What Is a Ghostwriter? All Your Questions Answered!

You want to hear they are highly responsive, and highly collaborative, yes. But believe it or not, you actually want someone who sets good boundaries. This means they are clear about the number of revisions, number of notes, how they want to get information from you, how they want to interact, etc.

What is a Ghostwriter?

What Is a Ghostwriter? All Your Questions Answered!

A ghostwriter writes projects that are credited to someone else and whose name, like a ghost, doesn’t appear in the byline. Ghostwriters may complete the entire project solo or work collaboratively with the publicly named author.

To draw as little attention to their contributions as possible, a great ghostwriter can seamlessly adapt their writing skills to fit each client’s needs. While their focus is on carrying out the client’s vision, they’ll also advise on content and style issues when needed.

Or, to put it another way, they’re less of a ghost and more of a guardian angel! Read on to learn all about the different ghostwriting services, how much it costs to hire ghostwriters and more.

This lucrative, productive industry. How to tell you what it entails, in a few choice, briefly succinct words…

What is a Ghostwriter, and why is there Ghostwriting?

I now have the knowledge to explain this: what is a ghostwriter and what do they do? In some ways, it’s primarily editing work. Ghost writers for hire take money but no credit for the work produced. Related works may include book manuscripts, short stories, scripts for TV shows or screenplays for films. Also music, lyrics and soundtracks, whitepapers, statements of purpose, speeches etc. The original writer, or author, is hiring the ghost as a freelance writer to produce copy for a fee. The author takes the credit for all the original work produced, including all the writing produced by the ghost writer. The ghost, usually paid in advance of completing the project, gets the money as a “work for hire” job and assumes none of the credit for the ghostwriting work.

This may sound odd, illegal, fattening or unethical. But it’s a common practice. When someone wants to create new copy for a website, a ghost writer may be hired to rewrite it. There are many similar jobs such as writing ad or business copy, or supplying new or rewritten material for personal or professional use. The ghost is hired primarily as a professional freelance writer, in order to produce high quality copy writing and so that the writing reads professionally and smoothly. Every ghost knows what is a ghostwriter. It’s a writer who aspires to help clients (or authors) to write their own work through a proxy. One way or another, the work belongs to the client, not the ghostwriter.

What is a Ghostwriter when he or she is a Freelance Ghostwriter too?

A freelance ghost writer is often the only source for well-written website or other professional copy. You can hire a ghost to bring this about, either as a contracted employee, or as a freelance writer paid specifically for the job at hand. Some clients, unable to spell, refer to ghost writers as something like ghosts writer – another reason people need to hire them. But this is not a business to help “stupid people” or people who are completely unable to write. Nobody is stupid. The key is some author clients don’t have the time, inclination, knowledge or resources to edit, ghostwrite or work on their own writing.

Ghostwriting rates

Ghostwriting rates

Ghost writing

Freelance writing hourly rate

Follow the rule of thumb that you get what you pay for. Talented writers will always charge more and generate a larger return while cheap writers can be a headache.

Why using a ghostwriter is NOT a good idea for a book

For one, they’re very expensive. Good ones are, at least. Which means you’ll dump a bunch of money into a book that’s not really yours. They can write on the information you give them and that’s yours, but you’ll know deep down you didn’t do it. And the emotional impact of that alone is worth doing it yourself.

Another reason ghostwriters aren’t the best idea for a book is the fact that they won’t get it right. They don’t know the details of what you want to write about and that means they’ll get a lot of it wrong.

Only you can tell the story inside of you. Ghostwriters can’t bring your level of passion and knowledge into the pages no matter how much information you share with them.

Plus, you think it might save you time when the reality is that you’ll have to spend even more time giving them information, reading over their work, providing feedback and changes, only to be left with something that still isn’t what you fully want. Because what you want is in your own mind.

If you’re on the fence about a ghostwriter, listening to this podcast episode with Leif Babin, co-author of Extreme Ownership, about his process in publishing and why he refused to use a ghostwriter.


Hiring a ghostwriter to write your book can save you a ton of time and also be a lucrative business decision — if done properly and only if you have a strategy in place to leverage your book to take you (and your business) to the next level.

We’ve compiled a guide to help you determine if you’re ready to write and publish your book. Download it below, answer the 7 questions truthfully, then you can determine which path you want to take to write and publish your book.