Never, Ever, Ever Do That Ghostwriting Shit

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Do you feel like the boss doesn’t even see you? He or she only looks at your flaws and never appreciates your hard work. They can’t even give out decent criticism, nor can they ever bring out the best in you.

Do they treat you like a ghost?

Well, welcome to the world of ghostwriting.

It’s the perfect word for the worst writing job in the world. Here’s why:

Who is writing in the notebook? Who cares? He’s a ghostwriter. He doesn’t exist.

1) You’re Not You; You’re Someone Else

The whole point of ghostwriting is to write for busy businessmen who don’t want to take an hour out of their day and write an article. So the busy execs outsource their writing skills to writers. All they ask of the writers is to write like they would.

It takes a skilled writer to figure out their own style, let alone someone else’s style. This already puts writers at a disadvantage. They have to do twice the work for a mid-level executive they’ve never met before.

On top of that, you’re expected to be an expert in their subject matter since you’re writing for the so-called experts of their field. If you don’t know anything about the subject, you better start reading yesterday to catch up.

And the only reason these businesses hire writers like us is to create more business through their blogs. It’s just one more avenue for marketing called “content marketing.” Which explains the money funneling away from writers…

2) You’re Paid Like Shit — Seriously

One guy wanted me to write for less than $7 an hour. Another couldn’t fathom paying me twenty dollars for a short article.

Because you’re just another business expense, businesses want to keep their costs low. Ideally, they want free marketing, but that’s not possible with the writer’s demands. But there’s this stupid thing called eating that writers have to do, so businesses have to pay the least amount.

I don’t blame business owners. Business is tight, and there aren’t many places that want to pay top dollar for quality writing. Because most writing that’s published on the internet (like this blog) sucks, blow, and is full of bullshit.

Speaking of sucking…

3) You Get Nothing And Like It

One time, I thought I wrote a good article. Turns out, the client rejected it because they “didn’t like it.” That’s all they wrote for their criticism.

I know I’m not that good, but I mean, at least editors give me some sort of advice. To be fair, writing is subjective, and some editors still don’t know what good writing looks like. I understand that.

That’s why I wrote at a fast rate. I knew some wouldn’t like my writing, others wouldn’t even look at it, so I wrote like there was no tomorrow and had a 75% acceptance rate. Not good, but also not bad, either.

Why did I have to write like there was no tomorrow? Because the business model was set up to pay writers all or nothing, with no in-between. I was mitigating my risk.

Of course my writing suffered, and the ghostwriting company I worked for put me on probation.

After all of that, who’s to blame for this crap? Sure, I was partially to blame for the bad writing. But if I was treated with more respect by either a) getting paid a little bit more or b) receiving some form of constructive criticism, it would have been a nice gig.

Sample Gigs

Let’s break down some sample writing gigs that I’ve had. Also, my contracts with both have been terminated by the other person, which makes me believe I’m the problem.

But that’s for a different time. I’ll figure out how to write gooder later.

Ghostwriting #1: Initially $0.015 per word (or $8 for this article), negotiated to $0.03 per word. One time wrote 40 reviews for Japanese hotels and British halal-friendly restaurants (don’t ask). Treated like dirt the entire time.

Ghostwriting #2: $8 for a 250-word article, $19 for a 600-word article. I’d try to write 40 600-word articles just to pay for rent. Guess how that turned out…

Here is another gig. Now you tell me which one you’d prefer:

Good Gig #1: $0.10 a word, my name on each article (aka byline), and editors who helped me become a better writer for their website. It didn’t work out long-term, but it was fun while it lasted. Paid my rent and health insurance and food for months.

Once I found out that there were more lucrative options out there, I jumped on that bandwagon. I appreciate my time as a ghostwriter… haha not really. But it taught me that there are worse jobs for writers out in the universe.