Ghostwriting FAQs

Photo of 3 dogs dressed as ghosts with a carved pumpkin

Did you know that there are a lot of really famous books that were not actually written by the listed authors? Many of the authors we know and love today hired ghostwriters to pen such revered titles as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. Many “autobiographies” are written by ghostwriters. If they were not, we’d never see them on the store shelves.


Because not everyone can write! There are so many people who have amazing stories to tell, and principles to share; they simply lack the necessary writing skills. Some lack the motivation to do it. Others don’t know where to start. But that’s why they turn to ghostwriters.

I talk with a lot of people about ghostwriting for them, and there are often a lot of questions that come up. I’d like to take a moment and provide some answers from some of the most frequently asked questions I hear.

What is a Ghostwriter?

A ghostwriter is a person who gets paid to write anonymously. Individuals and companies often hire ghostwriters for a number of reasons. But for the purposes of this blog post, let’s consider a ghostwriter as someone who is hired to write a book. That person does not receive any credit for the book at all; they only work behind the scenes to make it happen.

But ghostwriting is about more than just writing. In many cases, this individual will take on several roles, such as:

· Interviewer

· Researcher

· Writer

· Editor

What are the Types of Projects People Hire Ghostwriters for?

We mentioned book-writing, but there are so many other projects that a ghostwriter can take on. For example, they can write:

· Screenplays

· Music

· Comedy acts

· TV Scripts

· Speeches

· Print magazines

· Web pages

· White papers

· Brochures

· Academic papers

The list could go on. Many ghostwriters refer to themselves as freelance writers, or simply professional writers.

How do You Hire a Ghostwriter?

There are a lot of ghostwriters out there, so don’t be afraid to take your time in choosing the best one to meet your needs. While I can’t speak for all of them, when I take on a writing project for a client, there’s a specific process I follow:

· Step One: Have a meeting – I like the meeting to be face to face whenever possible. Video chat works, but I want my client to see my face. I want them to know that they’re working with a real person who takes their project very seriously. The meeting is a time for me to answer questions and to get as much information as possible about the project. I want to get a good idea of the scope of it so I will have what I need to provide an estimate. The meeting is also important for the purpose of understanding the ghostwriter’s process. I always provide my clients with information about how I work to accomplish the finished product.

· Step Two: Send the estimate – It shouldn’t take weeks or months to receive an estimate from a ghostwriter. I provide mine in less than 24 hours, whenever possible. The estimate should spell out the cost of the project, broken down as much as possible.

· Step Three: Signing the contract – A good ghostwriter will have a prepared contract ready to go. Read the contract carefully before you sign it. It should include the payment arrangement that you have agreed to, as well as additional information to protect you and your project.

· Step Four: Making the deposit – Some ghostwriters won’t require payment until the project is complete. But most will require a deposit. The amount is usually half of the estimated amount you received. Make sure to get a clear understanding about any subsequent payments that may be required as the project progresses.

· Step Five: Move through the process – As I mentioned above, your ghostwriter will have a specific process they follow for completing the work. A good one will give you clear updates (weekly is preferred) so that you never have to question what’s happening with your project.

Who Owns the Credit and Copyright for the Book?

You do. Once the book is finished, you will own all the rights to it. You may wish to extend a word of thanks to the ghostwriter in the book, but this should never be required. You’re also not required to list them as an editor, or as functioning in any other role during the completion of your book.

How Much do Ghostwriters Charge?

Ghostwriting fees vary, depending on the professional completing the work. They typically set an hourly wage, which should be spelled out in the contract. The hourly rate could be increased if the subject matter requires extensive research.

Can Ghostwriters Help With Publishing Your Book?

It depends. Most ghostwriters only offer their writing services. But there are those who are able to help with publishing as well.

At Colwell Creative Content, we offer ghostwriting as well as e-book and paperback publication services. Our fees are reasonable, and we can offer a quick turnaround time too!

Do you need to know more? Contact us!

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