Over the past year, I’ve received many questions about ghostwriting fiction. It’s a useful side hustle for authors who need to generate income.
If you’re an author who’s a fast, efficient writer, you’ll easily find clients who are prepared to pay for your words.
Once you’re paid of course, you lose all rights in those words — your novel is a “work for hire”. The copyright devolves to your employer when you’re paid in full.
Ghostwriting fiction: is it worth it?
That’s the crux of ghostwriting, of course. You lose all rights in your words. When a novel you’ve written goes on to sell brilliantly, the “lost” income will make you wince.
Whether or not ghostwriting fiction is worth it depends on your situation. Quick cash may trump all other considerations.
Let’s look at some tips.
1. Write a hot-genre novel (or a serial) and sell it
You can write fiction for hire, or you can sell something you’ve written. This may be a novel you’ve published (as long as you own all the rights) or it may be a novel you’re currently writing.
Everything you write is an asset; as long as you own it, you can sell it.
2. Get cash up front: avoid writing for free
When you’re hired to write, ensure that you get a payment up front, as well as milestone payments. If you’re a new author, obtaining up-front payment can be a challenge. In this case, write a novel and self-publish it before you offer your services.
Veteran ghostwriters who have waiting lists get paid up front when they’re writing for a new client. This solves hassles.
3. Increase your fees if one of your novels hits Kindle’s top seller lists
Keep an eye on the novels you’ve written. If a novel you’ve ghostwritten hits an Amazon best seller list, you can and should increase your ghostwriting fees.
Write for yourself, as well as ghostwriting fiction
One of the benefits of ghostwriting is that it improves your skills, as does all writing.
However, you can hit snags. For example, a student contacted me. He said: “I’m ghostwriting a mystery for a client, but I don’t want to sell it. I love the main character — what do I do?”
This can happen. You’re writing something, and you decide that it’s yours — you can’t bear to give it up.:-)
Luckily the student:
- Hadn’t submitted an outline to the client — so the book wasn’t pre-sold;
- Had time to write a different book for the client to fulfill his contract.
If you enjoy ghostwriting fiction it can be a profitable side hustle.
Why write serial fiction?
Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.
It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.More info →
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.More info →
Resources to build your writing career
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