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The Invisible Author

By Stacy Smith

Whether you are a novice freelancer or a seasoned pro, the question of ghostwriting will invariably come up. For new freelancers, ghostwriting is almost a rite of passage. It’s a fast way to get started in the business. It also has more of its share of pros and cons than almost any other type of professional writing.

Ghostwriting is defined as creating text that is credited to another author. It can range from blog posts to novels. Ghostwriting work is usually plentiful, but that doesn’t always equal high-paying. If you’re trying to decide if ghostwriting is for you, these are the most important things to consider.

You Don’t Get Credit
Whether you are doing a lifestyle blog series or writing a paranormal romance novel, your work is not your own. It will be published under the name of the person who hired you. You will get paid; however, you won’t get any credit in terms of authorship. You cannot tell any future clients that you wrote it, because it will have someone else’s name on it.

You cannot use what you wrote on a resume, because technically you didn’t write it. You also can’t use it as a writing sample or in your portfolio. You may even have to sign a nondisclosure agreement. And even if you can say that you wrote for Company X, you still can’t give examples.

It’s Easy to Begin
Ghostwriting is the quickest way to start a freelancing career. Landing a column or monthly feature can take months. The same goes for getting some local clients. If you have no professional experience, you need to get some before you can move up the ladder.
With most freelance websites or media recruiters, you can be doing ghostwriting within a week.

Some companies only want a writing sample, and as soon as it’s approved you can start work, often within a day or two. You typically get paid through PayPal, either once the assignment is approved or on a weekly basis. If you need fast cash, ghostwriting is a good way to earn it. It’s also a good way to improve your skills, even if you can’t claim ownership.

Your Mileage Will Vary
You might think that ghostwriting would pay well, since the client retains all the rights. Although there are some companies that offer high pay, that’s not always the case. If someone is hiring you to write their ebook, they may only offer an average of $3 per page. That’s because they want to pay as little as possible to maximize their profit. Although that makes sense for them, it’s not worth the time for you.

Some freelance sites offer an option for you to search jobs that only want native English speakers. These jobs are going to pay more, and these are the ones you should look at. Even so, you may only be earning $10 per 500 words. If you need money right away, consider biting the bullet and work toward being able to command more money. If money is not urgent, don’t settle for less than you need to make a living as a freelance writer.

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