Things You Should Know About Ghostwriting (My Experience)

Ghostwriting is a service that’s been around for decades, but it’s not something that most people are familiar with. In fact, there are still plenty of people who think that ghostwriters are an invention of the 21st century. So what exactly is ghostwriting? 

A ghostwriter is someone who writes books or articles or other texts for other people. 

The term “ghostwriter” comes from Hollywood screenwriting when studios would hire writers to write scripts under pseudonyms so they wouldn’t get sued by authors whose works were being adapted into movies without their permission. 

These days, the concept has expanded beyond screenplays and screenwriters it can apply to any type of book you can imagine! Most people don’t know about this because it’s not something we typically do ourselves; instead, we hire someone else to do it for us. 

But now that you know what ghostwriting really means (and how common it really is), how do you decide whether hiring one yourself makes sense? And how do you find a good one? Let’s take a look at everything there is to know about hiring an invisible author…

What is Ghostwriting? A Quick Guide for Freelance Writers
1. Ghostwriting involves writing on behalf of someone else without receiving authorship credit.
2. Hiring a ghostwriter can be beneficial for individuals and organizations to produce high-quality written materials.
3. Ghostwriters often work across various genres, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and business books.
4. Becoming a successful ghostwriter requires honing writing skills, building a diverse portfolio, and networking with authors and publishers.
5. Ghostwriting agreements should be established to clarify the terms of collaboration and ownership of the written work.

Ghostwriters Are Pretty Much What They Sound Like

A ghostwriter is someone who writes for someone else.

That’s pretty much it. You can probably tell from the name that a ghostwriter isn’t going to get any credit for their work, but there are also other things you should know about them before you start working with one:

A ghostwriter is not the author of a book. They aren’t credited as being the author of a book because they don’t write all of its content themselves they just do some of the writing (and other tasks) on behalf of another person or organization.

A ghostwriter is not responsible for creating an idea or doing research for their project. I’ve worked on projects where there was no initial idea at all, or when someone else had already done most or all of the research and writing needed before we started working together as collaborators on something new (or old).

A ghostwriter doesn’t need to be an expert in whatever subject matter they’re writing about; sometimes experts may even prefer working with non-experts because those people have fresh perspectives and ideas!

Expert ghostwriting tips can take your writing to the next level. Discover how to improve your ghostwriting skills and create captivating content in our comprehensive guide on ghostwriting better than anyone else.

They’re Also Called “Ghost Authors” Or “Invisible Authors”

It’s important to understand the difference between a ghostwriter, a ghost reader and a ghost listener.

Ghostwriters are also called “ghost authors” or “invisible authors.” They are not the same as ghost readers, who read books that do not exist. 

They’re also not the same as ghost listeners, who listen to music in their heads. And they’re certainly nothing like ghosts who talk—or walk around us all the time!

This isn’t a new concept.

Ghostwriting is a practice that dates back to at least the 18th century, when it was reportedly used by George Washington to write his first inaugural address. The concept of ghostwriting has since been adopted in other creative fields, such as the entertainment industry and academia.

In fact, you may not even realize when you’re being introduced to a piece of ghostwritten content! 

Many popular musicians and film stars hire ghostwriters to pen their songs or screenplays for them so if your favorite pop star didn’t write her own lyrics or if your favorite actor didn’t come up with his plotlines in a movie script, there’s a good chance they hired someone else (or several someones) to do it for them.

Sometimes The Ghostwriter Doesn’t Get Credit

Ghostwriters go through all the effort of writing a book, but sometimes don’t get to see their name on the cover. 

The author may not want you to be known as a ghostwriter because it might reflect poorly on them, or they may simply want to take full credit for creating something awesome. 

So if you’re writing for an author who has something to lose by telling people about your role in creating their manuscript, then prepare yourself for some secrecy!

Sometimes the ghostwriter doesn’t get paid. Or gets paid very little compared to what was agreed upon beforehand (we’ll talk more about this later).

Many authors do indeed have trouble paying upfront because they don’t have much money saved up yet or just don’t know how much money they need until after they start putting together pages and pages of content.

This can be frustrating if you’ve already started working on your manuscript before getting paid anything at all luckily there are ways around this problem so we’ll discuss those later on as well…

Are you considering hiring a ghostwriter for your book? Learn why it could be the best decision for your project in our insightful article on why you should hire a ghostwriter to write your book.

Sometimes The Ghostwriter Does Get a Credit

The name of the ghostwriter appears on the cover of the book and in its title page. (For example, if you’re a ghostwriter who’s written an essay collection titled “The Best Essays Written by Famous Writers,” your name would appear as “Ghostwriter.”)

The name of the ghostwriter is listed in either Acknowledgements or Dedications pages as well as on any promotional materials for that book. 

If there are multiple co-authors listed, then often times each will be credited individually for his or her contributions to this particular piece of writing (e.g., “Edited by Author X & Ghostwriter Y”).

Sometimes books will list authors and editors together under one heading in order to acknowledge their role(s). For example:  “Edited by Author X & Editor Z” and “With Contributions from Authors A through C & Editors D through F.”

Sometimes A Celebrity Hires Someone To Write Their Memoir

Sometimes a celebrity hires someone to write their memoir. People hire ghostwriters for all kinds of reasons, but it usually boils down to one: the person being written about has other demands on their time. 

They may be busy with work, or have young children and can’t spend the hours writing that a book requires.

Ghostwriters are busy people too! Like most professionals who work at home, they need fair compensation for their services. That said, they’re also quite good at telling stories and researching information related to those stories (and editing). 

Ghostwriters are also good at formatting manuscripts so that they look good when they’re printed in book form something many people don’t realize until it’s too late!

As a ghostwriting freelancer, you need essential tips to succeed in the industry. Don’t miss our top 11 tips that will help you thrive in the world of ghostwriting in our latest post on tips for ghostwriting freelancers.

Sometimes An Executive Hires Someone To Write Their Business Book

Sometimes an executive hires someone to write their business book. Maybe the executive has a great idea for a book, but can’t find the time to write it or doesn’t have the expertise to do so well. 

Or maybe they don’t have time at all and need someone else to do all of the work for them. Either way, this is called “executive ghostwriting.”

It’s not uncommon for executives and entrepreneurs to hire ghostwriters because they want their ideas out there and there’s nothing wrong with that! 

The best part about writing books is being able to share your expertise with others who are interested in what you know about business (or whatever).

Sometimes an average person hires someone to write their family history (or a novel).

You Can Hire A Ghostwriter To Write Your Family History

Ghostwriting is often used to preserve the memories and stories of people’s lives, especially when those lives have been lived in rural areas or other places where technology isn’t as advanced. 

For example, it’s common for families to hire ghostwriters to help them keep records of their past whether it be through written documents or video recordings. In many cases, these recordings are done on old-fashioned VCRs with cassettes!

It’s also not uncommon for families who live far apart from each other to use ghostwriting services so that everyone can feel like they’re “present” during the writing process and receive updates about what’s being written.

It’s Not Cheating

Let’s get this out of the way first: ghostwriting is not cheating. It’s a professional service that people pay for, and it’s not something to feel guilty about. As with any other paid service, both parties have to agree to the terms of the arrangement for it to be legitimate.

Ghostwriters are able to write things that would be difficult or impossible for clients because of time constraints, lack of knowledge about a topic, or financial restrictions (which could include being an author under contract). 

When you work with a ghostwriter, they’ll research your subject matter so they can understand what information needs to be conveyed and how best to convey it, and if they’re good at their job, they’ll make sure everything flows naturally as if you wrote it yourself.

Curious about what ghostwriting really is? Get a clear understanding of this art form and its role in the writing world with our expert explanation on what is ghostwriting.

There Are Different Types Of Ghostwriters

 There are the literary, who write fiction and non-fiction. There are business, who write white papers and business plans. 

Technical writers help with technical manuals or other documents for businesses. And there are academic ghostwriters, who specialize in writing dissertations or university papers for students hoping to get their degrees faster than they can on their own.

In addition to these specializations, there’s also a wide range of personal ghostwriters who write memoirs and poetry; even fiction novelists may use them as well! 

But no matter what type you’re looking for (or whether you want someone more technical or more creative), it’s important that you know how the process works so you can make sure you find exactly what you need when it comes time to hire one

Most ghostwriters take a 50 percent deposit up-front and then ask for the other 50 percent once the project is complete.

Most Ghostwriters Charge A Percentage Of What You Make

A good ghostwriter will work with you to establish a fee based on their experience, skills and reputation. 

The more famous or experienced the writer is, the more likely they are to ask for a higher rate. But don’t be afraid to try out someone new who can offer something you haven’t seen before in terms of style or tone.

Most freelance writers expect payment up-front for their services and that’s exactly how it should be! 

If a writer does not agree to take an advance from your project, consider whether this is someone who can truly understand what it means to be professional enough to follow through on their promises even when things get tough (which happens!).

Most People Who Hire Ghostwriters Don’t Ghostwrite Themselves

Most people who hire a ghostwriter don’t have the time or skill to write their own book. It takes time, talent and specialized skills to write well and most people don’t have those things, especially when they’re busy running a company or taking care of family.

A client’s expertise is in their field; the ghostwriter’s expertise is in writing. It’s much easier for someone who specializes in writing to help you articulate your ideas than it would be for you to try and figure out how to explain them yourself. 

When you work with an expert, rather than doing something yourself that isn’t your area of expertise (i.e., writing), everything goes more smoothly, which leads me right into my next point…

Unlock the potential of ghostwriting to land high-paying freelance writing jobs. Our comprehensive guide on how ghostwriting can help you land high-paying freelance writing jobs will show you the way to success in the writing industry.


If you know someone who has ghostwritten a book, that can be helpful. If you don’t, just ask the person you’re considering hiring what they’ve written before.

Further Reading

Indeed – What Is Ghostwriter?: Learn more about the role of a ghostwriter and how they contribute to various writing projects.

Tekedia – Everything You Need to Know About Ghostwriting as a Profession: Delve deeper into the world of ghostwriting and explore its significance as a professional career.

HubSpot – Ghostwriting Tips: Discover valuable tips and tricks to enhance your ghostwriting skills and create compelling content.


What does a ghostwriter do?

A ghostwriter is a professional writer who creates content on behalf of someone else without receiving authorship credit. They help individuals and organizations produce written materials while maintaining anonymity.

How can I become a ghostwriter?

To become a ghostwriter, start by honing your writing skills and building a diverse portfolio. Networking with authors and publishers can also open doors to ghostwriting opportunities.

Is ghostwriting legal?

Yes, ghostwriting is legal as long as there is an agreement between the ghostwriter and the author or client specifying the terms of the collaboration and ownership of the written work.

Do ghostwriters work across different genres?

Yes, ghostwriters often work on a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, self-help, and business books. They adapt their writing style to match the author’s voice and the genre’s requirements.

How much do ghostwriters get paid?

Ghostwriter fees vary depending on factors such as the scope of the project, the writer’s experience, and the complexity of the content. Payment can be per project, per word, or through other negotiated arrangements.