What Skills and Qualities Do Ghostwriters Need?

If a person is thinking about being a ghostwriter, there are a number of skills and qualities they should possess if they are to be successful in this career.

A Good Writer

Not surprisingly, the most important thing is to have good writing skills. There are tools online that can help you polish your grammar, spelling and punctuation, but you need to be reasonably accurate in the first place.

Most ghostwriting is non-fiction, such as blog posts, articles and eBooks. Being able to write to different lengths will also be an important skill.

A Good Researcher

In many cases, you will be expected to cite facts, figures and statistics. These help give the writing a ring of truth. Content that is very vague and generalized might have been good enough a few years ago, but clients and their target audience expect more these days. In particular, a lot of clients want you to write a book for them so they can seem like an expert in their niche or industry.

Organized

Being a ghostwriter requires a good deal of organization in several areas. First, you need a good portfolio of writing samples to show prospective clients you that really are able to write. Next, you should create a profile at every one of the freelance sites you are hoping to get ghostwriting jobs from.

Once your profile is completely filled in, you can start to apply for the jobs listed. But you should be selective. A lot of new ghostwriters will apply for any job, but this can backfire badly if the assignment is badly written or unclear, or the client is an unreasonable person.

Take the time to read each job carefully so you are clear about what is expected. You really won?t have time for a lot of back and forth with the client. Also check the client. They get reviews too, just like you will. If you see they post a lot of projects but rarely hire, they are not a serious buyer.

They could even be a scammer trying to get free work by asking ghostwriters to produce two custom articles on topics of their choosing. This is against the terms of service of most freelance sites, but many eager new ghostwriters fall for it.

You need to be organized throughout the project if you are hired, communicating with the client as and when needed. Finally, you must stay on top of your payments. It?s a good idea to get some money up front as a retainer. The rest will be paid once you and the client have both signed off on the project.

A Motivated Self-Starter

You might not always feel like writing, but you need to keep going in order to get paid and get a good review. Remind yourself of what is motivating you and you should be able to follow through.

A Good Communicator

Make sure everything is clear from the outset. Discuss issues promptly if and when they arise. If it is a short project, you might get by with a couple of emails. If it is a longer project, a brief email at the end of each day should reassure your client that good progress is being made. If you have set milestones for the project, check them off in the user interface and ask them to transfer the partial payment.

Polite and Diplomatic

Some clients are a bit more difficult than others. Famous people in particular can be quite arrogant. Always be polite no matter how rude the other person might be, and try to work with them in a way that won?t hurt their feelings or rile them up.

Reliable

Meeting your deadlines should be your main priority. You can either make excuses, or you can get the work done. Be as good as your word and you will always get repeat clients.

Being a ghostwriter can be an enjoyable and rewarding job. If you have these qualities, then ghostwriting could be the career for you.

Tom Ofori
 

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