Learning The Truth About Ghostwriting

Learning The Truth About Ghostwriting

When I began freelancing full-time, I didn’t have a specific niche I wanted to focus on. My plan was to apply for gigs involving social media, content writing, blogging, editing, etc. I ended up getting a few ghostwriting gigs and discovered I really enjoyed it!

In my last post, I shared how I would be switching my focus in my freelancing career to only taking on writing gigs. I created my Services page and I began applying for just writing gigs.

A few days ago, I was on Pinterest and I happened across a pin for a blog post sharing tips on getting started as a ghostwriting. I decided to check it out. What I discovered about ghostwriting was really eye-opening.

I’m Being Severely Underpaid

In Elna Cain‘s blog post, she shares what freelancer Kelly James-Enger had made as a freelancer (the article the information was pulled from was posted in 2011, eight years ago). I was floored. Honestly, I didn’t even realize until writing this that this information was from 2011, which makes it even more crazy to me because in eight years, these numbers will most certainly have increased.

Kelly was being paid between $12,000 – 25,000 dollars for novels of 40K – 80K words. And she thinks that might not seem like a lot. Insert my shocked face here. Thousands of dollars? Thousands of dollars to ghostwrite books? Y’all, I’m being severely underpaid for my work. I’m earning 40,000% less than that for the same amount of work. Yes, you read that right.

From what I have read, Kelly is a very experienced and successful ghostwriter, which could be why she has earned so much. But when I looked even further into it, I found an article that confirmed that this is actually the norm for what ghostwriters can make now.

I’m a believer in fate and I think it was fate that I happened upon Elna’s article when I did. With the new year only a few days in and me on my journey to dive into ghostwriting, I learned the truth about what a fair pay rate is for me. Now I’m going into 2019 with a smarter head on my shoulders.

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The Truth About Freelancing Websites

I’ve been using Upwork to secure freelancing gigs. It’s free to sign up but they do take a portion of your earnings. It sucks not actually being able to take home everything I earn, but it’s part of the deal with freelancing, and I accept that. I’m discovering, however, that most of the clients on Upwork want expert-level skills at beginner-level prices.

Full disclosure. I have done three total ghostwriting projects via Upwork since October. While I was paid a low price, I did have the pleasure of working with some fantastic people. Each of those clients has left me with a positive experience. I’m grateful to them for giving me the work and for being appreciative of what I have created. While I might not have been paid a lot, I did get some valuable experience. I can appreciate that these clients might not have had a lot of money to spend, which is why their rates were so low. But none of them were demanding or overzealous in what they wanted. They really were great clients.

I’ve taken on other jobs or spoken with potential clients who want it all but don’t want to pay for it. It’s very frustrating. One of my goals this year was to be braver as a freelancer and not be taken advantage of. Truth be told, I think the first step to ending that is getting off of Upwork, unless I find the diamond in the rough who actually values good work and wants to pay for it.

My Plan Going Forward

So far, I’m off to a good start in moving forward as a freelance ghostwriter. The best way to gain quality clients is to find them on my own and use the resources I can to get them. I created my Services page. I am active on my social media pages. Now it’s time to put in the work.

While I was on Elna’s page, I signed up for an e-course she offers that provides tips on how to succeed as a freelancer. It’s a 6-day email series and I have learned so much. Seriously, it’s probably the most valuable information I’ve found thus far to really make an impact in my career. I’m still working on implementing everything, but I’m confident that this will be just the beginning of my success.

Going into this, I’m not expecting to make as much as Kelly did. I could definitely use more experience before I get to that level. But, I know I can be earning more than what I am now. I know I deserve more.

If you’re a ghostwriter or a freelancer, I would love to learn more about your experience! If you’re willing to share, feel free to drop me an email.

I came across an article about ghostwriting and it revealed some fascinating information. I was not be valued in my work. Now I\'m using this knowledge to kill it as a freelancer.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hi Kate this is really helpful thanks so much fir this honest post – Iā€™m just starting out trying to set foot as a freelance writer so I can definitely use some if that insight šŸ˜Š

  2. Hi Kate, I too am a ghostwriter, a disappointed ghostwriter since all of my writings were sold “full rights” – I cannot claim them as my own, nor use them in my portfolio. Yet, I keep my originals in the event someone misuses the articles and misinformation claims are pointed at me.

    I also have another blog which I have maintained since 2013 or ’14, can’t remember, it is not about writing, but, I wrote a lot.

    Anyway, it sounds like we are on a similar journey here. Glad to have found you. Good luck!

    1. So happy to have you as a reader, Sue Marie! I keep all of my work from my ghostwriting jobs, too. If not for proof for myself that I have written a piece of work. It can be frustrating not being able to use them in a portfolio. Thanks for your comment! šŸ™‚

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