Thursday, September 20, 2012

How To Become Successful At Ghostwriting


I’ve been a freelance ghostwriter for about five years now (off and on). I currently generate part-time income re-writing articles and novels for clients. A lot of newcomers ask me how I’m able to sustain work, so I thought I’d devote a blog to the subject.

First, a truth; I don’t always sustain work. Even with the clients I retain, it can be weeks or months before I hear from them in between jobs. Staying active is important, especially if this is your only source of income. You may hear five no’s for every yes. If you don’t have the stomach for criticism or rejection, then this isn’t for you.

Secondly, you have to know how to sell yourself. You have to know how to put your experiences in a positive, compelling light so your prospective client will want to pay you to do what you love. If you can’t do that, you will struggle mightily.

Thirdly, make sure your profile is up to date. That photo of you and your friend on the pool table is probably not what you want your potential client to see.

And finally, BID REASONABLY. Too many people get dollar signs in their eyes when they realize their potential client has a few thousand dollars to work with.  If you’re new and unproven, chances are low anyone is going to pay you that much money. However, if you’re shrewd, competitive, diligent, and patient, you may make a permanent client out of those high-rollers, and work your way up to the big money.

However, don’t let that discourage you. If you think you’re good enough to land a thousand dollar contract, then by all means, GO FOR IT. The worst they can do is say no, right?

If you’re okay with these items, then you’re ready to write a winning proposal.

I can’t emphasize this enough; KEEP IT SHORT. Your client has potentially hundreds of potentials to go through. No one wants to hear how great you are or about that one award you got ten years ago (I know, this goes against selling yourself, I’ll circle back to that). Don’t bore your client out of hiring you with a lengthy proposal. It should be quick and to the point

Your proposal should contain the following;

1). Who you are

2). That you are, and why, you’re interested in taking on their contract.

3). Brief explanation of experiences relevant to the contract.

4). Your immediate availability and gratitude for reading your proposal (because they don’t have too).

Here’s an example;

Sir/Madam;
My name is (your name), and I’m very interested in working on your project. I’ve been doing (whatever is relevant to the contract) for (however long you’ve been doing it) and believe my experience makes me an ideal fit for your project.

(OPTIONAL) I also see you’re looking for (whatever else you saw in the proposal you may be good at). My experience can aid you in this endeavor as well.

I am available to begin immediately, or if you have any questions.

Thank you very much for considering my proposal.

Sincerely,

Your name

Your successes and accomplishments should be limited to two sentences at most (not entire paragraphs). My batting average is about one for four using this method, and I’ve gained two clients who say they’re working exclusively with me. 

I hope this helps. Ghostwriting is not an easy career path, but the rewards are well worth it.

Thanks for reading.

2 comments:

Colleen Walsh Fong said...

Hi Avery,
Thank you for the helpful information. Where would you suggest marketing ghost writing services?

Avery Tingle said...

Hey, Colleen. Thanks for reading, I recommend guru.com above anything else. They have safeguards in place to ensure that you get paid for your work, if you follow them. I also recommend Elance.com. Finally, if you have a way to get word out in your local area, you can always try advertising on Craigslist. I've had some success doing that. Please feel free to hit me up if I can be of any further assistance.