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  • Writer's pictureLynnette René Doby

Ghostwriting: What is it REALLY?

A Ghostwriter Tells All in Less Than 5 Minutes

As a professional ghostwriter, I've noticed that potential authors have many questions about ghostwriting. Specifically, what is it really? ...

I LOVE these questions.

In case you've thought about it yourself, I've compiled some questions and answers for you in a quick read.

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Let's get into it, shall we?

1. Defining Ghostwriting

I define ghostwriting as a writer using their innate writing skills to write a project for a non-writer client, known as the author, that uses the author's name and likeness on the final product.

The ghostwriter remains behind the scenes.

It could be a full-length book, screenplay, speech, or any content created from the information given by you, the client/future author.

Here is the textbook definition.

Ghostwriting is the practice of writing content, such as books, articles, speeches, or other written material, on behalf of someone else who is then credited as the author. In other words, a ghostwriter is a professional writer who is hired to create content under the name of another person. The person who hires the ghostwriter often provides the ideas, concepts, or key points they want to convey, and the ghostwriter transforms those ideas into a coherent and polished piece of writing.

Whichever definition suits your understanding, ghostwriting is a done-for-you service that successfully yields a book to help propel your professional and personal goals.

2. How Does The Process Work?

The ghostwriting process is unique to each writer and future author.

Typically, you have an idea, or a concept, and need it brought to life. Pair that with an intention of what you want the book to do for your career, and you have a concept.

I urge you to take time and fully vet your perspective ghostwriter. You'll be spending a great amount of time with so you want to ensure there is alignment in the way you both work.

In my next blog post, we'll review the qualities to look for when hiring a ghostwriter.

Getting back to the process, typically the ghostwriter after creating a book outline, will interview the author for the content of the book. The ghostwriter submits chapters, and upon approval from the client, moves on with the rest of the chapters using the same process.

3. Is Ghostwriting Legal?

Ghostwriting is a commonplace, frequently used business arrangement, and it's 100% legal. Typically, there will a contract is drafted by the ghostwriter and given to the author before getting started. There is a clause in the contract that states the ghostwriter relinquishes all rights of authorship for the work. Sometimes, the author may opt to have the ghostwriter credited as a co-author, but this is at their discretion.

4. How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter?

Ghostwriting is a high-level service and the pay rates match accordingly. Depending on the experience of the ghostwriter, the rates can begin on the lower end at $5,000, mid-end at $15,000 - $20,000, and high-end starting at $50,000.

Award-winning ghostwriter, J. R. Moehringer, who penned Prince Harry's controversial memoir, "Spare" reportedly got paid one million dollars. From sales, Prince Harry made an alleged $20 million.

Ghostwriting is a reciprocal business arrangement.

The author makes an initial investment and can, with proper marketing, not only make their investment back, but exponentially.

The only unknown variable is what percentage Meohringer will make in the book sale residuals. A smart move that ghostwriters make is to receive a cut of the back-end revenue.

Imagine getting ten percent off Prince Harry's book. Even if it's ten percent...well, I'll let you do the math.

5. Will the Ghostwriter Tell Anyone They Wrote My Book?

No. In the agreement mentioned earlier, the ghostwriter and the author signed, there should be included a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that affirms confidentiality.


We are at the end of the list and as promised, it didn't take long to get through. If your ghostwriting question was not answered feel free to drop it in the comments and I'll respond.

If you need some help with your writing project, let's connect!

I'll see you in the next upload, where we'll discuss qualities to look for in a ghostwriter to hire.

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Dec 08, 2023

I like how you explained the ghostwriting and the example about Prince Harry blew my mind.

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