February 26, 2019
Hiring a ghostwriter can be a scary endeavor. There are ethical questions that need to be addressed and what fits for one business may not be a good idea for another. This guide aims to help businesses discover what ghostwriters can do and whether it’s a good option.
Fortunately, there are many ways ghostwriters can be used to boost business. From responding to emails and general queries to creating researched content for blogs, the skills of a writer can be invaluable to businesses.
A ghostwriter is someone who accepts payment to create content that is written under another individual's name. This allows the paying business or individual to take credit for the work created by the ghostwriter and publish the piece under their own name. The ghostwriter does not receive any credit for the original works and typically can't use the project as part of their portfolio. Ghostwriters may also co-author a book, making it easier to put your name in the byline or on the cover while still allowing a professional writer to craft the content.
In many instances, ghostwriters are required to sign an NDA or non-disclosure form. This means the ghostwriter cannot share any information regarding the creation of the written works. This also allows the ghostwriter to remain anonymous.
Ghostwriters can create many different types of content. Their most famous works are bestsellers including book projects, nonfiction books, and novels—usually memoirs and autobiographies. Some of the biggest names in politics—including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—have used ghostwriters for their business books and memoirs. Other popular ghostwriter projects include writing songs and screenplays. Freelance writing professionals can help with everything from creative writing to drafting new book ideas and promoting book sales.
The salary of ghostwriters ranges dramatically depending on expertise and type of content. The fee for the ghostwriter will typically be higher if you work with them through a literary agent.
Traditionally, ghostwriters mainly drafted longer novels or books for large publishing houses. Successful ghostwriters can command anywhere from $15,000 to $75,000 for these types of content. In today's digital world, ghostwriters have also started to produce shorter content. They can create social media posts and email marketing materials for lower fees. According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, ghostwriters charge an average of $0.26 to $0.50 per word (1).
In the business world, most ghostwriters are used to write memoirs and business how-tos. Ghostwriters can also add credibility if your business is entering a new field or industry. By hiring a ghostwriter with extensive industry experience, you add credibility and trust to the content your business produces.
Ghostwriters also save time for business owners. Many CEOs and entrepreneurs simply don't have the time to create memoirs or business guides. That's where ghostwriters come in. They save so much time since they are skilled writers and know how to produce content.
Another way ghostwriting projects save business owners time is through responding to client requests. Businesses can hire a ghostwriter to respond to emails and contact forms to address basic inquiries. The client believes they are talking to the business owner while the owner can focus their efforts on more demanding tasks.
On top of time-saving benefits, ghostwriters also generally produce higher quality works than business owners. That's because they are professionally trained writers. Their writing skills include proper spelling and grammar as well as writing style. Professional writers can write in different voices and tones — or in the client's voice — to reflect the values and personality of your business branding. They can also produce ghostwritten content from a different point of view and adjust to the target audience as needed.
Hiring an author who is a master at writing also improves the chances of written works becoming a success. That's because these writers know how to structure longer works and to captivate the audience's attention. Business owners often don't know how to write in a convincing and entertaining way, so hiring a ghostwriter is one way to make a memoir or business guide more palatable.
When it comes to book writing, e-books are a popular new venue for writers looking for ghostwriting clients. Ghost-writers can help your business draft e-books that can increase sales and target new customers. For example, you can hire a ghostwriter to create an e-book demonstrating how to use your products and services. Ghost-writers can also conduct research to help you back up the efficiency of products with scientific trials and case studies.
Many B2B and B2C businesses hire a ghostwriting business or freelance ghostwriter to create web content such as blog posts. As a business, you can hire a ghostwriter with technical knowledge in your industry to create in-depth informational posts. You can also hire ghostwriter with a marketing background to create content that features a call-to-action with the goal of increasing conversions.
This content is produced with the intent of establishing your company as a thought leader in the industry. High-quality works establish trust and build your brand, all while saving time for the CEO and other team members.
The beauty of freelance writers—writers who work remotely as self-employed individuals or contractors—is that you can expand the job applicant pool dramatically. In fact, you're no longer limited to your local area such as Manhattan, New York or even your country like the United States. By hiring a freelancer, you can expand the job pool to include British writers or professional ghostwriters in places such as India and China.
Hiring a ghostwriter is not right for everyone. Many people view ghostwriting work as cheating since one person creates the information while another takes credit for all of the work. In some instances, ghostwriting may even border on unethical. This is most prominent in medical and research industries.
If you are thinking of hiring ghostwriting services, it's important to be honest when it comes to expectations and needs. Ask yourself why you're hiring a ghostwriter. If you are doing it to save time or because they are better skilled than you, ethics won't be an issue. If you are hiring them because you don't have the knowledge necessary to write the piece, you may want to reconsider.
Remember that ghostwriting in book publishing is a common practice. Like with most things in real life, if you're doing it for the right reasons, you'll be fine.
There are others ways to lessen the impact of ethics in ghostwriting. You can choose to co-write the piece, using the author's writing skills and your knowledge to work together. Of course, you can also credit the ghostwriter if desired. Many individuals choose to include "as told to" as a sort of credit to the ghostwriter. This is one way to produce a high-quality piece without the ethical pitfalls.
There is an ethical drawback to hiring ghostwriters for some businesses, but it can be avoided by being honest and realistic. You’ll need to decide what type of content you want to produce and for what industry. By putting time and careful thought into your decision, you can decide if a ghostwriter is a good fit for your business or when it comes to writing your own book. They can help free up your time and allow you to focus on other tasks. When done ethically, hiring a ghostwriter can boost sales and increase conversions for businesses.