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Ghost writing a book is the process of hiring a professional writer to bring your story and ideas to life. There are many things to think about when considering hiring a ghost writer, including your budget, needs, and more.

1. What is ghost writing?

Ghost writing is a service that involves writing content which is credited to another person. Ghost writers are employed by people to write a book, article, or any other type of written content for a client who will put their own name on the work. The ghost writer typically remains anonymous or credited in a minor way (such as in the acknowledgements section in the books back matter).

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2. Should I hire a ghost writer?

Ghost writers are hired to help the author bring their story to life. The author typically hires a ghost writer if they need assistance with the writing side of the manuscript. There are a couple of reasons why ghost writers are hired. Some of these reasons are listed below:

    1. The author is lacking skill in writing: If an author has a good idea for a book but cannot write, hiring a ghost writer can help bring the story to life.
    2. Time constraints: Writing a book can be quite time consuming, and the author may not have the time to write. Hiring a ghost writer can help the author save time and allows them to still be listed as the author of their book (even if they didn’t write it).
    3. Expertise: Ghost writers may know a little more about the project than the author does. They can bring expertise to subjects that the author may not be familiar with.
    4. Objectivity: A ghost writer can provide objective perspectives on work and can help overcome potential biases on the project. They can also help pick up on things that may have been otherwise missed by the author.
    5. Confidentiality: Ghost writers can help keep the authors personal information confidential when writing about sensitive and personal topics.

In short, hiring a ghost writer can help bring the authors vision to life by stepping in during the writing process. Doing this allows the author to focus on other aspects of the project (i.e. research, marketing, etc.).

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3. What type of books can be ghost written?

There is no rule for what genre of books can be ghost written. Many ghost written books cover a range of genres including:

    • Memoir: Many public figures/celebrities hire ghost writers to tell their life story as they do not have the time to write and/or do not have the writing skills.
    • Business books: Ghost writers can help business leaders and experts share their insights and advice. Again, a ghost writer may be employed to save on time and to help the writing style be more appealable to a wider audience.
    • Self-help: Ghost writers can help professionals write books on wellness, personal growth, and relationships. Typically, they are hired for similar reasons as above.
    • Fiction: If a ghost writer hired to write fiction, it’s likely they are employed to help complete unfinished work or be the voice of another character. The author could also have a great idea for a story, but lacks the writing skills to bring it to life.
    • Childrens books: Ghost writers can be good to help the authors create engaging, educational, and fun children’s books.
    • Technical books: If a ghost writer is hired to ghost write a technical book, it is likely because the author only has experience in technical writing. This means that the author may struggle to write to a wider audience in a way that can be understood.

Of course, there are many other types of books ghost writers can be commissioned to write, but these are the common. Many ghost writers are adaptable and are comfortable writing across multiple genres. However, there are some ghost writers who do have a limit to the genres they write.

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4. What are some example of ghost written books?

Though ghost writers are usually anonymous, they are sometimes credited for their work by the author. There are some books—even quite famous ones—that we know are ghost written.

See some examples of ghost written books below:

    • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafazi
    • Spare by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
    • Becoming by Michelle Obama
    • Trump: The Art of The Deal by Donald J Trump
    • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
    • Loosing My Virginity by Richard Branson
    • It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton

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5. Do I own the copyright if a ghost writer writes my book?

As the person who had the idea and commissioned the work, the author (under normal circumstances) owns the copyright, even if the book is written by the ghost writer.

It is very important to either have a written agreement or contract between you and the ghost writer that stipulates the terms of the ghost writing agreement. This should include who owns the copyright. In some cases, the ghost writer may retain certain rights, like being credited as a co-author or that they are able to use the work as a sample of the quality they can give to clients. The terms of the agreement would depend on the project specifics and what has been signed by the ghost writer. You can always have a lawyer to go over the agreement to ensure rights are protected.

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6. How much would I be expected to pay for ghost writing?

Ghost writing costs vary on depending on a number of factors, including:

    • Experience
    • Length of the work
    • Complexity of the work
    • Time and research required

As a guide, ghost writing can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Some ghost writers may choose to charge an hourly rate, however, most charge on a per project basis.

Ghost writing is an investment. It is important to be prepared to pay for the quality of work and the time it takes for the ghost writer to complete the project. A good ghost writer will pass back a high-quality piece of writing which accurately represents the authors book and vision.

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7. How do I find a ghost writer?

Green Hill has a ghost writing partner who can assist authors with writing for many different genres. Contact us to start the discussion about your project today.

There are also many other ways to find a ghost writer, including:

  • Referrals: Reach out to friends, family, colleagues, and the writing community to see if they have any recommendations.
  • Search online: There are many search engines which can assist in finding a ghost writer. Freelance ghost writers can also be found on freelance websites, such as Upwork or Freelancer. It is important to assess the quality and experience of ghost writers on these platforms.
  • Writers’ organisations: Professional writers’ centres would have access to a network of ghost writers. Check out the Writers’ Centre to find out more.

Finding and choosing a ghost writer needs to be taken seriously. It is important to understand the ghost writers experience, writing style, and qualifications. It is a good idea to request writing samples and have an agreement that both parties adhere to. Make sure to read over the terms and conditions, timelines, payment schedule, and copyright of final work. It is a good idea to have a contract signed by both parties ensuring obligations are met for both author and ghost writer.

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8. How to prepare for ghost writing

There are a couple of things authors need to do to prepare for the ghost writing of their book. Here are a few steps we recommend taking:

    1. Identify your audience: Who is this book intended for? Knowing exactly who you are trying to target will help the ghost writer tailor the writing style to entice and engage the audience.
    2. Set goals: What do you want to achieve with your book? Do you have a specific message and an audience to target? Setting out your goals will help you to guide your ghost writer in the right direction. Make sure your goals are easy to understand for the ghost writer.
    3. Do your research: Collect any documents, notes, or research to give to the ghost writer working on your project. It is important to share this information so the ghost writer can understanding the project they are asked to take on.
    4. Decide on a budget: You need to be able to determine how much you are willing to spend on a ghost writer. This can help determine the scope of the project and narrow down your list of ghost writers.
    5. Make your timeline: When are you wanting the final product to be completed? Do you have specific milestones that need to be met? You will need to let the ghost writer know so they can determine if this timeline fits with them and their writing process. Please note, writing a book takes time, and a ghost writer will typically indicate how long the job will take for them to complete.
    6. Review your options: Research ghost writers to find one that suits your goals and needs. It is important to review the ghost writer’s experience, credentials, and writing style. Request samples of written work and speak directly with the ghost writer to make sure you are comfortable with them.
    7. Draw up an agreement: Once you’ve chosen your ghost writer, make sure an agreement and contract are drawn up. This should include the timeline, payment schedule, and terms clearly. An agreement will ensure both parties are covered, able to maintain the agreed upon rights, and have a physical contract to refer back to if needed.

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9. My ghost writing is completed, what’s next?

Once the ghost writer has completed the contract and passed back the manuscript, you need to make sure it is ready for the next step! See the following steps below:

    1. Review your manuscript: Read through the manuscript and make any changes that are necessary. This is the chance to make sure you are happy with the end product!
    2. Seek feedback: Once you have completed the first revision of your manuscript, it is good to have another set of eyes who are new to the project look over it. Share the manuscript with friends and family to gain some extra feedback and suggestions. This can help identify areas that may need to be addressed.
    3. Consider editing: It is always good to have another more professional eye on the manuscript. Seek feedback from a professional editor to polish up any loose ends and make sure that your manuscript is ready for publication. Green Hill Publishing can help you find an editor that suits your needs through our editing partner, Bookmark Edits.
    4. Prepare for publication: Think about how you’d like to publish your book. Make sure you are satisfied with the final manuscript before you submit or send your manuscript to other publishers. Green Hill Publishing can assist you with all your publishing needs! Feel free to contact us to find out more about the publishing process with us and how it can fit with your project.
    5. Promote your book: Once your book is published, you need to start promoting your book. Read our blog post on marketing to find out how Green Hill can help you and also how you can self-market your book.

Getting your book from its stage as a draft, ghost-written manuscript and into a publishable format is a joint effort from all parties involved. It is important to consider involving other professionals, such as editors and publishers, to assist you in the success of your book!

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