Who is a ghost writer?
“I am a ghostwriter!”
But what is a ghost writer?
The concept of ghostwriting, though popular elsewhere in the world, is still to take root with freelance writers in Kenya. Many people do not understand just how you can write a whole book and let other people enjoy the fruits of your labour.
So what exactly is classifiable under ghostwriting?
According to Wikipedia A ghostwriter is a writer who writes books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.
Ghostwriting involves writing book, e-books, speeches, biographies and other type of articles for other writers either because they are too occupied to write or because they lack the requisite writing skills.
When I was starting off as a ghostwriter, I frequently was in doubt as to whether I could do it. When I overcame these first doubts and found out I could almost write any form of work that a client needed. I started thinking,
‘Hey, maybe it is time I stopped writing books for clients and do it for my own. I would love to have a lot of books bearing my names…’
A lot of ghost writers go through this phase. It is hard for you to work on a book that will never even acknowledge you as a lowly contributor.
Whether you are writing e-books or website articles, there comes a time when the jealousy bug strikes and you want to keep the work for yourself and announce from the top of your bungalow “to hell with the client!”
What Keeps Me Ghostwriting?
- Lack of motivation to write my own books– I can write 4 e-books for a client as a ghostwriter within a period of one month, but when it comes to my own work, writing one article per week for my blogs becomes quite another thing. The moment I decided that I am doing this for me, I found myself hogged down by a thousand unimaginable problems.
- There was the issue of the missing muse, I didn’t know what to write about, and suddenly whatever I was writing wasn’t making sense and a million other reasons. I am now a contented ghostwriter who enjoys seeing other people’s work take shape.
- I came to realize that though I may not have a lot of texts credited with my name, seeing other ‘people’s’ work flourish out there, and knowing that I had a role to play in it, lifts my spirits in a way that I never knew it could.
How Can You Get Started as a Ghostwriter?
If you are just getting into the world of ghostwriting, you can try landing your first job offers on the following sites before graduating to marketing yourself solely:
Also Read: How to Make Money With a Blog in Kenya
Factors you should keep in Mind before ghostwriting
If you are struggling with the question of whether you should start ghostwriting, and watch other people’s fame flag fly on your labour, here are a few qualities that you should maybe consider before launching yourself into the world of ghostwriting
1. A ghostwriter is a martyr
A ghostwriter is like a mother who gives her child up for adoption and then watches the child rise to world fame.
Can you be able to watch your work get world-wide accolades as you remain mum? That is what a ghostwriter should be able to do.
Your levels of jealousy should be minimally low because once in a while you will write work that will luckily shoot or write for well-established writers whose names are a market unto themselves. Ghostwriting ethics and Non-Disclosure Agreements however maintain that you shouldn’t even try to lay claim that you ever wrote that particular work.
If you are able to strangle this demon, then you are way on your route to being a very successful ghostwriter. As you will soon discover, all the other qualities required of a ghostwriter can easily be imposed with a level of self-discipline.
2. Are you able to keep strict deadlines?
One missed deadline and you are literally screwed, you have ruined your client and you have ruined your reputation and your income.
Most of the jobs requested by ghostwriting clients requires that you stick to strict deadlines as they are also under instructions to keep deadlines from their publishers.
If you can’t handle the deadline, be honest and ask for an extension when you are still on the negotiation table or plainly do not take the work. Failure to keep deadlines can lead to you not only losing your labour worth of many hours, but also your reputation.
3. Time and patience
Ghostwriting will generally demand that you pour a lot of your time in a client’s project, and this may require that you shelf your personal writing for some time.
A client may also require a lot of corrections on a project you are working on. This demands that you be patient with your clients and try to understand them.