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So you want to go into ghostwriting?

So you want to go into ghostwriting?
A good way to get writing experience is by ghostwriting, that is writing for individuals and companies under their bylines rather than your own. With ghostwriting, you can test out writing for different genres without endangering your reputation as you would if you wrote under your own name. Here are some description of some hot ghostwriting markets and tips on how to get into them.
Technical writing
Technical writers develop technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. Documentation format includes not only print, but also, increasingly, PDF, HTML, interactive multimedia and help files. Although most technical writers work on-site, there is some offsite work. Most technical writers are employed by the IT industry. Although demanding, technical writing can be lucrative and interesting.
You should have the ability to write clearly and or some knowledge about, a specialized field"engineering, business, or one of the sciences. Familiarity with Word, HTML and FrameMaker is essential and familiarity with multimedia and online help tools, such as RoboHelp, is highly desirable A degree in engineering, computer science, or one of the hard sciences (for example, chemistry, physics) is highly recommended and, lately, is becoming a prerequisite for many jobs. Right now, there are many experienced writers looking for work; so there are limited opportunities for persons without previous tech writing experience
Outlook: the field has been severely impacted by the consolidation of the IT industry and outsourcing. The opportunities will continue to decrease due to the ongoing consolidation of IT and outsourcing.
Good places to look for jobs:,,,
Business/Corporate writing
Other writers worked in advertising and related services, public and private educational services, government agencies, religious organizations, and business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations. They prepare manuals,
A degree in English, business, communications, marketing, or some other business or writing-related field is helpful. Knowledge of Word is essential and familiarity with multimedia and online help tools, such as RoboHelp, is highly desirable. Knowledge of technology and specialized subject areas is useful tool
Outlook: Like tech writing, business writing has been impacted by the consolidation in IT industry, business cost-cutting measures, and outsourcing. However, the outlook for business and corporate writer is not as bleak as technical writers because business writers are spread out over a wide range of industries, not just IT.
Good websites to look for work on:, Elance,, Sologig,
Academic writing
Academic writing is not always done by academics. Textbook packagers often get a known name to put together an outline and then hire writers to actually write the book - a sort of academic ghostwriting. It is work made for hire and pays reasonably well. The actual writer usually only gets a little tiny credit somewhere in the front or back of the book, while the expert gets the cover credit. In certain medical and scientific disciplines, ghostwriters also either write or heavily edit some journal articles. In addition, over 200 paper mills and term paper sites that employ writers with advanced degrees to write or edit term papers, dissertations, and theses for high school, college, and graduate schools.
Caution: Writing term papers for other people is illegal in many states and sanctions may get tougher. For example, in California, recently, AB 2800 would extend to high schools an existing provision of state law - largely ignored since its adoption in the 1970s - that bans sale of term papers for college credit.
In order to break into academic writing, you need a Masters or Doctorate, good research skills, strong writing skills, strong attention to detail, access to a online research database, such as Virtual Library or EBSCO, patience (oftentimes, academic work will be reviewed by three or four referees and many changes will have to be made) and familiarity with the APA and MLA citation styles. In addition, you be familiar with stylistic and formatting requirements for papers, journal articles, theses, dissertation, and other academic formats.
Good websites to look for work: Guru, Elance,, college newspaper classifieds, Craigs List
Outlook: Good. The need for academic writing is growing due to the increasing numbers of students in college and graduate school
Web content
There are abundant opportunities for ghostwriting content for websites, ezines, E-books, and newsletters. Many websites are looking for content to enhance their sites..
To get started in this field, you need to be able to write crisply and concisely. To get an idea of how web sites are written, do a search on a subject that you would like to write about and look at the articles in the website or look at any of the writing sites mentioned below. Finding online writing opportunities takes a little more searching than finding print markets. Print guides are readily available at the library, bookstore, and online, but you have to know where to look to find exclusive listings of online writing jobs.
Outlook: Very good. 171,000 websites are being added every week according to a recent survey of t strives to be the most comprehensive directory of email publications on the Internet. There are currently exactly 7873 ezines listed in, and the directory grows by 10 a week.
Here are some ways to find potential jobs and markets for websites, ezines, and newsletters:
1.Check out job and market listings on general job search websites.,
2.Look at the job boards and classified ads on ezines and websites for writers: The Write Jobs The Write Markets Reports World Wide Freelance,Writer's Market Webzine, Writers Guidelines Database Writers' Job Market
3.Sign up for newsletters, mailing lists, and discussion groups for writers. Most of these have job listings, as well as other valuable information for writers.

4.Surf the web for your favorite sites, and chances are, they accept submissions. They will likely have guidelines listed, too, to help you get started. Subscribe, post, and soon, you will be ready to contribute an article or two.
Ghostwriting books for individuals is probably the most visible form of ghostwriting. Yes, ghostwriters do write celebrity bios. However, besides celebrity bios, ghostwriters are employed to write books and E-books on any topic imaginable. Here is a sample of some current ghostwriting requests:
A detailed fantasy novel along the lines of Stephen Wiess
A book discussing importance of detoxification by way of nutrition and other means.
The 100 best science fair projects
E-book on skin care for the African American women.
Outlook: Very good for writers who have already published a book. If you have not published a book, you should try to have samples of large-scale projects that you have worked on, such as manuals, study guides, and so on. Ghostwriting books requires patience, organization, listening abilities, and perseverance. Before you sign up for a ghostwriting project, be sure that you feel comfortable working with the subject material and the author.
General rates for ghostwriting
Here are some figures from the 2004 edition of Writer's Marketplace:
Ghostwriting for business (usually trade magazine articles for business columns): high: 115/hour
Ghostwriting a book: $13,313, $6,000 - $21,000
Ghostwriting novel: $25 per hour
Ghostwriting an article/column: $1.01 per word, 35 cents - $2.86
Web site content: $50 per hour; 53 cents per word; 26 cents - $1
Web site contract writing: 53 cents per word, 10 cents - $1.50 (27 cases); $2,500-$3,000 minimum for new site content development
Ghostwriting research papers:$8-10 per page

About the Author

Janet K. Ilacqua is a freelance writer based in Tracy, California. Check her website for more information and samples.


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