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How to Avoid Slave Wages as a Ghostwriter – Two Experts, Tiffany Dow and Lina T, Answers This Question

One of my subscribers tries to earn a living as a ghostwriter, but she’s had terrible experiences.

I got very touched by her story (you’ll read it in a moment), and immediately thought about two books that could help her. Then a new idea hit me:

Why not ask the authors of the books to help? I mean, these strong women, Tiffany Dow and Lina T, themselves work as ghostwriters, when they need some extra cash, and they have both established themselves as higher paid authors. If they cannot help this poor lady, nobody can. And they send me great answers – thank you, Tiff and Lina! You are both awesome ladies πŸ™‚

Okay, here’s the poor woman’s own story. I bet that the answers can help you, too, if you want to become a ghostwriter and you don’t want to work for slave wages:

I’m a writer, so the only thing I’m selling/promoting is my talent. I signed up with Elance, this is a freelance site–but I find that they want to pay slave wages for a ridiculous amount of content in an equally ridiculous time frame. Some clients even try to scam work out of me without any actual payment commitment. I have gone back to college to become an official writer, as it were–and I should mention here that I am a 53 year old Female.

And now for the two wise replies from Lina T and Tiffany Dow:

Tiffany Dow – Author of “Ghostwriting Cash” Says:

There are people like the clients you describe everywhere. There are also top notch marketers with a nice budget out there too. There are also a third type of client – poor marketers who have been taught to go on and try to find the cheapest content they can, not realizing it’s going to screw up their sites.

You can’t blame Elance as the problem – I found all of my top clients there. They’re there. There are also people who post a bid with the “freebie mindset” and when I bid I would bid my usual higher priced bid, but also tell the person that my portfolio is full of examples (they were so good my clients didn’t care about paying more).

You sometimes have to educate the buyers by saying a bid like this:

“I know my bid is beyond your listed budget, but this is a topic I can write about very well – please see my portfolio where I have a document named ____. I think it’s important to invest in your site once, not buy cheap, uninspiring content that you eventually have to pay to have reworked again, so while I might be a bit more expensive, it’s only because I know the value of detailed research and creating something that will engage your audience and turn them into buyers, not just bounces on your site.”

I would also throw something specific about their niche in to show I read the project details (many freelancers don’t).

Going back to college won’t help you make more money. I made that mistake. You could have a PhD and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference in what people are willing to pay. All they care about is how good you can write (now if you need help writing, then classes might work – but unfortunately, professors and college style writing is NOT what online writing is all about, so clients won’t be impressed with that style).

My advice? Put up your own website and start learning how to market yourself as the go to ghostwriter. That way clients are coming to YOU, not you having to bid for their projects. And a portfolio of varied niche writing and a healthy ego do wonders for building a client base.

You can learn a lot from Tiffany Dow’s book and videos called “Ghostwriting Cash“. She’ll walk you through everything you need to get started as a ghostwriter, including how to set up a blog to promote your writing. Get it here: http://malka.im/e/ghostwritingcash

Lina T – Author of “Ghostwriting Blueprint” Says:

One thing to keep in mind about eLance is that it is a global marketplace where you are competing with people from all over the world for writing jobs. What sets you apart from most others is likely that you speak native English, so your sentences will have a natural flow and not be awkwardly phrased and will likely not need a lot of editing. The process that I follow points this out to buyers up front so that they understand that is the reason for my higher rates. Usually most experienced buyers know this and after one trial run, if you are able to demonstrate reliability, good buyers will be willing to pay for more quality work that is delivered when promised.

The key is building good relationships with your clients and really tuning into what they need and being responsive to their needs. This is what I have found to help me blossom long term relationships with my clients. Age is not at all a factor in this industry, outside of the fact that you have more experience to draw from and can probably write on topics a little better than someone half your age because you have a larger knowledge base to start with πŸ™‚

Lina T shares a lot of great tips in her “Ghostwriting Blueprint to $2000/month“. Β It has just launched to the public (she was only selling it to her list earlier, where I grabbed it), and it’s short, to the point, and awesome. Get it here: http://malka.im/e/ghostwritingblueprint

2 comments
Beth - July 20, 2012

Thank you for this post. I recently launched my ghostwriting website about a month ago and have yet to obtain any paying clients. I ran a WSO on the Warrior Forum to write free articles in exchange for testimonials. Of the five people who responded to my offer that I created articles for, only two posted testimonials on my website. Two of the others raved about my writing in emails and told me they would be posting testimonials within a couple of days, but they still haven’t posted anything. The other person I drafted a free article for pretty much lead me along for about three weeks, insisting that he was going to utilize my services as his blogger, and yet when I asked him when I could start I never heard from him again. The bottom line in this case was price. I wasn’t willing to come down to his $7.50-$15.00 per article level.

I’m doing my best not to get discouraged, but it’s tough, however, I’m not ready to give up and I’m certainly not about to lower my rates. While I may be a newbie to this ghostwriting gig, I have over 25 years experience in the field of law where I was a paralegal and legal marketer, both of which required strong writing skills, so I’m not about to lower my standards just to get a client. I have to believe that there are potential clients out there who recognize quality writing and are willing to pay accordingly.

Reply
    Britt Malka - July 23, 2012

    Hi Beth,

    Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your struggle. It’s interesting how people refuse to pay for quality. They would rather buy cheap (!) articles and then spend a lot of time rewriting and editing, or just smash them on their web pages, where nobody wants to read them, because they are badly written. It goes against all reason.

    If you haven’t gotten them already, I highly recommend both books I mention on my blog post. They will teach you how to get the prices you deserve. Giving away articles is not the way forth. And it’s so unfair that those people didn’t even give you a review πŸ™ Are they using your articles?

    Reply
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