Ghostwriting and Why It Is More Normal Than You Think

Ghostwriting and Why It Is More Normal Than You Think
To cut it short.
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There are lots of different jobs in the world, and some of them, as we have already seen in other contexts, appear like something out of the ordinary. They actually sound like they pop out from a sci-fi movie or a fantasy novel. Literature and cinematography give good examples of these kinds of job: a memory-eraser doctor may come to mind (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Michel Gondry) or a blade runner (it goes without saying, from Blade Runner by Ridley Scott) or a ghostbuster (the craziest and funniest job ever, from Ghostbusters by Ivan Reitman).

What is a ghostwriter

Speaking of ghosts…did you know that there’s a job known as ghostwriting? It doesn’t come from a movie or a novel, it does exist in real life and in recent years it’s becoming increasingly popular and there’s more talk about it. A ghostwriter is a writer who writes the piece of work on behalf of another author, but doesn’t take credit for it. They are regularly hired and paid for the work they do, but the result of their work is not published under their name but under the name of the author who has requested the ghostwriting service. Most of the time, the ghostwriter is a freelance writer and gets paid before completing and delivering the work.

A ghostwriter can either complete an entire project solo or work collaboratively with the text’s credited author. In this case they can either share the credit or decide to put the ghostwriter under the “editor” label. But ghostwriting is not just about writing novels: they are often hired to rewrite web pages, blogs, journal articles, or even music lyrics and movie scripts. Pretty much any kind of copy and all sorts of content.

A pair of glasses placed on the cover of a book.

Why ghostwriters like to be ghosts

Not having your name on the piece of work you have written means that you don’t own copyrights on it…the author who pays the ghost does. As a consequence, the author gets to modify the work, republish it or give the copyrights away. And the ghost has to deal with it. Here the question begs to be asked: why should someone write something that will not be credited as their own and over which they will have no rights? There are several reasons why ghostwriters like to be ghosts.

  1. Money of course. Giving up your name on your work, building the image and the collective imagination of another author that people will love and show your talent to the world without anyone knowing the real genius behind it, all this has a cost. This is why ghostwriters are paid better than freelancers.
  2. It’s a steady job. It doesn’t seem like it, but it is. Once you have found a client (and you have done the job right, clearly) rest assured that the author will want to continue to work with you for the rest of their career. This is because they want to keep the same style, consistency and image throughout their following writing works.
  3. You will learn lots of things in this field and fast. It’s almost like you’re in disguise; you’re in the field you like, and you get to know important people and secrets that you can eventually use for your own career.
  4. It’s a way of helping people. Many ghostwriters enjoy writing on behalf of others, because they get the chance to help authors, who alone fail, express themselves, to help them find their own voice to use and with which to present themselves to the world.
  5. Being a ghostwriter doesn’t mean you can’t be a writer. You can still produce your own works and publish them under your name. You work for other authors as a ghost and at the same time you work for yourself, as yourself. It’s like having a double identity, but there’s nothing wrong with it.
A magnifying glass placed on a laptop keyboard.

Why people want to hire ghostwriters

On the other hand, there are the clients, namely the authors who hire ghostwriters. Maybe in this case it’s easier to understand why they do that. One reason for hiring a ghost is that the client is in charge of all other aspects concerning the business they have built, and doesn’t have time to actually write content. Another good reason is that the client simply needs help with the writing process: they are full of stories and ideas about the piece of writing they want to produce, but they are simply not very good at writing and putting thoughts into words.

Ghostwriting has been around forever

Ghostwriting is something that people might be skeptical about, because they might have some ethical concerns related to this practice. At the end of the day, authors who hire ghostwriters take credit for work that they did not do, or that they did just a part of. But if you think about it, there have always been people who worked in disguise doing the job on behalf of another person. The following are very well-known scenarios that people are aware of but they don’t give it too much thought, because they consider it a normal and common practice. The first one is what often happens with the CEO of a company or the president of a country. They are constantly giving speeches during their career, sometimes on a daily basis. And we all know that they don’t write those speeches, there are people who do that for them. Another example is the one concerning celebrities or famous people, like actors, musicians, politicians, tv presenters or athletes who decide to write an autobiography, but of course they lack the ability to do that, because that’s not their job. So they hire people who write the biography on their behalf, still giving their support about the content of course, but also about the style or the tone of voice they want to use.

Why ghostwriting is in increasing demand

Nowadays we all know that we live in a world that goes at breakneck speed, that is always connected and always online, that never stops, where everyone is required to be constantly up-to-date on the facts and where the demand grows more and more, faster and faster. This is what happens in the field of content creation and production. People are always looking for new and fresh content. And as we said before, it’s not just books and novels. All kinds of content require an expert writer: e-books, articles, social media posts, webpages, advertising, e-commerce, blog posts, letters and newsletters, marketing campaigns, scripts.

In this ever-changing environment, ghostwriters fit perfectly. This is why, along with armies of freelancers, there are specialized companies that offer ghostwriting services, ensuring high quality production of content and highly skilled professional writers.

A ghost running towards a screaming ghostbuster, from the Ghostbuster movie.

So, if you want to become a professional ghostwriter you have to face several challenges and be aware of all the compromises and controversies that are part of this profession. But don’t be frightened by negative aspects, you’ve seen the perks too. The latest one is that ghostwriters are enjoying using Storykube for their ghostwriting activities. So…if you want to join other fellow ghostwriters, who you gonna call?