5 Reasons to Kill Your Inner Generalist

Chances are there’s a type of writing at which you excel. There is an equal chance that there are other types of writing at which you’re average at best. Over the years one of the best lessons I’ve learned about being a Ghostwriter is that you’re not just hurting a client when you take on their project outside your specialty—you’re also hurting yourself.


Because you’re spending time and energy slogging through projects outside your skill set, which costs you money whether you know it or not.

Here are five reasons you need to kill your inner generalist and start feeding your inner specialist.

Feel Better About Your Product

Let’s face it. There’s nothing worse than trying to fake your expertise on a topic just because you need the job. Think about how much better you feel when you talk to a potential client whose job matches your knowledge and skill set as a writer. You talk with more confidence and in turn your client feels confident about handing his job over to you.

So, if you’re a fantasy writer, don’t try to be a business writer. If you’re a business writer, don’t do memoirs. They may sound fun and intriguing. You might think it’s a good chance to learn a new genre. But this industry isn’t about on-the-job training. It’s about leveraging your skills to provide top-notch work and make happy clients.

Personally, I work with business writers and financial educators. Why? Because I already have a good knowledge of that field. I was in business and finance for ten years before I was ever a ghostwriter. When I became a ghostwriter, I simply took my skills as a writer and applied them to the business and finance genre of writing.

Be The Go-To Person

The more successful you are in a particular genre, the more your name will get out there. Ghostwriting is very much a word-of-mouth business. And the good news is that your clients in a given industry are constantly talking with each other. If you produce happy clients, they’ll talk you up. Eventually you’ll become the Go-To person. This starts regionally, but it can move to nationally—or even globally.

Target Your Marketing

When you focus on one genre of writing you can easily target your marketing towards those who would benefit most from your services. And you can stop wasting time chasing clients in areas outside your expertise. If you’re a fantasy writer, get on the fantasy online forum boards, go to conventions, etc. and get your name out there. If you’re a business writer, make sure your website is professional and business oriented. When you target your marketing, your chances for success are greater.

Do More Work and Do It Better

Because you’ll be the Go-To person in your genre, you’ll have more work. And when you have more work, you’ll have more experience. And more experience means you’ll be better and better at what you do. As the old business saying goes, “Way leads to way.” Inevitably the more specialized you become, the more of an authority you’ll be come. And this leads to the best reason of all to specialize.

Make More Money

When you’re an expert in a genre, you can command more money. If you’re lucky, people will be seeking you out and you’ll actually have to turn business away. That means you’re in control and you can set the terms.

So, stop being an unabashed generalist and start being a specialist. It’s the surest way to ghostwriting success.