Are you a ghostwriter? I am partially one.
For some clients, I write under my own name and for some, they requested me to write anonymously. Yes, that’s what ghostwriting is. It is to write anonymously without claiming credit for yourself.
Once the article is paid by the client, you no longer retain any rights to the article. This means you don’t have boasting rights as well aka no, you can’t put that job on your resume.
Pros Of Ghostwriting
Your Reputation Is Clear
Being a writer and having an article published under your own name creates a reputation for you. So while sometimes you truly control the direction of the content, in many cases not so much because the clients usually will dictate what they want to see.
I have had cases where the clients just want me to rewrite what he had already written, no need for fresh ideas, no need to add in descriptive words, instructions are clear – I only need to frame it up nicely.
As such, you may not want to put your name in a piece that doesn’t resonate with you. I clearly don’t want to have my name linked to any articles that I don’t believe in.
No Heavy Responsibilities
Without your name in the article, if there is a public backlash about the article, your name doesn’t get into the mud. Especially if you are writing a sensitive topic for the client. Or for websites that are deem unpopular like gambling sites. You can still earn your keep and keep your name out of the dirt.
Plenty Of Jobs Around
If you belong to any freelancing platform, you’ll notice that there are plenty of ghostwriting jobs available. Even those don’t outright state so are usually for ghostwriting. The only ones that will allow you to claim rights usually will put that in their job description because it is a plus point to be recognized for your work.
Clients Always Pay Ghostwriters
I’ve never met a client that doesn’t pay a ghostwriting project. Perhaps I’m plain lucky or perhaps the fact is that if no money exchanges hands, technically the article doesn’t belong to the client and you can always sell the article to his competitors.
To prevent that from happening, clients will even pay for shoddy work (not that you should?!) as long as you are writing about their products as a ghostwriter.
Cons Of Ghostwriting
You Don’t Get To Keep The Fame
If your article goes viral, making your client famous, you can only congratulate him in silence and keep your mouth shut. No boasting rights because the article no longer belongs to you as long as money changes hands.
You Can’t Put Specific Projects On Your Resume
You can, however, list one of your jobs as a ghostwriter for specific industries but not the names of the companies or individuals who hire you or their websites. So essentially, ghostwriting doesn’t do much for your writing career because you can’t shout through the roof.
You Can’t Fly If You Are Forever A Ghostwriter
Building on the point above, if you are establishing yourself as a paid / commercial writer, you need solid credentials.
If you don’t have any works published under your own name, it is going to be hard to convince your clients to pay you handsomely for your projects. I have met plenty of people doing ghostwriting for years without having their work published in their own names.
It is sad because some of them are really talented and capable but now stuck in the rut of the ruthless cycle of clients paying poorly.
I’m not saying it’s not good being a ghostwriter nor am I encouraging it. I started off as a ghostwriter too until I started to build my own profile. What you need to do if you’re a ghostwriter is to balance it out with other writing jobs that allows you to stake a claim, and on top of that increase your own reputation by creating your own personal brand. If you need to know how I have tips in personal branding here!
Are you a ghostwriter? What other pros or cons have you encountered? Please share with us in the comments below. We’ll love to hear from you.
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