What is Ghostwriting? [Quick and Honest Answer]

No, ghostwriting isn’t Caspar the Friendly Ghost churning out blog posts on a daily basis.

But you hear this term all of the time in different industries.

That’s why today I’m going to cover what ghostwriting is, typical fees, and the benefits of hiring or becoming one yourself.

Ghostwriting definition

Ghostwriting is defined as having work written on your behalf by another writer but you take credit for. The public believes that you produced the content, but it was actually made by another individual.

Since ghostwriters do not receive credit for their work, they typically charge a premium.

I can tell you as a copywriter who has done plenty of ghostwriting that bylines are insanely effective.

They allow me to grow my brand, get referral traffic, and generate leads organically.

So if I’m not gaining that benefit by writing for another publication, it’s only fair for me to ask for extra compensation. This is an industry standard.

Anything can be ghostwritten, as well. This includes material such as:

  • Web pages
  • Blog posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Social media content
  • Email newsletters
  • Songs
  • Movie scripts
  • Etc

This means that as a writer, you will be able to ghostwrite any material that you specialize in. It also opens the door for you to try out different niches you haven’t dabbled in before.

On the flip-side, businesses will be able to outsource any kind of work to ghostwriters with ease.

This brings me to my next point.

Ghostwriting rates

Ghostwriting fees vary from writer to writer. The Writer’s Union of Canada states that ghostwriting books should cost a minimum of $40,000 for 60-90,000 words.

Ghostwriting rates

But what if you’re trying to outsource website content? Well, according to the Professional Writers Association of Canada, ghostwriting requires two to three times normal rates.

Ghost writing

Ghostwriting prices, like all forms of copywriting, will depend on the client’s budget, individual writer, and project scope. Use these as benchmarks and the foundation of how much you charge/pay.

Benefits of becoming a ghostwriter

If you’re a freelancer interested in becoming a ghostwriter, there are mountains of advantages you will gain by pursuing this niche. They include the following.

You get to command higher rates

Who doesn’t want to earn more money? Ghostwriting often yields some of the highest paying projects due to the fact that you gain royalties and get to charge a premium for your work.

One downside that I’ve experienced myself with ghostwriting is that you may eventually lack bylines, however. It’s tough to prove that you’ve ghostwritten certain material unless you keep records of contracts, conversations, and have good references.

That’s why I also suggest that you include byline pieces in your portfolio to act as social proof. These will help build trust with clients so you don’t have to run around trying to prove you’ve worked with big names before since you’re publically associated with others.

Once you get around this small loophole, you’ll be racking in the big bucks as a ghostwriter 🙂

Royalties on royalties

Not only do you get to charge more upfront as a ghostwriter, but you also normally get royalties for certain pieces of work. These include books, landing pages, direct mail, and other sales copy that generates sales.

Royalties typically hover around the 3% range, but some writers charge more if they have the track record of creating huge results for prior clients.

Imagine you help a client generate $1,000,000 in revenue from a new sales campaign. 3% of that is $30,000 in your pocket on top of the other fees you charge. You would be making nearly six figures per month off of a single project!

You will network and create a name for yourself

Companies will always need business material written. It doesn’t matter if it’s advertisements, books, or website content. There will never be a time in the near future in which businesses don’t require ghostwriting.

That means with enough elbow grease, you will create a name for yourself in whichever industry you position yourself in. This will lead to constant new opportunities and referrals, meaning consistent earnings.

Benefits of hiring a ghostwriter

I’ve been talking about ghostwriting from the perspective of a writer, but how about from the angle of businesses? These are some of the many benefits you can look forward to by outsourcing work to ghostwriters.

You will work with the best

Ghostwriters charge a premium for a reason, and that reason is that they are exceptional at what they do. You will network and hire some of the industry’s best writers that will produce massive results for your company.

This also allows you to create a Rolodex of writers to reach out to when you require material to be written.

They have skills that you don’t

Do you have a decade or more of copywriting, SEO, lead generation, CRO, and other marketing experience? Ghostwriters do.

Hiring a ghostwriter means that you don’t have to take years mastering different skills yourself. Being a great writer doesn’t mean you’re good with words, but rather can sell a product, rank websites, or whatever the goal might be.

This comes from experience and mastery in different fields.

They are professional and easy to work with

While there’s always a couple of bad apples, if a writer has worked with big publications and is a successful ghostwriter, they won’t get there for no reason.

Odds are they will be professional and easy to work with. Personally I pride myself in being a friendly good person and creating genuine relationships with clients I work with before anything else.

Final thoughts on ghostwriting

Ghosting is a very lucrative path for writers based on the fact you normally charge two to three times normal rates and earn royalties.

Businesses can also greatly benefit from hiring ghostwriters as they are experienced in generating results like sales, leads, and traffic.

What has your experience been so far with ghostwriting?

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Hey! I'm Carmine, along with this agency, I run The Copywriting Fox, White Knight Content Marketing, and Mastro Digital. Contact me at any time if you require copywriting services!