What a ghostwriter does
If you've got a great story to tell, but don't necessarily have the time, the writing skills or experience to write it, a ghost writer could be the answer. Employing an experienced author to help you tell your story could save you months of anguish in front of your computer.
Once a ghost writer has been engaged, they will listen to the subject's story over a series of one-to-one interviews. They will also go through any supporting material for research. Occasionally, if it is necessary, interviews will also be done with relevant associates of the main named author, such as family, friends and work colleagues, in order to get a fuller picture of the subject in hand.
Once all the information has been gathered, the ghost will write the story, according to a pre-agreed plan, while capturing the voice of the named author.
It is not the ghost's aim to try to change any elements of the story, but merely to get it told in a way that is as interesting and engaging as possible. The ghost may well suggest angles that will make the book more commercial so it has greater appeal to publishers and readers. Whatever happens though, the story will remain at all times under the control of the subject and nothing will go into the book that they don't want in there. Anything you tell a ghost in confidence will, of course, remain in confidence should you wish it to stay that way.
It is up to the named author to decide what credit, if any to give to their ghost writer. Some subjects choose to acknowledge their ghost writers as ‘co authors' on the cover, while others will note that their book was written ‘with Ms Ghost Writer'. Sometimes they simply thank the ghost in the acknowledgements. Others choose not to mention it at all. Either way is fine. The vast majority of ghost writers are not on an ego trip, they write books as a commercial transaction. If there are any concerns about this, or indeed any other aspect of working together, this can all be agreed up front.
Once the manuscript is completed, the ghost writer will help the named author through the publishing process, whether it is via a mainstream publisher or through the self-publishing route. Mainstream publishers usually welcome the presence of a ghost writer because they know they can expect a well-written book which matches the publishing proposal and is delivered on time. However, hiring a ghost is no guarantee of a book deal.
Related Articles (View All Articles)