Lucky Seven Ways to Increase Your Ghostwriting Income—Start Right Now

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Clients, associates, and miscellaneous authors ask me how I make a full-time income as a ghostwriter/author consultant. I’m going to tell you some of my secrets. If you put them into diligent practise, you’ll increase the amount of work you have and, consequently, your income.

  1. Make sure you know what you’re doing. Study the industry. Understand how books are written and marketed and how they are published. And for the love of whatever, make sure your writing and mechanics are IMPECCABLE.
  2. Network. Yeah, that’s right, the social networking stuff—Twitter, Google+, maybe Facebook, and LinkedIn (the best, in my opinion). With any social media, avoid the inclination to blah blah blah about what you’re selling. Develop a profile, develop a following, follow others, and talk to people as though you care about their wants, needs, and goals.
  3. Offer value to your followers in exchange for their attention. I almost never hawk a book or a product or a service. I sell myself and encourage people to trust me because I am trustworthy; therefore, they tend to look for my books and services as they need them. I love to give stuff away.
  4. Advertise. There’s a difference between advertising and socializing, and people who don’t know the difference are bound to fail in both. Find forums, groups, commnities, and publications (online and in print) that have a dedicated place for advertising what you do. Pay for it if you have a budget ( and any solid business should have a budget). Track results, and write incredibly effective copy. (Note—if you write, ghostwrite, or edit you can try placing ads at Writers Weekly, WritersDigest.com, WritersMarket.com, Mediabistro.com, Guru.com, elance.com, craigslist). Write guest posts for blogs. Leave Intelligent comments anywhere you can about topics you specialize in.
  5. Find a specialty, become an expert, and let the world know. Figure out what kind of ghostwriting or writing you want to do and become the best there is in that niche. Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn the jargon. Connect with the marketplace and communities. Years ago, I used to say, “I write anything anyone will pay me to write.” Not impressive, not inspiring, and not for long.
  6. Don’t undervalue your services. Study the industry and see what professional writers and ghostwriters charge. It’s unlikely, unless you hookup with a movie star or an ex-president, that you’ll command $50K or $100K for every assignment you get, but don’t embarrass yourself by offering to do six-, nine-, or twelve months’ work for $500 either. Operate like a business, not like a desperate street peddler.
  7. Never break a promise. Put your book deal in writing—a formal contract—spelling out how long it will take, what format your deliverable is to be in, which state laws will govern disagreements. My contract defines what happens if I or my client die. Make sure you cover copyright transfer from you to the author/client (upon final payment of the bill!) Then never, ever renig. If extenuating circumstances occur, adjust the agreement in writing, re-signed by all parties.

Whether you are a freelance writer, a book author, an editor, or a ghostwriter, it’s essential that your business practises are as professional as can be. Slap-dash performace, a casual attitude toward other people’s rights, and betraying professional trust are sure-fire ways to shoot yourself in the foot. If you want to make more money, you have to work to reach the top of the heap.

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One Response to “Lucky Seven Ways to Increase Your Ghostwriting Income—Start Right Now”

  1. More good advice from someone who knows. And good for us old-timers in the game to keep being reminded of the basics; they do work.