Ghostwriters and ghost tours: Two newly reviewed gigs


We explore two newly reviewed side gig platforms this week — one seeking freelance guides to host ghost tours; the other seeking ghostwriters. Ghostwriters and ghost tours guides must have excellent language skills and a flair for the dramatic.

Freelancers with both companies also say that the jobs are interesting. Otherwise, the jobs for ghostwriters and guides for ghost tours differ in every way, including whether they’re worth checking out.


Let’s start with the better opportunity.

Ghost tours

A company called US Ghost Adventures is seeking tour guides in more than 60 cities nationwide to host ghost tours. The tours are generally 90-minute walking tours that take visitors through a section of a city.

In some cities, there are multiple tours offered, including traditional sightseeing and “haunted bar crawls.” And the tours can be booked all day and into the night. In somewhat smaller (and, apparently, less haunted) cities, there’s only one tour offered each day.


Most tours are given at night. So this can be a good after-work side hustle for someone with a 9-to-5 job.

The site says that tour guides are paid $50 per tour, plus tips, in most cases. And when you’re taking a big group in a popular area, those tips can add up to real money. However, the site will schedule tours with as few as two people, so you can’t count on tips as a big source of revenue. And, half of the per-tour pay is a “bonus” that is discretionary.

So, sometimes the pay is great. Sometimes it’s brushing against minimum wage.


Tips are consistently mentioned as the key to making the pay worthwhile. Nonetheless, most guides say the job is fun and engaging — ideal for an aspiring actor or dramatic history buff.

The bottom line: This appears to be a great tourist-season side hustle, particularly in areas that get lots of visitors. The site operates in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Boston, Austin, Alexandria and many other popular tourist destinations.

Guide requirements

How do you nab these jobs? You’ve got to pass a background check and both an in-person and an online “audition.”

The online audition involves memorizing a short script and video-taping yourself delivering it. After that, you’ll have an in-person audition where you’ll conduct one of the site’s tours for a Ghost Adventures staffer.

The site asks that freelance guides make themselves available at least three nights a week.


Meanwhile, a site called HotGhostwriter enlists freelancers to write, edit, narrate and design covers for fiction and non-fiction books. The work and clients are interesting, freelancers say. But the pay is miserable.

To be specific, writers are paid at a starting rate of $7 per 1,000 words. If you’re great, you can potentially join the site’s so-called “elite” writing team. That gets you $20 per 1,000 words — i.e. 2 cents per word. Notably, that pay is for everything involved, including attending client meetings to talk about the book’s topic, style and length, as well as writing. And you’re also supposed to provide the client with revisions, for no additional money.

Of course, the nature of ghostwriting is that someone else gets the credit for the book. So, unlike some content mills that at least allow you to build your reputation as a writer, here you are anonymous.

Pay for editing and narration

Editors also earn $7 per 1,000 words. So if you edit a 500-page — 150,000 word — manuscript, which is likely to take weeks, you’ll earn about $1,000. Narrators earn $70 per 10,000 words of non-fiction and $90 for 10,000 words of fiction. For a sense of perspective, entry-level narrators on Fiverr earn about 5 times more.

And, if that wasn’t bad enough, while HotGhostwriter says it pays freelancers twice a month, freelancers say they often need to badger the company to pay them at all.

Better options

If you like the idea of ghostwriting, check out ServiceScape. ServiceScape allows writers to set their own rates of pay to write everything from academic papers to books.

If you’re a seasoned book editor, check out PenguinFreelancers or Reedsy, both of which enlist freelance editors to get books in shape.

The best place to advertise your voice-over/narration skills is Fiverr. Fiverr also allows you to set your own rates and specify precisely how many words you will narrate with any given job.


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