What is Ghostwriting? Answers To Commonly Asked Questions:
You must have heard a lot about ghosts, but have you seen one? Although their existence is questionable, but if you happen to work in the publishing industry you may just come across one. They are overtly called ‘ghostwriters’.
A ghostwriter is not a real ghost, but a person (a professional writer) who writes articles, books, reports etc under someone else’s name, with their consent, mostly in return for monetary gains. They may be responsible for completing the whole assignment from start to end on their own, or may only be involved in rewriting or polishing existing work to make it more presentable and reader friendly. Ghostwriters also exist in the music industry where they are frequently used to write lyrics, background score for movies, compose songs etc for popular genres.
Most autobiographies claimed to be written by celebrities are actually the work of ghostwriters. The reason for this is obvious. It takes an experienced writer to transform someones writing or thoughts in something that is readable, engaging, free of errors and of publishable quality.
It is hard to tell how popular ghostwriting is in the publishing industry as most authors never want to reveal that a book or a piece of music was ghosted. In fact on most occasions ghostwriters are bound by a legal agreement to not reveal that they ghosted someones work. Estimates suggest that ghostwriting is less common for fiction as compared to non-fiction. Up to 50% of all non-fiction books such as autobiographies, reports, etc are believed to be ghostwritten.
The reasons for hiring a ghostwriter are many but lack of writing talent and lack of time on behalf of the client are the most commonly cited reasons. Ghostwriters are mostly selected based on the work that they have done previously, their achievements and their ability to meet required time lines.
What Do Ghostwriters Write?
Ghostwriters write a variety of documents such as autobiographies, textbooks, documentaries, travel books, marketing books, articles, letters for politicians, and even music. They also write fiction under the name of famous authors.
What Skills Are Needed To Be A Ghostwriter?
Because ghostwriters write under the name of a known author or celebrity, they must have good writing skills and good command over the language. In addition, they must have patience and good interviewing skills. Asking the right questions is the key to producing a final result that focuses on the best and most important aspects of a story.
How Ethical Is Ghostwriting?
Although ghostwriting is common in the industry, many people are of the view that it is dishonest to use ghostwriters and to present their work as your own. This is not true in all cases as on most occasions ghostwriters only write the clients words, thoughts, ideas, stories and experiences. Ghostwriters only act as professional consultants, help to organize the information and present it in a readable and publishable format.
How Much Does A Ghostwriter Earn?
Ghostwriters get paid in different ways. Some charge a fixed fee for the complete assignment while others charge a lesser fee in return for a certain percentage of the royalties. Both ways of charging for ghostwriting have pros and cons. In a fixed fee model ghostwriters know exactly how much they will get paid upon completion of the assignment. Relying on royalties is a risk as the ghostwriter has no control over the marketing and promotion of the final product. This is however a risk worth taking if the ghostwriter is writing for a famous personality or a known publishing house.
Are Ghostwriters Acknowledged For Their Writing?
Most often ghostwriters do not receive any acknowledgement or credit for their work. In fact the public never even comes to know what was ghostwritten. On some occasions the authors thank the ghostwriter under acknowledgments section of the book in language such as “…thanks to Mike Spark for making this book possible”, or may generously present their name as a co-author.
Ghostwriting as a career:
If you wish to become a ghostwriter and have the skills to be one, this could be a wonderful career move. Everyone wants to have a book published in their name but not all have the time and skills to write it. This has always kept ghostwriters in demand and the same will continue in time to come.
An excellent report about ghostwriting, “Ghostwriters From The Inside Out” is available here for free download. It contains most of the information that you will need if you wish to hire a ghostwriter or want to become one.