Is Ghostwriting Ideal for Freelance Writers?

There are many different reasons why people decide to go into freelance writing. Perhaps they use it as an outlet for their creativity. Or, maybe their dream is to make a living doing their favorite thing – writing – while also having a schedule that can easily be changed to accommodate other aspects of their lives. Ghostwriting plays a significant role in job opportunities for freelance writers – the question is, though, should bylines be sacrificed for income?

What It’s All About

Ghostwriting is quite commonplace, unbeknownst to a lot of readers, which is exactly how employers want it. Entire books have been ghostwritten because the would-be author has the money, yet not necessarily the time or the writing skill to complete one. The same goes for website content; well-known personalities might lend their name to ghostwritten content for marketing purposes.

Why It Works

Some freelancers like the idea of ghostwriting, particularly if they’re not emotionally invested in the content that they’re writing. It’s a way for them to develop their writing skills, while at the same time potentially earning a decent amount of money. For example, I recently noticed a freelance writing job opportunity in which the employer wanted a ghostwriter for a known website. It was a project that was certainly going to pay well – hundreds of dollars for only a few articles.

Why It Doesn’t Work

Interestingly enough, in that same freelance writing job opportunity, the employer also gave the option of allowing writers a byline with pay reduced by 50%. The presence of a byline is great for promotional purposes, yet still, that is, of course, a significant reduction in pay for the same amount of work. Ghostwriting doesn’t tangibly benefit freelancers looking to build their portfolios, either.

Which Way?

Bylined work is more prevalent in journalism these days, so how can freelancers with other specializations still be credited? There’s no clear answer. Media companies with corresponding blogs sometimes let their freelancers have bylines. Commission-based freelancing opportunities (meaning a portion of advertising revenue from readers) also might offer bylines.

Enterprising freelance writers might want to write their own content on their own websites for the sake of building a portfolio to show potential clients. However, those clients might still want ghostwritten content.

So, for those looking to earn an income through freelance writing, ghostwriting projects will probably have to be a necessity at times throughout their careers. However, whenever selecting those sorts of projects, freelancers need to make sure they’re compensated fairly.

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