortable charging right off the bat.

    Start networking

    Personal connections are important for all types of content writers, ghostwriters included, so don’t be afraid to build your network. Become active on platforms like LinkedIn, and embrace opportunities to meet thought leaders, fellow writers, business owners, marketers, and others.

    Polish your skills

    The more ghostwriting you do, the better you’ll ultimately become at it, so embrace chances to tackle different subjects and content types. Stay up to date on industry best practices, SEO, and Google algorithm changes as well.

    Learn from your peers, especially top ghostwriters like Pat Springle, Alice Sullivan, Mike Loomis, and Byron Laursen.

    How to Find and Get Great Ghostwriting Gigs

    Every ghostwriter needs a plan for finding plenty of high-quality ongoing work. Here are some tips to get you started.

    Use the right resources

    Any successful ghostwriter has a go-to list of resources at their disposal. Here are some to know:

    • WriterAccessJoining a top-tier freelance writing platform is a must, and WriterAccess is one of the best out there. Joining gets you quick access to top clients, premium pay, and fascinating work opportunities.
    • Freelancer.comFreelancer isn’t quite as reliable as WriterAccess, but it’s still a solid place to fill in scheduling gaps with extra work.
    • CopyBloggerCopyBlogger is packed with articles and useful tips that help writers hone their craft and succeed in the industry.

    Write powerful applications

    Remember, ghostwriting is highly competitive, but a winning application that shows off your writing skills can really set you apart. Highlight key skills and experience that make you the best fit, and be sure to address all parts of the client’s project.

    Work on your negotiation skills

    It takes practice and finesse to become good at negotiating compensation for your ghostwriting work, but it’s important that you do so. Charge what you know your services are worth, and choose your projects carefully.

    Don’t be afraid to negotiate, but resist the urge to undercut yourself just to land gigs. Break down why you charge what you do to potential clients and show them why you’re worth it.


    Succeeding as a ghostwriter is all about staying at the top of your game, setting goals, and choosing projects that align with those goals. If you do it right, you could be embarking on the dream career of a lifetime.

    Get started when you apply to become a WriterAccess writer today! Your first big client is just a few clicks away!


    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

    Shannon Hilson Rock author vector
    Rock Content Writer

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