The 9 Deadly Sins Of Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting is a great way to earn money and get your name out there. It also gives you the chance to write about things that you wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to write about (e.g., sports, fashion, or politics). 

Ghostwriting can be great fun but it’s not all plain sailing! There are a few things you need to know before starting such as how much money can be made from ghostwriting and what clients expect from their ghostwriters.

If you follow these tips then I guarantee your ghostwriting experience will be a positive one –

7 Deadly Sins of Writing
1. Identify and avoid common pitfalls in ghostwriting.
2. Learn how to maintain ethical standards while ghostwriting.
3. Understand the importance of maintaining client confidentiality.
4. Improve communication with clients to deliver their vision effectively.
5. Develop strategies to meet deadlines and deliver quality content.
6. Avoid plagiarism and ensure originality in ghostwritten work.
7. Emphasize accuracy and research to provide reliable content.
8. Cultivate a deep understanding of the client’s voice and tone.
9. Master the art of ghostwriting to create compelling and engaging content.

1. Not Writing In A ‘conversational Style’

There is no doubt that you have heard this advice before, but I will repeat it: keep your writing conversational. It is easy to fall into the trap of using the same language and tone that you would use with your friend or coworker, but it doesn’t translate well into formal writing. 

The goal of all ghostwriting projects should be to make the subject sound as natural and relatable as possible, even when discussing sensitive topics like cancer or addiction recovery. This means avoiding long sentences and complicated vocabulary whenever possible.*

Ghostwriting is an essential craft that fills the world with captivating stories. Discover 9 reasons why ghostwriters are awesome and how their talents shape the literary landscape.

2. Writing Over Your Audience’s Head

No matter what you write, it should always be written for an audience. Ghostwriting is no different. 

If you are writing a book, the audience is the reader that picks up your book in the bookstore or on Amazon and decides whether or not to buy it based on its cover and title, not to mention reviews and word of mouth from friends who have already read it. 

But no matter what type of content you produce as a ghostwriter (or even if you aren’t writing but just editing).

Think about your client’s target market when deciding how much information they need to know and how difficult that information can be presented before becoming boring or confusing for their intended readership

3. Being Too Wordy

Do you know what’s wordy? “I was at the store, and I saw a person.” Do you know what’s not wordy? “I saw someone at the store.” See where I’m going with this?

In general, you should try to use as few words as possible. This is one of the reasons why many ghostwriters will rely on bullet points and numbered lists rather than paragraphs when writing an article or book. 

It’s also why we tend to rely on short sentences (like “I see someone”) instead of long ones (“I could tell by their clothing that they had been shopping at Target”). 

It’s also why we tend to simply say things like “the car” rather than telling you all about how it rhymes with “warped” or whatever else it might rhyme with.

Whatever you do and however many times your editor tells you this doesn’t start adding unnecessary adjectives or adverbs just because they sound good in your head!

4. Not Having A Clear Structure

A clear structure is one of the most important parts of writing. It helps your readers and editor quickly understand what you’re saying, it gives them a sense of how long the book will be, and it makes it easier for them to navigate.

A clear structure also makes life easier for you as a ghostwriter. You can build chapter summaries that are easy to write and edit; plan out your research schedule more effectively; sketch out a table of contents early on in the process; 

Keep track of where things stand at each stage in production; create an index or glossary; 

Identify potential stories or angles that might make good bonus content once the book comes out (and can potentially help generate more revenue). All that adds up to less work later on down the line which is good news for everyone involved!

Curious about the world of ghostwriting? Unravel the mysteries of this profession and its impact on writers and readers in our article on why the world needs more ghostwriters.

5. Not Having Clear Ideas

Ghostwriters have a lot of freedom to write whatever they want, but only if they ghostwriter has a clear idea of what they want to say. 

If you don’t know how you want to structure your story or how you want it to end, then no amount of research will make the words flow out of your fingers onto the page.

Starting Too Soon

If you start writing before you have an outline, chances are good that whatever comes out will be a jumbled mess with no real coherence or direction. Start by outlining everything first and then go back through it once more before putting pen to paper (or fingers on the keyboard).

6. Not Using Basic Proofreading Mistakes

Use a spell checker, please.

Read the text out loud. Anytime you have to go back and re-read a sentence, something’s wrong. You may be using too many words or it could just be that you’re not saying what your intent was clear enough.

Look for any mistakes that might’ve been made in grammar or punctuation. They can happen even if you don’t think they are common mistakes (like “your” instead of “you’re”, etc.) so make sure to look through every part of your document carefully!

Make sure everything is spelled correctly even small words like “they’re”, “there”, and other homophones like those will cause problems if they aren’t spelled correctly! If possible, get someone else to proofread as well; another set of eyes is always helpful!

Even experienced ghostwriters can fall into common traps. Learn about 5 common ghostwriting mistakes to avoid and hone your craft for seamless storytelling.

7. Not Using Correct Grammar, Spelling, And Punctuation

To Avoid Making Grammar, Spelling, And Punctuation Mistakes

Use a spell checker. This will catch most of the mistakes you make, but not all of them. 

For example, if you type “we” instead of “were” in a sentence, your spell checker may still let it through as correct because both words are spelled correctly. However, this is not the right usage!

Understand what grammar is and what it isn’t. Grammar refers to those rules that help us arrange words into sentences that make sense to people who speak English (or whatever language we’re using). 

If I were going to describe how my son was doing in school today (in French), it would be beneficial for me to know things like which nouns go with which articles or whether “sept” means seven or September (it’s both). 

These are examples of how learning about the rules of grammar helps us express ourselves clearly in speech or writing! Spelling focuses on individual words and there are thousands and thousands of them! 

Finding an alternate spelling for something like “there,” “their,” “they’re” or even “your” can be confusing sometimes but they’re just not part of what makes up good writing skills; however, unless one has perfect knowledge about every single word out there (which no one does).

Then we need something else besides just knowing how things should sound when written down; otherwise someone could write down perfectly fine sentences such as “I went there yesterday.” 

But if spoken aloud would mean something completely different than what they intended when first written down.”

Looking to embrace the art of ghostwriting and excel in your career? Delve into our guide on how to ghostwrite and become a millionaire by 30, where success is just a pen stroke away.

8. Double And Triple Checking Your Work

We don’t want to discourage you from using tools like spellcheckers or grammar checkers, but they’re not infallible. Just because there’s a red squiggly line under something doesn’t mean it’s wrong. 

You need to read through your draft carefully, looking for any errors or inconsistencies in what you’ve written. This can be difficult if you haven’t had much experience with copyediting or proofreading (or if English isn’t your first language). 

That’s why we recommend having another person double-check your work before sending it off to the client even if this person isn’t an expert in editing or proofreading themselves!

You may also want to take advantage of online resources that allow authors and editors who have worked with each other before to share their opinions about each other’s writing style by leaving comments on specific sections of text as well as overall feedback on completed projects.”

9. Writing Something That Is Not Of Interest To Your Reader Or Client

You must write something your reader or client wants to read. If this is not the case, change what you are writing.

If you’re unsure of what your reader wants, ask them! If you can’t get in touch with them, look at other ghostwriting portfolios and see what they’re doing.

Ghostwriting for bloggers opens new doors of creativity, but beware of pitfalls. Explore our insightful piece on what to watch out for when ghostwriting for bloggers to navigate this rewarding yet challenging endeavor.


Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of the 17 deadly sins of ghostwriting. As we’ve seen, there is no one right way to do it, but there are some wrong ways to go about it. 

If you want to be successful as a writer or editor, however, it’s important to know these things so that you can avoid making mistakes while working on any project.

Further Reading

Title: Ghostwriting in Jacobean and Caroline England: 1603–1642 Short Description: This scholarly article on JSTOR explores the historical practice of ghostwriting during the Jacobean and Caroline eras in England.

Title: Editorial Services for Ghostwriting Short Description: Inspiration for Writers offers professional editorial services catered specifically for ghostwriting projects, ensuring polished and engaging content.

Title: Elise Loehnen on Our Best Behavior Short Description: Vanity Fair’s interview with Elise Loehnen provides insights into the world of ghostwriting and its influence on contemporary writing.


What is ghostwriting?

Ghostwriting is the practice of writing content, such as books, articles, or speeches, on behalf of someone else who is credited as the author. The ghostwriter remains anonymous or receives no public credit for their work.

How does ghostwriting benefit authors?

Ghostwriting allows authors to delegate the writing process, saving time and effort while ensuring a high-quality, professionally written product.

Are ghostwriters bound by confidentiality agreements?

Yes, ghostwriters often sign confidentiality agreements that prevent them from disclosing their role as the writer of a particular piece of content.

How common is ghostwriting in the publishing industry?

Ghostwriting is quite common, especially in the publishing industry, where it is used to produce books for busy or high-profile individuals who may not have the time or writing expertise.

Is ghostwriting legal?

Yes, ghostwriting is legal, as long as both parties agree to the arrangement and there are no issues with plagiarism or intellectual property rights.