Ghostwriting can be a great way to make your living as a freelance writer. However, it requires a number of very specific skills which can be difficult to illustrate. Not only that but it can also put a number of major blocks in your way.
For example, Ghostwriting requires that you be able to emulate other people’s style. Not just for a short work but for a large piece of writing. It also requires that you have the ability to write extended pieces such as book or eBook.
Clients want to deal with Ghostwriters who have and can prove that they have written books. Not just in their style but in a voice that sounds like the client’s voice. After all, the book needs to sound like it was written by the client not the ghostwriter.
Unfortunately, many times the agreement with the ghostwriter includes a non-disclosure clause. This clause says that the ghostwriter cannot tell anyone that they have written the book. In some cases, it may even prevent the ghostwriter from admitting to having written the book. It can even go so far as to limit the ghostwriter in stating who their clients were. Of course, the wise ghostwriter always ensures that they can use the book and the client’s name in their own advertising. Testimonials are always a great way of doing this. But especially when you are just starting it can be difficult to negotiate a fair non-disclosure clause.
What can a new ghostwriter do to prove their ability?
One of the best ways to prove your ability is to write eBooks. Unlike a traditionally published book these can be written specifically as a sample. All you need is someone who will allow you to write a book using their voice.
EBooks qualify as large pieces of writing. However, unlike a print book, they tend to be short — fifty pages or so. With a good system for writing books and eBooks they can be written in about one week (less than 24 hours of writing). A full sized book on the other hand will take at least two weeks (roughly 44 hours) to write. One week is a reasonable length of time to spend preparing a single sample writing project. Two weeks is a little long when you consider that several of these samples will be needed to prove that you can do what you claim. And that the samples will probably need to be researched. Which also adds to the time needed to create them.
EBooks also do not involve a high cost for publishing. In theory, at least, you can create your own cover with readily available software. Publishing consists of merely reformatting the book, adding a cover and then printing in PDF format. Adding an ISBN is a possibility, however, there can be a minor cost associated.
If desired you can always use a print-on-demand publisher to print a limited number of copies of your eBooks as samples. However, using a digital sample has advantages and can be done even cheaper.
For example, you could include both the digital eBook and an MP3 recording of your theoretical client. That way your potential client can judge for themselves how closely you have captured your theoretical client’s voice in your writing.