How Ghostwriters Provide Writing Samples

Because many ghostwriting clients demand that their ghostwriter sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to preclude them from sharing any work they’ve done, how can ghostwriters demonstrate their skill and experience?

What can ghostwriters show prospects when asked for writing samples without violating their NDA?

It’s a good question and, fortunately, there are some ways to deliver examples of your abilities without outing previous clients. Here are some ideas:

Chapters from books you’ve authored. Some ghostwriters began their careers with the publication of their own book(s). If you’re in that camp, use chapters from your books as writing samples.

Magazine articles. If you write short-form articles for magazines, newspapers, or as content for brands, use some of those links as proof of your writing skill.

Blog posts. Even if you’re new to ghostwriting, you can use blog posts as samples of your work. And if they are in any way related to your client’s book, so much the better.

College writing assignments. Ghostwriters pursuing their first project may not have much in the way of published works, but how about pulling out an assignment you completed for a class you did well on and that you’re proud of?

Draft something on the client’s topic from scratch. Although this can be time-consuming, if you’re short on writing samples, use this as an opportunity to write up something on your prospect’s topic. You can then share it when asked for writing samples in the future, too.

Request permission from clients to share excerpts of a chapter, with identifying information crossed out or changed. Several of my past clients have granted this permission when I’ve asked after the fact. I still don’t reveal the project, but I can share pieces that offer a look at my writing ability.

Ghostwriting clients ask for samples both to gauge your writing skill and to see if your style matches theirs. Of course, if you have samples from different projects that demonstrate your ability to match your client’s voice, make sure to point that out. Being able to adopt someone else’s voice is more important than showing your own.

What other suggestions do you have for providing writing samples?

Marcia Layton Turner

2 Comments

  1. Kathy Bruins on June 14, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Great suggestions!

  2. Karen Cioffi on June 14, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    I hadn’t thought of college papers. Interesting.

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