Ghostwriting

Posted on March 5th, 2015 by

Just like actors have their stunt doubles to do acrobatic flips and jumps, so to do politicians and celebrities have ghostwriters to write their speeches and memoirs. Essentially, ghostwriters do the heavy lifting when it comes to writing and editing but get little to no credit. They might work on speeches, autobiographies, or magazines articles. Their job is to make a not-so-great writer sound competent as well as his or her content understandable and interesting to an outside audience. An average day for a ghostwriter involves all levels of the writing process: generating ideas, outlining, drafting, revising, and editing. Often times, the writing encompasses topics outside of the writer’s expertise, such as computer science or culinary cooking.

Demian Farnworth, a ghostwriter himself, notes that ghostwriting has its good and bad sides. In his blog, “The Brutally Honest Truth about Ghostwriting,” Farnworth states that there is always a strong demand for good writers who can take ideas from experts with no writing skills and turn them into engaging books or articles. In fact, as a ghostwriter, you are likely to meet some really interesting people as you put their stories into your words. Farnworth also notes that as you research and interview for different pieces, you often become a self-taught expert on the subject. And because your name is never on the material, you don’t have to worry about the public criticism.

Just as the job has its ups, though, it also has its downs. Farnworth writes that those new to the ghostwriting field might find themselves being taken advantage of because they don’t know how to negotiate fees. You are also at your clients’ mercy when it comes to referrals. Whether or not you do a good job doesn’t always matter; your client still may not refer you, and if you don’t have referrals, you don’t have jobs. Farnworth notes the most obvious downfall of ghostwriting is that you don’t build up your name, just someone else’s. While this may not bother you, if you are trying to become an author, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by writing anonymously.

Another aspect of ghostwriting Farnworth brings up for consideration is whether or not it is ethical. By writing an article or book someone else is taking credit for, is the contract with the reader broken? While this is up for you to decide, it really only matters what the reader believes, and what he or she thinks could affect the reputation of your client as well as the one you might be trying to make. As writers, the most important relationship is the one we have to the reader. However, as a ghostwriter, that connection does not exist.

Farnworth leaves his readers with two points: one for the writer and one for the client. For the writer, he stresses knowing yourself as a writer and understanding what you want to accomplish in that position. He argues that working as a ghostwriter is fine to make ends meet, but it should be done only when necessary. For clients, Farnworth asks them to avoid using ghostwriters and instead hire people who can write, but in their own names.

If you would like to read Farnworth’s blog in its entirety, it can be found at this link: http://blog.raventools.com/truth-about-ghostwriting/.

 

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