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A Guide To Freelancing Part 2: An Overview of Ghostwriting

So you've decided to take the plunge. You have decided that you want to write for money. Great! Let's get started.

Before you start bidding on everything you think you can do, it's a good idea to know exactly what sort of writing you are truly capable of at a professional level. It also helps to know exactly what you'll be getting into as you begin this venture.

While there are many avenues you can take into the world of freelance writing, the primary method I'll be discussing here is commonly known as Ghostwriting. Essentially, this means you will do all the work, collect a check but receive none of the recognition, unless otherwise stated in your contract.

Let me state one thing now; no matter what kind of work you agree too, always, always, ALWAYS hammer out the details in writing in advance. Always be certain of what you are agreeing to BEFORE you sign. Don't be afraid to ask questions and don't be afraid to seek legal counsel if you're unsure. It's better to be informed than left feeling violated.

A lot of people struggle with the concept of not receiving credit for their blood, sweat and tears. If you crave the spotlight, recognition, and adulation for your work, ghostwriting may not be for you. The primary function of ghostwriting is working behind the scenes. You'll get paid, but the one getting the praise will be your client.

Now that we've covered that, let's take a look at what ghostwriters traditionally work on;

Storytelling/Novelization--This is my favorite kind of work; the ability to take the characters and ideas of other people and work magic with them. Often, someone will approach you with a very vague idea of a world, characters, or both, and it would be your job to help this person realize their vision. 

Article Writing/Blogging--This is a very common type of ghostwriting that may require you to have knowledge about a specific subject in order to accurately portray it to your client's target audience. In this case, you may be approached by someone who may or may not have an established audience. They have a product or idea that they wish to get before an audience, by article, review, or what have you, and it would be your job to (most commonly) paint this product or idea in the best possible to light to reach the broadest audience possible. While jobs like this traditionally don't pay much, they offer an excellent opportunity to establish relationships with businesses and score free stuff.

Technical--This is more akin to writing an instruction manual or the like. It may require you to know, in advance, a great deal about the product before being awarded the contract, but tends to pay fairly well.

There are numerous other types of ghostwriting jobs one can take on, such as editing, translation, or transcription. In my experience, the types listed above tend to be the work that present the best opportunity for establishing yourself and can be potentially the most lucrative.

Next week, we'll delve into setting yourself up to get to work.

Thanks for reading.


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