Ghostwriting 101: How to Get Paid Big Bucks As a Ghostwriter

Ghostwriting 101: The Must-Read Ghostwriter Primer for 2019
Ali Luke

Ali Luke

Ali Luke pops up on blogs all over the web, but her home base is Aliventures, where you’ll find her weekly posts about the art, craft and business of writing.

74 thoughts on “Ghostwriting 101: How to Get Paid Big Bucks As a Ghostwriter”

  1. Ghostwriting is a great way to write content as a masked writer and test the waters to see what works and what doesn’t. Good thing about ghostwriting is having the grand ability to build secret relationships and fine tune your writing along the way. It also shows you up close and personal Robin Leach style what particular style of your ghostwriting gets more shares on Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and discussed in YouTube videos. If blogging and ghostwriting is the only way to maintain job security in todays world of uncertain, then I want to work at writing 7 days a week. 🙂

      1. Carolyn, there’s no single standard — like any kind of freelancing, different writers will have different rates based on their experience, how much they need the work, etc. You can have an hourly rate and translate that into a per word rate if you know approximately how many words you can write per hour. 🙂 If it’s any help, I bill $60 – $75/hour, usually on the higher end of that for ghostwriting and the lower end for freelancing. (I’ll also adjust based on whether it’s ongoing work or not, how much I’ll enjoy the gig, etc… I don’t think pricing is a very exact science!)

    1. The good thing about ghost writing is that it helps the person to maintain secret relations with the virtual environment and to build a wall from the othe public environment. I am really excited about this post as it gives a lot of information about ghost writing.

  2. I’m a small blogger and funny enough I have been considering hiring a ghost writer to write a page on a topic that I’m not as familiar with. I’ve also considered doing ghostwriting work. In a way I have helped in this area. I’ve written sales pages and marketing material for other brands. Great article 👍

  3. I made a living of ghostwriting and ghost-blogging for roughly a decade. It’s not a bad way of life once you get into it. I’m grateful that it happened – but eventually I got tired of trading time for money.

    1. I think a lot of writers (me included!) use it either as a stepping stone to something else or a way to generate a steady income while working on more entrepreneurial projects. Sounds like it worked for you at the time, and you moved on without regrets — that’s great. 🙂

      1. Hi Ali!
        I need to start a project and I need someone who would write content for (not blog posts but content according to the offer),how can I get in touch with you?
        Thank you!

  4. Jess Campbell

    Great info, Ali – thanks! I have been considering growing my freelance biz to include ghostwriting but am not exactly sure how to start (other than Roz’s course, as mentioned). How did you get started ghostwriting? Any tips or links to other articles would be lovely. Thanks again for this! 🙂

    1. Thanks Jess! I stumbled into it through freelancing and guest blogging connections — basically, the ghostwriting gigs I’ve had have been through people I’ve got to know in the blogging world, many of whom I met in person at conferences before getting to know them well enough to ghostwrite for them. Since you’re already freelancing, you might start by simply emailing current clients and letting them know you’re available to ghostwrite (notch your rates up for it a bit) — even if they don’t need/want a ghostwriter right now, they may know someone who does. Good luck! 🙂

  5. Hi Ali, great timing! I’m about to ghostwrite a memoir. The whole project is being held up by the client’s lawyer, who’s putting together a contract that I’m already so stressed out about as it seems that what we orally agreed upon is not what they’ve come up with! I’m headed to a meeting on Monday to sign the deal, but I’m worried about the outcome! Any advice on how to make sure the contract works for ME??? Thanks so much!

    1. Oh no, Patti, that sounds like a horrible situation to be in! I’ve been lucky that all my ghostwriting assignments have been very straightforward, and mostly quite short (blog posts). Are you a member of any writing/business organisations or unions that could advise? I belong to the Alliance of Independent Authors which is great for stuff like this.

      Sorry not to be more help — I really feel for you and hope you can get what you want out of the contract. If it’s any help, my usual rule of thumb in negotiations is to have an (unspoken!) line on what’s my “ditch the project” rate / conditions — e.g. “if they won’t pay as much as $X….” But I realise you’re probably in a position where you really don’t want to lose the work. 🙁

  6. I’ve been ghostwriting for a few years. Doing so earns me retirement income and hones my skills. I enjoy researching and writing about topics I know little to nothing about and seeing them published as blog posts. I often wish I could claim credit, if only to earn more writing work. Is there a way to do that?

    1. You could potentially ask the people you write for if you could include the pieces in a portfolio (either on your website or one you send out on request) — but they may not be willing! A lot of people are quite cagey about using ghostwriters and of course you’ll want to respect their wishes. Could you look for some regular freelancing positions too, or ask if your ghostwriting clients would be interested in having you write an occasional piece under your own name? Best of luck!

  7. If anyone sees this and is a ghostwriter, I am interested in speaking with you. My project resembles scenario #1 above…”The creator talks to the ghostwriter for an hour and provides a detailed outline.” I have the framework and 30+ previously created “posts” as a content platform to start. I am not a “big time blogger”. I was the President/Co-Owner of a company from 1997-2017 and currently run two businesses so time is why I am interested. Welcoming to any interested people who may be looking to ghostwrite.

    1. Hi Chris,

      I have been writing contents for others all the while through some writing resource platforms, although I am able to squeeze a few with y byline in my blogs. I am interested to explore the opportunity you cited in your entry.

      1. I am a good writer. I have numerous articles published in my local newspaper. I have authored two books and am writing my third.
        I just read about ghost writing and would like to give it a try.

  8. Good insights Ali. I did some ghostwriting in the past. Loved it. I ghost wrote an Amazon best seller and also did a range of freelance writing work. OK ghostwriting work, since my name did not appear 😉 I have since moved toward promoting my eBooks and services, and more than that, guest posting and blog commenting and creating videos to help folks but GW is a fab, fun and fulfilling income stream to work.

    1. Thanks, Ryan! As you say, ghostwriting can be a great way to bring in steady income alongside other projects — and there’s definitely a balance to be struck. 🙂

  9. Hi Ali,

    It’s an amazing post on ghostwriting. Many of you may like ghostwriting because of its benefits, but I personally don’t like it much because it’s hard to find who’s the real writer of a piece of content if that’s written by a ghostwriter.

    In fact, I’d been in the field of ghostwriting before starting full-time blogging. I was enjoying the money that I was making by writing content for others in the names of my clients. But at one time, I checked that my writing was being sold one-time and I wasn’t making any recurring money from them.

    Now, I can continuously monetize my content that’s published on my own blog.


    1. Thanks, SM! Yes, ghostwriting can be quite divisive, and I can understand how you feel about wanting to know who’s the “real” writer. It’s great you’re successfully monetizing your own blog — good stuff! 🙂

  10. Hi Ali,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and insight on what is usually an elephant in the room. We know it’s a widespread practice, but very few admit to using ghostwriters. While I appreciate that people ghostwrite for a verity of reasonable reasons, I will find it very hard not to take credit for my work.

    Thanks for starting this overdue conversation.

    Best regards,


  11. Great post! Funnily enough I’d been looking into getting into Ghostwriting recently when I saw this pop up in my emails. Thanks!

  12. I have heard of ghostwriting but was not aware what exactly it means…but here I got lot of information on ghostwriting…in future if I have money I would love to hire someone for ghostwriting and use my name for publishing the article…I think to manage time in our life is very important…for that hiring writers will surely help in saving our time..!! as usual a very helpful post..!!

  13. Ghostwriting is an incredible approach to compose content as a conceal essayist and try things out to perceive what works and what doesn’t. Fortunate thing about ghostwriting is having the excellent capacity to assemble mystery connections and calibrate your written work en route. It additionally indicates you very close Robin Leach style what specific style of your ghostwriting gets more offers on Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and talked about in YouTube recordings. On the off chance that blogging and ghostwriting is the best way to keep up employer stability in todays universe of questionable, at that point I need to work at composing 7 days seven days. 🙂

    1. Dina,

      You hit the nail right on the head. What works and what doesn’t. The good news is that whatever doesn’t work still brings traffic to your blog or website and may possibly yield some sales fruit in the moment of future. It’s still content but you’re striving to get it right along the way.

  14. How do I unsubscribe from getting emails that people are posting comments on here? I only wanted to sub in if someone responded to my comment. Now I’m getting an email all the time when someone comments. I’ve tried numerous times to unsubscribe but it does nothing. Please help!

  15. I love ghost-writing. I started writing as a ghost writer. It gave me the ample opportunity to learn from experts and sharpen my writing skills.

  16. Hello,
    I have started blogging myself. I am trying to find out the basic problems that my blog is having and looking for solutions. Also, I’m searching for some basic things like themes and other stuff.
    I have read your whole article, I am looking forward to getting a positive result after performing this myself.
    Can you suggest me any basic idea that I might need in the future as a new blogger?
    Thank you

    1. ProBlogger and Daily Blog Tips are both great blogs that cover all the basics … I started reading them around 2007 when I got into blogging, and both are still going strong (and of course much bigger now). Good luck with your blogging!

  17. I used to do ghostwriting few years back…I learnt a lot during those days….after reading this article I am thinking to start ghostwriting again…as usual one more great post..!!

  18. Hi Ali,

    It’s an amazing post on ghostwriting. Many of you may like ghostwriting because of its benefits, but I personally don’t like it much because it’s hard to find who’s the real writer of a piece of content if that’s written by a ghostwriter.

    1. I think that’s a very valid concern, Matheus … and one that I know other readers have too. Ghostwriting is a very common practice, but of course some writers will choose not to participate in it (either as a ghostwriter or as someone hiring a ghostwriter) and I totally respect that decision.

  19. I heard about the ghostwriting exactly not know what it is but now i come to know, thank you for the information and sharing the Experiences, having problem in dealing with the trade of the business i-TPM is a Netsuite Software with Integrated Trade Promotion Management.

  20. Seriously I once had that mentality.

    How can someone enjoy what I have written? But I discovered that it’s really going to make your name go viral especially in guest posting.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  21. Hi Ali!
    A ton of helpful tips in this article, and a very rich and complete guide on this subject!
    Very helpful, and I can now say that I know plenty about this matter:)

  22. I’ve been intrigued by the concept of ghostwriting before, but I’ve never actually done a gig as a ghostwriter. Where and how would be the best way to start a ghostwriting career? Thanks! 🙂

    1. Mandeep,

      Writing alone, whether it’s article marketing, blogging, or ghostwriting…any kind of writing gets indexed by Bing, Google, and YaHoO! search engine spiders into the SERPs. They just call the content produced different names. But all in all, content is content either way you look at things.

  23. My writing skill is not good that’s why I hire ghost writers. When you doing ghost writing you have to be little selfless. You can’t earn fame but yeah you can earn good amount of money.

  24. I like to do both to keep myself sane. Bylined writing builds my platform and, most importantly, brings me new clients without having to do outreach (including ghostwriting).

    Ghostwriting, on the other hand…makes me more money 🙂

    I do confess that seeing someone else get praised for my work does indeed sting. But I also confess that the money works as a decent salve for that sting.

  25. I do agree that ghostwriting is an excellent idea to make some money online, and I’m familiar with sites like Upwork, Guru and Freelancer. All paying top dollar for unique content. Must admit that as a writer, I do feel a little uncomfortable for someone else to own my content. But, a great method none the less.

  26. I’ve been ghostwriting for a few years. Doing so earns me retirement income and hones my skills. I enjoy researching and writing about topics I know little to nothing about and seeing them published as blog posts. I often wish I could claim credit, if only to earn more writing work. Is there a way to do that?

    1. To be honest, I don’t think there is an easy way! You could ask your clients if they’d be happy for you to use the pieces in a portfolio — it never hurts to ask. If it’s something you wrote a while ago, they may be less sensitive about it than something you wrote very recently.

  27. Lovely post that does an excellent job of summing everything up. Thank you! I’m sharing it for all those people who’ve asked me these questions.

    I’ve been a ghostwriter for a long time now, and agree with you regarding scenario #1. I see myself as the expert on writing and communication (there’s often a lot of consulting/counseling involved in the job as well) while the authors I write for are better serving those aspects of their business where their expertise is most needed.

    It can hurt a little to not have anything published with your name on it, but many of my authors are willing to at least list me as their editor or provide some form of thank you in their text. Lately, I’ve been working on building time in my schedule for my own projects.

    1. Thanks, Wendy! It’s good to hear you’re getting some acknowledgement from your authors (it sounds like you do a ton of hard work for them). Best of luck with your own projects! 🙂

  28. My writing skill is not good that’s why I hire freelance writers. When you doing ghostwriting you have to be little selfless. You can’t earn fame but yeah you can earn good amount of money.

  29. The things which you have stated is so true to facts and important to determine and consider in my work do. Thanks for sharing the blog. I had a great read. I learned and grasped so much.

  30. I also need someone to write article for my new site about product and services review. I don’t want to become a ghostwriter but need one. You article will definitely help me in this.

  31. I was definitely one of the individuals who fell into the “ghostwriting is unethical” camp. After reading your situational explanations, though, and the positive benefits of ghostwriting for a burgeoning writer, I would say I feel very differently about it. This was a great post and is a great resource for novice writers/editors.

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