My life as a ghostwriter | Answering YOUR questions about ghostwriting novels [CC]


Today I’m here to answer your questions about what it’s like to be a ghostwriter. Hey everyone! My name is Katlyn Duncan and I am a traditionally published author and ghostwriter. You see these spirit fingers? This is what we’re gonna talk about today. If you haven’t heard of a ghostwriter before let me give you a little background. Have you ever heard of The Babysitters Club series? Hardy Boys? Nancy Drew? The Warriors series? These are just a few books by writers written under a name which is not their own. Ghostwriters have been used in the publishing industry for years. They are hired to write a project whether it’s a book, a speech, a song, etc. but the credit goes to someone else, presumably the person who hired them. Now, just because a book is written by a ghostwriter doesn’t mean they never get credit. Now take James Patterson for example. All of his ghostwriters are on the book with him but he seems to be the exception to the rule. My experience with ghostwriting is more from a freelance perspective versus maybe someone who’s agented and works with Intellectual Property aka IP If you’re interested in learning more about that I’m going to link a video from Alexa Donne where she does a great job of explaining intellectual property, book packaging, and the like. So she did a great job of explaining it so I do recommend you check it out after this video. So when I tell people I’m a ghostwriter, I always get the same questions asked to me over and over. So I figured I would put it in one place for all of you. Number one – How did I get started? So back in 2016, I saw a Facebook post by an author friend of mine, Cyn Balog, where she mentioned she was a ghostwriter. At that point, I knew what a ghost writer was and what they did but I never knew how to be one. Especially someone without an agent. So I inquired with her and we had this really long conversation and she was so sweet to answer all of my questions So at that point she introduced me to Upwork.com and then I started to do my own research. So since there are a lot more freelancers and there were jobs available, I was sort of advised to take what I can get at the beginning to raise my rating on the website. Because if you have a higher rating you will have a better chance of getting the higher paying jobs where people are looking for ghostwriters who are really effective,
communicative, and perfect for their job. So I took a few lower paying jobs that I knew I could do to raise my rating. I actually did write an entire, I think it was about 40,000 word novella for $35. UGH! It killed me man! So in this process for over a couple of years I really learned my craft. I learned what I liked, what I didn’t like, how fast I could write, how fast I wanted to write. With my hard work, I found several consistent clients who I loved to work for and wound up doing over 40 books between them. And because of Upwork, I recently made a connection with a book packager which is who I currently work with now. Question number two – Who do you write for? And I cannot tell you that! Because with all of my clients I do sign an NDA which is a non-disclosure agreement which means I cannot tell you who I write for or what books I’ve written. I can tell you the genre, but that’s about it. Sorry! Question number three – Are these books your ideas? For me, no. I have never written an original idea for a ghostwriting client. I have written for a few clients who given me sort of vague details on what they wanted such as genre, or a logline, or a pitch. But I don’t prefer to work this way with my clients. The consistent clients that I do work for always give me a full outline it’s usually chapter by chapter and they can range from a paragraph, to a page, to a couple pages. and then they usually give me free reign to explore character arcs and subplots and things like that Question number four – What types of books do you ghostwrite? I’ve written from middle grade young adult to adult. I’m all over the place. Which also helped me figure out what types of genres I do enjoy writing Question number five – How much you get paid? It depends on how much my clients budget is. I’ve had options for working hourly, for per word, for a thousand words, etc. So if you’re interested in ghostwriting just be aware that it may depend on your client and how much they’re willing to pay. Question number six Is it easier for you to ghostwrite vs writing your own books? It really depends on what you mean by easy. I do love when an outline is given to me and I can just go ahead and write. Which doesn’t ever happen with my book. In that sense it would be easier because I can start a project right away after reading the outline and sort of asking questions of my client if I do have any but, it’s easier to get started for me to write a ghostwriting book than my own books, I guess. Question number seven Don’t you think your name should be written on the book cover since you wrote it? Listen, I know there are polar opposite stigmas based around ghostwriting. Some people believe that a ghost writer should be given credit for writing a book. It’s their time and effort. It’s their words. It’s their thought process. It’s their time. My belief is that I would have never written these books unless I was a ghostwriter. These are not my ideas. These are not my outlines. I write the book sure, but I’m also being compensated for that time. So then when I give the book away I give those rights away that I signed in my NDA. So that’s my belief about it. If you don’t believe that way, then I probably would suggest that you didn’t become a ghostwriter. So those are my top seven questions that are always asked to me about being a ghostwriter. I hope this information was somewhat helpful to you or informative. I did want to shout out a great series about how to get started with ghostwriting it’s by Sara Lloyd. I have linked the series down below. I watched all the videos and it’s very informative more of a how-to. And I definitely recommend you check it out if you want to learn more. So if you have any other questions or want to chat about ghost writing in general, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to answer any questions for you and sort of repay the kindness that Cyn gave to me all those years ago. So that’s all I have for you. If you enjoyed this video do give it a like,
hit that subscribe button, and ring that bell So you know the next time I post a video. I’ll see you soon! [music]

9 Replies to “My life as a ghostwriter | Answering YOUR questions about ghostwriting novels [CC]

  1. I'd love to talk about ghostwriting if you have any other questions than those I mentioned in the video. Let's chat!

  2. This was really interesting! What are your favorite genres to ghost write? Are they the same as your favorite genres for your own stories? Do you think your tone is consistent in your personal and ghost writing? Or do you sometimes write more serious, comedic, romanticized, or gritty depending on your request? Or do you only write in one style and make sure you fit you client so your style can satisfy them?

  3. This was very informative. I've never really considered doing ghostwriting before but I'm curious about it now, especially as a way to explore other genres and ideas. And I agree with you that ghostwriters shouldn't be credited on the cover as it's not their idea, they were merely the tool to get it written.

  4. This is really cool! I'd love to try ghostwriting at some point. I know a lot of celebrities have ghostwritten books, and I know a lot of the Sweet Valley books were ghostwritten, but I didn't know the Babysitters Club had ghostwritten books too! haha i went to a panel with Ann M Martin at BookCon one year and she never mentioned that — though I guess she mostly focused on her process for the first few in the series, probably before that happened. I have a teacher who ghostwrote for a few celebrities and our class was always trying to figure out who t hey were, but she was unbreakable! Those NDAs are powerful!

  5. That was a very informative video. I'm also considering to start my career as a ghostwriter. Can you tell me how can I do that? Which platforms to choose as a newbie and how can I make my portfolio?

  6. Hello, I would like to know can you help me write a book about being a Parent outside of the house, basically parenting and a dad‘s perspective of not living in the home with the child.

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