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ghostwriter

Ghost.

That one word can conjure up all sorts of images related to the supernatural and the filmy, translucent beings that some believe haunt homes, buildings, and just about any place imaginable. Hollywood has made millions of dollars creating ghostly movies that make viewers laugh, scream, or simply sit quietly, silenced by sickening fear. Remember the blockbuster success of movies like Ghostbuster’s, Ghost, Ghost Rider, and Poltergeist?

But by adding six letters, the word loses this familiar connotation altogether.

Ghostwriter.

Clients pay ghostwriters – professional writers – to author news stories, textbooks, fiction and non-fiction works, pamphlets, songs, or any other assignment publicly and officially credited to someone else.

Why Hire a Ghostwriter?

People hire ghostwriters for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they have rich life experiences, or imaginative stories, they hope to share with the world. Frequently, scientists and other highly technical professionals need a ghostwriter to compile results and conclusions from research or investigations into a format and style that their target audience can understand and comprehend.

Others want their book or manuscript written in a language other than their native tongue, so hire a ghostwriter who speaks the foreign language fluently. Some people have great ideas, but don’t have the time, or the ability, to incorporate them into a work suitable for public consumption. People hire ghostwriters for countless other valid reasons – you name the reason, someone probably hired a ghostwriter based on it.

Working with a Ghost Writer

Once the ghost turns the book or other text over to the client as the client’s official and original work, the client becomes the author of record. If you decide to hire a ghostwriter for your scholarly article, Internet content, book, or other work, you will spend a fair amount of time communicating with him or her, either in person or by other means. It’s necessary to stay in close contact with each other; your ghost will feed off of this alliance, form a clear sense of your vision, personality, and salient concepts to incorporate in the work.

Once the ghost delivers the final product, you’ll go to any promotional events, such as radio spots or television interviews, not the ghostwriter. No one else will know that you hired a ghostwriter.

Choose Your Ghost Carefully

A person who writes, keeps a blog, or otherwise writes on a nominal basis – whether nominal refers to pay rate or portfolio size, may call him- or herself a writer, but that doesn’t make it so. Thousands of self-described “professional writers” tout themselves as ghostwriters on their digital resumes and personal websites. Ghostwriters must keep the identity of their clients a secret, so verification can prove difficult if you don’t know what to look for.

Follow these basic tips when choosing a ghostwriter:

  • Ask the potential ghost to provide you with references of past clients. He will most likely need to obtain prior permission from the client to divulge the identities of references. Ask each reference about his or her experience with the ghost, whether the ghost completed the project on time, costs and size of the project, and whether the client would recommend the ghost’s services to others.
  • Ask for an excerpt from a book the ghostwriter completed in the past and review it for style, voice, and sound writing skills.
  • Negotiate a total price for the project as well as remedies for disagreements or dissatisfaction with performance or your failure to fulfill your agreed responsibilities.
  • The final contract should include a non-disclosure agreement designed to protect both you and the ghostwriter.
  • Have an attorney, with experience reviewing contracts involving intellectual property and ghostwriting specifically, look over the contract and written project proposal prior to signing.

A Great Way to Finally Get Your Book Done

A ghostwriter can help you realize your dream of completing and publishing that book you started and never could finish, or never had the time to actually start. But take your time when choosing your ghost. It’s taken you this long to finally decide to take steps to finish your book – take some time to find just the right ghost to conjure up the final product.

Image courtesy of doyenmarketing dot com

 

Samantha Gluck

Samantha Gluck

President and CEO at All Media Freelance, LLC
Creative visionary and business owner, Samantha Gluck is a health care journalist who writes feature stories for various print and digital publications all over the United States and across the pond in the UK. Her company, All Media Freelance, LLC, has grown rapidly since its founding in 2011, requiring Gluck and her partner to contract a carefully selected group of professionals to work in the areas of content development and marketing as well as digital branding.
Samantha Gluck
Samantha Gluck
Samantha Gluck

Latest posts by Samantha Gluck (see all)

  • http://twitter.com/NSA_Colorado NSA Colorado Chapter

    This is a great post. As a ghostwriter, I cannot put many of the projects I’ve worked on on my resume. Having previous clients give a recommendation privately is a great way around that problem.

  • Samantha Gluck

    Thanks, NSA! You’re right, we can’t put most of our projects on our public portfolios. while this can be frustrating, sometimes, it’s really great when a client can recommend you to another prospect. This lends much more authority and credibility to the recommendation.

  • Stef Gonzaga

    Great tips you have here Samantha!

    I’m thinking of more ways for a ghostwriter to build her portfolio for clients to see and evaluate. One suggestion is she can publish a few original articles on sites like Hubpages or Helium just to give new clients an idea of what their writing style and voice are like. It takes a bit of time off from actual work, but at least she doesn’t have to worry about stepping on privacy agreements with past clients.

  • Samantha Gluck

    That’s a great idea, Stef. I think also taking smaller jobs (like one offs that don’t pay so much) at first helps build a newbie portfolio as well. Catch up with me via email sometime and let’s chat!