Writing novels for a living sounds extremely appealing to many. However, there are a few problems that hold people back. You might feel as though you don’t have the patience to wait for a book to start making money. Or, maybe you don’t have the time to invest without receiving a regular paycheck. These reasons are why so many people decide to ghostwrite.
A career as a ghostwriter has many benefits, but there are also some drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look at the factors to consider when deciding if you should ghostwrite novels.
Should You Ghostwrite Novels?
Do You Need Money Now?
One of the biggest reasons people choose to ghostwrite novels is that they want to make money immediately. There are different payment structures based on the author. Some may pay 1/3 up front, 1/3 once the book is half done, and another 1/3 at the completion. Others may pay upfront. It just depends on the author. Regardless, if you want to make a good amount of money quickly, ghostwriting is the way to go.
- Pro: Payment quickly and regardless of the book’s level of success.
- Con: Lose the possibly of passive income over the years.
Are You Willing to Hand Over the Rights?
It’s difficult to create a world and characters and then hand over the rights to someone else. If you think you will get attached to the characters in your story, you may not want to ghostwrite. In order to gain success as a ghostwriter, you have to be able to write and detach. Write the story and move on.
- Pro: Let someone else’s idea fuel your writing passion.
- Con: Those characters you fall in love with creating are not yours.
Can You Write Another Person’s Story?
Some authors want you to write a specific story. You need to be able to take their ideas and turn it into a novel. This can be hard to do. One person’s vision can be different from another’s. You’ll want to test the waters and see if you can brainstorm together to create something that the author likes. You might even write a chapter before committing to the project.
- Pro: Assignment details. No need to pull an idea out of thin air.
- Con: Extra time to see if you work well with the author.
Are You Okay With Having Nothing to Show for Your Time?
If you write novels and publish them yourself, you will continue to make money for as long as the books are published and purchased. With ghostwriting, you are paid a set amount for the book, and that’s the end. Depending on the level of success of the book, this might be hard to swallow.
- Pro: Write, get paid, and move on to the next job. You don’t have to edit, promote, create book covers, or decide how to publish.
- Con: Well, it’s not your book.
Can you Let Go of Potential Fame?
Let’s just say the book you ghostwrite is an epic success. There are book tours, press events, and maybe even a movie deal. How will you feel if you are the ghostwriter behind the best seller? Your name will not be listed as the author. Make peace with that before you choose to start a ghostwriting career.
On the flip side, if the book is not all that successful, you still got paid for your work.
- Pro: Get paid no matter what.
- Con: Remain a “ghost” (which is not a con for everyone!)
You really need to consider what you want from a writing career. Depending on your personality type, being a “ghost” might be the most appealing choice. If you just want to write and don’t want to deal with the rest of the process, ghostwriting is a dream gig.
Once you answer each question honestly with yourself, you should know if ghostwriting is for you.
The beauty of freelance writing is that you can always change your mind. Try ghostwriting until you are financially able to take the time to write your own novel.
What are your thoughts on ghostwriting? Do you think you should ghostwrite novels?