Monday, November 5, 2012

Ghostwriting: A Book for Writers

Tomorrow is Election Day, the day set aside for presidential elections by Congress in 1845 when they made election years divisible by four and designated Election Day as the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Election Day provides a guaranteed right for every United States citizen to cast their vote for their choice for President. Exercise your right to have your say.

Of course, along with politics, politicians and political campaigns, comes a flurry of speeches and other forms of communication from the candidates, including books, many of which are written by ghost writers. According to the President Profiles website, few Presidents have written their own speeches and books, stating that, “Understandably, being able to write well is not an ordinary requirement in a chief executive.” Apparently the most accomplished penman among all the presidents was Theodore Roosevelt, who earned substantial royalties for his works of history.

But ghostwriting opportunities go far beyond writing speeches and books for politicians. Ghostwriters are used by business professionals, celebrities, and anyone who has something they would like to write but does not want to write it themselves. It is an avenue for writers that has grown in recent years with the popularity of memoir. According to, the most popular type of writing people seek ghostwriters for are biographies/memoirs and business manuscripts. But ghostwriters are also used for articles, online website writing, reports, screenplays, self-help manuscripts, and just about any type of writing.

I recently finished a book titled Ghostwriting by Andrew Crofts, one book in the Writing Handbooks series published by A & C Black Publishers Limited of London. Crofts is an English ghostwriter whose many subjects have topped bestseller charts in the United Kingdom and other countries, and is considered one of Britain’s most successful ghostwriters.

In Ghostwriting Crofts explains that being a ghostwriter is a fascinating way to live if you are someone who enjoys trying out new and different lives, and who is comfortable being a spectator for much of the time. He clearly presents the ins and outs of becoming a ghostwriter, not only giving answers as to why one might want to become a ghostwriter, but also explaining why one might not want to become a ghostwriter.

 He explains that ghosting gives writers access to stories they may otherwise never come across, provides valuable writing experience, allows writers to get on with other work while others take care of the promotional work, etc. On the other hand, he explains that a writer who prefers voicing their own opinions too much might find difficulty in listening to other people’s opinions and writing about them, or a writer may be shy and uncomfortable spending such a concentrated amount of time with their subjects, as well as other potential conflicts that might arise from things such as preoccupation, ego, ethics, etc..

Crofts further gives advice on how to get started as a ghostwriter, on how to get paid, on contracts, on agents, on producing a synopsis for your project, on research and working with your client, and more.

People hire ghostwriters for a variety of reasons: they believe they don’t have the ability to write it themselves, they don’t have the time to write it themselves, they need a broader perspective, and a variety of other reasons. If you have an interest in becoming a ghost writer, Ghostwriting provides important and useful guidance.

1 comment:

Jennifer Rova said...

I ghost write under a pseudonym. I do it just for fun. It started four years ago when I wanted to write a column for a writing group's newsletter but didn't want it it known that it was I who was writing it. It was great fun to listen to the speculations about this pen name and who s/he was. I think I would ghost write under certain for a friend's autobiography or to help a nonprofit group with their procedural guidelines or brochures. Writing is writing and the experience is fun and advances my abilities.