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  • Ghostwriting Legality: Ethics, Ownership, and Writer…

Ghostwriting Legality: Ethics, Ownership, and Writer Credit

James Parsons

Ghostwriting is not new by any means. Ghosting for creative pursuits has a long and storied history. Even famous people like Mozart spent part of their career  ghosting for others . Throughout history, there have always been people who want to get their ideas out there. Some people or brands want to build a reputation for themselves. However, many of these people have neither the time nor the inclination to do that work themselves.

While emphasizing intellectual property rights, copyright, and the threat of lawsuits in modern business, it might seem like ghostwriting is too risky. If you pay a ghostwriter for content and use that content, they still wrote it. Right? What stops them from using it elsewhere or suing you later if they don't like what you're doing with it?

Let's talk about the intricacies of ghostwriting, including the legalities, ethics, and quirks of using a ghostwriter to create content for you.

A Quick Answer To Both

Ethics are highly debated in ghostwriting. The general consensus (broadly accepted in various industries, academia, and journalistic fields) is that if the person hiring the ghostwriter still takes some part in the production of the content, it's ethical. If the person hiring the ghostwriter has zero involvement in the creation of the content, and yet the words of another are being published under their name, it crosses into unethical territory. 

Legality  is more cut and dry. Ghostwriting is legal as long as there is a clear-cut agreement that both the writer and the person paying for the content agree to. If somebody breaks the contract or uses the content without permission, then it becomes a legal issue. Otherwise, it's just somebody paying a writer to write content, and there are no legal issues at all with that.

Now, there is a lot of grey area, historical precedent, and even court cases on this subject. Let's cover this with a bit more nuance.

Is Ghostwriting Legal?

Is ghostwriting legal?

The longer answer has to do with two things: historical precedent and contracts.

Ghosting is a practice that has been happening for centuries. Many such methods end up enshrined in culture as acceptable even if modern sensibilities might find them objectionable in some way.

With ghostwriting, there's some level of ethical concern about passing off the work of others as your own. I'll talk about that more later. That said, ethics are only sometimes codified into law. It's unethical to steal, and theft is criminal. The ethics of ghostwriting? Stay tuned.

The second thing making ghostwriting legal is contract law.

Sample Ghostwriting Agreement

Ghostwriting is even used by attorneys and contract lawyers themselves for the appellate briefs and pleadings of law firms. In a 2007 formal opinion , the ABA (American Bar Association) deemed that legal ghostwriting meets their Model Rules of Professional Conduct / Professional Responsibility , provided they're making the proper disclosures with their legal services. In a separate New York ethics opinion paper, published in 2010 , the New York County Law Association agreed with the ABA.

However, court rules haven't been as straightforward with the legal ethics of ghostwriting. Most legal ghostwriting complaints come from the court, opposing counsel, or are revealed in pro se litigant papers. If you're curious about statements from the federal courts, informed consent, court documents, and case law, you might find this article interesting:

The fact is, ghostwriting is legal specifically because it's a willing agreement between two parties:

  • The ghostwriter agrees to produce content within the constraints and about the subjects required by the contractor.
  • The contractor agrees to compensate the ghostwriter for their work.

There's a bit more to it, though. The contract specifies several details that are relevant to this agreement.

  • The compensation.  Compensation is most often money but can be other goods or services agreed upon by both parties. In other words, how much do you pay the ghostwriter?
  • Plagiarism protection.  Many people who pay ghostwriters will pay for plagiarism checking services to guarantee that the ghostwriter is producing original work and not stealing content from elsewhere to sell to you.
  • Intellectual property rights. The contract usually is not simply selling the content itself; it's selling the rights to the content. This practice is very commonplace. In some cases, that contract will include a nondisclosure agreement.
  • If one side or the other violates the agreement , penalties may be agreed upon ahead of time to avoid litigation.
  • Termination agreements.  In case one party or the other wants to terminate the deal, who gets what? Are responsibilities ceased, or will duties be finished? And so on.

The key is intellectual property rights. The writer owns the copyright to the content they produce, and when they sell that content to you, you buy the rights to own, use, reproduce, publish, edit, and otherwise do what you want with the content submissions.

Copywritten Text

In some cases, the ghostwriter must receive credit or attribution, and in others, they don't. Attribution depends on your agreement with the writer, and I'll talk more about attribution later.

So, ghostwriting is legal because there's a contract making it legal and because it doesn't violate any laws or the rights of others.

Is Ghostwriting Ethical?

Now, you might be wondering, is ghostwriting ethical in the first place?

In many blogging and blog-based ghostwriting cases, the ghostwriter is doing the legwork, but the information and authority come from the person paying them. The contractor might speak their thoughts into a recorder and deliver the transcript to a blog post, eBook, or book. They might perform topic research, write an article brief and outline , and have the ghostwriter flesh that out.

In these cases, the brand owner is an authority; they're just using the ghostwriter to save their own time, to spend it in other ways.

When you hire someone like me, I do my research on your topic, and I have writers who are experts in a wide variety of subjects. We're not going to be performing unique case studies or experiments for your blog, but we know how to separate truth from fiction and create good content based on your expertise.

Academic Essay Writing

If you're a complete neophyte to a topic, trying to pass yourself off as an expert and use ghostwriting to do it, there may be a conflict of ethics. If you go to a doctor, you want that doctor to have attended medical school and acquired certification, not paid someone to pass it for them, right? The same goes for a brand leader; you want the person you're trusting with your money to be an actual expert.

There are dozens of websites where people will sell ghostwritten term papers and assignments for students who can't finish their homework.

We create blog content that converts - not just for ourselves, but for our clients, too.

We pick blog topics like hedge funds pick stocks. Then, we create articles that are 10x better to earn the top spot.

Content marketing has two ingredients - content and marketing. We've earned our black belts in both.

How Much Does Essay Cost

This practice is unethical for two reasons:

  • It passes off someone else's work as the student's original thought. The student isn't an expert, and they're using a ghostwriter to replace their learning and effort rather than save themselves time.
  • It violates academic honesty policies. While it might not be illegal, it's against the educational institution's policies and thus constitutes academic fraud.

These are just a couple of reasons we choose not to offer academic writing services; we focus on blog posts and business writing.

It all comes down to collaboration . A ghostwriter collaborates with an expert to produce content that conveys the expert's thoughts, views, and opinions in a written format. The expert could do it themselves, but they don't have the time or energy to do so. If you hire a ghostwriter to write a blog with zero direction, zero collaboration, and zero input,  that doesn't bode well for you .

Should You Credit Your Writer?

If you're a company looking to hire a ghostwriter for your blog, you might be worried about the writer asking for credit. Should you credit them?

Ghostwriters are well aware that they aren't getting credit for the writing they produce. Part of their contract is that they sell the rights to the content. Once those rights transfer, the company owns the content, and the writer is compensated with money.

The lack of credit is why you can pay a writer less money if you hire them to write publicly for your blog. Public recognition is valuable, and they can work for a lower fee in exchange for that credit, which lets them build up a reputation and work with more people down the road.

Credits aren't worth that much, though, which is why you can't pay writers in free exposure .

Free Promotion Example

Sometimes, the writer will ask that you act as a reference for them if they need one for a future job. They might also ask that certain pieces they write can be allowed to be used as part of a portfolio, though to be honest, if a writer is good enough to write for your blog, they're good enough to write a second variation on the same topic to use for their purposes. It's very rarely an issue.

Most of the time, you do not need to credit a ghostwriter because the contract you've signed with them gives you the rights and ownership to the content submissions in exchange for money.

There are some cases where the contract may specify more. For example, suppose a ghostwriter writes a fiction novel for an author, and the book is picked up and optioned for a hit TV show. In that case, the ghostwriter might have negotiated to receive some compensation or additional value from that contract. The original agreement might also cover publication rights and not rights for further options. That's a matter for contract law, however, and is largely irrelevant for our discussion.

After all, no one is going to be optioning your blog posts for a movie, no matter how good they are.

What Do You Get When Hiring a Ghostwriter?

If a ghostwriter isn't an expert, and you still have to put time and effort into creating a brief, recording your thoughts, and working with the writer, why would you hire one?

What do you get out of it? Several things.

1. First, you get writing expertise . You might be an expert in health topics, business marketing, or technology, but the writer is not. You probably aren't an expert in technical SEO, written optimizations, technical grammar, or web writing, but the writer is . Together, you can produce well-written content on your topic of expertise; alone, neither of you could.

Schedule Content in WordPress

You can think of this as speechwriting. The president has all his speeches written for him, but those speeches reflect his positions and opinions. The president might be less eloquent if left to his own devices, but the speechwriter wouldn't be an authority at all without the ability to work with the president.

3. Second, you get to save time . Writing takes time to write, to edit, to format, to publish. A ghostwriter can handle all of that for you, or at least most of it, saving you time to spend furthering your expertise.

Time Management and Blogging

3. Third, you get a partnership . This situation is especially beneficial when your ghostwriters are working through content marketing agencies. When you work with me, you aren't just getting ghostwritten content. You're getting all of my marketing and SEO expertise, my ability to help you pick and choose topics, and my ability to help you figure out what direction to take your content marketing. And, of course, you get content ghostwritten by my team of writers.

Content Calendar Example

All of this is added value you  could develop on your own, but why would you? You have more important things to worry about, and when you can pay someone like me to handle it all for you, that's always going to be the better option.

Should You Hire a Ghostwriter?

Whether or not you should hire a ghostwriter is tricky because it all comes down to what you want:

  • Do you want someone that you can hand a packet of information to, and can you trust them to turn it into a coherent piece of content within a specific format you desire? If so, a ghostwriter is a good option. You can work with them to answer their questions, refine the content you want to be created, and produce something you can be proud of (with your name attached to it). I wrote a whole guide on  how to hire a ghostwriter here .
  • Do you want someone who will do all of the legwork for you? You give them a topic, do all of the research, write all of the words, and publish it for you, with no deeper collaboration? A ghostwriter can do this, but it may be unethical depending on the purpose of the content. It would be best if you were careful when doing this, but it's possible to do. I recommend using it for things that aren't flagship or authority content, like product descriptions, website copy, and blog posts.
  • Do you want someone to write for your blog, cover all of the bases, and handle content marketing? If you only want to work with one person, you can hire a freelance writer. You might be better off hiring someone you can give credit to and who can bring their audience and authority to your blog to boost your chances of success even higher.
  • Do you want someone to manage your entire content marketing scope for you, with collaboration to ensure that the information is accurate, the formatting fits your brand , and the marketing works? Then it would be best if you had a content marketing agency.

Let me tell you; I'm always available for a phone call. Just reach out, and we can discuss what I can do for you.

Did I answer all of your questions on ghostwriting? If not, please share with me in the comments area below! I'd be happy to answer your question and add it to this article as well. Don't be shy!

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James Parsons is the founder and CEO of Content Powered, a content creation company. He’s been a content marketer for over 10 years and writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, and many other publications on blogging and website strategy.

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December 08, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Thank you! I hired a writer who wanted his name on my blog posts, and I received some pushback when I wanted these ghostwritten.

It's good to know I'm not alone and this is pretty much the standard in this industry!

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December 09, 2021 at 6:43 pm

Hey Dale! You bet.

I think it's the standard for freelance writers and contractors, for sure.

I can see them being a little upset about it with full-time employees, but it depends on whether that was communicated to them or not before their onboarding. Communication is key.

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May 02, 2022 at 10:52 pm

Hi James, would you recommend hiring someone with ghostwriting experience compared to those who are new to the concept? I'm afraid the unfamiliar ones might not be too keen on the idea.

May 05, 2022 at 8:24 pm

Hey Sharon!

I don't think it matters much. Most all freelance writers are comfortable and familiar with ghostwriting.

Still, it's a good idea to be upfront with them about the articles being published under somebody else's name.

In all my years of interviewing hundreds of writers, I've only had one writer who was surprised to learn that we wouldn't publish all of his content under his name.

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February 03, 2022 at 3:08 pm

I'm quite new to the details of ghostwriting so this was a big help. I was considering hiring one and now I think I am all-set for it.

February 04, 2022 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Alan!

Please keep us in mind if you're looking for a new content writer. I'm happy to help if you need pointing in the right direction.

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February 21, 2022 at 6:45 pm

I am Nicole Ross, and I'm curious I have a massive story in the making. However, as I make a discovery, I hear directly speaking to Stephen king, yet I have never met him or contracted with him. I can listen to him through the Illuminati. What I'm asking is, since he never confronted me with signing anything for a contract, how could he possibly be in my house and digging in my life without my permission? How do I go about handling it

March 04, 2022 at 5:52 pm

Hey Nicole! That sounds like a very different kind of ghost writing than the one I was talking about 😉 You might have to contact a professional who is an expert in that sort of thing.

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October 04, 2022 at 3:19 pm

This is definitely not the kind of ghostwriting I was expecting to discuss when I read this article. 😅

October 07, 2022 at 7:44 pm

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5 Incredible Truths: Do Ghostwriters Get Credit for Their Craft?

Table of Contents

In the world of content creation, the question often surfaces, “Do ghostwriters get credit?” It seems a peculiar inquiry, given the contractual and professional nature of ghostwriting. Just as doctors, lawyers, engineers, or managers offer their expertise and time for compensation, so do ghostwriters. The service they provide—be it a speech, an autobiography, an article, or a novel—is grounded in their skills and experience. It’s their talent for sale, in exchange for a pre-agreed remuneration.

Understanding the Nature of Ghostwriting

Do ghostwriters get credit for the books they write?

The question that naturally arises is, “ Do ghostwriters get credit ?” This is where the unique nature of ghostwriting comes into play. The primary aim of a ghostwriter is to capture the essence, the voice, and the ideas of the person or entity they write for. We hire them to translate these elements into a coherent, engaging piece of writing.

As for recognition, ghostwriters usually operate behind the scenes, their compensation being monetary rather than being credited publicly for their work. However, instances of credited ghostwriters aren’t entirely unheard of, depending on the terms of their contract and the preferences of their clients.

Ethical Considerations in Ghostwriting

Ethical Considerations in Ghostwriting

Another ethical consideration is the confidentiality of the ghostwriter-client relationship. Ghostwriters must respect the privacy of their clients and not disclose sensitive information related to the project or their client. Breaching this confidentiality can lead to severe legal consequences.

Finally, the responsibility of producing original, non-plagiarized work rests on the ghostwriter’s shoulders. They must ensure that they properly cite all sources, and that the work is unique and authentic, avoiding any form of plagiarism.

Ethical Considerations of Ghostwriting and Credit Attribution

While we continue to explore the question, “do ghostwriters get credit?”, it becomes crucial to understand the ethical considerations tied to ghostwriting. Ghostwriters, by their professional nature, are invisible scribes who channel their writing abilities into expressing someone else’s thoughts, ideas, or stories. However, the ethics of this practice have always been a topic of heated debate.

The core of the debate stems from a conflict of perceived fairness and professional necessity. On the one hand, some argue that ghostwriters, being the actual creators of the work, deserve formal recognition or credit for their contributions. The industry standard of ghostwriters remaining unseen is a part of the job description that they knowingly accept, and which is reflected in their compensation.

The ethical balance seems to hinge on informed consent, open negotiations, and transparent agreements between the author and the ghostwriter. As long as ghostwriters willingly agree understanding that they won’t be credited for their work, the practice can be seen as ethically sound.

Ghostwriting and the Responsibility of Citing Sources

Ghostwriting and the Responsibility of Citing Sources

Ghostwriters are commissioned to create original work and must maintain the integrity of this mandate. Using sources for reference, inspiration, or factual substantiation is a standard part of the writing process. However, it’s crucial that ghostwriters, like any other writers, acknowledge these sources properly to avoid the unethical and illegal practice of plagiarism.

Therefore, the ghostwriter’s duty extends beyond merely writing the content to ensuring that all borrowed material is correctly attributed, preserving the credibility of the final piece and the reputations of both the ghostwriter and the credited author.

The Courts’ View of Ghostwriting

From a legal standpoint, the question “do ghostwriters get credit?” seems straightforward. In most cases, the courts view ghostwriting as a contractual agreement wherein the ghostwriter willingly foregoes any credit for the work for remuneration.

Ghostwriters are typically not considered the legal authors of their work, and therefore they have no claim to copyright or public recognition. This perspective is based on the premise that ghostwriters, being aware of the terms of their profession, willingly accept these conditions.

However, this is not a universal rule, and certain exceptions can occur, especially where no formal agreement was in place, or where the terms of a contract are disputed. Ultimately, the legal perspective on ghostwriting mirrors the ethical stance: as long as the terms are clear and agreed upon by both parties, the practice of ghostwriting without credit is considered legally acceptable.

The Ghostwriters’ Stance

From the perspective of the ghostwriters, the answer to the question “do ghostwriters get credit?” can often be a resigned “no”. But many ghostwriters see this lack of recognition as a part of their job, accepting it with professionalism. They provide a service, much like any other, and understand that their role is to remain behind the scenes.

Ghostwriters derive their satisfaction from helping their clients’ express ideas, stories, or expertise that might otherwise remain untold because of a lack of writing skill or time. They take pride in their ability to mimic their client’s voice, and for them, seeing the work they helped create published, even without their name on it, can be rewarding.

On the flip side, ghostwriters also appreciate the anonymity that their profession provides. It allows them to work on diverse projects and expand their writing repertoire without being pigeonholed into a specific genre or style.

The Beneficiaries’ Perspective

For the beneficiaries of ghostwriting, primarily the credited authors, the question “do ghostwriters get credit?” might often be met with a hesitant “depends”. Many authors acknowledge the efforts of their ghostwriters privately, even if public recognition is not a part of the agreement.

For these authors, ghostwriters provide a valuable service by helping them to articulate their ideas clearly and professionally. They understand and respect the role of the ghostwriter and often maintain long-term relationships with them.

However, there are also those who prefer to maintain the illusion of being the sole creator of their work. This approach, while ethically debatable, is often accepted as part of ghostwriting, so long as the ghostwriter is adequately compensated and acknowledged behind the scenes.

Do Ghostwriters Get Credit?

The question “do ghostwriters get credit?” is multifaceted and subjective. It depends on the perspectives of the ghostwriter, the credited author, and society at large. While ghostwriters rarely receive public recognition, many are content with their behind-the-scenes role, viewing their compensation as a sufficient acknowledgement of their efforts. As the landscape of ghostwriting continues to evolve, so too will the conversations about credit, recognition, and the value of this invisible craft.

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Ghostwriting 101 – A Beginner’s Guide To Learn Ghost Writing

Ghostwriting 101 - A Beginner's Guide To Learn Ghost Writing

When I think about ghostwriting, my first thought is: Is it a paranormal activity or something? What’s in it for the writers if there are ghosts writing everything?  Don’t worry because you’re not alone here. As a beginner, even I thought of it as unusual. But ghostwriting is a prevalent trade, and we’re going to learn more about it in detail.

So, let’s dive into the basics first, and we’ll take it from there:

Table of Contents - Quick Look At What's Inside

What is Ghostwriting?

The good news is there are no ghosts in ghostwriting.

Ghostwriting is writing without credits. Yes, it’s that simple.

So, who takes the credit?

It is usually the client or an industry leader, C-suite executive, or the website owner credited as the “author” of the piece. In other words, the writer becomes a ghost despite being the original creator.

To sum up, we can say that:

Ghostwriting Is Writing Content On Behalf Of The Author.

Who Are Ghostwriters?

Ghostwriters work on projects under the name of another party. From technology experts, celebrities, and VIPs to business executives and politicians, every other business professionals need ghostwriters for content requirements.

In addition to these actual organizations, some ghostwriters work on behalf of other organizations, non-profits, etc.

So What Exactly Is Ghostwriting?

If there are one thing writers long for, it is accreditation. If you’re a ghost, it ought to be a disappointment.

However, there’s a flip side!

Ghostwriting is a well-established practice. Developing a reputation that allows a significant public figure to engage you to write a speech takes years of experience. It may even be a celebrity asking you to write a memoir. This will be cited several times in this article.

Expertise is the primary factor in ghostwriting. Read on to discover the reasons why.

Why Would Anyone Hire A Ghostwriter?

To craft an effective sales pitch, A speech, a presentation, etc., you need a lot of creativity and time. This is a situation where ghostwriters have a chance. Companies like anonymous work in their favor in order to raise the stakes for authenticity.

Ghostwriters manage to rack up a lot of success, more than traditional authors. And, it makes sense. In return for giving away their work, ghostwriters are well paid.

Types Of Ghostwriting Projects

In the professional world, full-time Ghostwriters are those who write books credited to someone else.

In addition, Ghostwriters engage in writing the following content types:

  • Social Media Posts

In addition to professional ghostwriters, there are other freelance and informal ghostwriters:

1. Freelance Ghostwriters

Most of the Ghostwriters are freelance writers. But why do they become ghostwriters in the first place? The reasons are pretty straightforward:

Reason #1 – Freelancers already have a stable income source elsewhere, so they’re willing to concede the accreditation for ghostwriting.

Reason #2 – Ghostwriting is very lucrative and pays well. Since writers get a guaranteed cut and hence helps them get established as a writer.

Reason #3 – Freelance writers who work with content marketing firms hope to secure a big project at some point in time.

2. Executive Assistants And Secretaries

Diplomats, politicians, CEOs, etc., hire assistants and secretaries for speeches, sales pitches, scripts, advertisements, and many more projects. Since they don’t get accredited, they’re titled, informal ghostwriters. 

3. PR Professionals And Firms

Many PR professionals who can afford non-credited work pursue ghostwriting projects to gain employment in a corporate environment.

A lot of corporates draft Ghostwriters to undertake the following projects:

  • Speechwriting
  • Article Writing
  • Media And Press Relations 

A press release is an essential tool for PR folks, and if you want to learn how to write a press release , we have the perfect guide for you.

4. Marketing Team And Managers

People in the marketing team of a company are already well versed in written and communication skills. These in-office employees dabble into ghostwriting projects to get exposure in writing industry-specific content. 

In-office employees take on several content marketing projects like

  • Speeches And Articles On Behalf Of The Company’s Tech Leads
  • Communications For The C-Suite Executives
  • Writing Product Descriptions For The Sales Team

5. Content Agencies

Most marketing firms struggle to produce engaging content consistently on social media, newspaper op-eds, etc. So they outsource to content production agencies.

The ghostwriting deal takes place only after mutual consent. Content agencies run with a full-fledged team of writers who complete the job from planning, research, writing to editing and distribution.

6. Spouses, Friends, And Family Members

Anyone in the family with an interest in writing can become a ghostwriter for the company.

Business professionals who have writers within their network can hire them as ghostwriters. Ghostwriting projects are a welcome break for writers as they gain quality experience.

Also, it is always a bonus to receive referrals from peers and well-known companies.

Why Become A Ghostwriter? – 6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Ghostwriting

Let’s look at six good reasons why you should take a leap into ghostwriting:

1. Good Payscale

As mentioned earlier, a good pay scale is pretty much understood. If writers give up their byline, a good cut is guaranteed.

Ghostwriting can be very lucrative if you have the right customers.

2. Involuntary Style Of Work

If you are an established freelance writer, you are more likely to find ideal clients during times of need.

Involuntary ghostwriting gigs are an additional income source many freelancers choose despite having a regular job. Not only do they get quality work experience, but a good side income as well.

3. Exposure

Your skills can be tested at the expert level with ghostwriting since there’s a high probability your clients are well-versed in whatever they do.

4. Wide Range Of Opportunities

When a ghostwriter becomes established, they can take on multiple gigs simultaneously. But remember that the odds of getting projects are directly proportional to your level of expertise.

5. Steady Flow Of Work

You can keep a steady system of handling all the deals one by one as long as your range of opportunities remains open from different businesses to marketing firms.

6. Accreditations

Although Ghostwriters sign up for an anonymous gig, some authors want their names in the accreditations.

It’s entirely subjective whether the ghost gets the acknowledgment or not, but the practice is wholly mutual and transparent.

Some celebrities and leaders share a minor footnote in their content praising the ghostwriter.

How To Become A Ghostwriter?

There’s no such thing as becoming a ghostwriter. Ghostwriting is a side hustle. It’s the gateway to enter into the world of content writing or to earn some extra cash along the way. Nonetheless, there are lots of ways to get started with ghostwriting. Let’s jump into a few of those ways:

1. Become A Freelance Writer

The experience you gain from working with clients as a freelance writer adds a great deal to your credibility. That, in turn, allows you to attract more clients. This credibility helps you gain access to ghostwriting projects. Since freelancers have an edge in networking, they can land good ghostwriting jobs.

Congratulations if you’re a freelancer! You can take the chances in ghostwriting gigs.

2. Get Into Book Writing (At Least Two)

As a beginner, getting a gig as big as publishing a book can be tricky. Unless you have the exposure to writing big projects like memoirs, e-books you might struggle to land a good deal.

Yes, clients can’t trust you as you are yet to build your credibility, but there’s another thing regarding the pay scale. Considering you’re a newbie, professionals might trick you into an underpaid gig. The huge hours you’ll put in will result in extreme burnout and an underwhelming experience.

3. Start Guest Posting

Guest posting means writing for someone else’s blog or website. It helps you create a niche and get your name out.

Ghostwriting requires experience, and while starting out, it’s tough to get a gig. Hence you can write guest posts to help get your foot in the door.

4. “Ghostwriter For Hire”

You must have come across writers on social media with “Ghostwriter for hire” mentioned in their bios. This helps them expand their readership base to a broader array of writing firms and clients.

You can write, “I am a ghostwriter, specializing in ghostwriting books for hire.” Potential clients find you more easily in the process, and it’s up to you to choose the most suitable prospects. 

Frequently Asked Asked Questions About Ghostwriting Answered

1. does the profile of a writer differ for ghostwriters who don't write books.

Though the job profile is more or less identical, the most significant difference is in the pay scale. In addition, those who write books are considered official Ghostwriters, while others are deemed, informal Ghostwriters.

However, you should have at least two books under your belt before tackling professional Ghostwriting.

2. How Much Do Ghostwriters Earn?

You will earn more or less depending on the type of clients you have.

Blog writers and article writers receive a payment of at least $50 per post on average.

On the other hand, ghostwriters make $2000 to $9000 per book, but the pay-out increases with experience to $30,000 per book or even a lot more.

3. Is Ghostwriting Worth It?

If you’re a freelancer, the answer would be no, as your online presence, as well as credibility, decides your stay in the market. But it could well become a side hustle if you want to expand your writing to the level of book writing.

The demand for ghostwriters is rising as content holds importance to the market and the economy’s globalization. The more transparent and interactive your content is, the more profitable your company will be. Therefore, better pay scale.

For all these reasons, ghostwriting becomes an essential aspect of content marketing strategy for corporate firms.

4. Is Ghostwriting Legal?

I’ll break this down into two subdivisions. These divisions explain under what scenario Ghostwriting becomes illegal, against ethics and standards.

Academic Ghostwriting

As long as you’re not a peddler who gets down to offering perks and payments to get their research papers and assignments done, academic ghostwriting is legal.

Even though it is often shelved under the category of ghostwriting, it violates the universal code of education, i.e., transparency.

So, the authorities have to carry out legal documentation before finalizing the ghostwriting project. Without a legal framework, any ghostwriting remains a shady practice.

Rap Ghostwriting

Another practice that made waves around 2015 was Rap Ghostwriting, in which rapper Meek Mill accused Drake of hiring a ghostwriter for Mill’s song “RICO.”

Ghostwriting has been around for a long time in the rap scene but is often ignored.

Ghostwriters are often unwilling to participate in interrogations to avoid adverse reactions.

There have been several cases where Ghostwriters have not been reimbursed or credited even after signing an agreement.

Natalie Robehmed, an associate editor at Forbes who focuses on media and entertainment, says that rappers use secret scribblers for input. Whether or not credit is given is an untold tale.

She found that every ghostwriter Natalie talked to told similar stories about work released without their knowledge by artists.


The funny thing is it wouldn’t matter whether you built castles out of the royalty or wrote some record-breaking musical numbers. You’d still be a ghost. This is why ghostwriting requires the skills of a selfless writer.

Anyway, ghostwriting is a prevalent practice and an excellent way to get some experience early on. So, have you had any ghostwriting experience? Drop your story in the comments. 

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Do Ghostwriters Get Credit? 6 Tips and Advice

It's important to understand that ghostwriters typically do not get credit for their work.

  • Do Ghostwriters Get Credit?
  • Understand Your Client's Voice
  • Good Communication
  • Master Versatility
  • NDA and Contracts
  • Professionalism
  • Build Your Skills

New ghostwriters often wonder whether or not they’ll get credit on any of the projects they work on. But as the name suggests, ghostwriters typically don’t receive recognition for their work with clients.

However, ghostwriters may be able to negotiate the terms of the agreement and receive some credit or ongoing royalties for their work.

Continue reading to find out how credit works when ghostwriting and how you can negotiate the best deal that protects your interests.

By definition, a ghostwriter is someone hired to write for another person under that person's name. The person hiring the ghostwriter typically retains the credit and the rights to the work, while the ghostwriter agrees to anonymity.

However, ghostwriters are compensated for their work, usually through a flat fee, a percentage of the profits, or some combination of the two. 

The specifics can vary greatly depending on the agreement between the ghostwriter and the client. 

Some ghostwriters also negotiate the rights to showcase their work in their private portfolios or to reference their work in a confidential manner as a part of their professional credentials, even if they can't publicly claim credit.

It's also worth noting that there are some books where the ghostwriter's contribution is acknowledged in the book's acknowledgements section, or the ghostwriter is listed as a co-author.

» MORE: Understanding Ghostwriting Rates and Payment Structure

Tips and Advice for Ghostwriters

Although you may not share the spotlight with your clients and receive public recognition, your work as a ghostwriter is still important and plays a vital role in society. 

Here are six tips for ghostwriters who are looking to start a career in this exciting and rewarding field.

Understand Your Client's Voice

The essence of ghostwriting is capturing the voice of someone else, and this is a skill that can take time to master. This might involve immersing yourself in their previous writings, speeches , or videos. 

Pay attention to the words they use, their rhythm and tone, their humor, their viewpoints, and how they express emotion. 

Understanding your client's voice means more than just mimicking their style—it means thinking like they would when confronted with a certain topic or situation.

It's vital that you communicate clearly and frequently with your client to understand their goals and expectations for the project. 

This could involve discussing outlines, sharing drafts for feedback, or having regular meetings to discuss progress and address any concerns. 

Remember, you're helping to bring their vision to life, so understanding their ideas and preferences is crucial.

As a ghostwriter, you may be called upon to write in a variety of styles, genres, and voices . This could include anything from blog posts, memoirs, speeches, and novels to business books, self-help guides, and more. 

Being able to adapt your writing style to the requirements of different projects can make you a more in-demand ghostwriter. Practice writing in different genres and styles to build this versatility.

Ghostwriting often involves signing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to protect the identity of the client and the nature of the work. 

Make sure you understand the terms of any contract before signing it. This should clearly lay out the scope of the work, the payment terms, and the expectations around confidentiality. 

When in doubt, consider getting legal advice to ensure you're fully aware of your obligations and rights.

» MORE: Understanding Ghostwriting Contracts

Treating your ghostwriting as a business can help you build a strong reputation. 

This includes not just delivering high-quality writing, but also meeting deadlines, being responsive to communication, maintaining a professional demeanor, and respecting the confidential nature of your work. 

Even though you won't get public recognition, word of mouth in the industry can open up new opportunities.

Just because you're ghostwriting doesn't mean you should neglect your own development as a writer. 

Continually work on honing your craft by taking writing classes, reading widely to expose yourself to different styles, staying up to date with changes in language and culture, or seeking feedback on your work. 

The better your skills, the more valuable you'll be as a ghostwriter.

Related: How to Become a Fiction Ghostwriter

Trending: The 7 Types of Ghostwriters Today

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Christopher Jan Benitez

Do Ghostwriters Get Credit or Not? The Real Answer

do ghostwriters get credit

Last Updated on 3 years by Christopher Jan Benitez

Let’s not beat around the bush:

Do ghostwriters get credits for their work?

If you’re looking for blog ghostwriting services , it’s common to ask this question. Especially if it will be your first rodeo, it’s understandable to want to get the details straight. 

So, should you really give them credit?

In this post, we’ll find out the actual answer. This way, you’ll know what to do once you work with a ghostwriter .

Do ghostwriters get credit, really?

Should i use a ghostwriter, length of the project, ideal ghostwriter, typical ghostwriting collaboration, how much does ghostwriting cost.

  • Skills  

Experience and credibility

Your project’s word count , final thoughts.

do ghostwriters get credit

No, they don’t. As their title points out, they’re “ghosts”. They’re not supposed to claim that they’re the ones who whipped up online content for the person they represent.

As their client, it’s not your obligation to give them credit. Because the deal is you pay money for their services. And as far as the same deal goes, you’re off the hook once you hand over what is due — and is rightfully theirs.

Now for some real talk. If they’re not getting credit for their work, it’s only fair to wonder what’s in “it” for them. 

The answer? Well, one is the huge paycheck waiting for them! 

A ghostwriter in New York, for instance, can enjoy an annual salary of about $45,000.

Remember, ghostwriters are usually skilled writers. For other people, they can write a book, get them featured in magazine articles, and more. They can mirror their clients’ writing style, take charge of these people’s personas, and more. 

For this reason, they make their clients’ lives a lot easier. And also for the same reason, they’re usually highly compensated.

Beyond the high pay, here are the other reasons a ghostwriter works this way:

  • High demand and steady work – The need to create written content will always be there. So, it’s no surprise that the need for ghostwritten works is high.
  • Variety of work – Ghostwriters explore different topics
  • Thirst to be better – Writing is an ever-evolving skill. And it gives these ghostwriters an opportunity to always do well.

Ghostwriters don’t really leave empty-handed.

So, focus on what they can do for you . Because they work anonymously, you get to reap all the benefits of their work.

Ready to use a ghostwriter now?

Reach out to them. However, before anything else, think about these things, first:

Will the ghostwriter be working on a short-term project? Or is it a project that will run for months or even years?

Either way, using a ghostwriter is an excellent idea. They will speed things up and help you meet your deadline.

A perk of offering short-term writing projects to ghostwriters? You usually won’t need to invest resources other than the ones for a quick project. Give them instructions and inform them of your expectations, then let them work. If they do a brilliant job, that’s awesome. 

And if they performed terribly, a simple course to take is to carry on with your business. Next time, just hire someone better.

If you want to work with a ghostwriter for the long haul, you’re walking in an unfamiliar territory. You may also need to invest in them and help them write well for you for as long as it takes.

Here are some tips that you can share with a ghostwriter to help them handle a long-term project:

  • Schedule and start – Jot down what you need to do, create a plan, then start the work.
  • Stick to a to-do list – Commit to your plan. Using productivity tools like the Pomodoro Technique can help.
  • Rest adequately – Get eight hours of sleep if you must. Willpower is an exhaustible resource.

do ghostwriters get credit

The first person who offers you their ghostwriting services may tell you that hiring them will save you time. It makes sense for them to bring that up because it means you don’t have to spend more time searching for ghostwriters.

Based on that perspective alone, you could nod your head in agreement.. However, if you factor in a ghostwriter’s qualifications, you will start walking in the opposite direction. So only use a ghostwriter if you’ve found someone qualified.

Here are some questions you need to ask before using a ghostwriter for hire:

  • Are their organizational skills good enough? If you have plenty of work mapped out for them, they should be able to organize all of them. Then allow them to prioritize the more urgent tasks as they deliver high-quality work for you.
  • Are they resourceful? They should always know what to do with what you give them. Rather than keep bugging you with concerns, they should know how to handle things independently, too.
  • Are they out-of-the-box thinkers? They should be creative and propose brilliant ideas.

Related: Ghostwriters Get Royalties: True or False?

A ghostwriting collaboration differs for every ghostwriter and their client. And it could be easier if you set rules on how to work prior to starting. 

Each ghostwriter works uniquely, and so does each client.

To help you work with a ghostwriter effectively, here are some tips you should note:

  • Don’t micromanage – No second-guessing or pointing out errors before they polish a project. Remain in the background and let a ghostwriter work how they want to.
  • Communicate clearly – Don’t use analogies, for instance. Be direct when delivering your message and ask them if they completely understand you.
  • Provide guidance – Offer suggestions if they need them. For example, you can provide research materials.

do ghostwriters get credit

As mentioned, ghostwriters can make a lot of money for their writing skills. So if you can provide them with fair compensation, hire one.

Know little you need to shell out for their services? Then, take the factors below into consideration:


The more skills a ghostwriter has, the higher you should think of paying them. If they can do the work that you originally thought of hiring someone else to do, then let that payment go to the ghostwriter instead.

For example, they can help you manage your social media accounts. They can keep these accounts updated, engage with your followers, and more.

What other skills do ghostwriters need to have for higher pay, you ask? Here’s a few of them:

  • SEO knowledge – Can they create and edit meta and title tags, for example? If they know their way around search engine optimization, they’re worth a lot.
  • Editing skills – Proofreading and editing can be time-consuming. If you don’t need to hire an editor anymore, take it as a cue that you should compensate higher.
  • Familiarity with graphic design – Can they take care of all visual-related elements for you?

Hiring a credible and experienced ghostwriter doesn’t come cheap. That’s because it takes time – and effort – to build experience and credibility. 

You can’t go from being an undecorated ghostwriter to an experienced and credible ghostwriter overnight, can you?

Here are signs that tell you a ghostwriter is credible and has relevant experience.

  • Knowledge about a subject – If possible, they’re willing to show you that they’re experts. If they’re niche-specific ghostwriters, they should be willing to talk extensively about a relevant subject.
  • Social proof – It’s easy for anyone to claim that they’re experienced and credible. However, is there anyone else that can honestly support their claim?
  • Professionalism – Working with an inexperienced ghostwriter can open the door to unprofessionalism. So hire a ghostwriter who’s reliable, hardworking, and respectful.

Let’s be realistic. 

Ghostwriters usually charge clients based on the number of words they should write. They can give you a quote for a flat fee. However, this fee would still depend on the number of words that they need to write.

So if you want them to write a relatively lengthy article, be ready to pay them a higher amount. For a 5,000-word article, for example, they will charge you something like this:

5,000-word article = 5,000 x $0.15

If their per-word rate is $0.15, then it’s fair to compensate them $750 for their work.

Related: how much does it typically cost to hire a ghostwriter?

Related: How Much Does It Typically Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?

Still asking the question, “Do ghostwriters get credits?” ? 

And still worried about who gets the credit for their written work once you bring a ghostwriter into the picture? Well, don’t because as the discussion above goes, it’s you -you get all the credit. 

And don’t feel bad about the whole setup, either. Ghostwriters are “ghosts”, remember? If they wrote an excellent piece on your behalf, the praise goes to you!

So go ahead and hire a ghostwriter to do magic for your online business.

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Carmine Mastropierro

What is ghostwriting everything you need to know, join the newsletter.

Get my latest content on business, marketing, and copywriting.

No, ghostwriting isn’t Caspar the Friendly Ghost churning out blog posts on a daily basis.

But you hear this term all of the time in different industries.

What is ghostwriting? Why does it matter?

I’m going to be answering these questions, covering typical fees, and explaining the benefits of hiring or becoming one yourself in today’s article.

What is ghostwriting?

So, what is ghostwriting exactly?

Ghostwriting is defined as having work written on your behalf by another writer, but you take credit for it. The public believes that you produced the content, but it was actually made by another individual.

Since ghostwriters do not receive credit for their work, they typically charge a premium. 💰

I can tell you, as a copywriter who has done plenty of ghostwriting, that bylines are insanely effective.

They allow me to grow my brand, get referral traffic, and generate leads organically.

So if I’m not gaining that benefit by writing for another publication, it’s only fair for me to ask for extra compensation. This is an industry standard.

Anything can be ghostwritten, as well. This includes material such as:

  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Social media content
  • Email newsletters
  • Movie scripts

That means that as a writer, you will be able to ghostwrite any material that you specialize in. It also opens the door for you to try out different niches you haven’t dabbled in before.

Make sure to read my guide on how to become a ghostwriter to learn about acquiring clients and building a solid brand.

On the flip-side, businesses will be able to outsource any kind of work to ghostwriters with ease.

This brings me to my next point.

Who uses ghostwriters?

From my experience in the last eight years offering copywriting services, there are very specific types of businesses and clients that opt for ghostwriting.

I don’t know the exact figure. I can’t say any names.

But, I will say that most of the high-level digital marketing content on the internet is ghostwritten.

Many successful direct mail campaigns are written by someone other than the person organizing the campaign.

50% of best selling e-books are written with the help of a ghostwriter.

In terms of roles, I’ve noticed the following individuals receive a lot of ghostwriting:

  • CEOs : Chief executive officers are busy running a company, so they often don’t have the time to write content themselves. I’ve done C-level writing for Forbes, Business.com, and other publications, so I have behind-the-scenes experience with this. They need writers that can clearly communicate their organization’s strategies and expertise to a specific audience.
  • Celebrities : Another very busy individual who doesn’t have the time to write something of their own, so they outsource it.
  • Public figures : Speeches are a common material that is ghostwritten for clients. Some public figures use a ghostwriter to have the best possibly structured and impact speech before speaking with an audience.

That brings me to my next point.

Ghostwriting rates

Ghostwriting fees vary from writer to writer. The Writer’s Union of Canada states that ghostwriting books should cost a minimum of $40,000 for 60-90,000 words.

Ghostwriting rates

But what if you’re trying to outsource website content? Well, according to the Professional Writers Association of Canada , ghostwriting requires two to three times normal rates .

Ghost writing

Ghostwriting prices, like all forms of copywriting, will depend on the client’s budget, individual writer, and project scope.

Additionally, Content Wonk performed a study in 2018 to determine the average freelance writer’s rates. Here’s what they found:

Freelance writing hourly rate

28% of respondents charge less than $15/hour, and the top percentile demand $150+/hour.

Follow the rule of thumb that you get what you pay for. Talented writers will always charge more and generate a larger return while cheap writers can be a headache.

Use these as benchmarks and the foundation of how much you charge/pay.

You can also explore my online courses to learn more about earning money as a writer.

Benefits of becoming a ghostwriter

If you’re a freelancer interested in becoming a ghostwriter, there are mountains of advantages you will gain by pursuing this niche. They include the following.

You get to command higher rates

Who doesn’t want to earn more money? Ghostwriting often yields some of the highest paying projects due to the fact that you gain royalties and get to charge a premium for your work.

One downside that I’ve experienced myself with ghostwriting is that you may eventually lack bylines, however. It’s tough to prove that you’ve ghostwritten certain material unless you keep records of contracts, conversations, and have good references.

That’s why I also suggest that you include byline pieces in your portfolio to act as social proof. These will help build trust with clients so you don’t have to run around trying to prove you’ve worked with big names before since you’re publicly associated with others.

Once you get around this small loophole, you’ll be racking in the big bucks as a ghostwriter 🙂

Royalties on royalties

Not only do you get to charge more upfront as a ghostwriter, but you also normally get royalties for certain pieces of work. These include books, landing pages, direct mail , and other sales copy that generates sales .

Royalties typically hover around the 3% range, but some writers charge more if they have a track record of creating huge results for prior clients.

Imagine you help a client generate $1,000,000 in revenue from a new sales campaign. 3% of that is $30,000 in your pocket on top of the other fees you charge. You would be making nearly six figures per month off of a single project!

You will network and create a name for yourself

Companies will always need business material written. It doesn’t matter if it’s advertisements, books, or website content. There will never be a time in the near future in which businesses don’t require ghostwriting.

That means with enough elbow grease, you will create a name for yourself in whichever industry you position yourself in. This will lead to constant new opportunities and referrals , meaning consistent earnings.

Benefits of hiring a ghostwriter

I’ve been talking about ghostwriting from the perspective of a writer, but how about from the angle of businesses? These are some of the many benefits you can look forward to by outsourcing work to ghostwriters .

You will work with the best

Ghostwriters charge a premium for a reason, and that reason is that they are exceptional at what they do. You will network and hire some of the industry’s best writers that will produce massive results for your company.

This also allows you to create a Rolodex of writers to reach out to when you require material to be written.

They have skills that you don’t

Do you have a decade or more of copywriting , SEO, lead generation, CRO, and other marketing experience? Ghostwriters do .

Hiring a ghostwriter means that you don’t have to take years mastering different skills yourself. Being a great writer doesn’t mean you’re good with words, but rather can sell a product, rank websites, or whatever the goal might be.

This comes from experience and mastery in different fields.

They are professional and easy to work with

While there are always a couple of bad apples, if a writer has worked with big publications and is a successful ghostwriter, they won’t get there for no reason.

Odds are they will be professional and easy to work with. Personally, I pride myself on being a friendly, good person and creating genuine relationships with clients I work with before anything else.

Save time and energy

I run several businesses. I also invest, trade, and constantly network. That means my time is very valuable, and I bet you would agree to the same with yourself, right?

Running a business means that you need to spend every minute wisely. Hiring a ghostwriter will allow you to outsource tasks and spend more time on things that matter.

The reality is that not everyone is a good writer. I’ve been told since I was a child that writing was one of my greatest strengths, so it’s no surprise I became a fantastic copywriter.

Maybe writing isn’t for you. In that case, it’d be a smart decision to outsource to someone like me and focus on what you do best.

Downsides of being a ghostwriter

Not everything that glitters is gold. Being a ghostwriter myself for many years, I want to be honest with some of the downsides so you can make an informed decision.

You lose out on bylines

I previously mentioned that bylines are like crack to writers. Even if you’ve only written for a month, you will agree with this.

Having your name, face, and URL on content drives traffic, improves SEO, and helps build your brand.

I like to think of it as PR management and search engine equity. The more places you’re seen, the better.

However, you lose out on that as a ghostwriter. Someone else takes credit for your blood, sweat, and tears. Although, you do get a fatter paycheck for it 😉

I highly recommend that you do a blend of byline and ghostwritten work to get the best of both worlds.

This means that you command higher rates for material without your name slapped on it but still grow your brand with bylines at the same time.

Check out this list of websites that accept guest authors to start getting more bylined articles out there for people to see.

Some question the ethics of it

I’ve heard the argument that ghostwriting is unethical or causes moral dilemmas. What do you think?

You’re essentially writing a piece of content or sales copy and allowing another person or business to claim it as their own.

Between you and the client, everything’s great. You get paid, they get their project done. Everybody’s happy.

But, what about the readers that think they’re getting propriety content from their favorite website when really you wrote it?

Is that tricking people? Is it deceiving? I would argue that it isn’t since everyone gets what they want at the end of the day and it’s mutually agreed upon.

Similarly, you could always use brainstorming and inspiration from the client to help mold the content or copy. In that situation, you’re still ghostwriting, but more helping their ideas come to life.

It can be painful seeing your content published without your name

Let’s be real. When you pour hours of writing, researching, and editing a piece of content, you feel proud when you’re finished.

It’s all too easy to think that copywriting and content writing is quick and effortless. It’s actually one of the most time consuming forms of marketing and advertising.

That’s why one of the other downsides of being a ghostwriter, which is similar to not having a byline, is simply not getting credit .

Besides the SEO and PR benefits, it’s nice having your name and face tied to something you created.

Unfortunately, you miss out on that as a ghostwriter.

Final thoughts on ghostwriting

Ghosting is a very lucrative path for writers based on the fact you normally charge two to three times normal rates and earn royalties.

Larger brands commonly hire ghostwriters, so there’s a great chance you will network with high-level executives as you pursue this path.

Businesses can also greatly benefit from hiring ghostwriters as they are experienced in generating results like sales, leads, and traffic.

I can tell you, as a ghostwriter and hiring them myself, that they tend to be more professional and organized, as well.

Check out my online copywriting courses to master ghostwriting and related skills.

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ghost writing credits

A Ghostwriter’s Fee and How They Charge

by Laura Sherman

searching for a ghostwriter's fee

What do they charge?

How do they charge?

Honestly, there seems to be a bit of mystery and confusion surrounding a ghostwriter’s fee. I get it. However, there shouldn’t be. I’d like to tackle this subject for you, upfront and head-on. That way you can be armed with knowledge before reaching out to interview a ghostwriter .

How to calculate a ghostwriter’s fee

As you will quickly discover, each ghostwriter charges differently. Not only do fees vary from writer to writer, but the way they calculate their fees will differ as well.

Here are the four main ways a ghostwriter’s fees are calculated:

Per project

When you interview a high-end ghostwriter, she will almost always bid on a per-project basis. Check out my article How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter to learn more about the bids you might expect to receive from the different classes of writers. To summarize, there are:

  • Cheap ghostwriters who charge anywhere from $2,000 – $15,000 to write a book. They are very easy to find, but, as you can imagine, will be less reliable. Watch out for scam artists if the price tag seems too good to be true. Also, you’ll need to invest in good plagiarism software to make sure the manuscript you purchase doesn’t, in fact, belong to someone else.
  • Mid-range professional ghostwriters will cost more. Their fees will range from $15,000 to $100,000 depending upon the size of the project. These writers are very experienced and reliable but are harder to find. With this class of writer, you’ll learn a lot about the writing process and get a high-quality product.
  • Celebrity ghostwriters are reserved for those who have a household name and can afford the Learjet prices (six to seven figures) of this class of writer.

A ghostwriter's fee is usually by the word

My research shows that these mid- to high-end professional writers charge $0.50 to $2 per word (sometimes more). Personally, I charge one dollar per word.

When I began seriously pursuing a professional writing career about twenty years ago, I started by charging by the hour. Through experience, I discovered that most clients are hesitant to enter into a contract with a writer on an hourly agreement. After all, who knows how long it will really take to complete a book!

I’d say that the average full-length book takes me two hundred hours to write. However, if there is extensive research or interviewing required, that estimate might be doubled.

Nowadays, the only time I bill by the hour is when I consult . My rate is $145 per hour.

Over the years I’ve noticed that clients usually think in terms of page count for the length of a book, whereas writers think in terms of word count. I always specify both in a contract to make sure the author has a clear idea of my intention.

I’ve never charged on a per-page basis but know that some writers bill this way. I feel this fee is difficult to calculate because the word count per page depends on several factors:

  • Font size and style
  • The spacing of the text
  • Margins, line spacing, and other similar factors

For instance, a single page of text that is dialogue driven and double-spaced in 12-point Courier New font might be 150 words, while a nonfiction piece with long paragraphs in a different font might exceed 350 words. That’s a significant difference.

I consider that there is an average of 250 words per page, but that’s just an estimate. If I were asked to give a per-page bid for a project, I’d charge $250 per page. A realistic range for professional writers charging this way would be $125 – $500 per page.

Cost for a book proposal

If you plan to engage an agent and submit your story to a book publisher, you will need to prepare a standard book proposal . This is a specialized document containing a lot of information about your book. Book proposals vary in length and need to be tailor-made for each submission. In most cases, proposals run 50 – 80 pages, though some can be longer.

A typical book proposal contains the following components:

  • An overview of the book that should be one or two pages in length
  • A description of your target audience
  • A short author biography
  • A list of book titles of published works comparable to your proposed project
  • A strong marketing plan
  • The book’s table of contents
  • Two sample chapters

If you are going this route and plan to hire a ghostwriter to write your book, you’ll want to first engage her to write the proposal. After all, she will outline your book and write two chapters as part of this process. So she will already be well on the way to getting your book done.

For in-depth tips and tricks on how to write a book proposal, you can read my blog article on the subject.

A ghostwriter’s fee for a quality book proposal will run somewhere between $10,000 – $15,000. However, this price should be factored into the overall price, if you hire that ghostwriter to write your book.

Incentives to offer a ghostwriter

a ghostwriter's fee isn't the only incentive

A writer in this category is often quite picky about the projects she takes on and will be interviewing you even as you interview her.

If you are eager to engage a popular ghostwriter and sense that she might be able to sign with only one or two new clients when you contact her, it might be wise to consider offering a few incentives to entice her to sign a contract with you.

Here are a few inducements you might consider:

A percentage of the back end

While it would never be proper to ask a professional ghostwriter to work solely for a percentage of the back end (royalties), it can be a nice bonus to a ghostwriter’s fee. This incentive has the added benefit of including the writer in the marketing of the project. She will be invested in ensuring that the book sells well.

Some ghostwriters won’t be able to do much to help you with sales, while others are well-versed in that area. If your prospective writer is great at marketing, it doesn’t hurt to bring her in as a marketing partner from the start.

A cover credit

For a ghostwriter who is just starting their career, a cover credit is worth a lot, because he can add it to his portfolio and resume. An open credit will help him gain future clients. Most authors don’t want to share with their readers that they had help in writing the book. That is always fine with me. It’s part of the job. You’re the author; I’m the ghost. However, if you’re willing to share credit, it can be a lovely enticement.

This is the way it would work: The front cover would read by Your Name, then underneath it would read “with” or “as told to” Ghostwriter’s Name . The author still gets the recognition as the creator of the book, but the ghostwriter gets her name associated with the project.

An Acknowledgment

As I mentioned, most authors don’t like to spill the beans that they actually didn’t write their book themselves. However, many will find a way to pay homage to and thank their ghost in the acknowledgment section of their books. Over the last twenty years, I’d say half my clients gave me such a gift. I always really appreciated this kindness.

Write a testimonial

When you are finished with your book, it would be nice to offer to write a testimonial for your ghostwriter. This allows him to share your success story with other potential clients in the future.

I have been very fortunate to have gathered quite a collection of testimonials. Some authors sign with just their initials, as they wish to keep their anonymity, while others proudly share their full name.

Make sure to sign a legal contract

A ghostwriter's fee will be in the contract

Please don’t sign an agreement on the back of a cocktail napkin (yes, it’s happened). To fully protect yourself, you want to sign a formal contract. A professional ghostwriter will have hired a lawyer to help her draft the document because she knows a good contract is well worth the cost.

Key points for a contract

When you review a ghostwriter’s contract, be on the lookout for these elements:

  • The deadlines for each milestone of the project . Smaller projects might only have one date of completion, but most full-length books have more. I have four milestones in my contract .
  • The overall price is clearly stated . The contract should specify the ghostwriter’s fee, as well as the payment plan for the project. In my contract I break up the total cost into four payments, to be paid at the beginning of each segment.
  • The expected length of the book . As stated above, a professional writer will specify a word count, not a page count. However, in my contract, I provide both. For instance, I might state, “50,000 words (or 200 pages).” I do this because my clients usually think in terms of pages.
  • The services expected of the ghostwriter . It’s a good idea to spell out what the ghostwriter will or will not do for you. For instance, will the writer help you with the publishing process? If so, carefully define those services so that there are no surprises later.
  • The number of revisions allowed . Make sure you know how many revisions your ghostwriter will allow. For example, I specify one set per milestone but always plan to make minor adjustments along the way.
  • Confidentiality and copyrights . It’s important that you retain the rights to the book. In addition, be sure there is a good non-disclosure agreement (NDA) within the contract.

With a good understanding of the elements of a contract and the ghostwriter’s fee associated with the project, you can make an informed and educated decision and find the best ghostwriter for you .

Additional articles that you might find helpful are:

Learn to Become a Ghostwriter

So, how does a ghostwriter work anyway?

Improve your writing: Feedback versus Criticism

What to Expect In an Interview with a Ghostwriter

How to Write a Business Book

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Posted on Aug 12, 2022

21 Ghostwriting Tips from Bestselling Ghostwriters

Ghostwriting is a booming industry with many opportunities for development for the savvy writer; you may not get to put your name on your work, but you do get to help authors realize their publishing dreams, while often making a pretty penny.

Whether you’re already an active ghost writing content for others, or you’re looking to start on your ghostwriting journey, this article contains advice on how to improve your skills from some of Reedsy’s top ghosts.

Are you an author looking for tips on how to hire a ghostwriter ? Look no further — Reedsy has some of the top ghostwriters in the industry.

Guiding your clients

Some authors who want to hire you as a ghostwriter may not know what type of services they’re looking for or what you can do for them. Acting as a guide to publishing and ghostwriting is an important part of the job. Here are a few things you can do to point your clients in the right direction:

1. Find out what services your clients actually need

It’s great if your client already knows what they want, but you’ll also get a fair share of requests from authors who understandably know very little about the process. It’s in both your own and your client’s interest that you spend some time guiding them about what the process will look like and what services they might need, so have a conversation before you agree to take on their project to assess their needs and make sure you’re a good fit. 

There are, for instance, many types or ‘levels’ of ghostwriting with many different names, so make sure the terminology is clear.

Some clients want you to write every single word for them, either because they feel like they don’t have the necessary skills to translate their ideas into writing, or because they don’t have the time (or inclination). Some clients have a rough manuscript and just want you to bridge the gaps. Determining this before you start saves you a lot of potential trouble in the long run.

2. Set realistic expectations

Another part of guiding clients is making sure that they have realistic expectations for what a ghost can do for them. 

For Seth Kaufman , a ghostwriter who is well-versed in writing bestsellers, setting expectations is key to a happy collaboration, but he also notes that this can be a tricky topic: “As a ghost, you want work and you want your client to succeed. But you also want clients to have a sense of reality.” Sometimes, the publishing market can be fickle, and even a well-written book by the best ghostwriter in the world is not always a straight ticket to success. 

ghost writing credits

In short, don’t make any promises you can’t keep about bestsellers or literary prizes. The most you can guarantee is a well-polished manuscript, and from there, it’s in the author’s hands. Pointing them towards resources on how to market a book and getting the word out can be one good way to set expectations and remind your authors that writing is only half the battle.



Offer Letter Checklist + Template

Follow our tips to successfully sell clients on your services while setting clear expectations.

3. Refer the author to other professionals when needed

Sometimes you discover that you’ve been approached by an author who is actually looking for something other than ghostwriting, or that they need additional services after your part of the collaboration is finished.

This has happened to award-winning ghost Nicola Cassidy on several occasions: 

Often I'm approached by somebody who asks for a ghostwriter, but when we delve deeper, we find that what they need is a mentor or writing consultant, or even a developmental editor.

Referring them to other professionals instead of hawking your own services (and risk doing a poor job) is a good way to build a reputation for excellence and professionalism. The author will appreciate your honesty and integrity, and you get to focus on projects where you can shine. This can also help you build a network with other professionals, who are more likely to recommend your services whenever they find themselves in similar situations. 

Don't have a network of fellow publishing pros yet? Luckily, Reedsy has done the hard work for you. Our marketplace selection criteria means we only accept 5% of the publishing professionals who apply, and you can feel comfortable recommending any   book editor or marketer  on our platform to authors.

Finding projects that are a good fit

As a ghostwriter, you’re always looking for the next big project to take on — ideally, something that you’ll both enjoy working on, and that will be a good addition to your portfolio. But how do you assess whether a project will be a good fit for you? Our ghosts advise you to:

4. Look for authors who are flexible

When a project lands in your inbox, you might want to look beyond the author’s vision for the manuscript, and try to get a sense of whether you’ll actually enjoy working together. Ghostwriting projects tend to be extensive so this initial time investment can help you avoid being stressed and miserable throughout the project because of poor chemistry.

New York Times bestselling ghost Toni Robino urges other ghosts to “consider whether the author is someone you want to spend a significant amount of time with for the next nine to twelve months, because it’s a really intimate process.”

If you’ve ever read any advice on how to become a ghostwriter , you know that being flexible is a central part of the job description — ghosts need to be able to adapt to the author’s voice and vision. But it’s also important to remember that your client needs to be receptive to your input, and ghosts should also look for a degree of flexibility in potential clients. 

Be careful when dealing with authors who think they have the greatest story ever and you must do it their way. I like to find out how flexible they are to changes in their story. If they're not, best to let someone else deal with them … I recently quit a project and returned the money because the author was so emotionally tied to the story that he was unwilling to accept any variations on the theme. — Rob MacGregor

As ghostwriters, MacGregor continues, you have to balance making the most of your own knowledge and skills with the client’s concern that they’ll lose control of their story. You need to be able to tell clients why something isn’t working and — importantly — why, while also trying to stick close to (and respect) their vision.

5. Do a trial chapter

One way to get a sense of how the collaboration will go and what a client is like to work with is to offer a (paid) trial chapter. Eileen Rendahl , an expert in ghostwriting genre fiction, reminisces that: 

The one contract I’ve had blow up in my face was one where the client didn’t think we needed to do a trial chapter. It would have saved us both a lot of time, money, and heartache if we’d done one. It gives [clients] a chance to see what you would do with their material. It gives you a chance to see what they’re like to work with and what kind of material you’ll be working with.

Another option is, as MacGregor suggests, to start with an outline as a separate project. If it turns out it’s not a good fit, both author and ghostwriter have the option to go separate ways after the outline is completed. The author will have an outline to work from, and the ghost will be paid for the time it took to develop it — win win.


Ghostwriting Proposal Template

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6. Make sure they’re actually ready to roll.

Once you’ve taken the time to properly assess the project and you feel confident about taking it on, confirm whether the author is actually ready to start working on it right away, so you can plan your workload accordingly. 

Rendahl is adamant on this point:

Stuff happens. People get busy. It’s totally understandable, but when you’ve said no to other projects because you’ve blocked time for that one just to find out that you can’t start work on it, it can throw your work schedule and your bank account off in unpleasant ways.

Some authors may think that they’re ready to go, but may not actually have all the material that you need for the project. Be clear when you’re communicating with them about what sort of information they need to provide before you block out time to work on it. If they don’t have it, that’s OK, but tell them to get back in touch when they do.

7. Be open-minded, but avoid projects that clash with your beliefs too much

In addition to being flexible, ghostwriters need to be open-minded and non-judgemental. Part of the job description is to communicate the author’s opinions and make sure their arguments are made as clearly as possible — not to insert your own thoughts into the work. Being able to work with people who think differently than you is a great strength and might even teach you something along the way. 

I think you have to be pretty much an empath if you're going to ghostwrite people's books. You have to have an understanding of people's psychology — and, of course, you absolutely cannot be judgmental. — Sandra Cain

With that said, it’s not a good idea to take on a project that goes against your beliefs to the extent that you don’t feel comfortable working on it. In those cases, Rob MacGregor advises you to decline and let someone else take on the project. If the ideas and opinions are contrary to your own and your heart’s not in it, you’re unlikely to produce quality work or enjoy the process.

8. Sometimes it’s OK to withdraw from a project

Call it Murphy’s Law or what have you, but even the most meticulous research and preparations can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to avoid dud projects. Sometimes it takes working on it for a while before you realize that it’s not a good fit, and sometimes life simply gets in the way. Whatever the reason, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and your client is to amicably part ways. 

If that happens, clear contracts are key.

Writing contracts and setting rates

Educating your clients and making sure the project is a good fit for you are good first steps towards successful collaborations. But before you actually start working, it’s essential that you put the scope of the project officially into writing as well. This will protect both you and the author in case either of you need to walk away from the project, or if issues arise. 

ghost writing credits

9. Determine the scope of the project, and stick to it

Between the different types of ghostwriting out there — doctoring, full ghost, deep ghost, etc. — and setting clear expectations, most of the ghostwriters we speak to emphasize the importance of making the scope of the project clear in order to avoid confusion, or worse, disappointment. 

But it’s not always the author who may need to be reminded of what the scope is and sticking to it, according to Rendahl’s own experiences: 

If [the author has] already written something and just want you to flesh it out or smooth it out, rein yourself in. It’s tempting to fix everything, but sometimes they like their story the way it is even if you might think it’s flawed. In the end, it’s their story. That’s been a tough one for me to get past, to be honest. I had a romance client who had the hero do something that I felt made him irredeemable. I must have suggested at least three different ways to change it, but the client wanted it the way she wanted it.

MacGregor notes that some authors assume that you’ll also write their query letter and help them get a literary agent or publisher after you’ve ghostwritten their book. You can avoid a lot of confusion and disappointment by clearly communicating what services you’ll be providing for what fee. Because ghostwriting is so flexible and the role shifts slightly from project to project, Toni Robino highlights the importance of clear contracts: 

You need to say exactly what you’re doing for the client, and what they’re agreeing to do as a partner in the process. Having all of that worked out ahead of time so that there's no gray area is super important.

Cain adds that the level of involvement that you will have as a ghostwriter should be clearly stated in the contract and that this might also impact how much or little official acknowledgement you receive (as well as the fee); John Smith with Sandra Cain reflects slightly less involvement than John Smith and Sandra Cain, for instance. So before you sign a contract with an author, make sure you have an open conversation about the level of involvement and the form of credit you will receive, and that your contract reflects this.

10. Remember that every project is unique

Having a contract template to work from is a good place to start, but each project will come with its own set of requirements and rules, according to Nicola Cassidy: 

Every project is unique. No ghost project that I've worked on has been exactly like the one before … I tailor every contract for every client, working off a general outline and updating it based on our interview discussions. Reedsy is great for looking after that side of things, but sometimes clients want something more in writing and I'm always happy to facilitate that.

Authors can be particular about the language that you use in contracts and might want their own legal clauses added to suit the territory that they’re living in, to address issues of privacy, or to specify the project completion date, Nicola explains. If they want to add an NDA, that’s also part of the ghostwriting job description.

11. Don’t underestimate your value

Lastly, the contract should reflect your fees and what services will be included in that price. MacGregor is clear on the point that you shouldn’t write for nothing:  

Don't underestimate your value. If you think you're only worth a thousand dollars, you'll attract authors willing to pay you a thousand dollars.

If you want to learn more about how to set your ghostwriting fees, check out our article on how much ghostwriters make . It answers questions like how much you should charge as a ghostwriter, how to write a quote, and whether you should agree to getting paid in royalties.

Capturing voice

A huge part of the ghostwriting craft is capturing other people’s voices. Ghostwriting is really “a combination of taking what the author tells you, while also researching further to really understand the world the author’s living in,” Cain summarizes. Here are some practical things that you can do to help the process along:

12. Let it take time

Freelance ghostwriter Doug Wagner says that it’s important to set expectations with the author about how long it might take to nail their voice: 

One of the most common problems I’ve encountered with clients is unrealistic expectations — especially with regards to voice. Clients need to understand that no writer nails someone else’s voice on the first try, and shouldn’t be expected to . That’s inevitably a product of a back-and-forth … Ensure you communicate this with clients before you begin so they’re as prepared for the process as possible.

Getting clients on-board with the process is vital, as a patient collaboration will bring about the best results. Cain, for instance, spends up to three or four hours a week interviewing some of her memoirists, listening closely to their story and the way they talk.

13. Practice deep listening

Doing research and interviewing the author you’re working with is an important part of ghostwriting. As you do, practicing deep listening will help you get an insight into how the author thinks and expresses themselves. 

Award-winning ghostwriter Jon Reiner says that a successful ghostwriter is “first a good listener, and then a good writer.” Being a good listener is a skill that you can develop over time, and includes asking the right questions, paying attention to behaviors and habits, manner of speech, and making notes about the way the author perceives and describes the world. 

14. Invite the author to “spot the difference”

It’s important that the author is also involved in this process and sometimes you may need to get a bit creative with how you draw their voice out. 

Robino breaks her process down into some actionable steps: 

Listen to the person speak, pay attention to their word choices, their intonation, how they generally express themselves. Then I like to ask the person to read something I wrote out loud and try to put their personal spin on it. Ask the author to note down things that wouldn’t normally come out of their mouth, and go back and change them until they feel right. Eventually, after a couple of chapters, you will hopefully have a better grasp of their voice. 

Beyond yourself and the author, third parties can be an additional resource.

15. Enlist family members and friends to help

Sometimes authors don’t actually know the sound of their own voice as well as they think they do. Robino notes that consulting a family member or friend can help if an author can’t tell if they recognize their own voice in your writing — as someone who knows the author well, they are sometimes better placed to confirm whether you’ve managed to capture their essence or not. 

ghost writing credits

Of course, this step may be a bit more difficult to pull off if you’re deep ghosting, where only you and the other can know what your role is.

16. Try method acting

If you really want to push the boundaries with your ghostwriting but can’t let anyone else know who you’re writing for, you can also give method acting a try — according to Cain, play-acting as the other person whose voice you’re trying to capture (in the comfort and privacy of your own home) can help you get inside their mind without enlisting other people to help. It’s as close to walking a mile in someone else’s shoes as you can get.

17. Use fiction to practice writing different voices

Lastly, you also need to put pen to paper since being able to capture a voice in writing ultimately takes a lot of practice. Robino recommends writing fiction as a great way to hone your skills, since you’ll get to develop characters and practice writing all their different voices. She says that “fiction writing has ultimately helped strengthen my nonfiction as well.”

Building a ghostwriting career

If you want to make a career out of ghostwriting or you’re looking for ways to expand your business, here are some good practices that can help you get your name in front of more people:

18. Produce your own creative work to showcase your skills

In addition to being a great way to practice voice, continuing to produce creative work of your own outside of your ghostwriting is an excellent way to get around the conundrum of anonymity when it comes to building a portfolio.

I continue to produce my own creative work in both fiction and screenplays. I've found these to be most helpful for sample work, or proving the level you work to. This helps me get around the tricky area of writing anonymously but also showing new clients a portfolio. — Nicola Cassidy

When you can’t showcase samples of your work that you’ve written for other authors, this will allow you to show potential clients what quality they can expect from your writing.  

19. Look for ‘White Whales’

Ghostwriting is a competitive field and it can be a long and arduous process building a portfolio that will make clients come to you. Alex Cody Foster , a ghostwriter who has written several Amazon bestsellers, advises both new and veteran ghosts to look out for ‘White Whales’:  

One of the best ways to skip ahead of that lengthy process [of becoming a ghostwriter] is to find a white whale—i.e. someone who has a remarkable story that has not yet been published. You might see a great story about this person on Netflix as you browse documentaries; you might read about them in the New York Times or even in your local paper … The key is to discover someone with a big story and therefore a large platform, and pitch them on ghostwriting their book … While working on regular gigs, I always have a white whale client or two I'm working with at the same time.

Reaching out to ‘whales’ will often result in one of three things: One — they say no. Two —they say yes. Three — they say yes, but they don't want to pay you. In the case of the latter, you can try to negotiate a deal with a lower fee in exchange for having your name on the cover.

An author with a big platform will ensure that your work reaches a big audience and help build your reputation in the ghostwriting ‘biz. But be wary of taking on any project that sparkles without first knowing if it will play to your strengths.

20. Know where your strengths lie

As with any profession, it’s important to always strive to hone your skills and add more tools to your belt, but it’s also important to know where your strengths lie and where you’ll be able to deliver good results.

I am always honest and never take on a project I don't think my skills are suitable for. In this way, I turn down a lot of work, but equally, I end up working on very interesting jobs and find that I can communicate well with the client … Often I'm approached by writers who have some material written but say they need a ghostwriter as they don't have the confidence to go further. Sometimes the voice is so unique that I tell them they must - that I don't think I could capture it in the way they would like. — Nicola Cassidy

Eileen Rendahl similarly has a clear vision of the projects she’s looking for: 

I’m good at dialogue, setting, and internal motivations [and] gravitate toward projects where the client already knows the overall arc of the story, but doesn’t know how to flesh it out. It makes for a really nice collaborative project.

Knowing your own abilities is not to say that you shouldn’t venture out of your comfort zone — the best projects are ones where you can apply your skills and flex your writing muscles to their fullest extent.

21. Respond immediately when you get a request

Lastly, we’ll end on a tip that seems obvious, but definitely bears repeating — being quick on the ball can give you first dibs on the best projects. To MacGregor, “being first to respond is key.” From there on, you can ask for a sample, explain the process, and gain their attention by showing why you’d be the best ghost for the job.



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And there you have it — 21 ghostwriting tips that will hopefully help you become a better ghost. For more ghostwriting insights, check out our guide to how to find ghostwriting jobs or Barry Napier’s story on how he unexpectedly became a ghost.

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What is a Ghost Writer?

Ghostwriters are writers for hire who are paid but receive none of the credit for the work produced.

There are generally two parties involved in this professional relationship:

  • The “ author ,” who hires the freelance writer to produce content for an agreed upon fee, takes the credit for all the original work produced.
  • The “ ghost ,” the freelance writer who is generally paid in advance of completing the job, gets the money as a “work for hire” job and assumes none of the credit for their ghostwriting work.

Reasons to Hire a Ghostwriter

Ghostwriting is a common practice , though it isn’t often publicized. When someone wants to create new copy for a website, a ghostwriter may be hired to rewrite existing copy. There are many similar jobs such as writing ad or business copy, or supplying new or rewritten material for personal or professional use, all of which are great ways to get paid to write . The ghost is hired primarily as a professional freelance writer, in order to produce high-quality writing copy that reads professionally.

A paid professional freelance writer is often the only source to turn to get sparkling, well-written website copy or other quality content. A ghost is hired to bring this about, either as an on staff writer or as a freelance writer who is paid specifically for the job at hand.

Ghostwriters are also hired to write books for people. In such cases, the author of the book is the person who hires the ghostwriter, unless the book author wants to share some of the credit with the ghost. In this case, the ghost may be listed as a coauthor or as the “editor” of the book; generally, this is listed somewhere in the acknowledgments page.

Sometimes the well-known “As Told To” line with the name of the ghostwriter is included on the cover of a ghostwritten book. This is often the case when well-known ghostwriters are used by the books’ actual authors.

Can You Make Money Ghostwriting?

Ghosts often work for very large amounts of money , although with recent competition from other countries like India and China, and with bidding service agencies looking for the highest bidder on ghostwriting projects, this is not always the case. But in many cases, a ghostwriter will charge a fee of $10,000 to $25,000 to produce exceptional quality, sterling book writing over three to six months .

A ghostwriter is hired for his or her quality of work, and not necessarily for his or her “name” as a book writer. But there are many kinds of deals that a ghost can “cut” with the book author in order to produce a fair deal for both parties when the contract is signed between the ghostwriter and the book author.

For example, the ghostwriter can take a lower fee in the case of a book that’s expected to sell widely and well, such as $10,000 paid in advance to write the book, a sum which can be paid all or partly out of a book advance. Then the ghost may take 10-20% of the book’s gross profits over time as it is sold, perhaps with a ceiling cap the ghost is allowed to make from the book’s gross profits. This method is only used when the book is nearly guaranteed to be published and to sell at high profits.

Alternatively, the ghost can take a lower fee if credit is shared with the book author. Again, this is only suggested when the book is guaranteed to sell well or for some reason the ghost especially wants his or her name on the book as one of the book’s authors, for reasons of prestige or other needs.

At any rate, it is up to the book author and writer to determine whether or not:

  • the ghost should take their payment in advance for a “work for hire” job, or
  • the ghost should share credit with the book author, or
  • the ghost should take a percentage of the book’s gross profits over time as payment for their work.

How to Become a Ghostwriter

However you slice it, the ghostwriting business can be quite lucrative. In order to become a well-paid ghost, you should have plenty of experience as a freelance writer. This could be demonstrated by having books published under your own name or years of experience writing website and other types of copy for businesses.

Even when the economy suffers, there is always room in the writing profession for another freelance writer. Once you know how to handle its ins and outs, and how to deal with clients professionally, ghostwriting can be very lucrative.

About the Author

Karen Cole from Rainbow Writing, Inc. is a copy editor, ghostwriter, and book author. Rainbow Writing’s services also include inexpensive professional freelance and contracted book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, manuscript rewriters, coauthors, graphics and CAD artists, publishing helpers, and a website development services corporation.

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Gathering of the Ghosts – January 22, 2024

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What Is Ghostwriting—And What Does It Mean Today?

  • By Gotham Ghostwriters

To kick off the Ghostwriting Confidential 2021 series, our groups thought it made sense to start with the first question we typically get from new contacts: What does “ghostwriting” mean? And then to explore how it can lead to your success. 

With this post, we will define ghostwriting by covering the history and evolution of collaborative creation, the brief foray away from that approach to sole creative endeavors, and the current swing back to collaboration that’s proving to be a boon for writers and readers alike. Finally, we’ll introduce you to the wide array of benefits authors gain by working with a professional writing partner.

What Is a Ghostwriter?

There’s a narrow understanding of what ghostwriting is among laypeople, and then there’s the broader reality of what it actually is.

The common definition of ghostwriting is the act of one person writing in the name of another person, group, company, or institution without receiving a byline or public credit. But more often than not, ghostwriting is a customized form of collaboration, covering a range of relationships and services tied to the authors’ needs, objectives, and work style.

And today, it is becoming more and more common for these editorial partners to receive public recognition—and even cover-credit for their work in the form of “and John Smith” or “with Jane Brown.” 

Although the common definition is still prevalent, it is changing as people become more exposed to the wide spectrum of roles that ghostwriters play. For example, the author and the ghost might share writing responsibilities, or the ghost might work on certain components, such as writing the stories and case studies or shaping the narrative of a novel or memoir, with the author supplying the original concepts and research. Ghosts also can coach authors to develop a concept and organizational structure, identify their target audience, capture their authentic voice, manage the project, conduct interviews with outside sources, and find pertinent research studies. And ghostwriters can serve as developmental editors, helping authors to shape their work at the earliest stages of production, and as line editors and book doctors, polishing, revising, and revamping manuscripts that need improvement before being published. 

The division of labor varies from one collaboration to another, based on whatever makes the most sense for the success of the project. That’s why we think of ghostwriter as an umbrella term for creative collaborations on many types of projects, including books, speeches, white papers, articles, websites, blogs, podcasts—essentially any type of written content our clients want to co-create with us. 

Ghostwriting Is One of the Oldest Professions

While the general public’s awareness of ghostwriting is a relatively recent development, ghostwriting and collaborative storytelling have been around for as long as the written word. Perhaps the most widely known example is the Bible. Both testaments were written by committee, hundreds of years after the events occurred—in the ancient world, the concept of owning intellectual property didn’t exist. For thousands of years, stories were told collectively, especially in oral storytelling. Thus, the oldest known “texts” aren’t attributed to a single author, but rather are the accumulated reflections and contributions of entire cultures.

It wasn’t until the Age of Enlightenment that individuals began being credited as the sole creators of stories and other artistic endeavors, particularly books and later films. Auteurs (French for “authors”) were held in high esteem for single-handedly producing stories and attaching their names to them. In relatively short order, this notion of a book needing to have a sole source took root, not only in literary circles but in the imagination of readers. 

The rise of the auteur in the 18th and 19th centuries didn’t kill off the practice of collaborative storytelling or the use of ghosts—it just drove our predecessors deeper undercover. Indeed, it’s widely believed that this period is when the common stigma around ghostwriting was born. One of the most telling examples of this is the work and life of Samuel Johnson , the famed English writer and public intellectual. Johnson started his career as what was then known as a “hack” writer—a poorly paid writer for hire. At the height of his fame, he reportedly used a ghost of his own for some of his essays, which he slyly acknowledged by signing them with the anonymous letter T. Johnson later disavowed this practice out of a sense of honor/shame. And after Johnson’s death, his acolyte and biographer James Boswell—who many wrongly confuse as Johnson’s ghostwriter—took that disdain a step further by comparing ghostwriting to selling one’s own birthright. 

The Evolution of Ghostwriting:  From Stigma to Standard Practice and on to Status

Ever since Johnson’s days, many an esteemed writer who has dabbled in ghostwriting has grappled with this sellout stigma. Notably among them were the coterie of great American novelists such as William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Agee, and Aldous Huxley who each went out to Hollywood after the talkies became a thing to make a buck as a screenwriter/rewriter. This self-inflicted sense of hackery recently earned a co-starring role in the 2021 Oscar-nominated movie “Mank” about the legendary screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, who aspired to be a man of letters and a New York dramatist but had to settle for being the Academy Award-winning author of “Citizen Kane.”

The darker taboo around ghostwriting applies not to the ghost but to the author—that claiming someone else’s words as your own is a form of cheating and/or an act of dishonesty. Yet, anyone who’s been part of a creative endeavor in the arts—from a playwright who incorporates notes from a director and the actors to a writers’ room for a network television show to comedians who use punch-up writers—knows that the premise that there’s a single author responsible for every story is the real fraud.

This holds just as true for the creation of books. Set aside the term “ghostwriter”— countless works of fiction and non-fiction alike that we hold dear were shaped, reshaped, and even rewritten by anonymous editors. Just look at the work of Maxwell Perkins , a giant within publishing circles whose substantial revisions to classics such as Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel are widely credited for their success. Each book’s vision and story were the author’s, but the text was the product of a collaboration. That’s exactly what the best ghostwriters and collaborative writers do: help their authors find and express the best version of their vision.

The contributions of ghostwriters have become increasingly known and appreciated—at least within elite circles—with the rise of celebrity culture. Ask most Hollywood talent agents, top PR executives, brand-name CEOs, and political leaders, and not only will they tell you what a ghostwriter does, but also the value they deliver. Jack Welch and Lee Iacocca became household names in the 1980s partly because of their blockbuster bestselling autobiographies, which they could not have written without supremely talented writers such as our friends Bill Novak and Catherine Whitney. Donald Trump likely would not have been president without Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghost on his brand-defining book, Art of the Deal .

What truly and fully brought ghosting out of the shadows, and in turn helped drive a stake through the heart of the stigma, was the ubiquity and transparency of the Internet. In short order, everything and everyone was caught in the Web—there were no secrets anymore. Not only did we know that Barack Obama didn’t write his own speeches, his young speechwriter Jon Favreau became a celebrity in his own right. What became known then became normal, and as such accepted. Some CEOs and celebrities may write their own books, but most don’t—and most readers now know and accept that. 

The Internet has also made the nuts and bolts of collaboration—the actual sharing of artistic creation—much easier through an array of new technologies and platforms. Songwriters can trade tracks and recordings in an instant. Apps such as Google docs allow writers to easily share drafts and collaborate in real time, from anywhere in the world. Other technologies allow authors to share their working texts with their followers and quickly crowdsource notes and ideas for improvements.

As we noted in the introduction to this series, though, the Internet’s most transformative effect on the ghostwriting field has been on the demand side. Self-publishing used to be derided as merely for “vanity” projects. Now, it’s driving the content marketplace—from established ungated platforms such as Medium and LinkedIn to fast-growing newsletter services like Substack to the rise of elite, full-service hybrid book publishers that enable thought leaders to get their books to market on their own terms and timetable. This has turned ghostwriting from a luxury into more and more of a necessity.

The fact is, leaders, influencers, and those inspired to tell their stories or share new thoughts and discoveries tend to be busy people who work long hours to accomplish big goals. They have extensive expertise in their fields, but rarely have the time or the writing skills to, for example, produce on their own a series of thought-leadership articles or a deep-dive book.

And why should they have to do it by themselves? All things considered, choosing not to collaborate with a professional writer is deciding to give yourself a disadvantage right out of the gate. 

Today, working with a ghost is rightly seen by the business, advocacy, and communication leaders our groups partner with as an asset, as the quality of collaborative projects is higher than when authors go it alone, and that leads to greater success. On the flip side, a growing number of accomplished authors are reaching out to us to pursue collaborations because they’ve recognized they can make a lucrative income serving as a co-author or ghost for public figures and experts who can’t write the story themselves, or don’t want to.

Benefits of Collaborating with a Pro Ghost

If you’ve read hundreds of great books, it may seem like a logical leap to actually write one, but that’s not usually how things work out, particularly for first-time authors. Writing a book from scratch can be intimidating, and if it’s your first book, it can be overwhelming and downright scary. So it’s no surprise that a lot of new authors are coming to us for help. They see the wisdom in working with a professional who not only is a skilled writer but also has extensive experience collaborating with authors and understands the trepidation and trust issues authors naturally have. 

With a ghost by your side, the lofty aspiration—or intimidating prospect—of writing a book that meets your goals and makes you proud is not only achievable but also fascinating and enjoyable. With Gotham and United Ghostwriters, authors can sleep well at night because they know they’re in good hands. 

A Ghostwriter Can Help You if: 

  • Your new philosophy or approach is so effective that your colleagues keep saying, “You should write a book.” But who has time when you’re leading the charge 24/7? 
  • You have a personal story to share that can help others, but you have no idea how to put it down in words. 
  • You’re keynoting an upcoming conference and are determined to inspire the audience to take action to improve their business, but writing in a “void” doesn’t elicit your best thoughts or your most creative ideas. 
  • You’ve come up with a blockbuster idea for a novel but don’t have the right skill sets to bring it to life. 
  • There’s content you want to produce, but you adhere to the business adage, “Only do what only you can do”—and writing isn’t on that list. 
  • You want to strengthen your own writing skills by collaborating with a pro. 

Collaborating with a ghostwriter allows you to share your vision in a way that’s true to you. It’s your story, your brilliance, your originality. We simply help bring it to life on the page.

Gotham Ghostwriters

Gotham Ghostwriters is the nation's premier ghostwriting agency.

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The Complete Guide to Ghostwriting

  • April 23, 2021
  • 27 min read

Table of Contents:

Introducing you to the world of ghostwriting, long and short-term tasks, advantages of using ghostwriting services, no hassle to learn new skills, see your work completed, utilize your time efficiently, disadvantages of using ghostwriting services, you need to be a good manager, looking for ghostwriters, saving your time is expensive, finishing the book is just the start, the world of freelance, the difference between a freelancer and a ghostwriter, credibility and quality through a firm , meeting deadlines , evaluating a ghostwriting service, ask for references, look at the price, hold an interview session, qualities of a ghostwriter, points to consider when hiring a ghostwriter, details of your project, rights for the work, no redistribution clause, discreetness and nda, terms of the payment procedure, termination and plagiarism clause, the process after you have signed a ghostwriter, paying a writer, what to do when you have received the final manuscript, find a publisher, essential elements and detailed insights, design and proofread, complete ghostwriting concluded.

If you know where to look, you can find all sorts of services in the world. When it comes to the writing industry, you can be sure to find all kinds of services targeted to reach your expectations and complete your project or task on time. Having someone write on your behalf is something that you might have done when you were in college. In the professional world, it is regarded as ghostwriting and is a profession that many writers are associated with. Ghostwriting is gradually turning into a popular career as there is a high demand for writers in the market. The domain does not need expensive equipment, and as long as you have a good grasp of the English language if you want to know what a ghostwriter does ? you can become a ghostwriter.

A ghostwriter is someone who works on behalf of a client or business, writing various different pieces of writing according to the requirement of the client. Your writing is not yours, and you receive no credit. When anyone hires a ghostwriter, they are looking for someone to help them with their writing needs. They require a writer that will not take any credits for the work they have written. In exchange, the writer is compensated in accordance with the pre-decided payment. Your client showcases your work as their own when using it in public. There are many different types of ghostwriters that are working in various categories. 

You can select from various different long and short-term tasks to provide yourself with the work that suits you. However, despite the assignment you receive, one thing is for sure, you will only get paid for your work and will not be allowed to showcase the work you have done for the client. As someone who is getting ghostwriting services, you can rest assured that you will get complete copyright access to the content once you have paid the writer. 

Ghostwriting services are being used in most companies regardless of their scale. Rather than working hard and hiring an in-house team to meet the company’s writing needs, large-scale companies prefer to outsource their requirements to save time and reduce hassle while getting the work they want on time that they can claim to be their own. The most popular services that people look for are business book writing. 

Whenever you sit down to do something you have not done before, you have to spend time learning it. Writing a book takes a lot of skills, the kind of skills that you might need to know before writing a book. This means that you will be spending a lot of time engaged in courses or tuitions before actually starting to write your book. Rather than spending so much time, you can just hire someone who already possesses all the skills. Ghostwriters are excellent writers and write without asking for credits. This means that you can pass the final book as written by you without ever having to work hard. Get your book started right away by hiring a ghostwriter to write your book on your behalf. 

Writing a book is a tiring task. It takes a very long time to write and provides no return until it’s complete. Most people start writing a book but do not finish it. The dedication and motivation to write a book are not everyone’s cup of tea. So that you can see your idea take the form of a book, it might be best to hire a professional to do the job for you. With ghostwriters for hire, you will be able to find the best writers for your book. And have a finished product to read and publish so that you can take your place amongst authors. 

On average, it takes 1500 hours on average to write a book, which is a very long time. One of the significant benefits that you get when availing the services of a ghostwriter is that you can save up on time. You can continue with your day-to-day life while the book is being written. Rather than sitting to write yourself, all you have to do is stay connected to the ghostwriter. Rather than spending 1500 plus hours writing your book, you will know only you need to spend a couple reviewing and approving. This way, you can make sure that you are making the most of your time while simultaneously fulfilling your wish of becoming an author .

It is true that you are not writing and paying attention to the ultimate business-writing checklist of writing a book. However, you still to efficiently manage your ghostwriter so that you have control over what the final product is. Guiding the writers to incorporate your idea effectively, meet deadlines and be overall responsive is essential to getting a quality book. Regardless of the issue that arises, you need to be able to solve it and be focused on getting the book finished with good quality. People who often hire ghostwriters tend to complain of a change in behavior once the project starts. So that you can avoid any problems, it is necessary that you find professionals to write your book. Looking for reputable ghostwriters or services is the best way to know that you are getting the best in the business.  

There is a massive demand for reliable ghostwriters in the market. However, when it comes to finding the right one, there is no one place that you can look. For most services or products available online, there is a good chance that you will be able to find a platform that provides what you are looking for. Such platforms also allow you to compare prices and look at reviews. An example would be amazon when you are buying books. There is no specific market where all the ghostwriters are present. You will need to research a lot, and talk with people who have availed of services in the past.

Finding a ghostwriter that is reliable can take some time. As a ghostwriter does not get credit for their work, they have no portfolio to show off their past experiences. You should know the ways in which you can judge a writer that has no past work to show. You need to be able to test such writers to see if they are capable of carrying out the task. One of the best ways that you can find ghostwriters is by references from people who have had satisfactory ghostwriting experiences. You can also look towards ghostwriting service providers such as ghostwriting founders. While getting services from a firm, there are much better chances of getting good quality writing as they have a reputation that they need to maintain. 

One of the most significant disadvantages of using ghostwriting services is that they are extremely expensive. Having someone write your book for you can be added weight to your wallet. The more reputation a writer has in the ghostwriting community, the more they will charge to write your book. There are no fixed rates that you can follow when writing a book. You will have to negotiate and reach an agreement with your ghostwriter. However, you can be sure that a ghostwriter charging less than $15,000 is probably an amateur. When you are writing your book and plan to publish it under your name, you need to make sure that the ghostwriter meets the standard of the book writing community. 

The amount you pay will vary in accordance with how long you want your book to be. It will also be based on your requirements and the genre desired. You will have to talk with the ghostwriters and reach a rate that satisfies both of you. You need to look for a writer that is not so cheap, as it would mean that they are not good writers or are offshoring the work. Someone who takes an average amount of payment to provide you with quality work and edits so that you can get the best outcome. 

Consider that you have got the best possible ghostwriting service that has delivered upon their promise in providing you with a book on time. You are happy with the final manuscript, but your work has not been finished yet. Having a book is not all the hard work. The larger task is getting a publisher to back you and publish the book. There are many stages to go through before your book is ready for publishing. Getting your book reviewed and proofread is the early stage after you get your final draft. Searching for people to work on your book design and also researching ways you can self-publish your book are the next steps. 

You are paying for the time of a ghostwriter, which is why once your book has been delivered, you are entirely on your own. Finding someone to help you with marketing your book so that you can sell it to readers and make back the money that you have spent is essential. One of the ways you can ease the procedure for yourself is by availing the services from a ghostwriting service that provides other services under one roof. 

With a huge demand for writing in the market, people are looking for freelance writers that are able to provide high-quality work on time. Deadlines have become crucial to meet and dictate the reputation of a freelance writer as more people have started to create blogs and move towards outsourcing their work. The freelance world is filled with opportunities that open doors for many freelance writers. When you are working in the freelance sector, it means that you are on a contractual basis with the employer. You will be able to find writers that can provide you with different formats of writing and fulfill all your literary needs. Ghostwriters are also part of the freelance community. However, there are certain differences between the two. 

A freelancer and a ghostwriter both work for clients by fulfilling any literary needs a writer has. As an employer, you can ask for articles, blog posts, or even books, depending on your requirement. Both types of writers offer their services in exchange for payment that has been pre-determined, along with the number of words of the task. Additional details such as the number of edits are also discussed during the hiring process. Both of these writers work from their home or other location of their choice. They are not required to come to the office and have no limitations of daily working hours. The employer and the writer have a commitment to mentioning the deadline for submission when finalizing the deal. 

With so many similarities between the two, the only major difference you will find is that freelance writers can get credit for their work. Often many blogs and articles do not mind giving credits to the writer, as they are only concerned with constantly updating their author’s website. However, when it comes to ghostwriters, they are not offered any credit. Ghostwriters tend to work on longer projects, such as a book. This means that anyone who is paying to get a book wrote is looking to keeping all the credit. This is one of the major reasons why ghostwriting pays a lot, as you receive no compensation in the form of credit. Many deals have clauses that prevent a ghostwriter from mentioning the project in public and taking credit for it. 

With the advancement in technology and the availability of the internet, no question is left unanswered. It has become common practice to search the internet for any requirement you have. The first instinct you will have while searching for a ghostwriter will be to look for one online. Writing a book is a long and tiring process that requires a lot of dedication. You need someone who will meet deadlines and continuously keep you updated. Until and unless you have a very well-reputed ghostwriter, there are chances that you will regret your decision of hiring an independent ghostwriter. Most likely, you will be communicating via email or social media, and there will be no way you can keep a check on your work. There will be a lot of issues you face, including the guarantee of receiving quality content. 

When you are getting your book written by a ghostwriter, there is just too much risk. However, one of the ways in which you can ensure that you will get your work on time, with the quality that you are looking for, is with the services of a firm. When you work with a firm, you are in business with their reputation. Organizations rely on word of mouth to get more clients, which is why you have the relaxation of receiving quality in your task. When working with an organization, you can also rest assured that you are working with a team of professionals that are experts in their respective fields. Organizations have a hiring requirement; they hire only the best, meaning that you will have a professional working on your task.

Except for the quality of the work, you can also rely on a firm in meeting deadlines and keeping you in the loop. With a constant check on the writer, the dedication to meeting deadlines will be much more likely. Edits and changes will happen on short notice, and you will have someone credible to contact whenever you have a query. In comparison to working with an independent ghostwriter, a firm takes away all the risk factors. This way, you can avail the services you are looking for with a relaxed mind. When paying so much, mental peace should be one of the things guaranteed for you during the course of your task. 

There are many firms like Ghostwriters Founders that you can find alone, providing expert ghostwriting services. Along with finding your book writing services, you can find competitive market rates with the expertise of an entire team.  All it should take for you is a few searches to find the best writing firm near you. You can also talk to operators on the website to help you make up your mind on how to get the best book ghostwriters. 

If you have the urge to be a published author through ghostwriting services from a firm, you still need to evaluate the kind of firm you are linking yourself with. If you are new to finding firms and deciding which one is the best option for you, there are a few factors that might help you decide. The factors of price, past experience, and the procedure that a firm follows are important in helping you decide.

This can occur in both ways. You could either be in the market looking for book publishers to ask for references to a ghostwriting agency that they have worked with in the past. Vice versa, you could also be asking the ghostwriting experts that you have found and ask them for their past interactions and whether they could refer you to a past client. When it comes to book writing, the line is extremely fine in providing references. The firm might not always be able to provide you with the names of the books that have been produced by them. Similarly, due to non-disclosure agreements and client privacy, they cannot always disclose their name.

The writing community is well aware of the fact that every book in some way crosses a ghostwriting firm. Whether they are looking to get their book written or just simply asking for a final proofread. Many authors do not mind telling the world that they have used ghostwriting services. In many cases, authors start off on a story but cannot finish, which is why they approach ghostwriting services. A firm may be able to provide you references from such authors. 

No, a good bargain will not get you the book of your dreams. While purchasing a product, a cheap item that stands out in the market usually means it is flawed. This, too, is the case with ghostwriting services. If you are able to find services that are way cheaper than what they should be, then it would be a good idea to stay away from them. A good ghostwriting service is expensive but provides you with an end product that is worth the money. Especially considering the fact that ghostwriters do not take credit, the money should be high to provide sufficient compensation for their time and efforts.

Interviewing the firm that you are in talks with is a great way to find the services that you are looking for. Making up your mind is much easier when you meet the concerning party and ask your questions face to face.  When you are meeting a firm, they will try their best to convince you why their service is the best in the market. You will be able to ask any queries that you have so that you are confident in your decision. When in an interview, plan beforehand the questions that you wish to ask. This way, you will be able to keep your interview concise and to the point. Talk about the idea of your book, how you stumbled across it, and how you would like the final product to be like. 

There are many qualities of a ghostwriter, amongst which one of the important ones is to present your idea in a better way without losing its foundation. In your interview, you should be able to discuss your idea and find improvements in it. However, when you are in an interview, answering and asking questions has a different motive. What you have to assess is that the people you are meeting are friendly and are to communicate with. Ghostwriters may be good at their job, but being open to communication and changes asked by the clients helps them produce satisfactory work for the client. If they are friendly, show professionalism, and sound like they know what they are talking about. The chances are that they are good at what they do and are a safe bet to provide you with your book. 

During the interview, one of the key things that you need to ask the writers is their process. Every writer has a different way of writing and working. For this berry reason, you need to find if you are comfortable with the process of a firm. For example, many writers write a chapter and send it to the client for approval before starting the next chapter. At the same time, others prefer to send heaps of writing together for review. You need to judge according to your preference so that you are able to fit in perfectly with the firm and produce a book together that has high standards. 

Upon deciding on the firm, you are going with; there are a few things you need to consider when hiring a ghostwriter. The points ensure that during the hiring process, both parties know what they are looking to get out of the deal for maximum efficiency and no doubt on the terms. The mentioned points should be part of the contract you sign with a best ghostwriting company. 

When finalizing the terms and conditions of your contract, you need to provide all the details of your project to your writer. You can give guidelines on how you want your book to be. You can also decide upon the number of words you are looking for in your book. The more detail you provide to the writer, the more the book will be to your specifications. The maximum and minimum length of your book, number of chapters, and word count is a few of the things that you need to mention. Except for this, you also need to decide on the number of revisions you are entitled to within the contract. You should outline the number of interviewing hours at the start, additional question and answer sessions to understand your work more.

Along with this getting a final manuscript once your revisions are implemented. All of this needs to be mentioned so that the firm can provide you with the exact figure you will be charged. 

Copyrights and royalties are still one of the most debated clauses when it comes to ghostwriting. In exchange for a discount or a reduced fee, many clients allow royalties or rights to the firm or writer. When you are looking to find ghostwriting services, make sure that you have complete rights to your book. This way, you will be able to control everything that happens in regard to your book. From publishing it in different ways to the number of sales, having complete control is essential. 

Royalties, on the other hand, are still something that you could provide to the ghostwriter. Giving a percentage of royalties to someone means that they earn a percentage of whatever the book earns forever. It is entirely up to you on how you wish to tackle this request of the writer and whether you wish to indulge. 

Reputation is everything in the writing community. A way that well-reputed writers earn a lot of money is by outsourcing their work to other writers. They end up using their reputation to receive projects and pass them on for cheaper rates. When you are looking to get professional ghostwriting services, you need to make sure that they do not redistribute your work or subcontract it to someone else. You have assessed a writer before giving them your book, which is why it is important that you get the work from whom you have assessed. You can either discuss a reduced fee for such a scenario or have a no subcontracting clause in your agreement. 

Ghostwriters are hardly able to provide references and names of books that they have worked on because not many people provide them with permission to disclose such details. If you are a client that wishes to have complete anonymity about getting the services of a ghostwriter, make sure that you let the writer know that you wish for complete anonymity. 

Having the writer sign a non-disclosure agreement is one of the best ways to ensure that no one ever finds out the help you have received incomplete your book. 

Deciding the rate agreed upon for your book is extremely important so that there is no argument once the work has begun. As someone who wants to get a final product as soon as possible, it becomes tough to ensure that everything is going according to you once the work has started. It is important that you decide the rate at which you will be paying and the procedure of the payment beforehand. Most commonly, you will find two methods of payment. The first is according to the number of words a project consists of. Paying per word is the most common method of payment, which allows relaxation for the employer and the employee. However, many ghostwriting firms provide the option of paying on an hourly basis. It is suggested that you opt for paying in accordance with the number of words to keep things simple and cheap for yourself. 

Once you have decided on the number, you also need to decide on how you will be paying. Ghostwriters require an advance before they start writing. You can start by paying them a percentage of the accumulative amount. There is no fixed rule on how you have to pay. Negotiations can take place between the two parties to find a plan that works for both.   

Plagiarism is one of the things that creates a red flag in the literary community. Making sure that your book has no copied content is essential. A reputed ghostwriting company or writer will never think of attempting plagiarism; however, it is better to be safe than sorry. Get the clause added in your agreement as a precaution. 

Your work does not end once you have signed a ghostwriter. Your duties and responsibilities are many to give your book the right path. As soon as you have finalized the agreement, the writer will begin to work on your book. One of the first requirements of the writer will be to hold sessions with you to further discuss your ideas. You have to ask questions in-depth to understand your view. The writer will then start to write and provide you with a chapter to review. Up until the end of your book, you will be in constant communication with the writer. Approving chapters and tone, providing further insight, and asking for revisions will all be part of your responsibilities. 

To anyone thinking that by paying a writer, you will be instantly given a final copy of your book is unreal. The writer puts your ideas into words that can engage readers, but it still is your brainchild. You will have to guide the writer every step of the way and be available via your designated communication channel as much as possible. You have to work with the writer to produce a book capable of being published. We suggest that you keep in mind the opinion of the writer when working on the book. The chances are that the writer has worked on many more books and knows what will attract the readers. 

Toward the end of the book, you will also have to revise the entire book and look for additional details that you would like to have changed. As you are the original idea behind the story, you will have to make sure that you are getting the desired story you came looking for. There are revisions and proofreads included in the contract you sign with the ghostwriter services. One thing is for sure, and you will find the writers to be extremely supportive. Professionals know how to make their clients happy, and there is no exception with ghostwriters. This a major advantage of hiring professional writers, as it means you will get the maximum support and commitment towards your book. Amateur writers do not make changes as easily and have a lot of problems changing the work they have wrote.  

After all the efforts made by you of guiding and revising the work that the writer has done, you might think that finally, your book is ready. Ghostwriters will provide you with the final manuscript of your book. But the book is still not close to publishing. There are many additional services and tasks that need to do before you are ready to publish. 

Once you have a ready-to-go book and you are someone with a lot of contacts, you could find a publishing house that can sign a deal with you. They will read your story and inform you whether they believe it will be a success in the market or not. If they end up offering you a deal, congratulations, you are now a published author. The publishing house will take care of the rest of the formalities and tasks. They will get your book ready for the shelves, and all you have to do is get ready to count cash. 

However, if you do not find a publisher, you will have to go towards self-publishing your book. This is a lot of hassle, but it means you are following your dreams. You will have to decide between hardback publishing or eBook publishing on one of the leading platforms.

If you are self-publishing, your book, one of the things you will have to do is get a book cover design. Even before a reader knows that your book exists, your cover is what attracts them. There is a small time frame of a couple of seconds that allows a reader to make the decision of picking up the book. Having a professional designer create a design for you is necessary. You need to decide on the cover for your book that speaks your story and attracts the reader. 

Along with the design, you will also have to get your book proofread to remove any errors in the text. The readers do not like errors of any kind in the book, and with critics reading to provide honest opinions having a good first impression is crucial. You will also need to format the book and, in the end, upload it for the world to see. 

Along with all of this, you need to think of different ways to market your book. This is the stage that is finally providing a return on your long line of investment. Marketing will help increase sales and provide you with a healthy return 

Here you have the complete guide to ghostwriting and how you can find the ghostwriting services you are looking for. If you have read the entire article, you will realize that writing a book is not easy for the writer and for the author. It requires a lot of dedication and determination to ensure that you get a satisfactory book at the end of your efforts. It is necessary that you are aware of all the advantages and disadvantages of ghostwriting. With the help of this article, you can make a calculated decision on whether you wish to hire ghostwriters to complete your story or not. 

Whether you hire ghostwriters or not, after reading this article, it is safe to say that you know everything there is to know about the world of ghostwriting. 

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Ghostwriting: 10 Tips on How to Become a Ghostwriter

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Hannah Yang

Ghostwriting title

You might have heard that ghostwriting is one of the most well-paid writing careers. It’s true—being a ghostwriter can be a lucrative option.

So what exactly is a ghostwriter?

The short answer is that a ghostwriter is a writer whose name doesn’t appear on the final work .

In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of what this industry requires and ten tips on how to get started as a ghostwriter.

What Is Ghostwriting?

What is a ghostwriter, benefits of ghostwriting, 10 tips on how to become a ghostwriter, is ghostwriting for you.

Ghostwriting is the act of one person writing under the name of another person or brand.

Ghostwriting might be more common than you think. For example, the bestselling Nancy Drew series was published under the made-up name Carolyn Keene, but was actually written by a team of ghostwriters working together.

The popular Jason Bourne series was continued under Robert Ludlum’s name until 2017, even though Robert Ludlum died in 2001.

Ghostwriting definition

Ghostwritten non-fiction books include My Side by the English soccer player David Beckham, Profiles in Courage by U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and Living History by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clients hire ghostwriters to help them create all types of work, from simple blog posts to full-length novels and memoirs.

Most clients fall into the following categories:

Books written by ghostwriters

  • Bestselling authors whose books are so popular that they no longer have time to write them all on their own
  • Industry leaders (such as business owners and health gurus) who want to share their expertise without needing to learn how to write
  • Celebrities (such as athletes and actors) who want to share their life stories without writing them themselves
  • Bloggers, brands, and businesses that want to post regular content online under their own branding
  • Publishers who want to publish more books based on the notes left behind by bestselling authors who have passed away
  • Anybody who has a great story to tell , but doesn’t have the writing experience to tell it by themselves

People who use ghostwriters

A ghostwriter is someone who writes for a client under the client’s name.

You can think of a ghostwriter as a type of co-author, except unlike a typical co-author a ghostwriter isn’t given public credit for their contributions to the project.

A ghostwriter’s duties might include:

  • Interviewing the client about their vision for the project
  • Reading the client’s notes, outlines, or journals
  • Drafting an article, story, or book using the client’s ideas
  • Revising and polishing a rough draft alongside the client
  • Writing in a style that feels like the client’s voice

Ghostwriting tasks

Why would you want to be a ghostwriter? There are several benefits that might draw you to this career.

Benefit #1: Make Money

Most ghostwriting pays better than general freelancing does.

Clients will often pay a large flat fee upfront, rather than paying you hourly for your time. As a result, you can make a large amount of money very quickly. According to Reedsy, ghostwriters can make a flat fee of $2,000-$70,000 per project.

Fees vary depending on the client. If you can land a ghostwriting gig with a large brand or a well-known author, you’ll probably be on the larger end of that spectrum.

If you’re a freelance writer and you typically set your own rates, you can increase your normal fee by a significant amount in exchange for not attaching your name to your work. After all, you’re charging not just for the writing but also for the credit.

Benefits of ghostwriting

Benefit #2: Build Relationships

Ghostwriters get to work closely with their clients. You might have long conversations together about the project you’re collaborating on. If you’re working on a memoir or autobiography you might even get to read your client’s journals.

Building these close client relationships can give you a strong professional network. Past clients might call on you again in the future or refer you to other people they know who need a ghostwriter.

Benefit #3: Learn About Interesting Topics

Ghostwriting gives you the opportunity to cover interesting topics you might not otherwise get to write about, and to learn things about those topics from an insider’s perspective.

Whatever your field is, you can learn a lot about it by ghostwriting.

For example, you can learn a lot about the tech industry and how it functions if you ghostwrite a memoir for a Silicon Valley engineer. You can learn a lot about the publishing industry if you ghostwrite a novel for a bestselling author.

Benefit #4: Gain Writing Experience

As a ghostwriter, you can practice your writing skills in a very effective way.

Under the name of a well-known client or brand, you’ll be able to reach a wide audience very quickly and see how they react to the way you write. This will make you much better at the craft if you decide you want to build your own brand later on.

It can be helpful to practice writing something you’re not emotionally involved in because you’ll have a clear perspective about the work’s strengths and weaknesses. That way, you can develop editorial skills which will also serve you well in the future.

Ghostwriting allows you to hone your craft without spending time on the other duties that come with creating your own work, such as marketing and publishing. All these tasks are left to the client while you can move straight on to your next project.

It can be hard to figure out how to become a ghostwriter, especially since the position is one of the least transparent in the writing industry.

Every ghostwriter begins somewhere. It’s just a matter of knowing how to get started.

Here are some tips for breaking into the industry.

Tip #1: Practice Your Writing Skills with Freelance Writing Jobs

The best way to become a ghostwriter is to practice writing as much as you can.

Usually, ghostwriters aren’t amateurs—they’re experienced writers who have created content in their own name in addition to writing for others.

Start by writing in your own voice. Great writing skills will get you noticed by people who are looking for ghostwriters.

One option for gaining writing experience is freelance writing. As a freelance writer, you’ll meet new clients, which will expand your writing network. Writing for clients under your own name will also help to build your credibility because you can demonstrate your writing skills.

If you take on the task of freelance writing, you can use a grammar checker like ProWritingAid to make sure you deliver clear and professional work to your clients.

Another option is blog writing. Blog posts are a great addition to your writing portfolio and can help you develop expertise in a specific topic.

You can also pitch articles to magazines and editors. There are magazines that allow anyone to pitch to them, so keep an eye out for their submission calls. By writing for magazines, you can add some reputable publications to your portfolio.

You can even work on writing books . Many ghostwriting gigs are large projects such as autobiographies, non-fiction books, and novels. Finishing a long work of your own will give you the skills you need to work on one with someone else.

Ways to build a ghostwriting portfolio

Ultimately, if you’re already an experienced writer or author, clients will naturally gravitate toward you when they need a ghostwriter. Building your writing portfolio is a great way to get started.

Tip #2: Practice Different Writing Styles

Ghostwriting clients will expect you to write in a style that sounds like theirs, rather than like your own. If you want to be a ghostwriter, you should practice becoming a writing chameleon.

Some jobs will require you to write in a conversational, chatty voice. Others will require a formal, informative voice. Still others will require lyrical, poetic prose. If you can master multiple styles, you’ll be able to nail all of these future ghostwriting jobs.

One way to work on this skill is to read widely and pay attention to the styles of the authors you read. Practice imitating the styles of your favorite authors.

Pay attention to the specific words and lexicons each author uses, the length of their words and sentences, and the rhythm and flow of their writing. How formal is their tone? How long are their paragraphs?

These exercises will equip you with the skills needed to create work in your client's voice when you need to.

Tip #3: Hone Your Interviewing Skills

To be a great ghostwriter you don’t only need to be a great writer, you also need to be a great listener.

When you land your first ghostwriting job, you will need to familiarize yourself with the project and the client.

You’ll need to have long, deep conversations with your clients about what they’re looking for and what their ideas are for the project.

You’ll need to practice active listening and ask questions about anything that isn’t clear, so that what you write can match up with the client’s vision as closely as possible.

You’ll also need to read everything they’ve written, whether that’s books, articles, or blog posts.

If you can find any jobs or volunteer work that involve interviewing and research, those skills will set you up to be a successful ghostwriter in the future.

Tip #4: Create a Website for Your Ghostwriting Business

When your future clients are considering hiring you, the first thing they’ll do is look you up online.

You want to make it as easy as possible for all your future clients to figure out who you are, what you do, and how to hire you. How do you do that? You create a writer website.

If you’re on a budget, you can start with a free or low-cost website using a platform like Squarespace, Weebly, or WordPress . Later down the line, you can invest in a website designer to make sure your website reflects your brand.

What to include on a ghostwriting website

Make it clear on your website that you’re a ghostwriter for hire. Mention the specific topics you’re experienced at writing about, so everyone can see your brand.

Your website should include some writing samples from your portfolio, such as blog posts or novel chapters. Make sure your samples relate to the type of ghostwriting work you hope to do.

Include a headshot and a short bio so clients can connect with you on a more personal level. You should also include your social media handles, if you have any, and make it clear how potential clients can contact you.

Finally, you can mention the rates you charge or say that rates are available upon inquiry. If you’re a freelance writer you can increase your rates for ghostwriting since you won’t be able to take credit for what you’ve written.

With a clean and professional writer website you’ll be able to reach clients much more easily.

Tip #5: Reach Out to Your Network for Opportunities

Once you’re ready to start ghostwriting it’s time to reach out to anyone you know who might need a ghostwriter.

If you’re an experienced freelance writer you might have a network of clients you’ve worked with in the past. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask how they’re doing, and if they know anyone who has ghostwriting needs.

Even if you don’t have a client network, there are still other people you can reach out to. Maybe you know someone who has a great book idea but doesn’t know how to write it. Pitch your skills to other writers you know, and even to your friends and family.

Tip #6: Pitch Your Ghostwriting Services to Businesses and Brands

It might not seem obvious but many businesses and brands have writing-related needs, even if their services have nothing to do with writing.

At the very least, almost every large company has their own website with descriptions of the company’s services.

Many companies have blogs where they post about their work to attract more customers. Some release their own eBooks to establish themselves as thought leaders within their industry.

So who writes those websites, blogs, and books? Chances are, that’s a perfect job for a ghostwriter.

Start with businesses you’re familiar with, maybe ones you’ve been buying from for years or ones in industries that you have expertise in. Send them an email mentioning that you love their products, and tell them about your ghostwriting services.

Don’t be afraid of rejection. The worst case scenario is that the company says no, in which case you can respectfully accept that decision and move on to the next potential client.

At the end of the day, finding clients can be a numbers game. If you pitch to enough brands with a strong writing portfolio, sooner or later one of them might say yes.

Tip #7: Utilize Social Media

In the age of information, social media is one of the best places to find freelance writing opportunities and that includes ghostwriting opportunities, too.

Update your Facebook profile, Twitter profile, and any other social media profiles to include your ghostwriting skills. Make sure everyone can see that you’re a ghostwriter for hire.

On sites like Twitter, you can search for specific hashtags, such as #ghostwriting and #ghostwriter. Sometimes, people will post opportunities under these hashtags, or stories about their own ghostwriting experiences.

Joining these communities will help give you a foothold into the industry.

Tip #8: Join a Job Board or Publishing Marketplace

There are plenty of websites that offer different writing jobs, some of which include ghostwriting opportunities.

Many job boards don’t explicitly offer ghostwriting gigs, but they offer many freelancing gigs by brands and businesses that might also need a ghostwriter.

Here are some job boards you can consider:

  • All Freelance Writing is a free job board that has fully vetted gigs.
  • Contenta is a job board that tracks companies that hire writers. You can reach out to the companies that have posted ads and ask if they need a ghostwriter.
  • Upwork lets you create a profile and advertise yourself. You can also see the profiles of other ghostwriters and compare your rates to theirs.
  • Freelancer.com is a site where you can bid for freelance writing opportunities.

Where to find ghostwriting jobs

Tip #9: Understand Your Contracts

When you start signing ghostwriting contracts, have a lawyer look at your legal paperwork if possible. Taking that precautionary step will help you protect yourself from any possible legal ramifications.

In some cases, ghostwriting is transparent and the client will make it publicly known that they have a ghostwriter.

In most cases, however, a ghostwriter must sign an agreement not to reveal the project they’re working on or take any credit for the completed work.

Often, contracts will allow you to speak about your projects in general terms so you can tell future clients about your previous ghostwriting experience.

For example, you might be able to say, “I helped a client write a 300-page memoir which hit the New York Times bestseller list.”

Read your contracts carefully, and never share information about your projects publicly if your contracts tell you not to.

Tip #10: Be Patient

Ghostwriting is a job that often takes a long time to pay off.

Don’t worry if it takes a while to make it big! Success as a ghostwriter depends on two factors: luck and preparation. You can’t always control the luck factor. All you can do is make sure you’re prepared for the next time a ghostwriting opportunity comes your way.

How to be a successful ghostwriter

If you’re trying to decide whether being a ghostwriter is the right path for you, ask yourself some questions about what you hope to gain out of it.

First, ask yourself what you want to accomplish as a writer. If you’re trying to build your own platform and writing brand, ghostwriting might not be the right choice for you.

If however you want to make some good money and create a stable income stream, ghostwriting can be a great option.

You should also ask yourself if you have the right personality for ghostwriting.

If you hate the idea of someone else taking credit for your work, or the idea of giving up creative freedom over what style you’re allowed to write in, ghostwriting might be difficult for you.

On the other hand, if you’re very flexible and love collaborating on projects, you might be very successful as a ghostwriter.

Could you be a ghostwriter?

Do you think ghostwriting might be a good option for you? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

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Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on hannahyang.com, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

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10 ghostwritten hip-hop tracks – and the surprising ghostwriters behind them

Every few years, hip-hop gets itself into a tizzy over ghostwriters.

The background chatter of who-wrote-what is always there, with certain triggers – from Skillz’ redacted ‘Ghostwriter’ to that Nas kerfuffle  a while back – occasionally tossing fuel on the fire. What’s clear, though, is that ghostwriting is as old as the hills, and about as common as it’s ever been (side note: as any booze-lubricated industry type will tell you, don’t think it doesn’t go on with underground dance producers, either).

Unlike pop and R&B, where a T. Nash writing credit will help rather than hinder the marketing push, rap tends to take a dim view of hidden writers. The lines are often blurred, too – plenty of rappers happily admit flinging ideas into the mix in the studio, but will stop short of ratting out their employer. A sense of omertà hangs around the issue, which makes it all the more surprising when you find out your favourite rapper wrote that dismal novelty rap from [insert faded celebrity here].

In tribute to the silent and the shadow-cloaked, we’ve assembled some of the more surprising and unexpected ghost-writing gigs of the last 30 years. From The D.O.C to, er, “What’s up doc?”, these are 10 tracks you probably know – and the 10 people you probably didn’t know wrote them.

Artist: Will Smith Song: ‘Gettin Jiggy Wit It’ (1998) Ghostwriter: Nas

Nas found himself embroiled in a ghostwriting controversy back in 2012, when the rapper was accused of co-opting Jay Electronica and Dead Prez’s stic.man to write verses for his Untitled LP. Whatever the extent of their involvement, the Queens rapper has certainly done his fair share of covert scribbling, working for The Firm partner Foxy Brown and, like every rapper and their pitbull, grinding for Diddy too. Weirdest of all was his brief late 1990s job as Will Smith’s go-to writer, penning the enduring/regrettable ‘Gettin Jiggy Wit It’. Nas was also behind Big Willie’s verses on ‘Miami’ – which, frankly, still bumps .

Artist: Ol’ Dirty Bastard Song: Assorted tracks from Return To The 36 Chambers (1995) Ghostwriter: RZA, GZA

If there’s any proof in the old adage “it’s how you tell ’em”, it’s worth turning to ODB’s inimitable 1995 debut. Method Man has gone on record confirming that the bulk of ODB’s beloved Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version was actually orchestrated by Wu-Tang confreres RZA and GZA, who contributed old and unreleased rhymes from their notebooks. Some of the verses apparently go way back to GZA’s teenage battle rhyming days – something Meth says the latter apparently wasn’t afraid to bring up when required : “I remember GZA and ODB got in an argument one night and GZA was like, ‘Nigga, most of that shit you say on your fucking album is mines anyway!””


Artist:  Beastie Boys Song:  Chunks of  Licensed to Ill , specifically ‘Paul’s Revere’ (1986) Ghostwriter:  Run-D.M.C.

Depending on who you believe, Run-D.M.C. wrote either segments or a sizeable chunk of The Beasties’ tubthumping 1986 debut Licensed To Ill . What’s beyond dispute is that Rick Rubin parachuted the pair in to assist on the record, with fantastical how-we-formed jam ‘Paul Revere’ among the tracks to feature writing from the pair. It wasn’t the only bit of lyric-swapping going on the Rubin axis: Run-D.M.C. also commissioned LL Cool J to pen verses for them.

Artist: Dr. Dre Song: ‘Still D.R.E.’ (1999) Ghostwriter: Jay Z

Dre’s habitual use of ghostwriters has never really qualified as a secret, and the list is long: Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Royce Da 5’9″, Rakim, Knoc-Turnal and Kendrick Lamar have all done time as his backroom boys. Despite that, more listeners than not will probably still be surprised to learn that 2001 standout ‘Still D.R.E.’ was the work of a then-ascendent Jay-Z. Hov, incidentally, used to have some repute as ghostwriter, putting pen to paper for man (Memphis Bleek), woman (Foxy Brown) and beast (more on that later).

Artist:  Lil’ Kim feat. Lil’ Cease Song:  ‘Crush On You’ (1997) Ghostwriter:  Cam’ron

It’s well-known that Biggie wrote bars for Lil’ Kim, but it’s probably more of a surprise that Dipset duke Cam’ron was doing the heavy-lifting on 1997 smash ‘Crush On You’, writing Lil’ Cease’s banner verse. Over to Cam’ron, who is surprisingly frank   on a subject that not many rappers are comfy nattering candidly about: “What happened was, [Untertainment CEO Lance] Un [Rivera] gave Mase $30,000 to write five songs for Lil’ Cease at that time and Mase gave me $5,000 of the 30 to write one or two of the songs… I wrote the ‘Crush On You’ song and they ended up keeping it for Lil’ Kim album but it was really for Lil’ Cease. The original ‘Crush on You’ is all Lil’ Cease, Lil’ Kim isn’t even on the record.”


Artist:  Dr. Dre Song:  ‘Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang’ (1992) Ghostwriter:  The D.O.C.

The D.O.C’s 1989 album No One Can Do It Better is frequently credited as the archetype for the gangsta rap sound that would go on to ambush the charts, but the veteran rapper’s involvement in G-Funk extends further than mere influence. After losing his voice in a car accident, the Dallas rapper kept his hand in with writing jobs for N.W.A., Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. His verses appear all over 1992’s The Chronic , but his most brazen work is on the album’s calling card ‘Nuthin But A ‘G’ Thang’, where he personally penned the line “Like my nigga D.O.C./ No one can do it better.” Ancillary tidbit: Ice Cube wrote the bulk of Straight Outta Compton .


Artist: Salt-n-Pepa Song:  ‘Chick On The Side’ (1986) Ghostwriter: Kool G Rap

There’s a long and fascinating lineage of tough-guy rappers using ghostwriting gigs as an opportunity for gender-bending – see Biggie’s verses on ‘Queen Bitch’, or Big Daddy Kane’s writing for Roxanne Shanté. The most incongruous example of gender chicanery is arguably Salt -n-Pepa’s 1986 track ‘Chick On The Side’ – a warrior queen takedown of a cheating scoundrel, in fact penned by thug rapper and sometime chauvinist Kool G Rap.


Artist:  Bugs Bunny Song:  ‘Buggin” from  Space Jam  (1996) Ghostwriter:  Jay Z

Space Jam soundtrack fodder, courtesy of Reasonable Doubt -era Jay-Z. Sample Jiggaism: “Like Trump’s wife, up to my ears in carats/Not even the botha can fade the rabbit.”

Artist:  Eve feat. Jadakiss Song:  ‘Got It All’ (2000) Ghostwriter:  Cassidy

Plenty of greenhorn MCs use ghostwriting as an apprenticeship prior to debuting as a solo artist proper – Kendrick and Freddie Gibbs have been busy , and Problem has been open   about the advantages such a route can bring . Case in point: three years before Cassidy was strong-arming folk into his ‘Hotel’, he was reportedly doing behind-the-scenes work on Eve’s steel-drum enhanced 2000 single ‘Got It All’.


Artist: Diddy Song: ‘The Future’ (2006) Ghostwriter: Pharoahe Monch

Somebody needs to call the competition committee – Diddy’s responsible for a good 40% of the ghostwriting economy. It’s an old joke, and it’s something of an unfair too: the Bad Boy CEO is the most brazenly open about his lyric-farming, which is certainly preferable to the subterfuge no doubt going on with much more supposedly ‘credible’ artists. Still, Diddy loves a ghostwriter: Biggie, Skillz, Royce Da 5’9″, Fabolous and scores more have helped him out to some degree or other. We’ve plumped for the Pharoahe Monch-penned ‘The Future’, if only because the flow is so transparently Monch’s, it’s practically a karaoke job.

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  6. Do Ghostwriters Get Credit? 6 Tips and Advice

    Continue reading to find out how credit works when ghostwriting and how you can negotiate the best deal that protects your interests. Do Ghostwriters Get Credit? By definition, a ghostwriter is someone hired to write for another person under that person's name. The person hiring the ghostwriter typically retains the credit and the rights to the ...

  7. Do Ghostwriters Get Credit or Not? The Real Answer

    Final thoughts Do ghostwriters get credit, really? No, they don't. As their title points out, they're "ghosts". They're not supposed to claim that they're the ones who whipped up online content for the person they represent. As their client, it's not your obligation to give them credit. Because the deal is you pay money for their services.

  8. What is Ghostwriting? Everything You Need to Know

    Ghostwriting is defined as having work written on your behalf by another writer, but you take credit for it. The public believes that you produced the content, but it was actually made by another individual. Since ghostwriters do not receive credit for their work, they typically charge a premium. 💰

  9. What is a Ghostwriter & What Does a Ghostwriter Do?

    All your questions answered What is a ghostwriter? What sort of writing do ghostwriters do? Can you make money ghostwriting? How to Become a Ghostwriter Is ghostwriting legal? Is ghostwriting ethical? Types of ghostwriting Do ghostwriters get credit? Reasons to Hire a Ghostwriter How to hire a ghostwriter What is a ghostwriter?

  10. Ghostwriter

    Ghostwriter. The popular demand for Tom Clancy 's action novels exceeded his ability to write new books. As a result, his publisher hired ghostwriters to write novels in the Clancy style. A ghostwriter is a person hired to write literary or journalistic works, speeches, or other texts that are putatively credited to another person as the author.

  11. How Much Do Ghostwriters Make: The Ultimate Breakdown

    Range: $0.15 to $4 per word Often applies to: articles and web content, manuscript rewrites, book descriptions Charging per word is the most obvious sort of payment, since you get paid according to how much you write.

  12. A Ghostwriter's Fee and How They Charge

    For in-depth tips and tricks on how to write a book proposal, you can read my blog article on the subject. A ghostwriter's fee for a quality book proposal will run somewhere between $10,000 - $15,000. However, this price should be factored into the overall price, if you hire that ghostwriter to write your book.

  13. 21 Ghostwriting Tips from Bestselling Ghostwriters

    Guiding your clients Some authors who want to hire you as a ghostwriter may not know what type of services they're looking for or what you can do for them. Acting as a guide to publishing and ghostwriting is an important part of the job. Here are a few things you can do to point your clients in the right direction: 1.

  14. Ghostwriter FAQ

    Ghost Writer, Inc. is a legitimate ghostwriting services agency. We follow ethical business practices. Ordinarily, project creators or book author clients get full credit for the entire work. As long as the ideas and writings are original to either the client, or to the ghost. A ghostwriter doesn't normally get credit for the work.

  15. A Beginner's Guide to Ghostwriting: All the Facts (w/o the Fluff)

    on Feb 1, 2023 Freebie: 100+ Writing Resources Want to learn the ins and outs of being a successful ghostwriter? In this update to our epic guide, we lay out everything you need to know. You want to make money as a writer, right? You've told everyone on Facebook (including your weird aunt) that you're available to write.

  16. What is a Ghost Writer?

    Ghostwriters are writers for hire who are paid but receive none of the credit for the work produced. There are generally two parties involved in this professional relationship: The " author ," who hires the freelance writer to produce content for an agreed upon fee, takes the credit for all the original work produced.

  17. Should ghost writers be given credit for their work or eliminated from

    Ghost writing is different from honorary authorship in the sense that authors who have little or no involvement in the study, such as a department head or a dean, are given credit as the authors of a paper. On the other hand, in ghost authorship, authors who have contributed significantly in the writing of the paper are not acknowledged.

  18. Confessions of a ghost writer : r/writing

    With multiple writers, there's actually an entire process for determining screenplay credit, judged by a panel of professional guild screenwriters. And if you feel you have been wronged you can go through arbitration and make your case further. The ghostwriting issue here seems competely screwed up and wrong and should be illegal.

  19. What Is Ghostwriting—And What Does It Mean Today?

    The common definition of ghostwriting is the act of one person writing in the name of another person, group, company, or institution without receiving a byline or public credit. But more often than not, ghostwriting is a customized form of collaboration, covering a range of relationships and services tied to the authors' needs, objectives ...

  20. The Complete Guide to Ghostwriting

    Your writing is not yours, and you receive no credit. When anyone hires a ghostwriter, they are looking for someone to help them with their writing needs. They require a writer that will not take any credits for the work they have written. In exchange, the writer is compensated in accordance with the pre-decided payment.

  21. Ghostwriting: 10 Tips on How to Become a Ghostwriter

    Speculative Fiction Author You might have heard that ghostwriting is one of the most well-paid writing careers. It's true—being a ghostwriter can be a lucrative option. So what exactly is a ghostwriter? The short answer is that a ghostwriter is a writer whose name doesn't appear on the final work.

  22. Ghost: Here's a List of Writing Credits for Every Song in ...

    Let's have a look. Here are all of the songwriters credited on Ghost's entire catalogue (musicians often chose aliases for their ASCAP entities): A Ghoul Writer - Tobias Jens Forge. Indio Marcato - Martin Persner, ex-guitarist. Klaus Ahlund - producer of Meliora, member of Teddybears. Gustaf Lindström - ex-bassist of Repugnant ...

  23. 10 ghostwritten hip-hop tracks

    Artist: Dr. Dre. Song: 'Still D.R.E.' (1999) Ghostwriter: Jay Z. Dre's habitual use of ghostwriters has never really qualified as a secret, and the list is long: Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Royce Da ...