How did this happen? How did I end up ghostwriting for a living? I don’t mind telling you that it was an accident. Stumbling on this Constant Contact blog post on the topic has me reflecting and I wanted to reverse engineer my process. There are probably lots of ways to get into ghostwriting, but this was mine that allowed me to stop getting a full time paycheck from the church where I work as a pastor/church planter and make my living writing.
Step 1 – Learn a whole heck of a lot about a topic that gets written about.
For me, it’s the Bible and being a Christian. I’ve been a pastor for over two decades and I love to read obsessively both the Bible and books about the Bible. I also have walked with lots of people through the years as they’ve struggled to follow Jesus faithfully, and I’ve learned a lot that way. And it doesn’t hurt that I wrote a sermon every week for nearly a 1000 weeks.
Step 2 – Begin writing in the niche you know.
I recommend starting on Upwork or Fiverr. The platforms offer safety for the buyer and the seller, and they give you a chance to grow as you satisfy your customers. You’ll have to write cheap at first, but as you get ranked up and people leave glowing reviews you’ll get better and better paying opportunities.
Here’s how I started. My fourteen year old son learned about Fiverr.com at school and he made a profile to offer his services as an artist and a writer. People began hiring him to write blog posts. I knew none of this until one day when he was writing something and I asked him about it. He said he was writing a blog post for older women whose hair is turning gray.
“What’s it about?” I asked.
“It’s about why your hair turns gray, what you can do about it, and why you shouldn’t worry about it because you are beautiful just the way you are.”
My fourteen year old son!
I asked, “You’re writing as this older woman?”
I laughed. Pretty hard.
Then a week later, he said, “Dad, someone is trying to hire me to write an article on Christian marriage. You should do it.”
I said, “Sure, I’ll try it.” I started a profile, my son recommended me to the client, and I wrote that article for like 25 cents. Just kidding. It was probably $20.
Then someone asked me to write another article. Someone else asked for a book. My niche was Christian writing, pretty broad now that I think about it. I got up every morning around 4 a.m. and wrote until 7 when I had to get ready for work at my job as a full time pastor. At one time, I calculated I was making about a half a cent a word.
I got busy. Very busy. I wrote some novels, and a dozen nonfiction books. I raised my prices. I got busy. I raised them again. I was stunned when I realized I was making a mortgage payment each month. I raised them again, and again, and again, and finally, Mr. Market leveled me off at 45 cents a word, which is where I’ve stayed for a couple of years now.
It has been a blessing and privilege to get to know so many wonderful people who have messages on their hearts but need a co writer (because why wouldn’t you if you’ve never written a book before!?).
I got caught up in the story and forgot I was giving the steps. Where were we? Oh yes…
Step 3 – Do great writing and be reliable.
Make yourself busy satisfying customers, and when you get too busy, raise prices.
Step 4 – Keep doing that.
I also built this website and started my LLC. I still get work on Fiverr.com, but now most of my work comes by word of mouth and through this site. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss your project for free.