What Does A Ghostwriter Do And How To Hire One

Last Updated on 1 year by Christopher Jan Benitez

Can’t write for your book, website, or blog? 

Then here’s a simple solution:

Hire a ghostwriter.

This post will fill you in on what you need to know about ghostwriters. What does their job mean and is ghostwriting even legal? 

If you read until the end, I’ll make it worth your while and walk you through the steps on how to hire one.

Ready? Then, let’s get right to it.

What does a ghostwriter do: Introduction

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, a ghostwriter is:

a person who writes for another person, under whose name it is then published

Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary Entry

Simply put, ghostwriters write for somebody else — and are paid to do it. Whether they get credit for their work depends on a particular assignment. It could also depend on the client.

As a ghostwriter’s client, you could say that they collaborated with you on a piece if you want to credit them. Or, you could carry on with your business.

Either way, one thing’s for sure: 

A ghostwriter for hire doesn’t own the rights to their work once they already submitted it to their client. The fact is, you pay a ghostwriter to write for you anonymously. 

Want to know of popular works that were ghostwritten? Then, you won’t be disappointed because there’s a lineup of them. Many articles on the web, children’s books, classic novels were ghostwritten.

To cite a specific work, there’s The BabySitters Club, a young-adult series credited under Ann M. Martin’s name. Below, you’ll see a photo of one of the books from the series. 

Babysitters Club Book

The fact that a ghostwriter pitched in to write for The Babysitters Club is no secret to most fans of the series. The ghostwriter’s name is Peter Lerangis and while he wasn’t credited in the book covers, he wasn’t bothered. 

His sole focus was on doing a great job as a writer. Of the task, this is what he said:

“I was petrified I’d be terrible at writing this kind of book, so if the chapters were bad they could find someone else, and we’d part friends.”

As the job title of ghostwriters suggests, they’re ghosts. Getting by unnoticed is important in their line of work. 

Here are more traits of successful ghostwriters:

  • Organized – They rock at sorting out every piece of information you give them. And they’ll use the info when they see fit.
  • Flexible at reflecting your voice – They’ll figure out a way to let their work capture your writing voice
  • Confident and professional – To make you feel at ease that they can handle your project, they’re trustworthy and experienced

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Ghostwriter for Blog Posts?

Is ghostwriting illegal?

Is Ghostwriting Legal - What Does A Ghostwriter Do And How To Hire One

The straight-up answer is no.

You can call ghostwriters by other names such as substitute or assistant writers. You can even go fancy and refer to them as behind-the-scenes magicians. However, you’ll be crossing a line if you call what they do illegal.

Let’s put it this way.

You want to build a house. And if you do it only on your own, you’re most likely not going to make it happen. 

So, if you put it this way, it’s as if you’re also asking this question:

“Is it illegal to have a lack of knowledge and skills in building a house?”

And apparently, the answer is no. If you’re not good at something, the practical way to go is to let a qualified person take over.

To address the aforementioned scenario where you want to build a house, the solution is to hire qualified people. Carpenters, roofers, architects, and more can do it for you.

However, you’re not wrong for raising this matter. Especially if it’s going to be your first time to hire a ghostwriter, it’s only fair to want to clear the air.

So, here are facts that could inspire confidence in you and remind you that there’s nothing wrong with paying for a ghostwriter’s services:

  • The practice of ghostwriting dates back to the 5th century B.C. – George Washington’s Farewell Address? The late US president’s right-hand man, Alexander Hamilton, came up with the words for it
  • If you asked for your ghostwriter’s consent that you’ll get credit, the setup is ethical – you can let them sign a contract or simply discuss matters. Either way, inform your ghostwriter of the scope of the work you require.
  • They work in almost every industry where writing is involvedthis includes the music, political, and film industries 

Why do you need to hire a ghostwriter?

81% of Americans say that they want to write a book. Sadly, however, they can’t.

A common reason is the lack of time to invest in writing a material that anyone would be proud of. After all, creating excellent writing can be very time consuming. 

Whipping up 500 words can take more or less an hour. And this doesn’t even take into account the possible distractions that can arise.

For instance, what if a peer suddenly swoops in and talks to you non-stop?

So, if you don’t have enough time to write, then talk to someone who does.

Here are more reasons why you need a ghostwriter:

  • Maintain reputation and increase visibility – Want to remain consistent in getting your brand’s story out there? That’s what ghostwriters are for! 
  • Earn money – paying for a ghostwriter’s services is a onetime fixed cost. All future earnings from their work are yours.
  • Get a different point-of-view – Ghostwriters can bring fresh perspectives to the mix. In turn, they can produce better content based on your ideas.

How to hire a ghostwriter

The good news is, ghostwriters are professional writers. As long as you choose the right candidate, you can rely on them to write any material. Books, short and long-form blog posts, case studies, musical scores, and more? They’ve got you covered.

If you’re ready to approach a ghostwriter for hire, here’s a three-step process on how you can do it:

Step 1 – Know what you want in a ghostwriter 

Ghostwriters can work in two ways:

1. Work closely with you and receive regular feedback – Ask them to share their work with you. This way, you can offer feedback and request revisions as you see fit.

2. Work on their own after a thorough project discussion – Be hands-off, as long as you communicate effectively 

It’s your call how you want a ghostwriter to provide services. Either way can work out well. The important thing is, the ghostwriter you hire should also thoroughly understand how you want them to work.

Step 2 – Prepare your budget

In some cases, ghostwriters charge their clients a per-word rate. This means you shell out cash for every word they write for you.

If that’s not the case, the price you have to pay for a ghostwriter’s services usually depends on the following factors:

  • Time – You pay for the amount of time a ghostwriter needs to invest in your work. For example, if you offer them a project that will run for two weeks, be ready to shoulder their two weeks’ worth of services.
  • Experience – The level of their writing ability should justify the cost of their services
  • Amount of work – Need them to do in-depth research, too? If you give them too much work to do, be ready to pay for all these.

Step 3 – Look for qualified ghostwriters

Know a trustworthy friend who uses ghostwriting services? Then talk to them. 

Word of mouth referrals remain a great way to find good ghostwriters. From your friend, you’ll get a name — and a solid grasp of this ghostwriter’s ability.

You can also look for ghostwriters online. Because a ghostwriter often works as a freelancer, check out freelancing marketplaces. 

Here are also some sites worth dropping by if you’re looking for high standard ghostwriting:

  • Reedsy – A marketplace where you can easily contact a professional ghostwriter
  • Remote – A platform that connects over 2.5 million professionals who specialize in remote work. This includes ghostwriters.
  • Writers.work – A job aggregator for writers who want freelance work

Final thoughts

So that’s what you need to know about what a ghostwriter does. I hope I addressed your concerns about the subject matter well. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out or leave a comment below.  

Remember, keeping new content flowing is a surefire way of driving your online business to the top. If you don’t have enough time to write, don’t worry. Let a ghostwriter step in!