As a ghostwriter, you don’t have to remain invisible. Instead, you should be everywhere on social media and the Internet, showcasing your expertise, and always ask authors to give you credit for your work. That was the advice of panelists in an afternoon session, “Be a Visible Ghost.”
Be everywhere. “Build in public and play in traffic” on social media so that people understand what you do and where you are taking your career, said Pauleanna Reid, founder of The WritersBlok. In a monthly newsletter and on social media, including LinkedIn and Instagram, Reid lets followers and potential clients know about her technical skills and interests in volunteering, mental health, and child literacy. She also engages with her followers, responding to comments and direct messages.
Carol Tice, founder of Freelance Writers Den, relies on LinkedIn, where she writes and answers questions “about the mystery that surrounds what we do.” She also wrote an e-book on how to hire a ghostwriter, showing potential clients her clear writing style.
Ghostwriter Alice Sullivan paid for search engine optimization (SEO) on her website, where she blogs once every other month. The investment paid off: Forty percent of her client connections last year found her website via Google searches. “I’m now on multiple top 10, 20 ghostwriter lists. I have no idea how these lists came to be,” she said. She also advised ghostwriters to openly talk about what they do, starting with a six-second pitch to describe their work.
Moderator Fran Hauser, founder of Bookbound, said a thriving writers and book community appeared on Threads about two months ago. She started tagging her posts with #bookthreads and #writerthreads, and within two weeks, her followers ballooned from 900 to more than 3,500.
Bryna Haynes, founder and CEO of WorldChangers Media, relies heavily on Facebook, where she holds office hours for followers. wWith her clients’ permission, Haynes also features her client collaborations at the beginning of a project launch and six months later. on Facebook “I don’t need to tell people about my services because, by association, people see what my authors are doing, and they associate that with me. So referrals come easy.” Those social media shares also provide an additional platform for her clients.
Get credit. Getting credit for your work is one of the best ways to be visible, Sullivan said, so ghostwriters shouldn’t assume they have to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). She has found that first-time authors fear she will steal their stories for her own work. “Once we get past that, and I share their book, they are fine,” she said.
In her contract, Sullivan offers checkboxes for clients to indicate ways her work can be credited: in the book’s acknowledgments, in a byline, or permission to put links on her website to books on Amazon, for example.
“Never be bullied into signing an NDA that prohibits you from disclosing you worked on a certain project,” Dan Gerstein, founder and CEO of Gotham Ghostwriters, said. “Make clear to them it hurts your ability to make a livelihood.”
Establish yourself as an expert. Hauser pressed the panelists for more insight into how they position themselves as experts rather than as service providers to experts. Haynes’ company supports clients to help them expand their audience by writing keynotes, articles, and more. “People will hire you for who you are but also for what you can create for them,” she said.
For potential memoir clients, Sullivan highlights not just the value of completing a book but also what clients will gain and learn through the process of telling their story. Reid gains memoir clients’ trust to tell difficult stories by sharing her own scars and battle wounds.
Other advice on how to be visible included: hire an entrepreneurial business coach, write articles, make it easy for people to contact you, and go to networking events.
“Be everywhere and let millions and millions of people know what you do,” Tice said.