11 Jan 2021

Why Would Anyone Want to be a Ghostwriter?

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Why would anyone want to be a ghostwriter? Creativity, helping people, freedomWhy would anyone want to be a ghostwriter? It seems like a strange career choice, doesn’t it? Writing books, blogs, articles, and other materials for people without getting any credit. What’s the point of writing without getting credit? I mean, why would anyone want to be a ghostwriter?

It’s a Wonderful Life

Well, let me tell you little bit about my story so you can judge for yourself.

I’ve found that life is a series of adventures. I look at the different phases that I’ve gone through as chapters in a book. There were distinct patterns that separate the various chapters. I had a rough childhood, but then haven’t we all?   I went into the computer industry, and for 8 years served as a vice president of two different companies. I worked at Trader Joe’s for 20 years, was married and widowed, and became a photographer of models, supermodels, and dancers. You see how these go together like the parts of a book?

Going Freelance

The most recent chapter began when I decided to leave Trader Joe’s in 2013. I’d been working there for 20 years and thought I’d be there until I died. I believed I was happy but one day I realized the stress was killing me. Literally making me unhappy and unhealthy. I decided it was time to make my own business – I’d never done that before. So I “retired”, packed all my belongings in a moving van, resettled in Florida, and began a writing career.

I liken that choice to jumping off a cliff. I didn’t know if I’d make it or not, but I was determined to give it a good shot. I knew I had the skills and experience and was thus confident that I could go back into the technical industry anytime I wanted, but I’d always wanted to be a writer. But you know how it is, life got in the way. The demands of the family, job, and everything else didn’t leave any time for writing.

That all changed in 2013. Suddenly, writing became my life because I had to figure out how to make a living. Fortunately, I was a decent writer, a good manager, and I discover that writing was my passion. Not just something to do and far more than a hobby. Writing was part of my soul.

At first, I tried to make it by writing my own books and publishing them on Amazon. Amazingly, that worked out pretty well. I published one book, Focus on LinkedIn, that became a Kindle bestseller and sold over 10,000 copies. This was followed by a second book, How to Sell on eBay, that also became a Kindle bestseller and sold about 2,500 copies.

The First Ghostwriting Jobs

I ran into a fellow writer at a writing critique group. He hired me to write some books for his clients – my first ghostwriting jobs. He paid me $1,000 per book. I knew that was exceptionally low pay, but I considered it to be on the job training.

My first ghostwritten book was for an Afghani politician; it was never finished because the client decided he was going to return to Afghanistan. After that, I wrote two more books for two different clients.

I had a blast writing these first three books. I learned that I was great at giving interviews and gained confidence that I could write well.

After those three books, I realized that I was making under three dollars an hour and decided to strike out on my own. The same day that I left that job, I landed my first ghostwriting project – a novel for $10,000. The next day, a new client landed in my lap – a book on cybersecurity for $15,000.

Now I knew that I could make a living as a ghostwriter. And since that time, I’ve never looked back.

Why Would Anyone Want to be a Ghostwriter?

This is the most satisfying chapter of my life so far. I’m in business for myself, meaning I don’t answer to a boss, a corporate philosophy, a business culture, or any other straitjacket. I make my own rules, find my own clients, and do things my way. Sometimes I’ve been successful, and other times it’s been tough.

For the first time, I feel like that my life is under my control. I’ve chosen where I live because it’s a peaceful place and I’m surrounded by good people. I’ve chosen a new career, and it’s become successful.

Of course, there were times that I’ve been afraid because I wasn’t sure if I could find and close clients. That’s by far the most challenging part of being in business for yourself – getting clients. I tend to be a bit introverted, so at first it was a real challenge to have to reach out to dozens or even hundreds of people every single day to ask them if they’re interested in writing a book. These days, I’m not intimidated at all. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again.

So why would anyone want to be a ghostwriter? For me, the primary reasons are I get to practice my creativity, I get to help others by writing their books, I earn a good living, and I don’t have any worries about office politics, what the boss thinks, or getting the dreaded yearly performance review. I don’t have a boss, there are no office politics, and my performance review is clients that continue to pay their invoices.

As it turns out, writing is my passion. For the last eight years, I’ve written and published several of my own novels, 27 of my own nonfiction books, and assorted coloring books, puzzle books, and interview books. As a ghostwriter, I’ve completed 42 books on subjects ranging from artificial intelligence, digital transformation, and the IoT, all the way to memoirs, novels, and business-related subjects.

When the pandemic struck, I was already working from home, I didn’t have to worry about getting fired or laid off, and social distancing was easy.

I am happy now that I found a career that fits my lifestyle and fulfills my creative desires. I help people do something that’s important to them and at the same time I get to write.

I think the best thing about being a freelancer, aside from what I’ve already mentioned, is I get to choose my own clients. I choose to work with good people who are easy to work with. I look for those that are passionate about their subject and want to help others learn something. It’s a wonderful feeling.

In the past, I thought I enjoyed my job. In fact. I did enjoy my job. but that’s nothing like the feeling of contentment and happiness that I feel now every single day when I get up to pursue my passion – writing books and articles that help people with their careers and messages.

I’m curious, do you enjoy your chosen career? Why or why not? Let me know in a comment.

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