There are lots of potential reasons that a ghostwriter might write for other people. Publishing a book and writing a book are two completely different propositions. This is especially true when it comes to self-publishing. However, even for publishing traditionally, you still have to send your book out to agents and editors, wait for them to tell you that they want to pass on it and then send it to a whole new batch of agents and editors – possibly just one at a time depending upon their policies. From there you have to negotiate royalties, advances and rights as well as all the other things that are in a standard book contract.
When it comes to self-publishing, it can be even more complicated. With self-publishing, the advance is usually nonexistent and the royalties are Hardy laid out in the agreement that you make with the self-publishing platform such as Kindle Direct Publishing. You also do not have to worry too much about rights because they are also laid out in the agreement. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t non-writing stuff to worry about. In fact, the workload triples or even quadruple with self-publishing because you have to take care of things like formatting the book properly for both e-book and print book form, creating a cover yourself or hiring a professional designer, deciding how much you’re going to sell the book for in doing all of the work uploading and taking care of all the other businesses seasons that come with self-publishing a book. If you’re just starting out, check out Squibler’s post on How to Write a Novel.
Some writers do not want any of those responsibilities. Some writers just want to write. They are good at writing books and they would rather contract with someone to get paid a certain amount in order to create a book for them. They never see that book again, but they have very long since moved on to a new book from a totally different client.
However, lack of interest in book publishing is not the only reason that people choose to go the ghostwriting route. Building up a catalog and making a success out of self-publishing can take years. You can work at it for years and never actually make any money. This is a lack of security that many ghostwriter simply cannot handle. The same goes for traditional publishing. If you toil in obscurity your entire life and no one ever accepts a manuscript to publish then you will have wasted years of your time.
But the main reason that writers choose not to go with the traditional publishing route or with self-publishing actually has to do with marketing. Marketing is something that must be done by the author if the book is to see the light of day and get out there in front of people who might buy it. This is more than just posting about the book on social media. It could involve buying advertising, giving interviews and sending out reader copies to blogs that review those types of books. It is something that many ghostwriter simply do not want to deal with.