Ghostwriting: A Lucrative Market for Writers

ghostwriting is lucrative market
Writing books for others is very lucrative market for talented writers

If you’re looking to break into the ghostwriting market, ProfNet can help.  Award-winning author Jenna Glatzer was recently the subject of a ProfNet interview, and offered some tips.  For those wh don’t know, Glatzer has ghostwritten 27 books, including Celine Dion’s authorized biography (“Celine Dion: For Keeps”) and a Marilyn Monroe biography authorized by her estate (“The Marilyn Monroe Treasures”).

the Q&A

What kind of experience does someone need to be a ghostwriter? Can any writer do it?

It’s not a field for beginners. Most of the time, editors and agents will expect a ghostwriter to have book credits. That’s partly to prove that you have the skill and discipline to write full-length books. It’s a lot different from shorter work.

The other way I’ve seen it happen sometimes is that the writer develops a rapport with a client based on interviews for articles/business material and the client wants to keep writer for the book despite lack of book credits.

Say I want to be a ghostwriter. Where do I start? How do I find clients?

Assuming you do have some credits first, you really can just start approaching people who interest you and who fit the genre(s) you want. I was following a young lady on Facebook who had brain cancer; she had a nonprofit foundation to help other kids with cancer. After she died, her father carried on the foundation in her honor with such dedication. It inspired me. I messaged him to ask if he’d considered writing a book about his daughter and if I could help. He said yes. This is the result:

The other strategy is to write to agents and editors to ask them to keep you in mind for ghostwriting in your genre.

What skills does one need to become a ghostwriter – beyond good writing, of course?

Listening skills are a really huge factor. Your job is to write in your client’s voice, just cleaned up and organized. You really have to pay attention to your client’s words, feelings, and goals and understand how to translate that to a book. You also need discipline to keep the work on track, organizational skills to figure out how to structure the book and the interviews, a lack of ego, and a willingness to accept changes and editing.

Excerpted from “Ghostwriting: The Secrets to Breaking Into A Mysterious Writing Niche,” by , director of online community relations at ProfNet, a free service that connects journalists with quotable experts.

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