What is Ghostwriting?

Ghostwriting is all around you, even if you don’t realise it.

That chart-topping hit you just heard on commercial radio – most likely written by a ghostwriter for the superstar who is singing it.

The latest speech given by the Prime Minister – most likely written by the professional media and communications officer who writes 90% of their speeches.

What about the autobiography of your favourite sports star who has just retired? Same deal. It might be their words, but I’ll bet you my bottom dollar they didn’t slug away on the computer in between training gigs to get that bad boy published. They hired a ghostwriter.

With the vast amounts of copy being produced by businesses around the world on their blog pages, you can bet that a large percentage of those posts are written by freelance writers, who in this case could be classified as ghostwriters as they are taking a fee for their work, but have none of the credit, no matter how amazing it is.

How did you not know this before?

Because of the secret code that binds all ghostwriters. When someone engages the services of a professional ghostwriter, it is their job to work behind the scenes to make the project come to life without giving any hints to the outside world.

In the world of a ghostwriter, the ownership of the completed work is transferred to the person who commissions the work, ie the celebrity, political figure or entrepreneur.

Occasionally they might get a mention as a “research assistant” or “contributor” or perhaps given a little nod in the acknowledgement pages of a book, but for the most part, the job of a ghostwriter is to be as invisible as a ghost – really, there’s no play on words working here at all.

The role of a ghostwriter can vary greatly, from tweaking and adding onto a partially completed manuscript to starting with a blank canvas and breathing life into a book manuscript through interviews and accompanying research, depending on the genre of the book.

This is by no means a new industry, with Mozart an example of a well-known identity being paid to ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons.

But far from being something that only those in celebrity circles or those with large bank accounts can afford, ghostwriting is becoming more commonplace for those who have a wealth of knowledge, but no time to get it down on paper. Or for those who have an incredible personal story that will change lives of the people who read it, but they have uncertainty around how to structure or create flow within the book.

So why is ghosting an appealing career? For me, it’s about giving these people the opportunity to share their message who might otherwise find the barriers to writing their own book too high to navigate.

I feel that those with a talent for words should lend their expertise and help people with the hardest part of creating the book of their dreams – actually writing it.

When you find a talented ghostwriter, you will not know the book was not created by the person who is listed as the author on the cover. They will have nailed the tone of the voice, consistently employed turns of phrase the author likes to use in their everyday speech and created an engaging book that either educates or inspires. If you have hit the jackpot – the book will do both.

The best part of hiring a ghostwriter is that it frees you up to do what you do best. If writing is not your strong suit, you can continue to focus on building or diversifying your business, or networking to strengthen your connections to get onto the speaking circuit once your book is published.

It truly is an untapped service that has benefits for so many people.