You’ve probably heard the term ghostwriter before, but you may not be altogether sure what a ghostwriter is and what they do. The word ghostwriter sounds pretty mysterious, but the idea behind it is simply that the writer is a ghost that can’t be seen.
A ghostwriter is a trained writer who will create your content for you and give up all rights to it upon payment. Once you have paid your ghostwriter, they will have no rights to the content and you are free to use it as you wish. You can edit it in any way and even put your name on it as the author. When you’re hiring content to be written on your behalf, you probably want to put your own name on it. In order to do this, you need to hire a ghostwriter.
A ghostwriter stays in the background and doesn’t take credit for the content, although they may sometimes be acknowledged. When you see a book by a celebrity written by the celebrity “and” someone else or “with” someone else, you can be sure that the someone else is the ghostwriter who did all or almost all of the writing. Charles Barkley famously claimed that he was “misquoted” in his autobiography and that he had not even read it before publication.
Once you realize how common ghostwriting is, you probably won’t ever look the same way at books in the bookstore! Believe it or not, many books have had the participation of a ghostwriter for all or at least part of the book.
Writers who want to write for others while getting credit for their work may take on freelancing jobs where they can have their own byline. Ghostwriters rarely have their names on any content because they give up all rights upon payment.
Ghostwriters can write all different kinds of content including books, reports, blog posts, articles and any other text that a person needs. Often, big companies and even celebrities will hire ghostwriters to write their books and other material, but even small businesses and solo-preneurs may use ghostwriters to help them produce all of the content they need. Not everyone is a good writer, so ghostwriters are in high demand these days. This is especially true for online content as many website owners don’t have the time or the talent to write enough material.
Ghostwriters may be hired for numerous tasks from just editing or reworking someone’s manuscript all the way up to creating content from scratch. A professional ghostwriter will know how to properly research and format the content to suit your needs. The best will write in your voice, capturing the way you use words so that the work reads as if you wrote it. Some ghostwriters specialize in writing only fiction material while others do primarily nonfiction. If you have a specific subject in mind, always ask the ghostwriter in advance whether they are comfortable with the topic.
When hiring a ghostwriter always make sure that you have a contract that says they are turning over all rights to the content to you, including the copyright. Under U.S. copyright law, the writer owns the rights in the absence of a written agreement assigning the rights to someone else. You might want to review a sample ghostwriter contract to get ideas for the issues your contract should address.
Watch for my upcoming articles about finding and hiring ghostwriters to write blog posts, press releases, articles, white papers, special reports and even books for you.
Interested in becoming a ghostwriter?