Truex talks about ghostwriting


Why would any writer consider ghostwriting? Indulging in the pains-taking work of writing a novel, book, blog, or story for someone else to put their name on it and reap the benefits and the glory?

“Ghostwriting is a form of freelance writing, so it’s something anyone who wants to get paid to write might con-sider. In my case, I ghostwrite fiction, so many ask why I’d do that instead of writing the stories for myself. I do write some fiction under my pen name, but making money as a fiction writer doesn’t pay me as fast or often as my ghostwriting work,” said local author and freelance writer, Leslie Truex.

“Most well-known form of ghostwrit-ing is famous people who have a story to tell or something to say in a book but don’t have the skills to write it. Some ghostwriters create other forms of content such as blog posts or arti-cles. And then there are people like me who are hired to write fiction.” Currently, Truex has one client that she writes approximately one book a month for and has hired another person to plot the work. Truex takes the plots, reviews them, offering feedback if needed, and then writes. She says she averages about 2,500 to 4,000 words a day.

“Sometimes I have to plot too, which I find difficult as I’m a panster by nature.” For those unfamiliar with the term, pansters are writers who “fly by the seat of their pants” when writing and do very little if any planning such as outlines.

The advantage for Truex is that she is paid when the book is complete, rather than waiting for it to be released.

“Even in self-publishing, how much you earn depends on how well the book is marketed,” she said. “I also have a steady client who values my work. Sometimes I have two clients at one time, which is hard, but nice on payday.” When she’s not ghostwriting, she works on her books, either a romance or a mystery. She recently started working on two projects; one of which is an online community along with courses and content on writing romance fiction, her specialty.

Though It can pay well there are drawbacks.

“In my case, I’m not paid as much as I think I’m worth,” she laughs. “Based on how fast I write, I make around $25 to $30 per hour. The forms of ghost-writing that pay well are competitive and often require having a connection to the publisher or the well-known person that needs the writer. Also, sometimes I’m not thrilled about what I’m asked to write, although my client gives me some leeway to make tweaks that make the writing more fun.”

In 2020, after 18 months and nearly 2 million words, she developed repeti-tive strain injury in her fingers. Now she records her writing digitally and has software that transcribes the recording. The only typing she does is the revision.

“Although the change was weird, I actually doubled my output so maybe it’s an advantage.”

Truex admits that one of her biggest challenges and one most often expected by writers regarding ghostwriting is when her clients get rave reviews.

“I love that the books are well-re-ceived but it’s hard to have someone else get the credit. Part of my contract is that I’m not allowed to say who I write for.”

Though Truex’s passion is fiction, non-fiction writing is also part of her freelance work other than teaching and editing. She knows the ins and outs of working online and getting those jobs that support a steady stream of income. She found her work on ProBlogger’s job board. She submitted samples and had to go through a process to learn their systems and expectations.

“Freelance writing websites can be a good source for writing work, as can places like Upwork, although the pay will be low to average,” she said. “A person can establish their own freelance service business offering ghostwriting, which can allow them to demand higher pay, but they have to find someone to hire them. Marketing is a big challenge for many freelancers and home business owners.”

She says there many ways to make money writing, especially online. Before she ghostwrote fiction, she was the home business expert at The Balance Small Business, where she wrote articles related to home busi-ness, marketing, working from home, and also pitched articles on writing or home business that she sold to online markets.

“Other forms of freelance writing other than ghostwriting, include copy writing. Anyone who wants to make money with words can probably find a way to do that, especially with online venues that are in need of quality content on a regular basis. The chal-lenge is getting hired by businesses that value the work writers do enough to pay them well.”

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