What Is a Ghostwriter?
What is a ghostwriter?
I’ve learned it is a rather unusual concept for many people, so I wanted to clarify a few points.
Let’s start with a basic definition: Ghostwriters are professional writers who write for other people.
Who hires a ghostwriter?
Most of my clients are business men and women who don’t have the time to write a book themselves, but have something important to share. Many want to share their personal life story, while others want a business book to teach others what they know. Sometimes people want to write a best-selling novel and need a little help.
Ghostwriters hand over the rights to the book when the project is completed and become a “ghost.” Sometimes, we get a “with” credit on the cover or an acknowledgement inside, but other times we are sworn to secrecy.
What do ghostwriters write?
I have been hired to write many books and articles. Sometimes, people need help with blog articles, too. I enjoy helping my clients find their writer’s voice!
It might surprise you the varied requests I receive. One client hired me to write a letter to an older gentleman who was on his death bed, while another asked me to pen a letter to the editor regarding a highly controversial subject.
Ghostwriters are most often asked to write books. Some specialize in a particular genre, while others write books in many different genres. I have written fiction, memoirs and prescriptive nonfiction (which are typically how-to books).
Isn’t it unethical to take credit for a book written by a ghostwriter?
No, not at all! It would be if you stole my work (that is, if you took my words without my permission). That’s plagiarism. This is different, because they are your ideas and you’re hiring a ghostwriter to present them.
My clients and I usually have a contract, where we spell out the details of the relationship. It’s always very clear that the book goes to the author, the person hiring the ghostwriter. Yes, you ARE the author. Without you, there would be no book.
Are some of the bestselling books really ghostwritten?
Yes! I just read a figure that states an estimated forty percent of published books are ghostwritten. It makes sense. Most people either don’t have the time to write a book, since they take hundreds of hours a piece to write!
Okay, now for a pop quiz…
What is a ghostwriter?
A. A writer who writes scary stories.
B. A recently deceased writer who completes a book postmortem.
C. A person who writes for someone else.
If you have an answer E, please email me and let me know!
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