Ghostwriting in 2024: Trends, Tools, and Techniques

Relay Publishing
9 min readMay 15, 2024

An author’s life can be profoundly satisfying and an excellent way to make a living. But with more than one million books published yearly, how do you cut through the noise of the established names to interest readers and generate book sales?

Becoming a ghostwriter and creating content for others can help you learn the essential craft of audience engagement while finding your authoritative voice and developing your skillset, while getting paid.

This article explores ghostwriting in 2024, providing a path to enjoying the creative life. We’ll examine the trends, tools, and techniques that can help you get your first job while discovering your niche.

Let’s go!

What is ghostwriting?

“Ghostwriting” is a long-established art that spans a wide range of literary mediums, from memoirs and novels to journalistic and social content writing.

Many people associate ghostwriting with celebrity autobiographies or speech writing for public figures, where the ghostwriter is hired to write in an instantly recognisable voice.

However, most ghostwriters are hired to create journalistic content, social media brand content, or novelistic works for publishers like Relay.

A great ghostwriter can:

  • Write in a wide variety of voices.
  • Deliver information concisely in a digestible format.
  • Capture an audience’s attention with engaging content.

Ghostwriting trends in 2024

Despite the rising prevalence of AI-based copywriting tools like ChatGPT, ghostwriting and copywriting services are in more demand than ever. And while an AI tool can turn a slightly vague prompt into a 2000-word article in seconds, it’s not capable of the emotional intelligence of a human writer.

So, in a world where content is king, the demand for ghostwriting will likely remain.

AI — should you use it?

What AI does well is provide a starting point — a canvas for development. Staring at a blank screen can feel lonely, and an AI copywriting tool quickly helps overcome that problem. It gives you a structure from which to craft, so it can be a good starting point if you’re writing to a deadline.

However, most of us can detect AI writing. While it’s typically grammatically accurate, it also feels cold and often misinterprets essential facts. So, if you need to use AI to get started, don’t stop there. Warm it up with a human touch and check the informative content for accuracy before putting your name on the byline.

The rise of diverse voices and digital publishing

In the past, it was only the specialist publishing houses that considered authentic stories from diverse social, sexual, racial, and economic backgrounds valuable. But now, the doors are open for writers previously stifled by mainstream publishing.

Indeed, one of the big positives of creative writing in 2024 is the hunger for voices and stories from diverse backgrounds, democratising the industry through the rise of digital publishing.

How profitable is ghostwriting in 2024?

Like all professional roles, you get paid for your experience. If you’re starting out without a portfolio, you may need to take a couple of lower-paid roles to build your CV.

However, an experienced ghostwriter could make between $10,000 and $50,000 for a nonfiction publication or a memoir.

If you produce blog posts and online articles, you should earn around $150 — $500 per article, depending on your experience, ability, word count, and the client’s budget.

Fiction ghostwriting is a smaller niche, but can still pay upwards of $4000 per book.

Find out how to become a creative writing ghostwriter with Relay Publishing.

Royalties vs upfront commission in 2024

Some ghostwriters work on a royalty basis, but many prefer a standard fee agreed upon before the contract begins; often paid incrementally as the project progresses.

While the idea of working on a royalty basis sounds exciting with the potential to make a lot of money. Realistically, a ghostwriter has little influence on how well a book sells — that’s down to the named author and the publishing house.

This makes accepting a payment based solely on royalties quite a risk — you may never get paid regardless of the standard of your work.

Ghostwriting for a well-known public figure

Some ghostwriters will work on a royalty basis if they’re writing for a well-known individual or company because the public already knows them and is likely to purchase the publication.

Nonetheless, there’s still a risk involved in being paid solely through royalties, so most ghostwriters would negotiate a lower upfront fee and a royalty percentage.

If a ghostwriter works with traditional publishers and agents, they’re likelier to take royalty splits than those working for corporate or unknown clients publishing independently.

Ghostwriting tools in 2024

There are many fantastic writing tools that make our lives much faster, more efficient, and flexible.

Here’s a list of some of our favourite ghostwriting tools available in 2024:

Grammarly

When working to a deadline, it’s easy to make mistakes. If you have to submit your copy by the end of the day, you’ll feel a distinct pressure to rush the proofreading.

But:

Can you really rely on your proofreading skills if you’re working at speed?

This is where Grammarly (and other proofreading apps, such as ProWritingAid and Ziflow) become your most valuable writing companion.

What Grammarly does

Import a text document as a .doc, .docx, or .odt. And it instantly provides a list of suggested improvements to accept or decline, along with a score for Correctness, Clarity, Engagement, and Delivery.

It becomes an essential writing companion for creating journalistic content at speed. But it’s also an excellent tool for creative writers, although you may need to be more selective with the suggested improvements: it doesn’t always consider the artistic decisions we make as writers.

If you’re preparing a piece for submission to agents or publishers, it’s always better to proofread thoroughly, and Grammarly makes this long task more straightforward.

Online Thesauri

Creative writing is a craft, and the best scribes have the largest vocabularic canvas at their fingertips. Sometimes, there’s only one word that accurately conveys a mood or feeling, and this is where the thesaurus becomes a valuable tool for ghostwriters.

One of the best thesauruses is the Apple Dictionary, providing instant alternatives when you can’t quite find the right word. However, Thesaurus.com is an excellent, always-available resource that provides the same quality of results.

But beware:

A longer or more complex word isn’t always better than a simple or short one. Consider your audience and readability because an incorrectly used synonym spoils an otherwise well-crafted sentence.

The Flesch scale

If you need help determining whether your content is appropriate for your target audience, consider running a Flesch test. This assesses the use of language, syntax, and vocabulary and identifies the level of educational attainment required to engage with it.

There are many online sources for Flesch testing, but Grammarly offers a very reliable readability scoring metric.

Generally speaking, a higher Flesch score implies accessibility to a broad audience. In contrast, lower scores (less than 50) suggest your content suits an audience with university degrees and higher.

The Pomodoro Timer

It’s easy to get distracted when writing, so consider using a Pomodoro timer, which you can download or use online.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that breaks work periods into intervals to help ensure maximum focus and productivity.

Typically, you work for twenty-five minutes before enjoying a five-minute break — that’s one Pomodoro. Then, you return to working for twenty-five minutes before taking another five-minute break.

While this sounds like it may interrupt the flow of your work day, it helps reduce the external interruptions. If you know you can check WhatsApp in twenty-five minutes, you’ll be able to focus on your work without the distraction.

There are tons of Pomodoro timers available online. Alternatively, search “Pomodoro timers” on YouTube for videos with or without focus-orientated music to help you maintain your concentration throughout the working period.

Word Processor

Think about how you’ll share your work with your client. Which application will make that easier?

For example, if you work in Apple Pages and your client works in MS Word, then yes, they’re compatible. But are they compatible enough? Tables and images sometimes translate

poorly.

So, consider using Google Docs or another online word processor package. It’s free and makes sharing and collaboration much easier.

Ghostwriting techniques in 2024

Ghostwriting is a genuine craft because it’s about accurately representing the author’s voice. But there’s more to becoming a successful ghostwriter:

Identify your niche

You may have a super-versatile literary voice, but you also need a genuine passion for your content — otherwise, it feels flat to read.

So, rather than making yourself available to the highest bidder, consider the subjects and genres that put fire in your belly because your passion will shine through.

Show your client that you’re the right person for the job by demonstrating your passion for the niche. Whether you’re ghostwriting a novel, an article, or a script, a background in that genre or niche makes you more attractive to clients.

Check out the wide variety of literary genres published by Relay Publishing for a starting point.

Adapting the voice

This is probably the most essential of all requirements. When you’re working as a ghostwriter, it’s not about you; it’s about representing your client’s voice as precisely as possible.

And while it can be tempting to add your personality to the page, approach it with caution. Of course, you should bring your creative energy to a project, but don’t be offended if the client asks you to rewrite it — even if it feels like you’re stripping your art from the page.

Developing a close relationship with the editor is key to successful ghostwriting — so spend time getting to know them. Ask questions about the project before you start, and keep in regular contact.

At Relay Publishing, we pair our ghostwriters with experienced editors. More experienced ghostwriters may need little guidance, while newer writers might need more support with their first project. We understand the importance of that relationship, which is why we’re able to produce so many top-selling novels.

Verifying your sources

If you’re writing factual content, you must research your subject thoroughly. After all, part of being a journalistic ghostwriter is your dedication to research and factual accuracy.

Having all the facts around you while you write is how you develop an authoritative voice on the page — never skimp on the research.

Not every client will want you to verify your sources in the same way. Some may prefer an academic-style bibliography (like Wikipedia), while others favour backlinking to reinforce the authority of your article.

How do I become a ghostwriter?

Hopefully, you feel fired up and ready to tackle your first ghostwriting position. In most cases, you’ll need a portfolio of calling card pieces demonstrating your literary prowess.

So, if you don’t yet have anything published:

1. Create a blog

Building a website is pretty straightforward nowadays, and typically require no coding or design knowledge.

Many people use free WordPress blogs, although other providers such as Wix and Square provide excellent, user-friendly interfaces.

Alternatively, sign up for a blogging forum like Medium. Remember, you don’t need a following; it’s just a place to publish your work so that potential employers can sample it.

2. Decide upon your niche.

If you’re looking for novelistic ghostwriting work, write samples in your favourite genre. It’s essential to read widely and clearly understand how books in your genre begin.

Your samples don’t need to be long — a few thousand words are often enough to demonstrate that you can tell a compelling story.

However, if you’re looking for journalistic ghostwriting work, build a portfolio of articles in your chosen niche. It doesn’t matter if your niche is saturated as long as you demonstrate your original take on the genre.

Choose a niche that drives your passion. Some examples of journalistic niches are:

  • Home & Garden
  • Current affairs
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Wellbeing
  • Financial advice
  • Technology
  • Gaming
  • Food
  • Music and entertainment
  • Film
  • Education
  • Pets
  • Training
  • Personal development
  • Social media/influencing

3. Write your sample pieces

Think about writing an opening that grabs the reader’s attention from the outset — this is your calling card. If you’re writing a novel sample, start from the point of high action to immediately draw the reader into the world of your story.

If you’re writing factual or journalistic content, write a selection of samples that cover a range of angles on your chosen niche. For example, if you’re writing about music, create a few sub-genres — maybe punk, dubstep, or jazz — and write reviews or commentaries about those different genres to show your broader grasp of the subject.

Send us a sample of your work

If you already have a portfolio of creative writing samples, you’re ready to reach out to potential collaborators and clients.

Find out about Relay Publishing. We’re always looking for great writers who want to tell an engaging story in collaboration with a talented editor. We have produced over 1500 books across ten genres and sold over 3 million books!

So, don’t delay. Get in touch. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Republished with permission from Relay Publishing

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Relay Publishing

Relay has founded a collaborative environment for literary creatives to exercise their skillset and develop their craft across a multitude of fiction genres.