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In order to get contracts signed and have a strong working relationship with ghostwriting clients, you have to understand why people are out there looking for ghostwriters.

If you don't, you're going to rely on assumptions that can result in lost gigs and rocky working relationships.

To give you a starting place, here are five examples of reasons that clients hire ghostwriters.

Why Clients Hire Ghostwriters

  1. They can’t write the way they want their book to sound. Not everyone has mastered the skill of writing with style. While some would-be clients can write short, simple essays and blog posts, they might not know how to give their content a personality boost to make it sound sophisticated, funny, endearing, or whatever tone they're looking for. It’s up to you to figure out what they think is missing from their own writing and to inject it full.
  2. They don’t enjoy writing. To some, a blank page is like a torture device. And no matter how badly the individual may want to have a book out to cement his or her brand, attract clients or display authority, that individual probably isn’t going to become a masochist to get it.
  3. They don’t have time to write. When a client hires you, not because they can’t write, but because they don’t have time to, you can end up taking a far more service-based role in the process as opposed to the expert role you have when faced with a client who hates writing or isn’t good at it.
  4. They are overwhelmed by the process of “A BOOK!!1!!” I don’t know if you realize this, but books are long. Like, really, really long. And the chapters have to make sense together and maybe even lead to something. It’s not easy to pull this off without experience and a knack for conceptualizing such a big project--and that's where you come in.
  5. The deadline came sooner than they expected. Clients working with traditional publishers may have trouble getting a full book written by their deadline. When you get this kind of client, you’re not just taking a ghostwriting role but also a developmental editing role as you may be completing chapters that aren’t quite final, rearranging things, and expanding on various topics that the original author only touched on.

Figure out the fundamental reasons that a prospective client is looking for a ghostwriter and you'll be better able to define your goals and expectations at the beginning of the process. Doing so will also allow you to give more accurate quotes that ensure you’re paid fairly for the actual work involved.

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Yo Prinzel
Yolander Prinzel is the profit monster behind the Profitable Freelancer website. She has written for a number of publications and websites such as American Express, Covestor.com, Advisor Today, Money Smart Radio and the International Travel Insurance Journal (ITIJ). Her book, Specialty Ghostwriting: A New Way to Look at an Old Career, is currently available on Amazon.