How to Make Money Writing: Ghostwriting
In our ongoing series on ways to actually make money as a sex writer, one that doesn’t get a lot of attention but can lead to plenty of business is ghostwriting. When you’re used to always putting your name on your work, it can feel a little odd. But once you become known as someone who offers that service, ghostwriting can also be a great way to make money as a sex writer.
What is Ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is much more common than you may realize. It’s a simple enough concept. One person writes the content, and another person (or company) puts their name on it. This happens with celebrity autobiographies, company websites, and even single-person operated websites. That last one doesn’t sit well with me (that would be like me hiring other writers to pretend to be me on KaylaLords.com), but the others certainly make sense. People have a story they want to tell, but don’t have the time, talent, or desire to do the actual writing. Enter the ghostwriter.
Ideally, when you’re hired as a ghostwriter, you’re given very clear instructions. The brand should know what tone they want you to use. They should have content ideas or a strategy in mind. I’ve been hired and told to “write about sex.” Well, that clears things up. If you’re not given this information, ask for clarification of exactly what they want. If they don’t know, you may be able to help them figure it out.
Is Ghostwriting Ethical?
I’ve met a few writers who felt ghostwriting was problematic. They believed the “author” of the book, website, or article deceives people by not admitting they didn’t write it. Let’s think about this, though. Would the average consumer read a book about Oprah by “Kayla Lords” or written by Oprah herself? Right, my name won’t sell the book about Oprah.
The other thing to realize is that the person who hires the writer works very closely with that person. A ghostwriter can’t create content out of nothing. They need direction and guidance. It requires a certain chameleon-like ability to act as the voice of someone else and be believable. Depending on the type of work, a ghostwriter may refine and organize the content into something readable or they may do others things like conducting interviews. As long as they’re getting paid, it’s ethical work.
How Do You Become a Ghostwriter?
Like every other type of sex-writing gig, you go looking for it. Offer it as a service. Pitch websites that are clearly in need of help with their content. When you put yourself out there as a sex writer-for-hire, it’s not uncommon for companies to reach out with ghostwriting propositions. The last two ghostwriting clients I’ve had came to me. It was clear in their communication that they worried I might turn down the request because as their ghostwriter, my name wouldn’t be anywhere on the content.
I jumped on the chance. Why? Typically, when you give up a byline and recognition for your work, you can justify charging more. While no one lives off of exposure, having your name attached to work builds your resume. Ghostwriting isn’t always something you can put on a resume.
The Downside to Ghostwriting
I’m not going to lie. There are some downsides to being a ghostwriter. That whole no-byline thing isn’t always great. You may have to agree not to disclose that you write for a company. (For everyone who’s going to ask who I ghostwrite for, this is part of why I don’t share those company names.) It’s not necessarily a resume builder other than the single line you can add that says “Ghostwriter.”
You need multiple streams of income for many reasons, but in ghostwriting, it’s more important. Being able to show potential clients what you’ve written quickly and easily (instead of the dreaded reference) helps them make a faster decision about whether to hire you. A blog always works, but bylines for online publications or having a client willing to give you a reference certainly helps.
Your Responsibility as a Ghostwriter
For some companies, it’s not that they’re not willing to put your name on the article. They don’t put anyone’s name on their blog which is more common than you might think. This means that when you write on their behalf, you become that brand’s voice. It’s a big responsibility. As much as I enjoy ghostwriting work, I find this part the most stressful.
I can apologize for my own fuck-up under my own name. When you fuck up on behalf of a company, no one but the client knows it was your fault. That sounds great until you get fired from that job and lose the reference because you hurt their bottomline. I feel a big responsibility when I become the voice of a brand. It’s not about keeping my job as their writer but about doing right by the company.
Not everyone wants to be a ghostwriter. Being able to put your name on your work is important for many people. If you’re simply looking for more ways to build an income as a sex writer, ghostwriting is definitely something to add to your list of services.
Have you ever worked as a ghostwriter for a company or a person? What your experience like? Is this your first time learning about ghostwriting? What do you think now that you know it’s an option? Share your thoughts in the commons below!