What Is a Ghostwriter?

Eighteen percent of Americans think, one study from the Pew Research Center suggested, that they’ve seen a ghost at some point in their life. Belief in these deceased souls is curiously universal, existing all across the globe as well as in all cultures and time periods. In modern times, however, far from all ghosts are supernatural. When it comes to ghostwritten content, chances are that almost 100 percent of Americans have encountered it. Due to the sensitive nature of this type of work, reliable statistics are — of course — hard to come by. 

What are ghostwriters? Would you want to hire one, or might you be interested in becoming a “ghost”?

What Are Ghostwriters?

Ghostwriters, are, simply said, professionals who research and write an enormously diverse variety of texts on behalf of their clients. While they are paid for the work they do, and often very handsomely, ghostwriters do are not credited for it. The finished text is published in someone else’s name. Most often, but not always, this will be the hiring party. 

Ghostwriters can be divided into three broad categories. They can more or less be described as:

  • Editorial or narrative ghostwriters. These types of ghostwriters work with clients who know precisely what they want to say, but lack the writing skills to convey in the way they want to. In these cases, the ghostwriter and the client under whose name the work will be published collaborate closely and often intensively. The end result will combine the stated author’s ideas with the ghostwriter’s words, and both parties work hard in the process.
  • Ghostwriters who work within a loose framework. The client will provide a general outline of their expectations and may offer feedback or offer suggestions, but the ghostwriter does most of the work. 
  • Rough and ready ghostwriters. The client will specify the topic and may offer some instructions, but the ghostwriter researches and pens the entire text, with little to no input from the person whose name the work is going to be published in. 

All sorts of texts can be ghostwritten. Famous people who are interested in publishing trade books or personal memoirs, and whose experience and professional skills exceed their writing talent, are especially likely to hire the first type of ghostwriter. Blog posts, ebooks, white papers, and even academic papers may also be written by ghostwriters, however. One study found, for instance, that somewhere between four and eight percent of letters and studies published in reputable medical journals are, in fact, ghostwritten.

Why Might You Hire a Ghostwriter?

Hiring a ghostwriter can be an excellent solution for you if you have an important message to convey — be it in an article or a book — but you are not sure you are able to find the right words. Outsourcing some of your writing to a “ghost” can also be a good choice if you simply don’t have the time to say everything you need to. Whether you quickly need to convey your stance on a certain topic on your website, or you want to reveal all in a telling memoir, a ghost can lighten your load and ensure that your message is conveyed professionally and beautifully.

Why Might You Become a Ghostwriter?

Depending on the type of ghostwriting you engage in, this can be an extremely lucrative career that allows you to research a broad variety of fascinating topics and enables you to meet interesting people from all walks of life. Helping others tell their stories can be very rewarding, and those who pursue careers as ghostwriters are unlikely to ever get bored.

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