Two types of medical ghostwriting fields hire freelancers–regulatory and marketing. Regulatory writing means writing and/or editing for the medical journals. Marketing writing means writing advertising or promotional copy. Marketing writing usually is done for the pharmaceutical companies that publish information about drugs in journals read by physicians and scientists.
You can check out the site, “Regulatory Medical Writer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements.” A regulatory medical writer is a technical communicator who specializes in preparing documents for review by government. You can check out the site describing the different types of medical communications/writing, which also is an educational portal with links to the different types of training available.
Careers in in pharmaceutical copy writing or in medical regulatory ghostwriting for journals have a need for independent (freelance) writers as well as full-time employed writers on staff. Medical journals do use freelance writers to ghostwrite clinical trials and other regulatory writing for physicians and various research scientists.
Medical book indexers, proofreaders, and editors also are hired on a freelance basis. They’re also called biomedical editors or indexers. See the publication Deciding to Become a Freelance Science Editor. Or contact one of the numerous associations listed online for independent biomedical editors, proofreaders, indexers, and writers. There’s also the World Association of Medical Editors.
Start with the American Medical Writers Association. There are opportunities to write for publications in other English-speaking nations such as the Australian or Canadian medical journals.
You can also write about the economics of running a medical practice, the business side. It’s not necessary that you have a degree in any of the life sciences, although it’s preferred.
Medical ghostwriters writing the clinical trials for journals also come from a background of having majored in English, journalism, medical writing, or have a Master’s in medical or science writing. Some are self taught, and others have taken courses, workshops, or a certificate in medical writing from a professional association, such as the American Medical Writers Association.
Did you know that numerous articles in medical journals are written by freelance ghostwriters and signed with a physician’s or scientist’s name? Steady work in nutrition ghostwriting usually comes from medical ghostwriting for physicians, pharmaceutical firms, and biomedical scientists.
Medical ghostwriters may write articles and advertising copy that appear in medical journals. Or they write regulatory articles about clinical trials. Some freelancers write medical marketing copy. Others write continuing education materials. All kinds of ghostwriters deal with macroediting and microediting issues and need to manage these issues.
To enter the field of freelance medical and nutrition ghostwriting, you may first be asked to do microediting which is selective editing. It is similar to your writing and editing being examined under a microscope to check for confusing sentences, weak points, flawed arguments, inconsistencies, and bad logic, errors in math, spacing, and correction of tables.
In microediting, you need to validate and edit the item showing any changes from start to finish. You’d need to include historical information at micro-level.
In order to find the historical information, for example, of a study from start to finish with applications and outcomes, you need to look at periodic surveys. For a great definition of microediting, macroediting, and copy editing, look at the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Journal, Volume 15, No. 4, page 19, Fall 2000. It’s online.
Macroediting is editing the big picture. Most of what you’ll do in general ghostwriting is macroediting. You’d need to check for parallelism. You’d have to make sure various elements are parallel if they belong in the same series. You’d make a list of graphs, figures, or tables.
You’d check words for verb tense to make sure there were no inconsistencies or changes, and explain unfamiliar words. Copyediting of biomedical material consists of correcting language, format, and mechanical style to meet publication standards. You’d be required to do “substantive editing” and proofreading of your work at take charge of it by managing the editing process.
Most ghostwriters can write anything signed by someone else’s name. It can be a scientist, physician, or celebrity–or an expert in any field. The ghostwriter can be self-trained or have a degree in either a life science or medical writing. General ghostwriters write life stories of celebrities, corporate case histories, success stories, current events, or the rise and fall of executives and politicians.
Professionals trained in medical fields where they are not doing a lot of writing on a daily basis may hire a ghostwriter. Or a physician may co-author a book on nutrition and health with a writer trained in writing, but not in science.
The majority of ghostwriters write books for health care professionals, scientists, or attorneys. Biomedical ghostwriters use a particular style that makes the text unique to medical information, such as continuing education materials, advertising, or clinical trials and regulatory reports.
Teach yourself the stylistics of editing by reading the work of other medical writers who consistently produce good work. Pharmaceutical writers write marketing copy for the drug companies.
Usually, they hire someone with a degree in one of the life sciences who minored in journalism or science writing. Those with a degree in technical writing also can do medical ghostwriting or specialize in editing or indexing medical, science, or technical books.
There are principles of editing medical text and books on this subject to read. Start with the American Medical Association’s AMA Manual of Style. Look for readability scales and grammar.
Analyze medical text books and reports. You can form or join a medical writing critique group. If there’s none nearby, create your own online.
What you’re looking for is to learn how to identify grammar and rhetoric while examining the trends in medical writing related to the standards of what is acceptable. Medical writing has its own standards of what is correct.
You need to understand what information you require and locate the sources. Then you should evaluate what information you find by searching medical, business, and government regulatory sources.
Some medical and pharmaceutical marketing ghostwriters don’t necessarily need to have majored in a life science. A sizable number of specialty marketing ghostwriters come from the ranks of English or journalism majors that enroll for a master’s degree or certificate in medical writing and ask for an internship as a medical ghostwriter.
So if you aren’t able to pass enough math courses to take the science courses, there is what is called the medical marketing route. You major in English specializing in technical writing.
Then you join one of the national associations such as the American Medical Writers Association. You take courses and seminars in the specialty you choose for writing. Then you take graduate courses in medical writing or science and technical writing either from a university or from seminars offered at conventions, conferences, or workshops by the professional association you join for science, technical, or medical writers.
The fastest way to begin is to open your own medical and/or nutrition independant ghostwriting business and outsource medical ghostwriters to work for you that already have experience in a specialty. Start a temporary ghostwriting service.
Hire those with the experience you don’t have to take temporary assignments in regulatory or marketing ghostwriting. Learn by practicing the type of writing your clients are doing. Autodidactics are those that teach or train themselves. Maybe you’re a medical transcriber who wants to become a medical editor or writer specializing in nutrition and health.
Begin by reading what other medical and nutrition ghostwriters are writing or editing for those many medical, nutritional, and scientific journals. Learn from reading similar material and using your medical dictionary how to interpret from medical terminology into plain language so most readers, including yourself, can understand the big picture and the details. That way, you’ll begin to communicate to almost anyone else and be able to read between the lines. Where to begin your training? See the Educational Portal site for information on a Master of Science Degree in Biomedical Writing.
Earn a certificate in medical writing from the American Medical Writers Association. There’s a self-study site, and they have a job search site online for members. And they offer a Science Fundamentals Certificate, ideal for those with a degree in English or journalism interested in a career as a medical, health, pharmaceutical, or science writer. Medical, pharmaceutical or nutrition marketing copywriting also offers an open door.
Contact the Center for Science and Medical Journalism at Boston University. They offer a Master of Science degree in science journalism. As more papers merge and journalists look for work in new areas, the field of science writing is rapidly evolving. One of the open doors is in writing or ghostwriting articles for those clinical trials and various medical or science journals. Just remember that the byline will not be yours in medical ghostwriting for those journals. You may wish to check out the book, 101 Ways to Find Six-Figure Medical or Popular Ghostwriting Jobs & Clients: A Step-by-Step Guide by Anne Hart (Nov 12, 2006).
If, on the other hand, you’re interested in fiction plotting or general creative writing of fiction or historical fiction, you may be interested in browsing this book paperback or Kindle edition, Do You Have the Aptitude & Personality to Be A Popular Author?: Professional Creative Writing Assessments by Anne Hart (Mar 10, 2009).