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Friday, November 5, 2010

The Everyday Joe: The Biggest Source of Clients for Ghostwriters

If you want to ghostwrite--and make money doing it--you've got to have paying clients. The largest number of potential clients fall into the category I call the Everyday Joe, who I've briefly discussed before.

Who is the Everyday Joe, or EJ? He may be a colleague, a neighbor, a relative, or a complete stranger. He wants to write a book. But he's nobody special. He’s not a celebrity, or an expert, and he doesn’t have a contract with a publisher. He wants to be an author but something is standing in his way.

Maybe he doesn’t have the time. Maybe he doesn’t have the patience. Maybe he doesn’t know enough about writing—or maybe he can’t organize his material into an actual book. Or maybe he’s written a book (or something roughly resembling one) but needs help with structure, organization, tone, you name it.

So he’s decided to find a ghostwriter—and that’s where you come in. The EJ may think he has a bestseller in the making. That’s fine. What isn’t fine is when he expects you to be paid when the book becomes a bestseller.

As a ghostwriter, you shouldn’t care too much about your EJ’s story (as long as you're interested in writing it for him), or even its bestselling potential. You should care about his wallet, and whether he's willing to pay for a talented ghostwriter to help him get his book into print.

The vast majority of the inquiries I get from EJs do not turn into work. But some do, and the sheer number of potential clients makes pursuing them worthwhile for both new and experienced ghostwriters.

Want to know more about breaking into the lucrative field of ghostwriting? Check out Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: The Writer’s Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Coauthoring Books; it’s also available on Kindle.