Andrew Crofts once said, “Of all the advantages that ghostwriting offers, one of the greatest must be the opportunity that you get to meet people of interest.”
Among the several types of writers and kinds of writing, how often does one hear about a ‘ghostwriter’? A ghostwriter is one who writes any kind of material for someone else but does not receive any credit for it. Of course, he or she does get paid for it. Ghostwriting or writing assistance is actually a very common practice but true to its name it is hardly known to many.
A ghostwriter can be involved in writing for screenplays, books, manuscripts, speeches, articles, blog posts, stories and other texts. Their level of involvement in projects varies from one to the next. They can be hired for a number of purposes such as to complete a partially completed work, to edit and format a completed work, to write something from scratch based on an author’s outline, to help authors write and publish more number of books etc. Most often, ghostwriters have to do a great deal of research, so that their work reflects a first person account on the topic. In rare cases, ghostwriters have been acknowledged as research assistants in projects. Although many might think that ghostwriting is limited to the writing field, this is not the case. Ghostwriters are hired in creative fields, businesses and academia too.
But why does one need a ghostwriter? If someone wants to get their work published under their name, why not just write it themselves? Here are few reasons to this question.
- Not everyone is a great writer/storyteller.
- The ghost you hire may know and understand your target population better than you do.
- You may have all the information and material required to produce a great book but you may not have the time to write.
- You want your work to look professional. It may be your first book or a research paper but the last thing you want is for it to look like the work of an amateur writer.
However, the important question is why would someone with great writing skills want to be a ghostwriter? There have to be advantages to ghostwriting. Here are some:
- Opening the door to all kinds of writing
A ghostwriter is not limited to pursue one kind of writing or for that matter to one field. He or she is free to experiment with numerous projects and they can choose their preferred type of writing.
- Many more clients
Finding projects that let you take credit is quite rare. People are more open to hiring ghostwriters who can do the backend job for them. Also, referrals are the best way to get around. If you are good, you will definitely be referred to other clients.
- A shining portfolio
You may not get to show off all your work due to contractual constraints but there will be some instances when you can call your work your own and these will surely make a great addition to your portfolio.
- Jack of all traders and master of few
An opportunity to work on different projects, with different demands and practice different tones of writing is sure to give you a great deal of experience. You may as well be well-versed at more than one type of writing with a few being your specialties. This gives you an edge over the competition when it comes to exposure and experience.
- Not a fan of fame?
For those who can see their work being published under another’s name and not feel a big stir in the ego, ghostwriting is definitely for you. This business is definitely not big on fame but that leads to the best part (point 6).
- It pays more
Not getting credits or not being recognized obviously comes at a cost – to the client. Ghostwriters must not only produce an original work but also maintain utmost confidentiality and, for that, they often get paid way more than their counterparts who are credited with work.
Despite its unique benefits there is a flipside. Let’s take a look at the other side of the coin – disadvantages of ghostwriting.
Since you are writing someone else’s book, they obviously require timely outputs. Therefore, you have to stick to timelines and deadlines and deliver the best results.
Your coordination may not just be with the author but may extend to the illustrator, editor, designer or any other contributor working on the project. This can lead to a lot of back and forth and it can become a tiring process.
- Information overload
Ghostwriting is equal to research. You will have to research and gather information from the author and multiple other sources to keep the pages turning. A good researcher and a good interviewer automatically have a flair for ghostwriting. This is because their skills at listening, gathering and recording information are usually great.
- Lack of credit
No matter how good your work is and even if you write a book that becomes a bestseller, you won’t receive credits for it.