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Ghostwriting 101

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

By Danielle Sinon

Are you afraid of ghosts? What about ghostwriters? While the concept of ghostwriting may seem a little otherworldly, it’s actually fairly commonplace. Whether you are interested in hiring a ghostwriter, want to become one yourself, or are curious about the whole process, follow along to learn more!


What is Ghostwriting?


Coming up with an idea for a book is fairly easy. Working through the details of refining the tone and layout can be a little trickier. Let’s say a doctor wants to write a book about health insurance. She may have gathered all the information that needs to be included in the book but may not have the literary skills or the time to get the project done. This is where the ghostwriter comes in.


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ghostwriting very simply: “to write for and in the name of another.” Authors hire ghostwriters to help write parts or the entirety of their book. Some may view this process as cheating or taking a shortcut, but it’s more common than you’d think.


Over the years, fiction authors such as Tom Clancy and Ian Fleming have been known to use ghostwriters. It may be hard to believe, but ghostwriters were responsible for writing every book in the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. Even though Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon’s names appear on the covers of these books, these series were written by a variety of authors. Keene and Dixon were never even real people! Who knew?


How Does It Work?


Think of ghostwriting as a kind of co-authorship. The primary author is able to come up with a storyline and the secondary author (or ghostwriter) is able to take this story and make it come to life. It helps the author get published, but it also helps the ghostwriter get their career kick started as a writer.


When first starting a working relationship with a ghostwriter, it is important for the two authors to get to know each other. This interview process allows the ghostwriter to get inside the author’s head and figure out how they want their story to be presented to their readers.


As the writing process continues, the author and ghostwriter stay in contact, sharing what has been written along the way. This assures that the story is progressing on the right track and allows for minor tweaks to be made throughout instead of having to change major sections once the work has been completed.


It is important to have a strong working relationship and a clear path of communication, as the author may think of something that needs to be added or the ghostwriter may question something in the notes written by the author.


Each chapter or section is sent to the author for review, and the ghostwriter is given feedback on what has been written. While the ghostwriter is technically a co-author, the author is the one who should be taking the reins on the story. It was their idea to begin with, so it’s important that their idea comes through in the writing.


Once the manuscript has been completed, the hope is that the author’s vision has been realized. If everything has gone smoothly, the author shouldn’t have too many edits and the manuscript can be sent on to the publisher!


Benefits of Ghostwriters

  1. Ghostwriters allow you to save time

Do you really have time to sit down and write that 400-page book you’ve been thinking about for years? Hiring a ghostwriter will allow you to continue living your life while giving you the chance to finally get this project done.

  1. Ghostwriters are professional writers

As we mentioned before, writing can be difficult. Do you want to teach yourself how to write, having to learn as you go? Or would you rather have someone else take over? The main reason for writing a book is to get your ideas out into the world. Hiring a professional writer can save you a lot of time and effort while still allowing this to happen!

  1. Ghostwriters are researchers at heart

While you may have a great idea for a book, you may not have done all your research. It’s important to make sure your facts and figures are correct before sending your book off to be published. Getting a ghostwriter to help with fact checking is a great way to double-check your work.

  1. Ghostwriters are chameleons

There are so many different genres that exist in the world of books. Ghostwriters are able to use their writing and research skills to adapt and write almost any genre of book.

Here are the most common genres where ghostwriters are used:

  1. Biographies/memoirs

  2. Non-fiction (e.g. history, business, self-help, cookbooks)

  3. Fiction (e.g. fantasy, contemporary, horror)

Thanks for letting us take you on this journey into the world of ghostwriting. We hope that it’s given you some insight into this somewhat mysterious world. Ghostwriters work hard to bring stories to life, and it’s important to respect what they are able to accomplish.


At Atlantic Publishing, we have used ghostwriters in the past and continue to offer this service; we want to help authors write their books! If you feel like you need some help on your next writing project, think about using a ghostwriter. It may end up being your ticket to success!


#writingtips #whatisghostwriting #ghostwriter #ghostwriting #publishingtips

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