Meet Karen Cole, a ghost writer and editor I've recently become acquainted with (online). I asked Karen what steps you have to take to become a ghost writer, and she graciously answered by writing this article.
Well, the best advice I can give is to start reading. Read everything you can possibly grab, especially modern work, as this will give you a “feel” for what people are putting out nowadays. Read, read, read, and then start writing. If you are already a writer, write as much as you can that is oriented toward getting published. If you are not yet a writer, write about what you know, and put out several articles on subjects that you know something about. Get these published in places like Ezine Articles on the Internet and in as many other places as you can, in order to build up your writer’s portfolio.
Once you have some published items, sign up for freelancers’ Internet services such as Guru.com where you can start taking on some jobs as a freelance writer. You will want to have at least something of a career as a freelancer started before you begin your work as a ghost writer. It also helps immeasurably to get a degree in English, either in languages or literature, or both; a bachelor’s is probably all that you will need to get started.
Another great way to break in to a writing career is to do book editing and/or copy editing for people. You can find jobs for this listed all over the Internet, and it helps to edit your friends’ books, which of course is often done for free. You can also get work creating or editing copy for people’s websites; look at ads on freelancers’ websites, which are all over the Internet. Get as much paid work as you can, but you might have to start out working for free just to get the experience.
Once you’ve gotten some credentials under your belt, both under your own name and under other people’s names (you’ve contributed, but don’t get the credit), put up your shingle as a ghost writer. Start your own website, possibly listing yourself at first as a freelance writer, and add in your resume and some writing samples from your portfolio. You can also sign up as a ghost writer on several of those aforementioned freelancers’ sites. Be careful of trying to work for bidding sites, though, as the pay for those can be very low and prohibitive.
Be sure to search engine optimize your ghost writing or freelance writing website, so that it turns up in search engines such as Google. Maybe you can start up a Google Adwords account, too. Advertise on Facebook with a fan page about your business, and start up a Twitter account or two. Join Writing.com for a classy way to keep your professional writer’s portfolio on the Internet, or you can just use MSN email’s SkyDrive to store your written work – or both! Get the word out about your new ghost writing business. Pretty soon, you will be making some decent money as a professional ghost writer – so get out there, read, write and publish your socks off!