Making the Change to Ghostwriting

Channeling Someone Else's Voice as a GhostwriterMany content writers find their expertise article after article, developing a niche in one topic or another. However, small projects are not where the big writing challenges exist, nor the rewards. Producing books is the real skill of a writer, taking an idea and creating an entire reading experience from beginning to end.

Ghostwriting a book operates along the same lines as ghostwriting an article. The client claims the book as his own but pays a freelance writer to do the work creating the product. This approach is often used for research productions, manuals, technical books, and non-fiction research books such as biographies.

In practice, ghostwriting involves literally taking a raw idea and crafting it into a finished, written product that hones research, ideas, logic and analysis into a complete work of art that didn’t exist before the project was started. Granted, the first few times, writing a book can be a monumental task, or at least seem like it. However, with experience and time, a writer can produce some amazing work for clients.

The above said, it’s not the best idea to start off with an attempt at Tolstoy’s War and Peace with a first project. Just like a beginning blacksmith learning to hammer out metal forms and tools, a writer needs to start with smaller ghostwriting projects first. Don’t worry, however; it won’t be long before larger and larger books come along as new jobs once a skill is developed.

Ghostwriting involves the ability to do four main skills well:

  • Research and assimilate information.
  • Design a structure for how to communicate the research and ideas.
  • Write the product cohesively in a style that carries a reader.
  • Edit the product to remove extraneous material.

The last task is probably the hardest for new ghostwriters, especially after working on a project for awhile and growing close to it. Self-editing literally means finding the flaws in one’s own work and trimming them out to make the end product read better. As a result, developing an expertise in the four phases of ghostwriting takes time, mistakes, learning, and a development of depth or wisdom in the process. Once accomplished, however, a writer can reap bigger rewards from clients versus an endless chain of articles.

So if someone needs a writer to put something together on an idea, say “How to Hire a Copywriter” for example, consider making a pitch for ghostwriting a book instead. You may be surprised how quick clients like the idea and want to consider it further for a bigger project.

Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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