Ghostwriting: What the Hell is it?

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about ghostwriting. What is it? How does it work? Are you writing about ghosts? Yes, that last one was a serious question. From my brilliant younger brother, no less.

So let me do my best to tell you about my experience with it (without out telling you any pertinent details of course).

I actually found my first ghostwriting job through a freelancer site called Upwork.com. It’s a fantastic site where you can hire or be hired to do freelance work in almost any industry. You start with your profile, submitting work samples, taking proficiency tests through the site, etc. Sometimes a client will contact you, but usually they will post a job and weed out who they want to hire from the applicants.

To be honest, I was kind of shocked when the “author” contacted me from my submission. I hadn’t really expected anything to come from my applying to different freelance writing jobs, but lo and behold, here I was with a shiny new outline for a romance novel (that’s all I can tell you about the book since I signed a non-disclosure agreement).

This being my first foray into writing professionally, I was nervous as hell to submit my work every week. She always had a few edits, but most of the time would write back to me extremely excited about the next installment. I kept writing, 7,000 words a week, until the book was finished. Kind of a gruesome timeline given that I have other obligations like, you know, a full time job and my own novel to write, but the experience was invaluable.

The problem began to arise when I had time to write, but wanted to be writing my own novel or vise versa. The muse isn’t always there when or how you need it. I figured out that sometimes it’s a matter of sitting in front of the computer and spewing words onto the page and coming back later to edit. Sometimes, if you just start writing, the muse may show up–a little late to the party, but none the worse for wear.

I will never see a dime of the sales of that book, but hey, I actually finished writing the book which helped motivate me to finish my own. The extra money in my bank account didn’t hurt either. I wouldn’t recommend making a career out of it, but it is definitely great experience for writers who want to get their work out there. I can’t take credit for it, but I can still go on Amazon and read the reviews (not too shabby, if I do say so myself).

So no, Ethan, ghostwriting is not writing about ghosts unless that’s the topic you’re given.