Do you find selling your novels a challenge? A student recently told me that she needed her fiction to make money — she couldn’t afford to keep writing as a hobby.
My student (let’s call her Alice) has self-published nine novels since 2017. Over the past year, sales have slowed. “I need money to advertise,” she said. “My genre’s popular and the competition’s stiff. I’ve heard some authors are spending $5,000 a month on advertising. How can I compete? I don’t have that kind of money.”
I suggested that Alice consider ghostwriting fiction to build up her funds.
Fiction’s big business today: there’s money to be made
I talked about the choice authors need to make today when publishing their books: indie, or establishment? Many authors decide to self-publish because they can keep the profits.
And make no mistake: there are BIG profits to be made in publishing fiction today. Novels which make the Top 10 in Kindle Best Sellers can make five figures daily.
I just checked today’s stats on the current Amazon top sellers. The novel, Unspeakable Things, which is due to be published on January 1, is currently ranked the top seller in the overall Kindle Store. It’s also the top seller in three Kindle sub-categories.
(A tip when checking rankings on Amazon: Amazon updates the rankings hourly.)
Published by one of Amazon’s imprints, Unspeakable Things is estimated to be earning $19,000 daily, and almost half a million dollars a month.
Whenever there’s money to be made, savvy people leap into the opportunity. They hire freelance ghostwriters to write novels for them in popular genres like romance, mystery, and thrillers.
The (secret) marketplace for fiction authors
It’s an open secret that many of the bestselling books on Amazon are written to order by ghostwriters. Even bestselling authors like James Patterson hire ghostwriters.
Surprised? Many authors are when they hear this; they’re focused on writing books, rather than researching the publishing environment. When I’m coaching authors, I suggest they watch Amazon carefully.
A tip: if you’re self-publishing, spend a little time each week researching what’s selling on Amazon. It will be an education, I promise.
I suggested to Alice that she consider ghostwriting a few novels so that she could afford to advertise her own novels.
Ghostwriting rates for fiction authors
Alice was completely unaware that:
- Fiction is big business;
- Fiction ghostwriters are paid well for what they do.
She told me that she’d explored the freelance marketplaces to bid on fiction writing projects a year ago. “I can’t afford to write a novel for $500,” she told me.
“What about $15,000?” I asked.
I reminded her of the realities of ghostwriting. “Remember, you’re giving up all rights in your novel, as soon as you’ve been paid. The copyright passes to the buyer.”
Alice was enthusiastic about ghostwriting and wanted to know how to get started.
Tips to help you to tap into the secret ghostwriting marketplace
I suggested to Alice that she needed to make it known that she was available for ghostwriting gigs, because she’d soon get hired. Experienced fiction authors are always in demand.
Here’s why ghostwriting opportunities abound: most ghostwriters are like Alice. They freelance when they need a quick infusion of cash, then they go back to their own projects.
Alice set up her authors’ website soon after she published her first novel. All she had to do was add a “Services” page to the site.
Tips to win ghostwriting gigs:
- Talk to other authors. Tell them that you’re looking for ghostwriting gigs. They’ll pass your name on.
- Visit self-publishing forums on Facebook. Ask questions about ghostwriting. However, do avoid any form of self-promotion. Not only is self-promotion frowned on; you’ll attract people looking for cheap ghostwriting services at these places.
Alice got her first ghostwriting gig, for a trilogy, two weeks after she made it known that she was available. She tells me that she’s well paid and enjoys working with her client’s editors.
If you love writing fiction too, explore writing for clients. Your writing skills are valuable. Why not use them?
Veteran author, copywriter, and blogger Angela Booth loves helping fellow writers. Visit Angela’s site for tips, advice, and strategy on many areas of your writing business.