A search on the internet for ghostwriters doesn’t always yield the most flattering results. Because while many people recognise the worth in hiring a ghost to write what they aren’t able to, owing to time constraints or lack of expertise, others demonstrate suspicion. Some allude to a client’s ‘cheating’ in hiring somebody else to write on their behalf, some doubt ghosts’ skill set, in being able to echo their client’s voice or call themselves any kind of writer at all, while others question whether ghostwriters complete the work themselves, electing instead to outsource work to less well-established writers on a poorer rate of pay. Other concerns include a ghostwriter acting in their own best interests, rather than their client’s, and the cost of hiring one in the first place.
One of the most fundamental rules of being a ghostwriter is knowing that your client’s name – not yours – will, for the most part, be on the front of the book you wrote, something some writers don’t consider acceptable. To an extent, that’s understandable, but ghosting should be an occupation without vanity…and, after all, if other people didn’t want us to write on their behalf, we’d have to find other forms of writing from which to forge a career.
So is it cheating, if a book’s ‘author’ claims to have written it themselves, when a ghost was behind it? Well, yes, in a way; but I think readers in general appreciate that the majority of, say, celebrity offerings aren’t written by them, and that a ghostwriter was responsible for the manuscript’s layout, if not the content…which brings me to why people who work with ghosts have a legitimate claim to being responsible for the contents of their book.
For while a ghost shaped the manner in which text was laid down on the page, and the manuscript’s structure, they will have spent numerous hours working with their client, in order to convincingly capture their voice and relay to that client’s audience the message, or story, they wish to tell. Since it is the client’s content the ghost is channelling, how is the client not responsible for the resulting story? Unless gargantuan amounts of research are required, it is the client’s material, albeit worded by the ghost, that is ultimately read.
As for ghostwriters outsourcing work to other writers, it’s not something I’ve personally come across. I’m not suggesting it doesn’t happen, but any ghost worth their weight and, crucially, reputation, wouldn’t consider something as unethical as that. Reputable ghostwriters should always have their clients’ best interests at heart, for a bad reputation can spread like a virus and kill their career. And while good ghostwriters don’t come cheaply, if you’re going to be involved in anything as important as, say, writing your memoir, wouldn’t you want it executed in the best possible manner, so that it will be a book you are proud of and has the best possible chance of achieving success?
The bottom line, when considering working with a ghostwriter, is do your research. Speak to more than one ghost and, if in any doubt as to their credentials, ask to see samples of their work, as well as referrals from previous clients. In short, vet potential ghostwriters and ensure you find the right fit for you and your project.
At United Ghostwriters, we have a variety of highly experienced, skilled and approachable writers ready to help you achieve your goals and climb the authorial ladder. For more information, visit: http://www.unitedghostwriters.co.uk.