Ghostwriters: Don’t be Afraid to Use One!

In the film Young Adult, Charlize Theron’s character is the ghostwriter of a young adult novel series. The character goes to a bookstore in her hometown and offers to sign copies of the books, but the clerk is completely confused because she is not the author listed on the cover of the book.  She then tries to explain that she actually wrote the books, not the woman whose name is on the cover.

Huh? How does that work?

A ghostwriter is a professional writer for hire. Ghostwriters can be hired to write a book, an article, report, or other materials. Depending on the agreement/contract you work out with a ghostwriter, you assume the rights to the finished materials, and will have your name on the work as the author.

A ghostwriter can be used as little or as much as you need for your project. You may want a ghostwriter to polish a rough manuscript into a final one; have them write a section of your book; or a ghostwriter can produce the entire manuscript based on your notes, concepts, recordings and research. Some ghostwriters specialize in certain genres, such as health/medical or science fiction, and have lots of experience writing in that area.

Using a ghostwriter can be easier than you might think. Let’s say you’d like to write a memoir. You may not have time to type chapter after chapter, but you are able to talk into a tape recorder while making a long commute to work. Record your favorite memories, things you remember about your family’s past, lessons learned, etc. You can then work with a ghostwriter to turn those recordings into a book. You may even have the ghostwriter talk to a family member or friends to add their memories to the book.

The cost of ghostwriting services, and the length of time it will take a ghostwriter to complete a project, can depend on many factors, such as: how much research or interviewing the ghostwriter would need to do; how much material they would go through if you’re providing recordings or notes; and the length and type of work you want them to produce.

There are a number of ways to find a ghostwriter, but you can start by meeting with a publishing support provider, who can recommend writers who will be a good fit for your project.