What is a ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter is a writer who doesn’t write under their own name or even a pseudonym. The credited author for the work written by a ghostwriter is different from the ghostwriter.

You can call them freelance writers. Ghostwriters are hired to handle a variety of work ranging from speeches and journalistic work to literature.

The only thing that the ghostwriter gets is money for their writing service. Ghostwriters are fairly common. Authors outsource entire works or parts of their work to ghostwriters – who typically have wildly varying rates depending on the quality of their work – and publish the work as their own.

The author who contracts a ghostwriter owns 100% ownership and the copyright over the work.

Why do ghostwriters do what they do?

The goal of a ghostwriter is to make money doing something they love – writing. Whether they are writing for other authors or those in need of professional writing help makes no difference to them.

Professional ghostwriters have a no-questions-asked policy when it comes to the actual publishing details or the purpose of the written text as they don’t burden themselves with where or how will their work be published.

A ghostwriter’s work will likely be edited in some capacity and that’s perfectly fine with them. The real identity of a ghostwriter is never disclosed. As the original writer isn’t credited at all, these writers are like ghosts – and thus the name.

Ghostwriting considerations

People have a number of questions regarding how ghostwriting works and ghostwriters in general.

  • There’s nothing wrong with being a ghostwriter. It’s a perfectly legal profession.
  • Ghostwriters generally sign a contract of confidentiality with the contractor or client. They cannot raise any claim to the work once it’s submitted and they’ve been paid.
  • Payment methods differ from writer to writer. For example, some charge a percentage of the royalties whereas others have a flat rate or even a per-page fee.
  • The job of a ghostwriter is just like that of a writer. The only difference is that they won’t get credited for their work. As such, the other aspects of writing such as research and editing are also included in a ghostwriting job.
  • There are ghostwriters for nearly every topic and genre. Nonfiction ghostwriters and academic paper ghostwriters are in higher demand than others.
  • The ghostwriter does not get credit. They cannot claim the work as their own or show it as their own publicly. It’s the ghostwriter, not the ghost author. They will not be mentioned anywhere, neither do they have any right to the work.

Why would someone hire a ghostwriter?

There can be many reasons for hiring a ghostwriter. Perhaps an author cannot write something they wish to or need to – in which case a suitable and professional ghostwriter’s expertise will come in handy.

One of the most commonplace examples of a writer hiring a ghostwriter is to fill the gaps in their writing ability.

For example, writing about an extraordinary life or an adventure isn’t the cup of tea for every author. They might be lacking certain creative or imaginary skills. They can supply the initial material, theme, or key details to the ghostwriter who then puts their writing skills to use and comes up with a first-rate manuscript detailing the story just the way the author wished.

It’s not just authors who hire ghostwriters. Teachers, business owners, influential personalities and celebrities, entrepreneurs, or even research students hire ghostwriters to delegate their writing work.