Masters tales

Ghost-writing

One of my favourite movies is Serenity a sci fi western based in the series Firefly. In it there is a line that says:

We are but ghosts in this.

And this is exactly how I see ghost writing. I was shocked initially that I found work, but once I started I realised that ghost writing or ghosting, as I term it, can be highly lucrative. Find a third party site and bid on jobs. Basically you tell them how much you are willing to get paid and what experience you will bring to the table.

It is a steep learning curve though. The company I use (elance) works in Australian dollars, so all bidding has to be converted. Be careful what price you are being asked to work at. I got caught out in one proposal and ended up bidding so that I worked for about 50p an hour.

Saying that, once you have grasped the money conversion it is easy. Then there is the amount of jobs. Everyday elance can get hundreds of writing jobs. It would be nice to say that they are all wonderfully inspirational, but it just isn’t the case. Choose wisely. If you hate writing biographies then don’t.

Another rule I work by is that I won’t bid on anything I want to do. In other words I want to publish my own crime novel, so I won’t bid on ghosting a crime novel. To see your own book making it but to have no rights to it would be difficult. Instead, I bid on technical writing and content writing, jobs I don’t want to be known for.

An eyeopener though was the amount of anthologies that are looking for stories and willing to pay for them on these sites. All you have to do is submit a sample and see if you ‘fit’ into what the client wants.

Remember though if you want to become a ghost then you can’t be precious about your work. Once you have sent it to the client it is no longer yours in any way. Even if it sells a million copies you do not get any royalties. Saying that though it is a good and sometimes interesting way to pay the bills.

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