Ghost-writers – should you use one?

If I had a penny for every time I’ve been asked whether you should use the services of a ghostwriter or not, I’d be a rich man!

To save myself having to constantly shell out the same advice, I’ve decided to write this short post which I hope you’ll find useful should you find yourself seeking the answer to this same question.

To start with, I think ghostwriters have a lot of advantages and can be beneficial in certain situations.

The most common scenario that comes to mind is this – having been in the industry for over 20 years or so, I know that there’s a lot of talented individuals out there who have great ideas, sparks of inspiration just waiting to be expressed but aren’t able to do so because of their limited knowledge in expressing their creativity via writing. Often, I find that these people do not have the time or inclination as well to spend weeks and months writing up, what they hope will be their next best seller.

So what’s one to do in this case? Hire a ghostwriter of course!

A ghostwriter can be extremely beneficial in cases like this and it’s not that complicated as well – there’s usually an initial ‘getting to know you’ phase for the first few weeks – a ghostwriter needs to work closely with the ‘author’ – books are very personal and most authors want to make sure that the end product almost entirely replicates the original idea they had in mind.

Ghostwriters can also be helpful when you think that your time is better spent doing something else, whether that’s related to your imminent creation or not. For example, you may decide that it’s better for you to plan the launch and marketing of your book whilst the ghostwriter is busy generating the content.

Usually, an author will go through the entire copy once the ghostwriter is finished with it for the purposes of proof reading, checks and in most cases, adding own material, references and citations, where necessary.

So, what’s the disadvantage, you may be wondering?

In my opinion, whether it’s a book, a story, articles, reports or any other piece of creative work, I find that using a ghostwriter sort of undermines the entire effort – the work isn’t really yours entirely. And, if you decide not to credit the ghostwriter (not uncommon) then that’s a bit too much.

Of course, there are perfectly legitimate reasons for using one – celebrities often use ghost-writers to write or edit autobiographies and that makes perfect sense to me. You’re too close to ‘yourself’ to be able to see you objectively (if that made sense!).

Another course of action is using a website to find literary agents, get feedback on your writing or if you’d like to produce your own work entirely, then considering taking up a creative writing course.

So, next time you’re wondering whether to use a ghost-writer, hope this post will help you take a decision. 

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June 2017
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