This guest post is by Jennifer Brown Banks of Ghostess.
There’s no doubt about it. The thrill of a byline never gets old.
I’ve been penning pieces for publications for more than a decade, and every time I’m in a grocery store and see my name in a magazine, or have it grace the online stage, it’s still magical for me. Still.
I liken it to falling in love over and over again.
And, if you’re a serious writer, no doubt you feel the same way too.
But let’s face it: “love don’t always pay the bills”!
Enter, ghost blogging
Simply stated, ghost blogging is the practice of writing posts for others without name recognition. They get the credit, you get the cash. And sometimes, lots of it.
Ghost blogging affords today’s bloggers opportunities to expand their creative projects and their bottom line. Because more and more busy professionals are seeking “ghosts” to pen posts to increase awareness of important causes, promote products, and cultivate a connection with the public, it’s becoming a pretty popular field.
Aside from time factors, some businesses and individuals bring on ghost writers because they’re primarily “idea people.” These clients are excellent in terms of innovation and creativity, yet they lack the ability to write effectively and communicate concepts to an audience clearly.
Ghostwriters can save them time, headaches, money, and potential embarrassment.
For some, ghosting practices pose ethical issues.
There are those, (both writers and readers) who sometimes perceive ghosting as dishonest, in that it misrepresents true authorship, and lacks a degree of credibility.
Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends on how you look at it.
It’s really not much different than a speechwriter penning a speech for the president, or a resume writer putting someone else in a better professional light through his skills.
Or, think of it this way. How many of us in corporate jobs have worked for bosses who presented our ideas as their own? At least with ghostwriting, somebody is paying you to be a silent partner!
What does it take to be a good ghost?
Like other genres and fields of writing, ghostwriting is not for everyone.
But, if you’re straddling the fence on it, here are a few things to consider.
1. Confidentiality is a must
In this line of work, loose lips sink ships—not to mention that they can ruin careers.
Sometimes you may have the good fortune to pen posts for a celebrity or top-dog blogger, and you’re itching to brag about it. Don’t! Like any good relationship—personal or professional—once the trust is gone, so is the union.
It should also be noted that typically, ghost clients will have writers enter into a confidentiality agreement, stating that they will not disclose their identity, or the nature of their projects. You could be sued if you violate these conditions.
2. Good ghosts should have a wide knowledge base and a wide “speaking”range
Are you well read? Have you had multiple careers? Could you be a contestant on Jeopardy Game show? If so, it’s highly likely that you’d be successful in this field.
A broad knowledge base means that you will have a basic understanding of various topics, thereby allowing you to speak with a degree of authority and authenticity. It also means that the client has to do less hand-holding and feeding you information.
3. Good ghosts should have good people skills
As a ghost, you might be required to work with someone for whom there are creative or moral differences. Or perhaps you just lack chemistry. Suck it up. Remember, it’s their vision, and their decision.
Good ghosts know when to remain silent. If you’re not able to take directions from others, or to deal with a wide range of personalities and temperaments, this wouldn’t be the best type of gig for you. Do not pass go.
4. Good ghosts have the flexibility of a rubber band
To be a good ghost, you must be flexible.
For example, a client may change the direction of the project, or he may misplace files, or you may have to work around his schedule for the successful completion of the project. Keeping cool is crucial.
5. Good ghosts are good project managers
Writing skills only touch the surface of what effective ghosting entails.
Depending upon the type of client, and the range and complexity of the project, a good ghost might also be called upon to organize information, compile data, do research, and make recommendations accordingly.
Pay for your say
How much do ghost bloggers make? There isn’t a “standard” going rate. A lot depends upon the type of client, their budget, your experience level, and the length and frequency of the project.
To apply for opportunities, check popular job boards like Pro Blogger, Craigslist.org and Ghostbloggers.net
Have you ever been a ghost blogger? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.
Jennifer Brown Banks is a seasoned blogger and professional ghostwriter. Her work has appeared at various top-dog sites such as: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Daily Blog Tips, Technorati, and The Well-Fed Writer. Visit her sites at: http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/ and http://Ghostess2.blogspot.com/.