Understanding Ghostwriters: Debunking the Myths


Understanding ghostwriters starts by debunking mythsExploring the world of ghostwriting can feel a bit like stepping into a puzzle. There are lots of mixed-up ideas about it. For instance, it seems like about 10% of the people who contact me believe that I write ghost stories. One person wrote, “I had my first ghost experience in a hotel last week.” I wrote back explaining who a ghostwriter is and what I do. Having said that, although I don’t specialize in ghost stories, I do have a paranormal murder mystery idea in the works. Having been a ghostwriter for the last two decades, I can tell you that there are a lot of misconceptions out there. I figured it was a good idea to clear up a few of the myths so you can know what’s true and what’s not when it comes to understanding ghostwriters.


Why Good Writers Are Important


Before we talk about how to better understand ghostwriters, let’s understand why having one is so important. A good writer can help you in many ways. Let’s look at a few examples.


First, if you want to write a book but find it hard to explain your ideas, a talented ghost can help make your thoughts clear and interesting for others to read. We can turn your jumbled ideas into a great book that people will enjoy.


Second, if you have writing skills but don’t have the time, it might work to hire a ghostwriter. You can be involved with the project as much as you like and it will still be your book, but you won’t have to put hundreds of hours into the project to get it done.


Lastly, if you’re an entrepreneur with a brand and an established written voice, it’s a good idea to consult with a ghostwriter to make sure you’re staying on track. Coming out with a book that doesn’t match your current brand would confuse your readers.


In other words, a good writer helps you say what you want to say in a way that everyone can understand and enjoy. That’s why finding the right writer is like finding a partner to help you make your ideas shine.


Now, let’s debunk a few of the most common myths.


Myth #1: Ghostwriters are Just for Celebrities


What with the press around Prince Harry’s memoir Spare and Donald Trump’s business book The Art of the Deal, it isn’t a wonder that people think that ghostwriters are just for huge celebs. Well, that’s not true. I’ve been a ghostwriter for over twenty years and have never worked with a billionaire. No, I work for regular folks, like you and me. My purpose is to help you complete your book and make your ideas shine.


Beyond the glitz of the celebrity world, ghostwriters are like writing companions available to elevate the stories of regular but successful people. Entrepreneurs, professionals, and individuals from various walks of life can collaborate with a ghostwriter to bring their unique narratives to life. The inclusive nature of ghostwriting opens up new avenues for storytelling and expression so that people can realize their dream of writing a book.


Myth #2: Ghostwriters Don’t Have Their Own Voice


Understanding ghostwriters begins with the knowledge that we aren’t voiceless. We are often authors with our own written voices. However, we can also adapt to different tones and styles, making every story unique. I’ve had male and female clients, some powerful CEOs and others just hardworking men and women. Truly, the artistry of ghostwriting lies in the writer’s capacity to become a chameleon of language, adapting to the nuances of different voices.


Whether I’m writing a personal memoir, a business book, or a novel, my job is to embody my client’s voice authentically. This versatility ensures that the final work resonates with the intended audience while reflecting the distinct style and tone of the client.


Myth #3: Ghostwriters are Expensive and Exclusive


Ghostwriters aren’t only for the mega-rich and famous. Sure, celebrities hire ghostwriters for $500,000 and up, but the average client doesn’t pay that price.


For instance, if you want me to write a book from scratch, it will cost one dollar per word. However, if you just need some help completing your book, I have packages that are much less. For $2,000 I will help you create a detailed outline so that you can write a first draft without hitting the dreaded writer’s block. It’s like having options on a menu – you pick what fits your budget.


Myth #4; Ghostwriters are Just Copywriters in Disguise


Ghostwriters and copywriters are different players in the writing game. Copywriters focus on selling stuff, while ghostwriters focus on books. Distinguishing between the roles of ghostwriters and copywriters is essential to understanding ghostwriters.


Imagine you have a story to share, but you’re not quite sure how to put it into words. That’s where a ghostwriter comes in! If you’re not confident with words but have an awesome story or idea, a ghostwriter is your writing buddy. They bring your thoughts to life in a way that feels just like you are talking.


Now, let’s talk about copywriters. Imagine you have a fantastic product or service, and you want everyone to know how amazing it is. Think of copywriters as sales wizards. They use words to make people want to buy or try something.


Myth #5: Ghostwriters Only Write Business Books


Nope! That’s one I hear a lot. Actually, most of my requests for ghostwriting are from people who wish to share their life stories. I have also written quite a few novels over the last twenty years.


Myth #6: Ghostwriters Never Receive Credit for Their Work


Sometimes ghostwriters aren't as hiddenGhostwriters aren’t always hidden. Sometimes, they get a little nod in the acknowledgments or even share the author’s spotlight. It depends on the writing rules between them and their partner.


The dynamics of credit and acknowledgment in ghostwriting collaborations are nuanced. While some projects may keep the ghostwriter’s contribution discreet, others involve a more visible recognition. Acknowledgments in the form of a discreet mention or shared authorship are common in the ghostwriting landscape, highlighting the diverse ways in which credit is attributed in different partnerships.


Myth #7: Anyone Can Be a Ghostwriter


Before you can become a ghostwriter, you really need to also be an author with a few books under your belt. Being a professional writer doesn’t happen overnight. Now, some people will SAY they are ghostwriters, but you need to make sure they have valid writing experience before you hire them. For instance, if they have never written a book, you need to know that they will be cutting their teeth with your project. The chances that they’ll complete your book are slim.


One of the biggest assets a ghostwriter brings to the table is knowing how to structure a book. The outline for a novel or memoir is a complicated and technical piece. There are a lot of rules to follow. Someone inexperienced with this area might set out writing their book without this knowledge. When that happens, they’ll hit a brick wall quickly.


Myth #8: Ghostwriting is Unethical


Yup, I hear that once in a while. Despite the fact that ghostwriting is very commonplace, some people feel there is a line being crossed. They aren’t comfortable with it. Honestly, understanding who hires ghostwriters can take time.


Let’s say you have a friend who’s not so great with words, but they have an amazing story to tell. Now, they have a friend who can help them share that story. The ghostwriter uses their writing powers to turn your friend’s thoughts into a fantastic book. Otherwise, that book will never get written, and your friend’s ideas will never be shared.


Now you might be thinking, “Hey, it’s not fair! The person whose story it is should be the one writing it.” I can see that point of view.


Here’s the thing: in the world of ghostwriting, everyone agrees on the rules. It’s like playing a board game where everyone knows what’s happening. The person with the story says, “I need help telling this,” and the ghostwriter jumps in. It’s teamwork.


I am always thrilled to know that I have been able to help someone finish their book. I don’t like the idea that they are kept up at night, knowing they have something to say, but just can’t find the words.


Note: If you still feel there is something unethical about ghostwriting, consider hiring a writing coach. I have several clients who are working on their first drafts with my guidance. The price tag is a lot lower and in the end, they’ll know they wrote the book themselves.




So, after all this talk about ghostwriters, here’s the simple scoop. Ghostwriters are like writing pals who help everyone – famous or not – tell their stories. They’re not secret agents; they’re just talented writers lending a hand.


Understanding ghostwriters helps us see that writing is for everyone. No matter who you are, you have a right to see your book in print. Ghostwriters make sure everyone’s voice gets a chance to shine.


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