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Debunking Ghostwriting

A question I often hear: Don’t you think that ghostwriting is dishonest? After all someone else takes credit for your writing.

My answer: The publishing world has always printed books, articles, and essays written by someone other than the person named in the byline. Ghostwriters, like myself, supply a service to someone who is either too busy to write a book but has a message or someone who has a valuable message or story that needs to be told and they don’t know how to write.

Ghostwriters don’t mind staying in the background. We collect a fee for our services and when finished move on to the next project. Yes, sometimes you’re recognized on the cover after the authors name “with . . .”  It depends on your client and your contract. For most of us, we like moving on to the next project.

I’ll warn you – if you think it’s more important to have your name on the cover than to write a book that people read, then you’re probably not the right fit for ghostwriting. Your job as a ghostwriter is collaboration, direction, and expertise. You must get to know your client and his or her message through an ongoing conversation over weeks or months. You learn how to write in their voice and express their views, not your own. It can be challenging, but I’ve found great satisfaction in writing books for others. When you give them the manuscript and they ask “how did you get into my thoughts and express them so well,” then you know you’ve succeeded in meeting their expectations.



Lessons Learned from Ghostwriting

I’m sure there are many lessons that people learn when ghostwriting a book. These are a few of the things that I’ve learned in my own experiences.

Active listening during an entire interview or conversation. You can take notes while you talk or record the conversation if the client knows you’re using a recorder, but if you don’t have a recorder or don’t use it for phone calls you could miss some important details.

Most people love to talk about themselves and what they are interested in. A few questions may be all they need to give you the information you need.

If you are not clear on something, then repeat what you think they said and ask if that is right. You can also ask them to clear up some confusion over a topic or fact.

Ghostwriting can help you find your own voice by learning to write with someone else’s voice.

These are just a few. If you do some ghostwriting and have other things you’ve learned from the experience I’d love for you to leave a comment. Have a great day!