7 Important Reasons You Don’t Get Well-Paid Ghostwriting Gigs

Carol Tice

Discover the Invisible Market of Well-Paid Ghostwriting Gigs. Makealivingwriting.comHave you been ghostwriting blog posts for chump change?

There’s a ton of this type of ghostwriting out there. You churn out post after post for $35 or maybe $75 or $100 if you’re lucky, never being able to claim a byline. Often, you don’t even have permission to use these in your portfolio.

It’s a bad deal.

Here’s the ghostwriting secret nobody tells you: Ghostwriting should pay a lot. You’re not getting credit for this work! So the only payoff to you is purely financial.

The good news is, there are situations where ghostwriting pays great. In fact, it pays $35,000 an assignment and up.

Yes, that’s the floor for this work! Not kidding.Β Well-paid ghostwriting projects are out there, but you need to know how to find them.


I’m talking about the world of professional book ghostwriters. Sadly, most freelance writers will never join this elite club.

Why? Here are seven big reasons:

1. You don’t know where to look

Well-paid ghostwriting book are not found on Craigslist, UpWork, or any of the other mass platforms where thousands of writers congregate.

They’re not a gig where dozens of writers are pitted against each other in a race to the bottom on price.

In book ghosting, the top priority is finding the right writer. A writer who has the talent and experience to pull this off — to create a book that sounds like the client wrote it.

Finally, there has to be a personal connection, where you hit it off with the client. They have to be ready to trust you with what they’re hoping will be a bestseller that transforms their career.

There’s a lot of interviewing and back-and-forth — I know, because I’ve sat for quite a few book-ghosting interviews. This doesn’t happen through online automation. It’s a personal process.

That’s why most of these gigs come through relationships and referrals. You might upsell an existing client’s CEO a book. You might work your network to find a good prospect.

Getting book ghostwriting gigs come from building your reputation, doing good work writing other projects, and positioning yourself as someone who could be trusted to ace a project of this size and scope.

2. You don’t know who you’re looking for

There are an amazing number of “ghost my book for $300” offers bouncing around the Internet. There are also a multitude of individuals, mostly elderly, who believe they have an extraordinary life story — and they’d like your help telling it.

They also have no money. Maybe they could scrape together $1,000 or so, tops.

They are not your client. If you want to land a well-paid ghostwriting book deal, you need to connect with the right people.

Who pays real money — the $35,000-$50,000 and up that’s typical for a professional book-ghosting contract?

  • CEOs, CTOs, and CMOs of major corporations and hot, well-funded startups
  • Wealthy retirees
  • Political figures
  • Well-off professionals — doctors, lawyers, alternative health practitioners
  • Accomplished academics looking to build their reputations
  • Successful coaches

Remember, every professional who’s trying to build authority who hires a marketing coach is being told the same thing today: “You need a book.”

In fact, in talking with top ghostwriting expert Claudia Suzanne recently, she told me her estimate is that 250 million Americans think they have a book in them. That’s a massive market!

Out of that large pool, there are plenty of people who can pay pro rates to build their authority or take their career to the next level — the book that turns them into a sought-after public speaker, or helps promote their company’s products.

So stop wasting time trying to convince somebody’s grandma to hand over her retirement fund. That’s not going to happen. Stop chasing prospects who’ll never have the money — and concentrate on the prospects who understand your worth.

3. You don’t understand what it takes

One reason writers are tempted to take that $300 or $1,000 book-ghosting gig they see on Craigslist because they are deeply ignorant of what ghostwriting a book entails.

It is a gigantic project. Think 4-6 months of your life totally gone, at a minimum — IF nothing goes wrong and there are no unexpected delays. Months during which you will be working hard to please this client, capture their voice, convey the right tone, and tell a compelling story.

Remember, you’re not writing a book you feel like writing — you’re writing what someone else wants written. There will be extensive back-and-forth, notes, rewrites.

That’s why book ghosting pays the equivalent of a decent working-class salary. It’s difficult to keep other freelance clients while you ghost a book.

Can you live for many months on $1,000, while this project slowly progresses? Probably not. Too many freelance writers find this out the hard way. They ask for more money halfway through. It doesn’t happen. Often, the project falls apart.

Deadlines can be fairly tight. There pressure to perform ranges from high to sky-high.

These projects also rarely go according to plan. There are delays, changes in direction. All the while, you’re waiting to hit your next payment milestone.

You need to be compensated for all the other potential business you’ll be turning down, the intensity of this work, and all the delicate handling of your client’s feelings you’ll be managing.

4. You don’t know what to charge

As I said above, the rock-bottom rates you’ll see for ghosting books and e-books on the low end of the marketplace can give writers a warped view of going rates.

Combine that with not understanding how much work is involved, and you’re all set to radically shortchange yourself.

Also, so many writers have low self-esteem that asking for $35,000 for a writing assignment is a physical impossibility. If you’ve been writing $30 blog posts for some CEO, it’s hard to believe there are well-paid ghostwriting freelancers charging these kinds of rates.

So you squinch up your eyes and, looking down, say, “How about $10,000?”

I mean, wow — that sounds like a lot of money, right? But divide by 6 months, and you get just over $1,600 a month. With no time to take other gigs.

Later, when you’re selling your belongings on eBay to make your rent — and there’s no end to the writing in sight — you realize you were way, way out of the ballpark.

5. You’re not laying the groundwork

I’ve met brand-new freelance writers without a clip to their name who cheerfully announce to me, “My plan is to ghostwrite books!”

I don’t want to be a burster of bubbles, but it’s highly unlikely that you can go from zero writing experience to booking well-paid ghostwriting gigs overnight.

You’ll need to build a portfolio of strong writing, possibly ghostwrite some smaller projects, and start building a reputation as a good writer.

Acquire many clients in the prime prospect categories above — the kind who might either want a book ghosted, or who might be able to refer you to colleagues who have book dreams. Connect with agents who put together hot, in-the-news personalities with ghostwriters.

Consider writing a book yourself, under your own byline, so prospects can see that you’re capable of book-length storytelling.

Then, build a massive referral network that can help you find clients.

6. You don’t have all the skills

There are many moving parts to a book-ghosting assignment. It’s not just good storytelling and basic writing talent.

You might begin with a small contract to write a book proposal the client will shop to agents or publishers, for instance. Ever written one of those? A lot of prospective clients are looking for writers with experience successfully selling book proposals. So that’s another thing you could practice doing with your own book ideas, to build a track record.

The most important facet of ghosting a book is the structure. The client may have an outline or chapters already written, but usually the narrative structure is a mess. Remember, they’re not professional storytellers!

It’s up to you to develop a compelling structure for this book, so that people actually read and enjoy it. To name just a couple important skills pro book ghosts have, beyond the writing.

7. You don’t have the right mindset

Most writers get into freelancing because they have a passion for a certain topic — and they’re byline junkies.

None of that applies in the world of book ghostwriting.

You write purely in service of your client’s desires, about their pet topic, for money, not credit or acclaim.

It’s a big mindset switch. For many writers, it’s one they can’t successfully make. You keep trying to convince the client to write it the way you think will work best — and eventually, they drop you and start over with another writer who will fulfill their vision.

But if you enjoy capturing someone else’s story and helping them tell it, and don’t mind being out of the spotlight, ghostwriting books can be the best-earning gig going.

Well-paid ghostwriting gigs are out there

If you think book-ghostwriting assignments don’t exist at these sort of price tags, I can tell you I get one newsletter, from a boutique agency, that announces a steady stream of these well-paid ghostwriting projects every week. Rates are never below $35,000. And that’s just one small agency, that mostly concentrates on projects in one city!

Everybody wants a book — and most people who want one know they can’t write it themselves.

If you want to earn more as a writer, this is a hot niche to look at for 2017.

Have you done any ghostwriting? Leave a comment and let’s discuss how it went.


  1. Felix Abur

    It’s like you looked into my heart. One of my 2017 resolutions is to help one of my clients, a career coach, to author a book. I will be doing most of the writing based on his ideas and teachings. I may or may not get any public recognition from the effort and I’ve been wondering what to charge. I already told myself it will be a year-long project and I don’t want to let go of my other clients (and the fees they pay) to concentrate on just this one project. Thanks for the tips Carol

    • Carol Tice

      I’d try to quickly find out what this coach can pay. A year-long project? I’d be thinking $75K or more. Perhaps when they hear what going rates are for ghostwriting, they’ll be able to see how to structure the project so it only takes you six months. πŸ˜‰

  2. suprakash mishra

    thanx carol you the inspiration of mine as I dream I want to become a freelancer writer and after reading some posts I learned some freelancer writing skills and yesterday I got my first project from a customer thank u carol once again this is unforgettable memories in my life

    • Carol Tice

      Well, congrats on that, Suprakash! May more gigs follow.

  3. Laura

    Part of my full-time freelance career is grant writing. Its done for the common good according to the funders criteria with no credit. That should translate to the the ghost writing mind set. When are you doing a ghostwriting course, Carol? I’m in!

    • Carol Tice

      Definitely a ghostwriting gig, Laura.

      And…see the banner at the bottom of this post for the first session in the ghostwriting course I’ve got coming up! It’s going to be I N C R E D I B L E — I’m super-excited about it!

  4. Keith A. Sims

    I am not able to make the seminar as I work during the posted hours. Will there be a replay?

    • Carol Tice

      YES — if you register, you will get a replay link, and we’ll try to have the recording up for a few days, so writers with day jobs can view when they have time. πŸ˜‰

      Want to get this info out to as many writers as I can!

      • keith sims

        Thank you. registering now.

        • Carol Tice

          Great — see you there! And for those asking yes, we WILL try to do a replay recording, so register even if you can’t be there live!

  5. Beth hawkes

    Very enlightening. I’d think it would be hard for me to ‘lose my voice’ and take on another’s.

    • Carol Tice

      It’s definitely not for everyone…but for those who can master it, it can be EXTREMELY lucrative. πŸ˜‰

  6. Rohi

    Hi Carol,
    I got a ghostwriting gig this month – a book project for $1200. The topic is Heal the Brain. I’m working on the outline and doing tons of research. It’s a smallish book and I love the topic, so I accepted it. I’m looking forward to the webinar.

    • Carol Tice

      Rohi, Rohi, Rohi. That’s is an absurd pay level for even a short book. Hopefully next time, go after better clients and get paid a professional rate on it!

      Why don’t you track your hours, and I’d love to see you come back and tell us the hourly rate this ended up being.

      • Rohi

        Thanks for your helpful comment, Carol!
        I’ll scale back on the research I’m doing for the book. I’ve already spent too much time on it. (:-P) We live and learn.
        The good news is that the client has already paid $400 and the person who referred him to me assured me that he is reliable.
        (The original offer was $800!)

        • Carol Tice

          Well, you get kudos for getting a deposit and negotiating for more, Rohi! Next time — lots more. πŸ˜‰

          • Rohi

            Thanks a million, Carol!
            After reading your comment, I realized that my biggest drawback is – I write too slow and take forever to complete my writing projects.
            I’ll use this project to write faster so that my rate per hour is not abysmal. #perfectionism-victim-no-more

            Btw, that could be the topic of one of your future workshops – How to write faster and complete your articles quickly. πŸ™‚

          • Carol Tice

            Rohi, you know Linda and I have an ebook on that, and it’s a big $.99 — https://makealivingwriting.com/13-ways-get-writing-done-faster/

            You know I had to file 3-4 stories a week for 12 years as a staffer. When you’re in that scenario, you learn how to get it done! And all our tips are in here. Enjoy!

            When you don’t have staff deadlines, you need to set short deadlines for yourself, and push yourself to crank it out, to keep your hourly rate up as a freelancer. πŸ˜‰

          • Rohi

            I already have it, Carol!
            I’ll re-read it right away and start to act on it. My Achilles heel is doing too much research. I recall the book had some good tips about how to overcome it.

          • Rohi

            Thanks, it’s incredibly helpful.

  7. Smart Oyedotun Oyejide

    Writers who mean business should do their fishing in the rivers with big fish. Do not under rate yourself anywhere

  8. Nida Sea

    Wow! I didn’t know the fees for ghostwriting books were so high. It sounds very lucrative and definitely something I’d like to do later in the future (Focusing on blogging and copywriting right now :D). Four to six months with a project worth $35,000 or more is definitely nice. Thanks for the informative post, Carol, and I can’t wait to attend the free training!

    • Carol Tice

      I was aware of going rates because I’ve interviewed for a couple of these gigs in the past — but I’ve learned a lot about how the book-ghosting marketplace works from Claudia just prepping for this call, and I cannot WAIT to deliver this info to my readers!

      I’m hoping it’ll really change mindsets about what’s fair wages, and what our writing skills are worth, even for writers who don’t want to ghost. I think being a book ghost is tricky because of how all-consuming the projects are, and how you can’t easily keep up other regular clients…one reason why rates have to be high.

      • Nida Sea

        It sounds exciting!! But yes, writers need to know that their skills are worth MUCH more. Too low of a rate, and you can’t pay the bills.

  9. Lauren

    Fantastic article, thank you so much for sharing! I’d love to move into ghostwriting – I work in-house as a copywriter full time, and have recently offered my writing services freelance. I’ve also written a novel which will be published in spring this year, so I hope my foundations and the networks I’m building will help!

    • Carol Tice

      Sounds like you may be well-positioned for this, Lauren. Hope to see you on the call!

  10. Ginny Carter

    Nice one Carol. I’m a ghostwriter now charging Β£20k/$24k(I’m in the UK) per book. I started off at Β£8k/$9.6k so have progressed considerably. I did the early discounted books to get experience and build a portfolio. Making the transition upwards hasn’t been easy, though, as many of my previous clients would like me to write their next book but for the same amount πŸ˜‰ As you say, it’s vital to fish in the right pond for clients.

    • Carol Tice

      Well, give yourself credit for raising your rates! Keep doing that, if those previous clients come back to you.

      But yes, you’ll probably need to look elsewhere to move up to the higher end of this scale. $24K is certainly nothing to sneeze at — now, you’re ready to take that to the next level. Be sure to get testimonials from those existing book-ghosting clients, if you can!

  11. Susie Rosse

    This post has excellent info! I wanted to ask, what about if you just wrote a rough draft? Like you guaranteed them content that’s original and passes copyscape, and all that? How much can you charge for a rough draft? Like for an ebook?

    • Carol Tice

      Susie, you don’t ever want the phrase “that passes Copyscape” to pass your lips, as a freelance writer. That’s a ‘tell’ that indicates you are in the marketplace that thinks of writers as a commodity, and rates are very, very low.

      There shouldn’t ever be a situation where Copyscape would be an issue in book ghosting, because what you’re writing would usually be inherently unique, as it’s built on the interviews and research material your client gives you.

      I’m not aware of any clients who would only want you to write a rough draft, either — the whole point is that they’re outsourcing the entire writing project to you, through to final draft. Hope that helps you understand how book ghosting works!

      Short ebooks are really another scene — many of them are so short, it’s more like a special report or something. Sadly, it seems the majority of clients who ask for these aren’t willing to pay anything appropriate for them.

      • Susie Rosse

        Thanks!! I’ll look into ebooks, but yes won’t mention copyscape anymore haha.

  12. Keith K.

    Good advice Carol! The only thing you really left out is that ghostwriters need to learn to be selective as well…Not all projects are created equal. Some clients are amazing and motivated to do whatever it takes to make the project a success, while others require significant guidance just to stay on track. That’s ultimately what decides if I bid $10k or $50k.

  13. Alvin Leong

    Hi guys,
    I’m wondering how ghostwriters can help others to write a book if they themselves did not publish any, is there a way around it?

    • Carol Tice

      Alvin, sometimes the opportunity simply grows out of existing relationships with clients you have — you may have done blog posts or white papers or something else for them, and they turn to you when they realize they want a book (or, if you’re smart, you pitch the idea to them).

  14. Jackie

    Hi Carol. Thanks for another very informative post. Would you say that ghostwriting is something that can be done as a second job? (I work full-time and have two regular freelance clients, but there *is* some down-time.) If the client is willing to wait longer for their book, how flexible would you suggest the fee should be? Presumably the fees you quote are for full-time ghostwriters?

    • Carol Tice

      Interesting question, Jackie!

      My experience with the opportunities I’ve seen at the $35-$50K type rates is that you wouldn’t be able to work a side job, FT job, OR serve other freelance clients! At these rates, you shouldn’t have to, either. These are generally trying to ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ for a particular moment in a CEO or politician’s career or life of their business, and they need this done in 3-6 months flat. It’s a ‘drop everything and write this, day and night’ type scenario.

      BUT…there is some opportunity that’s more flexible in serving the lower-paid “I want to write my memoir” type crowd. I actually have a writer-friend who does just this, and often spends years on and off working with a client. They don’t seem to have any particular deadline in mind, just enjoy working on it with a professional and making progress! He simply charges them an hourly rate, lets go of any desire for a sense of completion, and rolls along with them.

      Rates I’m sure are nothing like they are writing for a top CEO or politician, and in fact it could be hard to know WHAT exactly you’ll end up earning on the whole project in the end, but it’s more flexible and less intense. Maybe something to think about! I do know other writers, too, who do memory books for families where they profile a grandparent — these are usually a book AND video package. so there are other ways to get into ghosting.

      And of course, all those ‘write my ebook for $300’ offers on Craigslist are more flexible and the books are much shorter. πŸ˜‰

      • Jackie

        Many thanks for your reply. Yes, something to think about, definitely.

        I’m in the UK too, and have been approached about ghostwriting a non-fiction book. I haven’t ghostwritten before, admittedly, but it’s an area I’d like to get into. There are a few UK companies online, whose rates seem a lot less than the rates quoted here, which I find very interesting.

        There doesn’t appear to be any real urgency (at the moment) with my potential client, so they may well accept a longer deadline. I know I can’t ‘command’ huge sums yet, so would you suggest a lower rate per thousand words, per page or per project? (With a deposit upfront?) And are royalties an absolute no-no for ghostwriters?

        • Carol Tice

          Why do you think you can’t ‘command’ huge sums for what is a HUGE project?

          I wouldn’t suggest lowering rates to anyone! But if you want to, that’s your choice. But definitely quote per-project. And NEVER work on ANY business project without a deposit!

          On the royalty question, I think I want to defer to Claudia on Thursday’s call and ask her about that…great question!

          • Jackie

            I appreciate your comments. I was thinking a) my inexperience and b) extended timescale, but I’ll play it by ear. I’m still a newbie to this, and need to be more self-confident regarding fees, etc, but hey, I’m learning all the time. As for Thursday’s call… I’m looking forward to it! Thanks again, Carol.

  15. Dalene Bickel

    Excellent article as always, Carol! Thank you for shining a spotlight on ghostwriting. I’ve been a ghostwriter and coauthor of self-published life stories for the last ten years and I absolutely love what I do. I’m also good at it and have enough experience (including 20 years as a manuscript editor) that I don’t have any qualms about asking a professional rate. My problem, however, is not knowing how to tap into a consistent flow of qualified leads, which often results in a year or more of being without a client after a project ends. I would love to connect with boutique agencies and get on their email lists, something I didn’t know existed. I assume you’re referring to literary agents, or do publishers match ghostwriters as well? Thanks again and I look forward to being on your webinar with Claudia – I just signed up.

    • Carol Tice

      See you there! So many people are interested in this training that I just paid for more seats, to make sure everyone can get on the call. πŸ˜‰

  16. Elizabeth Peirce

    First-time commenter from Canada here! I enjoy your posts, Carol, and appreciate the encouragement sent to my solitary garret (ha!) I wanted to share a story that may give a new meaning to the term “ghostwriting”. I was working with a local, regional publisher, editing an historical fiction novel. It was truly a heavy edit– the writing was uneven, to say the least. Halfway through the project, the writer (whom I never met) unfortunately passed away, and so my role morphed from editor, to ghostwriter, to co-author (the publisher of course needed someone to promote the book). Because it was a book about piracy, and murder on the high seas, I can truly say that I felt something “ghostly” about the experience, though it was also highly enjoyable!

    Thanks again for your virtual encouraging presence!

    • Carol Tice

      Ha — funny story, Elizabeth. And nice to see you here on the comments!

      I hope you’re coming to the Webinar tomorrow with Claudia Suzanne — she should definitely have some tips on how to get more leads!

  17. Tammy Farrell CPA CFE

    So excited for this ghostwriting bootcamp! I haunted Claudia’s website a while back and kicked myself that I don’t live in the Long Beach area to attend her class. This is even better. πŸ˜‰ I’ve got the webinar playing now.

    As you saw in last week’s post, I’ve got an ongoing gig ghostwriting blogs and articles for a CFO and would love to step up to ghostwriting a book for an exec. Can’t wait to learn more.

    • Edo

      Different countries have a different life standard. If we are both experts in a particular field, and we apply to a high-paid project – the client will, of course, select the one who charges less.

      Your problem is that you cannot charge what I can. In my country, with $800 a month, you can live an amazing life. However, in US or UK, you simply can’t.

      So, you will write a fantastic article related to medicine, and you will do it for let’s say $150. Well, I will do the same job for $50, and it’s a super daily salary for me (in my country). That’s why you can’t compete with me!

      For instance, Indian writers usually charge $2 or $3 per article, and it’s considered as a great salary in their country. I know, I will never be able to compete with those guys.

      And today, the competition is huge!

      • Carol Tice

        Edo, the key is to position yourself as a specialist in writing not everyone can do.

        I’m thinking there aren’t a lot of ESL writers landing $50,000 English-language book-ghosting deals, because it’s a highly relationship-driven business. These are far more sophisticated projects than ghostwriting a blog post, and the client’s reputation and future success are resting on the book’s quality.

        That’s why, for First World writers looking for a way to compete against those willing to write for less because their cost of living is less, ghostwriting books for top clients is a great niche. It’s hard for writers in India or other far-flung countries to build a strong network of American book agents, CEOs, celebrities…the type of network that tends to lead to landing these contracts.

    • Carol Tice

      Tammy, I believe her college course is virtual! Not sure you have to be physically present…just need $4,000 and nearly a year to work on it. πŸ˜‰ That’s why I’m so excited for our much more affordable ghostwriting bootcamp. πŸ˜‰

  18. Edo

    No client will award you a $35.000 job without interviewing some other writers. Just a fool can throw his money just like that, and not even think about whether he could possibly find someone better who will maybe charge a few thousands less. So, there is virtually no job without competition.

    • Felix Abur


      I think you’re approaching this the wrong way. Low-end clients will bargain on price but I think for a writer garnering for a $35,000 gig, they’re seeking out clients who bargain on value rather than price. And these are the kinds of clients who will pass up a $35k writer and the next day they hire a $50k writer. So what does that tell you?

      • Felix Abur

        *gunning, not garnering

    • Carol Tice

      Certainly, book ghosting isn’t a gig with no competition…just one with far less competition than many other writing assignments.

  19. Edo

    But what if someone can provide the same value or even better, and for a much lower price. There are plenty of highly qualified experts from third world countries who can do a great job for a half of price than a client would pay to some expert from top economy countries such as US, UK, New Zealand, Switzerland, Netherlands, etc. That’s what I’m talking about. I can have a great life with $800-$1000 a month, so I’m virtually not forced to charge more. However, US writer is definitely forced to charge much more than me, if he wants to survive.

    • Carol Tice

      Edo…ghostwriting your precious life story, a book you will only publish once in your life, is simply not a gig most thought leaders are going to take a flier on outsourcing to an ESL writer. As far as I’m aware, that’s just not happening.

      BUT…the opportunity for writers in other countries is to seek out book deals in their native language. The pay scale may not be the same, but there should still be terrific opportunities there to do bigger projects for a lot more than $50.

      • Edo

        Also, at the rate of $3 per hour on Upwork, I don’t even have to seek for clients and do any kind of marketing. I can just sit back and relax because the clients themselves are coming for me.

        However, if I would like to get those highly paid writing projects, I would have to invest a huge effort and apply various marketing strategies, especially if I am a newbie. Sometimes that can be a real pain and stress, and no one can guarantee that you will actually succeed.

        • Carol Tice

          I guess I think for most writers, it’s worth a little pain and stress at the start to launch a truly professionalized writing business if you can earn $50,000-$100,000 a year instead of $10,000.

          Of course, for those who want to just sit back and earn a pittance, UpWork is there ready and waiting to exploit your laziness and suck you into the race-to-the-bottom pricing marketplace.

          My sense is that the trend is that the vast majority of writers on all these mass platforms will be outside the US/UK, since most writers in developed nations won’t have anything to do with the sort of lowball clients that hang around these places. More and more writers have already had the sad experience of wasting hours bidding on gigs they’ll never get, and once they see the rates, they move on. The mergers and closures of many mass job platforms tell me that demand for dirt-cheap, mediocre writing is decreasing rapidly.

      • Carol Tice

        Edo, I don’t know if you’ve been following our US elections, but the steady stream of manufacturing moving abroad may be coming to an abrupt halt, as Trump plans to change the laws that make that easy for corporations to do.

        You might want to read this post about the fate of writers who can’t provide much English proficiency, since the era when substandard posts were helpful to websites has ended: https://makealivingwriting.com/open-letter-esl-writers/

        The pool of $3 an hour writing gigs online where quality doesn’t matter is drying up fast.

        I totally agree with you that ESL writers should move into other types of freelance gigs, where perfect English isn’t so important. And that if $3 an hour won’t work for you, you should stay off UpWork, since that’s a typical rate, and sites like this are a place where lots of Third World writers hang out.

        Staying off UpWork and prospecting to find your own quality clients is the key to earning a living wage in the US/UK and many other countries, so I stand by that advice.

  20. Sascha Rutledge

    If people can’t write, then they should expect to hire ghostwriters at the standard rates, or stay out of the business. The people that want to be an author but don’t want to do the work nor pay for it fairly usually expect a 100% high quality, “make me a bestseller on Kindle” ebook.

  21. Felix Abur

    It’s so so very very (yes, deserves the emphasis) sad to read from my fellow writers from 3rd world countries about how poor writing and low-level language skills are enough to provide an amazing life. It makes it so much harder for an educated and ambitious fellow like me to market his skills convincingly. Each time they see I’m from a 3rd world country US/UK clients assume I lack the skills and exposure to relate to first world issues. And let’s face it, your writing is only effective if you can relate with your readers and target audience. Yes, I’m from a 3rd world country (or a developing nation if you believe our local politicians).

    But I do have exposure having traveled widely. English is my primary language, and like most of my countrymen I’m multi-lingual (which should be a plus). I buy products from all over the world, so I’m sure can easily relate to the experiences of someone looking for quality products no matter the country of origin.

    I don’t know why I would consider $3 articles while beginner writers from the US, Canada, Australia, UK, etc are earning 10 times that.

    So I’m asking all those 3rd World ESL writers out there justifying their low rates not to bundle me with the ‘ambition-less’ low-rate figures. You do not speak for everyone if you are comfy with a $3-rate. That’s the value you provide, not the value I provide. Stick to your line. Bid at Upwork for those jobs that give you an amazing life and stop bundling every other 3rd world writer to your low rate.

    Those of us who think we deserve more will aggressively engage in marketing, conscientiously provide real value to clients, and endlessly strive to expand our knowledge. I refuse to be limited by my geographical location. After all, why was the internet invented?

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for weighing in on that, Felix. I do think it’s hard for writers in the Third World who do a terrific job — but I coach some in Den 2X Income Accelerator, and I can tell you it IS possible to earn a LOT more than $3, if you understand marketing and are an exceptional, fully fluent writer, no matter where you live.

      • Edo

        I don’t get it why someone is a low-quality writer if he writes a 500-word article for $5. That’s the logical fallacy of argument from personal incredulity. If I do something that you think is not well-paid, doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a low-quality worker. However, you may express your opinion, even though some people won’t agree with it, but you can’t force it to become public opinion. I get angry when someone tries to disqualify me on a personal level just because he doesn’t agree with what I charge. Who are you to tell me what is a bad rate for me and what is a good one? Who am I to tell you what your hourly rate should be? Just because you write at an extremely high rate, doesn’t mean you are automatically a high-quality writer. You aim for higher rates, and that’s okay. With all due respect, I won’t allow you to tell me that I’m doing slavery jobs for peanuts just because you don’t like my hourly rate. Also, I won’t allow you to underestimate and humiliate my income source, regardless of what it is. I respect your decision to not like it, but please, you should also respect my choice, even if it’s a wrong one in your point of view.

        Sir Felix, you can’t claim that writers from 3rd world countries are the poor writers with low-level language skills just because you have been reading a few random articles that were poorly written. It is a logical fallacy called Ad populum. Instead, you should better try to improve your own skills rather than pointing a finger at other people and their work. Eventually, you’re not paying them, and therefore, you should not bother yourself commenting their work in a negative manner.

        “I don’t know why I would consider $3 articles while beginner writers from the US, Canada, Australia, UK, etc are earning 10 times that.” – Why are you comparing yourself with other people? I strongly recommend you not to do that because it’s bad for your confidence and self-esteem. Instead, try to always improve your work while aiming for better, and stop analyzing what other people are making.

        • Felix Abur

          That escalated fast.

          First, I was referring not only to what you posted but also what other ESL writers posted right here in comments. It was not a personal attack on you or your skill level.

          Secondly, have you checked out the title of this blog post? My input about what constitutes good pay is qualified, don’t you think?

          Anyway, I’m never here to start senseless wars with anonymous entities. To each their own, so best of luck with your writing, sincerely.

          • Edo

            Sir, we are not waging war here. We are just expressing our opinions and arguing, which is, I suppose, a common thing to do in comment sections.

        • Carol Tice

          Edo, I’m glad that you think of yourself as a high-quality writer despite your $3 paycheck…but you should know that most of the corporate world will automatically view you as a low-quality provider if you’re willing to work for that money. Expectations WILL be low…as will raise and promotion opportunities.

          • Edo

            I am neither a high-quality writer nor a low-quality writer. I am just a writer. Writing can’t be high-quality or low-quality. It can be either correct or incorrect. Determining the quality is a matter of taste and individual. I have been reading some of the best sellers out there, and a few of them I would rate as trash. However, it’s just my point of view, not a fact.

            Even if I am the best writer in the world, there will always be a lot of people who will dislike my work, not because they hate me, but because my work does not suit them. They don’t find it interesting enough. Simple as that.

            So, if companies conclude that I’m a worthless writer just because my rate is low, I would say that I don’t give a damn about their unfounded beliefs as long as I can make a nice living out of my work.

          • Carol Tice

            I deeply disagree — there’s so much to writing beyond mere accuracy.

            And I’m not sure how much longer you CAN make a nice living with the $3-post gigs (for those who ever could live on those rates!), because my sense is there are fewer of those every day.

  22. Mike Valles

    Carol, thanks for the article. I appreciate you showing writers worldwide what is possible if they write books. It will surely help some who are settling for less to have their eyes opened to greater prospects and a better income level – if they want to write books.

    I have written some books for clients, and many eBooks, but did not know that charging those kinds of prices was possible. The article helped me. I often read your articles.

    • Carol Tice

      It’s all about having the pro ghostwriting skills that we’re learning in the Move Up to Ghostwriting bootcamp that’s running in Freelance Writers Den right now, Mike, plus knowing how to identify the clients who pay pro rates for book ghosting. Gotta get off Craigslist and understand where the money is. πŸ˜‰

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