Who is a ghostwriter? (2023)

Have you ever wondered how James Patterson is able to publish so many novels every year? Or how Carolyn Keene continues to produce ninety years after the publication of Nancy Drew's first detective novel? You may have seen CEOs with a few productivity books and wondered where they had the time to write them.

You are not alone. It can happenSurprisefor you, but there are thousands of books that are not written by the person who is considered the primary author. This person had the help of another author, a ghost writer.

Consider it a complete source of information about ghostwriters. In this guide you will learn all about ghostwriting, how to become a ghostwriter and some famous books written by a ghostwriter.

What is a ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter is commissioned to write works in which another person is officially named as the author. Typically, ghostwriters enter into a contract with a recognized author that obliges them to keep their work confidential, often through a non-disclosure agreement.

Normally, a ghostwriter is not hired at all. However, if an established author wants to shed light on their ghostwriter's work, they can often credit them at the end of the book as a researcher, research associate, or co-author.

Works created by ghostwriters can be any type of published text, including:

  • journalism
  • the magazine articles
  • Autobiography
  • literary prose
  • Rode
  • Lieder
  • scenarios
  • blog entries
  • Memories
  • Roman
  • Comics
  • religious texts
  • scientific and medical work

Why do authors use the services of ghostwriters?

Ghostwriters support the author by facilitating the writing process and accelerating the creation of the work. They are often hired by celebrities, corporate executives, consultants, news witnesses, political leaders, and other high-profile individuals who wish to produce written material. There are many reasons why someone would want to hire a ghostwriter.

(Video) How to Make Money as a Ghostwriter | Ghostwriting for Beginners

The two most common reasons are that they feel they don't have the writing skills to write a book or article, or that they don't have the time.

Officials use ghostwriters for many reasons, most notably to save time and sound more eloquent. They hire ghostwriters for everything from official correspondence to autobiographies, speeches and politics. Celebrities often hire a ghostwriter to help them creatediary or autobiography. Such publications can be another source of income and advertising for them.

Famous authors sometimes hire ghostwriters to continue creating work when they don't have the time, ability, or interest to continue writing themselves. In some genres, such as romance, young adult fiction, and action, publishers designate a single name and hire ghostwriters to create novels under that pseudonym. Action novels by Tom Clancy, Jason Bourne series,Goose flesh, and the Nancy Drew series is ghost-written, for example.

How common are ghostwriters?

Ghostwriters are probably more common than you think. Because of the legal documents, it is difficult to know exactly what percentage of the texts were created by the spirit.

There are thousands of ghost books from the 14th century. This is not an uncommon practice; You rarely see behind the curtain. Ghostwriters are often required to keep their work secret, and most mainstream writers are unwilling to share this information.

Ghostwriting as a profession

Many ghostwriters specialize in "disappearing" in a writing style that is familiar to the reader. They are talented imitators who can mix their ideas,Tonne, Ichoice of wordswith those they write for. For those with this unique ability to disguise, ghostwriting can be a lucrative career.

(Video) What is Ghostwriting? 👻 A Quick Guide for Freelance Writers

As with any career, it takes time, practice, and perseverance to be a successful ghostwriter. But when you are a few years old, you can demand a decent wage for your work. Plus, you'll spend hours interviewing interesting people or creatively writing stories.

How to get a ghostwriting job

There are many paths you can take to become a ghostwriter. Of course, before you get hired, you need to know how to write the type of writing you offer. The first step to starting a writing career is to establish yourselffileThings you've written, such as draft manuscripts or blog posts.

You can look for a job on a freelance job board, get hired by an agency or publisher, or start an independent business.

How much do ghostwriters earn?

There are many ways to make money as a ghostwriter. The remuneration depends on the length of the text, the source of the work, the experience of the ghostwriter and the level of awareness of the client. You can charge a flat fee or an hourly rate per word or per page; You can accept a royalty, an upfront share, or choose a combination of payments.

Ghostwriters make an average of $40,000 to $70,000 per 30,000-word book when working directly with the publisher. However, if you freelance, you can make around $15,000 for a shorter book. Some romance novel publishers pay as little as $65 per story. At the other end of the scale, an experienced ghostwriter can make anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000 per book — especially if they're writing for a well-known public figure.

Ghostwriting ist Copywriting

At a high level, it's understandable that some people confuse copywriters and ghostwriters. Neither copywriters nor ghostwriters often get credit for their work.

(Video) What is a Ghostwriter?

The difference between ghostwriting andCopyis the style and scope of the project. Copywriters are typically tasked with creating marketing materials, text on product packaging, driving directions, and corporate or organizational materials. Ghostwriters usually create a narrative, be it a fictional story or a true story.

5 examples of ghostwriting

1The Count of Monte Cristo

Aleksandra DumasaThe The Count of Monte Cristo(1846) was written as a ghost. It is estimated that at least half of the book was written by Auguste Maquet, a historian and author. The two met through Maquet's literary connections. Dumas has written over 100,000 pages of work over the course of his career, but he couldn't do it alone. Maquet worked with Dumas from 1838 to 1951.

2Seria Nancy Drew

The popular crime series, which debuted in 1930, has always been credited to Carolyn Keene. The series was actually written by multiple ghostwriters. The publishing industry calls this practicebook packaging. Several authors are commissioned to create a book series under a pseudonym. The publisher creates a source of truth by describing the characters, voice, setting and other fundamentals followed by writers such as Alice Leonhardt (ghostwriter of the series).

3James Patterson

How does an author publish more than two hundred titles in 26 years? ghostwriter. Patterson is a world-renowned author of action, romance and young adult fiction. He has been a co-author of his books since 2001. It's no secret, but that's how it issome debatewhether this practice qualifies as ghostwriting or co-authoring.

4In the pursuit of happiness

Chris Gardner wrote his autobiography in 2006 with the help of writer Quincy Troupe. Troupe was the first California Poetry Laureate and Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

57 Habits of Highly Effective People

One of the most popular books on self-help and business was written by ghost author Ken Shelton. The book, published in 1989, presents a step-by-step process for introducing the principles of honesty, human dignity and justice into everyday life. Shelton is a freelance writer who writes leadership books and speaks at conferences.

(Video) Top 3 Insane 🤯Ghostwriting Sites That Pays Me 🤑$1,500 Monthly: Make money online

Frequently asked questions about ghostwriting

What is a ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter is commissioned to write works in which another person is officially named as the author. They are often hired by celebrities, corporate executives, consultants, news witnesses, political leaders, and other high-profile individuals who wish to produce written material.

What do ghostwriters do?

Ghostwriters write booksguidelines,line of fireand other materials based on or in collaboration with the specifications of a recognized author. They are sometimes based on interviews with the author or a sketch provided by the author.

Why are ghostwriters used?

Ghostwriters help authors and other influencers, such as celebrities and politicians, effectively create a coherent book or written article. Ghostwriters are usually hired to save time or to help the writer express their ideas or story.


Who is a ghostwriter? ›

A ghostwriter is someone hired to author a book that someone else will be credited for. Quite simply, you're paying someone to write your book for you.

What exactly does a ghost writer do? ›

A ghostwriter is someone hired to author a book that someone else will be credited for. Quite simply, you're paying someone to write your book for you.

Who do ghost writers write for? ›

A ghostwriter is a freelance writer who pens a text that is credited to someone else. Ghostwriters can write a number of works on behalf of a client, including nonfiction books, public speeches, online content, and book proposals.

How much do you pay a ghostwriter? ›

Writing coach Lisa Tener explains that business book ghostwriting usually starts at $5,000 per book. If a ghostwriter charges hourly, the cost of e-books may be anywhere from $30 to $200 per hour, depending on the scope of the project. Per-word rates for this type of work typically range from $1 to $3.

Is it legal to Ghost write? ›

Although unusual, ghostwritten content is considered legally allowed for the same reason as having any other service delegated to an expert. Lawyers agree that when proper disclosures are made, hiring a ghostwriter is in many ways similar to hiring any other service.

Who is the most famous ghost writer? ›

The 10 Most Famous Ghostwriters in History.
  1. 1 – Alan Dean Foster. ...
  2. 2 – Peter Lerangis. ...
  3. 3 – H.P. Lovecraft. ...
  4. 4 – Raymond Benson. ...
  5. 5 – Andrew Neiderman. ...
  6. 6 – Ryan Nerz/Daniel Ehrenhaft. ...
  7. 7 – Mark Twain. ...
  8. 8 – Aleister Crowley.
Feb 3, 2022

How many hours does it take a ghost writer to write a book? ›

If you can afford a ghostwriter, that means your time is very valuable. It takes a normal author 1,000 to 2,000 hours to write a nonfiction book by himself or herself. Ghostwriters can reduce that time drastically, taking your time commitment down to 10 hours (or even less).

Do ghost writers write the whole book? ›

Ghostwriters Are Responsible For All Of the Written Content

Although most ghostwriters will outsource an editor for the final draft, they create the written work in its entirety, from outline to last revision.

How can you tell if a book is a ghostwriter? ›

The most obvious sign is when there are two authors named on the cover or title page. As in: by Very Famous Person with Joe Bloggs. More likely than not, Joe is our ghost. However, if Very Famous Person is alone on the cover, take a look at the acknowledgements inside.

Do ghost writers get royalties? ›

In most cases, ghostwriters do not receive royalties for the books that they are hired to write. Similar to copyright, this will all be set out and agreed upon in a good contract, before any writing begins.

Is it ethical to hire a ghostwriter? ›

As long as you're upfront about the arrangement with your ghostwriter and you aren't using hostwritten content to mislead people, there's nothing wrong with it. There's no reason why ghostwriting can't be an ethical way to get your ideas in good shape for a wider audience.

Who is the highest paid ghost writer? ›

J.R. Moehringer, 57, is the highest paid ghostwriter in the business. A Pulitzer prize winner, he began his journalism career at the New York Times and later wrote for the Los Angeles Times.

Do you need a degree to be a ghostwriter? ›

Though a bachelor's degree isn't required to find work in the field, the knowledge and skills developed through postsecondary education can help prepare an aspiring ghostwriter to thrive. The second step in how to become a ghostwriter is to gain work experience.

Can a ghostwriter steal your book? ›

Mostly likely no one will steal your story (it's your life, after all), but sometimes it's nice to know that the ghostwriter isn't going to blab about your story to everyone they meet. There are many writing “companies” that have a large staff of full-time or freelance writers.

What is an example of ghost writing? ›

Ghostwriting, in the content marketing world, is when a brand hires a writer to write their content for them, but the brand puts their name on it instead of the ghostwriter's name. For example, what you're reading right now could say By Susie Smith, but it wasn't actually written by Susie Smith.

What education do you need to be a ghost writer? ›

While an English degree is not required to work as a ghostwriter, the skills writers learn through dedicated coursework and reading can help build a strong foundation. Exposure to many types of literature and media is important because it allows writers to understand different literary voices and tones.

Does Taylor Swift use ghost writers? ›

She has ghost writers and pays them for full ownership of publishing/writing credit. This is well known in LA and Nashville and she's not the only one. next best thing? Her songwriting process is funny.

Did Michael Jackson use ghost writers? ›

Yes, he did. And their entire arrangements as well. Michael Jackson couldn't read nor write music. He could play several instruments a bit like keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, drums and percussion, but not proficiently.

Does Stephen King use a ghostwriter? ›

Stephen King has written all the books he published. He has co-written novels (with Peter Straub, for instance) but both authors were credited on the cover and shared the royalties, so that's not ghostwriting either.

What is the fee for ghostwriting a book? ›

Pricing per project depends on the ghostwriter's experience level and the genre of your book. Based on 2021 data from Reedsy, ghostwriters charge upwards of 30 cents a word to write memoirs, while rates for fiction can range can start as low as 24 cents a word.

What are the consequences of ghost writing? ›

This is fraud and serious academic misconduct. Academic misconduct can result in discipline or legal consequences for both the client and the ghost writer. For both parties involved, ghost writing is academic misconduct as well.

Are ghostwriters worth it? ›

Ghostwriters are great for many reasons. They can help you save time if you are a busy CEO or entrepreneur, and they greatly reduce the amount of time you personally need to dedicate to the book-writing process. They also have a skill set that many people don't have, which saves you a lot of stress.

What rights does a ghost writer have? ›

Under Section 101, only the author or those deriving rights from the author can rightfully claim copyrights to a particular work. So if an article – such as a ghostwritten article – is not written by you, then the ghostwriter may own the rights to the article.

What kind of books do ghost writers write? ›

In some cases, publishers use ghostwriters to increase the number of books that can be published each year by a well-known, highly marketable author. Ghostwriters mostly pen fictional works for well-known "name" authors in genres such as detective fiction, mysteries, and teen fiction.

Why should I hire a ghostwriter? ›

Ghostwriting is an excellent way to get your message out there without having to do all the hard work yourself. Hiring a ghostwriter can help you save time and energy and ensure your message is communicated effectively.

Who hires ghost writers? ›

Speechwriters, after all, are commonly employed in writing words that get attributed to another individual — in speechwriting lexicon, the person often referred to as the principle. Politicians and diplomats are some of the most frequent users of speechwriting services.

Can you sue a ghostwriter? ›

While it's unlikely the people featured in the book would sue you, they could. Anybody can sue anybody for anything.

Do popular authors use ghost writers? ›

Some famous authors do use ghostwriters, yet many don't. Still, this typically isn't public knowledge unless the author shares it. Often, ghostwriters are legally required not to take credit for publications, and well-known authors are unwilling to admit they hire ghostwriters for help.

What are 5 negatives about hiring a ghostwriter? ›

8 Reasons Not to Hire a Ghostwriter
  • Hiring a ghostwriter is like hiring a hitman. ...
  • Hiring a ghostwriter may be a waste of time and money. ...
  • A ghostwriter may not capture your voice. ...
  • Start With Your Personal Purpose. ...
  • You will need to closely manage a ghostwriter.

When should I hire a ghostwriter? ›

The main reason I'd consider engaging a ghost writer is if you're in the position where you've been wanting to write a book for years and just aren't getting it done. If you've realized that it's just not going to happen if you're on your own, then a ghost writer can turn your idea into a publishable draft.

Do writers get sued? ›

It's rare for a novelist to be sued, but some kinds of books are particularly tricky, especially memoir and other kinds of non-fiction. This post examines how to avoid libel as an author. As writers, we speak truth to power and publishing defamatory material is sometimes necessary.

Did Jay Z have ghost writers? ›

Well for those of you who believe only a true artist writes his lyrics, you might be surprised to hear that Jay Z, who's arguably the best rapper of all-time, has used a ghostwriter in the past .

Why was Ghost Writer cancelled? ›

In 1997, CBS aired a new version of the series, The New Ghostwriter Mysteries, as part of their educational Think CBS Kids block, but it was canceled after one season due to low ratings.

Is Kanye West a ghost writer? ›

It's a bit of an open secret that Kanye has employed the writing services of artists like Drake, Pusha T, CyHi, Kid Cudi, Consequence, Pardison Fontaine and more.

Are ghost writers in demand? ›

In 2022, ghost writers have become a critical part of the publishing industry. From blog posts to white papers to self-help books – the percentage of non-fiction that is ghostwritten has been widely estimated at more than fifty percent and rising each year.

How much do beginner ghostwriters make? ›

It's easy to make money as a ghostwriter. If you're self-employed, you can start around $10,000 per project and build all the way up to $50,000 or more. If you decide to work through a firm, you will make less but you'll be given clients.

How common are ghostwriters? ›

People are often amazed when I tell them that more than 50% of the non fiction books on the bestseller lists have been written with the help of a ghostwriter service. I've actually been quoted various figures from 50% to as much as 90%.

What is illegal to write in a book? ›

There are all sorts of things you can't publish: libel, child pornography, copyright infringement, inciting to commit a crime. But yes, you can write about anything. There are books in which the people do crimes.

Why are they called ghost writers? ›

Ghostwriters are writers for hire who are paid but receive none of the credit for the work produced. There are generally two parties involved in this professional relationship: The “author,” who hires the freelance writer to produce content for an agreed upon fee, takes the credit for all the original work produced.

How do ghost writers get clients? ›

Seven Secrets To Getting Great Ghostwriting Gigs
  1. Make connections. ...
  2. Use your expertise to conquer a niche. ...
  3. Use current clients, editors and referrals. ...
  4. Use Guru.com, elance.com, craigslist and other online sources. ...
  5. Locate and market to busy corporate executives and CEOs. ...
  6. Take advantage of online marketing.

What skills do you need to be a ghost writer? ›

How to become a ghostwriter
  • Read frequently. Most writers read regularly. ...
  • Build freelance writing experience. ...
  • Write a variety of content. ...
  • Develop the ability to write in a variety of voices. ...
  • Improve your marketing skills. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Ability to organize.
Dec 23, 2022

What does a ghost writer need to know? ›

If hiring a ghostwriter is in your future, here are some of the things your new ghost needs to know about you and your book.
  • What Is Your Book's Message? ...
  • Why Are You Writing a Book? ...
  • What Is Your Unique Position? ...
  • Who Is Your Audience? ...
  • What Is Your Book's Voice? ...
  • Do You Want to Be Challenged? ...
  • What Is Your Schedule?
Jul 2, 2020

Do ghost writers make a lot of money? ›

On average, a ghostwriter can make between $10,000 – $50,000+ for a nonfiction book or memoir. For blog posts or articles, ghostwriters can easily earn between $150 – $500+. Rates vary based on word count, the writer's ability, the client's goals, and budget.

Is it worth it to hire a ghost writer? ›

A ghost writer can usually finish a book faster than you could on your own. Experienced ghost writers develop systems and structures to streamline the writing process. This means that when you think of your book idea, the hard work has already been done for you.

Do most authors use ghost writers? ›

Some famous authors do use ghostwriters, yet many don't. Still, this typically isn't public knowledge unless the author shares it. Often, ghostwriters are legally required not to take credit for publications, and well-known authors are unwilling to admit they hire ghostwriters for help.

What is another name for a ghostwriter? ›

  • scribbler.
  • cowriter.
  • biographer.
  • writer.
  • coauthor.
  • hagiographer.
  • wordsmith.
  • hack.

What questions do ghostwriters ask? ›

These are the questions every ghostwriter should ask their prospective client before they begin work and sign a contract:
  • Why are you interested in writing your book? ...
  • How much time do you have to devote to writing a book? ...
  • Do you have a central message? ...
  • Is your book going to be part of a larger marketing plan?
Jun 21, 2019


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