Blogger: Wendy Lawton
As with all endeavors, getting that first break is one of the toughest tasks. You often hear the cry, “I can’t get a job without experience, but how do I get experience without a job?” The same lament can be applied to ghostwriting. Our dream situation is when we have enough success at ghostwriting/ collaborative writing that publishers are constantly coming to our agents trying to get worked into our schedule. But how does a writer get there?
Start by finding stories that cry out for telling and propose the book or article. When you come to a publication or a publisher with a story they love, built on a relationship with that author, you are halfway to getting that ghostwriting gig. This is risky for you because you need to do a serious amount of work with no promise of publication. Plus you need to enlist the participation of the author with no promises at all. But it can be done and it is being done all the time.
How do you find those stories?
- Read newspapers and when you see a compelling story– especially a local story that hasn’t already exhausted all its media potential– figure out how to connect with the subject and pitch your idea.
- If you are a writer, people will come to you, saying, “Everyone says I need to find someone to write my story.” 99 times out of 100 the story won’t be different enough or big enough but every once in a while. . .
- Meet interesting people. Attend lectures. Talk to people.
Don’t discount magazine storytelling. Learn to write for Guideposts. They have an annual competition and if your story is one of the twelve winners you get an all expense paid trip to New York to learn to write for their magazine where nearly all the stories are ghostwritten. Once you’ve completed that training they regularly call you with assignments.
Let your agent know you’d like to do some collaborative writing. We hear stories all the time that need collaborators. Plus publishers often call us to see if we have someone to come alongside their author.
Invest in your ghostwriting career. In order to build a career as a ghostwriter you may have to get some experience by volunteering to write a book or an article for your pastor or for a business personality you know.
Don’t shy away from high-paying vanity ghostwriting gigs. Perhaps the Fortune 500 CEO who lives in your town wants to self-publish a book of his life. It may not be a life-changing book but he will be prepared to pay a serious fee and if you can take some ho-hum material, dig deep, and create a knock-out book, you have all the experience you need to convince a publisher that with a compelling story you will knock it clean out of the park.
What did I miss? What tactics have you used in getting ghostwriting gigs? Let’s talk.
How to go about getting ghostwriting gigs. Click to Tweet
Five strategies for finding collaborative writing jobs. Click to Tweet