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The Hidden Talent: Understanding the Role of a Ghostwriter

By Muazma Batool — Published on March 27, 2023
Ghostwriters play a crucial role in the publishing industry, as they help people who have a story or message to share but may not have the writing skills or time to produce a book, article, or speech.

Is it a mystery to you how James Patterson manages to publish so many books per year? For example, Carolyn Keene kept penning Nancy Drew novels 90 years after the first one came out. Perhaps you’ve seen a CEO with a stack of productivity books and wondered how on earth they found the time to write them.

You have company. Thousands of books have false authorship, which may come as a shock to you. Someone else, a “ghostwriter,” helped with that person’s writing.

Look no further; this is the final word on ghostwriters. The book will impart all you need to know about ghostwriting, including the steps to take to become one and the best-known works of fiction written by a ghostwriter.

What Is Ghostwriting?

When someone else is to be given credit as the author, they often engage a ghostwriter to do so. Ghostwriters typically sign a nondisclosure agreement or similar arrangement with the author, who receives praise for their work.

A ghostwriter is an author who writes anything without receiving any credit for doing so. However, suppose the credited author must explain the ghostwriter’s involvement. In that case, they may do so by listing them as contributors (usually toward the book’s conclusion) in the capacities of researcher, research assistant, or co-writer.

The following are all examples of what may be written by ghostwriters and then published:

  • Journalism
  • Articles in periodicals
  • Autobiographies
  • Creative writing
  • Speeches
  • Songs
  • Screenplays
  • Blogs are online diaries.
  • Memoirs
  • Novels
  • Comics are an excellent example of this.
  • Scholarly and medical publications

Ghostwriters: Why Do Authors Utilize Them?

Ghostwriters are helpful since they make the author’s life easier and speed up the writing process. Famous persons, business executives, consultants, news witnesses, and political leaders frequently use their services. Many situations call for the assistance of a ghostwriter.

The most typical explanations are that they lack confidence in their writing abilities and the time to devote to the task.

Officials often employ the services of ghostwriters so that they may save time and come out as more articulate. They use ghostwriters for official writing, including letters, biographies, speeches, and even policy. Famous people sometimes enlist a ghostwriter to assist them in writing their autobiographies or memoirs. Publications of this sort might provide them with more exposure and money.

When they no longer have the time, energy, or desire to write, well-known authors occasionally turn to ghostwriters to keep their careers moving forward. Some publishers use a single pen name for their publications in a particular genre, such as romance, young adult, or action. Thrillers such as the Tom Clancy action novels, the Jason Bourne books, the Goosebumps books, and the Nancy Drew books are all examples of ghostwritten works.

Is Using A Ghostwriter Usual Practice?

Ghostwriters are likely more frequent than you imagine. Due to legal requirements, it is difficult to determine how much-ghostwritten writing is.

Books written by ghostwriters have been published since at least the fourteenth century, and hundreds of them exist. It’s not unheard of, but you seldom witness the process unfold. Most acknowledged authors would rather keep the identity of their ghostwriters a secret, and the law requires that they do so in some cases.

Working as a Ghostwriter

Many ghostwriters are adept at “blending in” with the author’s established voice. They are skilled mimics who can seamlessly include the thoughts, tone, and vocabulary of the person for whom they are writing. Ghostwriting may be a profitable profession for people adept at hiding their identities.

Becoming a proficient ghostwriter requires the same dedication and hard work as any other profession. After some experience, you may demand a fair wage for your efforts. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to spend a lot of time thinking up new interview questions and story ideas.

Get Hired as a Ghostwriter: What You Need to Know

To become a ghostwriter, one might follow a variety of different tracks. Of course, you can’t expect to get employed unless you know how to execute the writing you’re advertising. A collection of your written work, such as rough versions of novels or blog entries, is essential when seeking publication.

You can use a freelance job board to get employment, find an agency or publication to work for or go into business for yourself.

How Much Do Ghostwriters Typically Earn?

As a ghostwriter, you may choose from several income streams. The ghostwriter’s fee is based on several factors, including the text’s length, the client’s fame, the work’s origin, and the ghostwriter’s level of expertise. You can accept a portion of royalties, an advance, a flat price, an hourly rate, a rate per word, or a rate per page.

When contacted directly by a publishing house, ghostwriters can expect to earn $40-$70 per word for a book with a word count of 30k. On the other hand, Freelancing might get you $15,000 for a shorter book. The going rate for a romantic novella is $65 at some publications. On the other hand, a professional ghostwriter may make between $200,000 and $500,000 for every book they pen, especially if their client is a well-known public personality.

Copywriting vs. Ghostwriting

Some may get the titles of copywriter and ghostwriter mixed up, which is understandable from a high level. Copywriters and ghostwriters are rarely given proper credit for their efforts.

Ghostwriting and copywriting are two forms of writing, although they vary in tone and scope. Marketing materials, including the text on product packaging, instructions, and other corporate or organizational documents, are everyday tasks for copywriters. Fictional or nonfictional, ghostwriters often create narrative works.

5 Samples of Ghostwriting

1. The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo (1846) was a ghostwritten novel by Alexandre Dumas. Author and historian Auguste Maquet are credited with penning at least half of the book. They connected through Maquet’s literary circle. Dumas collaborated with others to produce his massive body of work (over 100,000 pages). Maquet was a part of Dumas’s team from 1838 to 1951.

2. The Nancy Drew series

Carolyn Keene has traditionally been credited as the creator of the popular mystery series, which first appeared in 1930. Ghostwriters abound for this series. “Book packaging” is a term used in the publishing industry. A group of authors is hired to publish a book series under a joint pseudonym. To ensure that authors like Alice Leonhardt (the series’ ghostwriter) stick to the established canon, the publisher shows a canonical source detailing the series’ characters, voice, and environment.

3. James Patterson

How does one person manage to write almost 200 books in 26 years? Ghostwriters. Patterson has been acclaimed internationally as a writer in several genres, including action, romance, and young adult. He began working with other authors in 2001. It is not a secret that there is a considerable discussion regarding whether or not this constitutes ghostwriting or co-authorship.

4. The Pursuit of Happyness

Chris Gardner collaborated with author Quincy Troupe on his autobiography, released in 2006. Besides teaching literature at UC San Diego, Troupe is well recognized as the state’s first poet laureate.

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Ken Shelton, a ghostwriter, is responsible for one of the best-selling books in the business and self-help genres. The book, ascribed to Stephen Covey and published in 1989, delves into his systematic approach to incorporating values like honesty, respect, and responsibility into everyday life. Shelton writes leadership books and gives talks at events as a solo author.

Content Creators

Written by
Muazma Batool
As a copywriter, Muazma weaves words into a tapestry of compelling stories that capture hearts and minds. With a keen eye for detail and a mastery of language, she crafts messages that move people to action and create lasting impact.

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