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Could a ghostwriter help you write your story?

If your ambition is to write your memoir or life story or to write your family history but you just don’t have the time or confidence to write it yourself, then using a ghostwriter could be the answer.

Reasons why people use ghostwriters

The most common reasons why authors turn to ghostwriters are:

  • not enough time
  • a lack of writing experience

Writing is a very time-consuming business and it can be frustrating if what you write is not as fluent or as engaging as you would like. For some people, writing doesn’t come easily and so enlisting the help of a professional ghostwriter helps them to achieve their dream.

The ghostwriting process

Recorded interviews between you (the client/author) and the ghostwriter, are at the heart of a ghostwritten book. This is how a ghostwriter gets to know you and starts to build up a picture of you and the stories you want to tell. This isn’t just a simple transcription job. A ghostwriter will take your words and turn them into fluent prose without losing your voice (i.e. your personality, your use of words and expressions etc.).

Many aspiring authors can tell great stories and captivate an audience with their amusing anecdotes but they don’t have the writing skills or know where or how to start writing. Beyond the interviews which capture your ideas and stories, a ghostwriter will go on to manage all of the things you struggle with from structuring, writing and editing to preparing your book for printing and publishing.

What if you have already have written something?

If you already have a rough draft or a collection notes, a ghostwriter can help you to bring it all together to create a meaningful and interesting story or collection of stories.

Alternatively, if you have already written most of your book but there are parts you are not happy with, then bringing in a ghostwriter can help you to get over the final hurdle. This may involve reorganising or restructuring your text or rewriting or editing some bits, but a ghostwriter will ensure that your voice and style still come through.

Your stories are your legacy

Although some people choose to keep their research and stories online (for example, a website or blog), one of the best ways of preserving and sharing your personal and/or family stories is to create a printed book. Computers and other electronic storage devices will probably become inaccessible or obsolete in the future whereas a printed book is something which can be passed down through the generations.

Whose name appears on the cover of a ghostwritten book?

As the author, your name is the only name that will appear on the cover. Typically a ghostwriter gets no credit unless the author chooses to acknowledge them.

Who owns the copyright?

In general, the author/creator automatically owns the copyright of their original work. However, when you use the services of a ghostwriter, the copyright is typically owned by the ghostwriter until the final payment has been made at which point the copyright is transferred to the author.

In the UK there is no need to register a copyright unless you anticipate any subsequent copyright issues – for example, registration provides verifiable evidence of the date and content of a work in the event of a dispute over ownership and rights.

Is it cheating to use a ghostwriter?

Well, many people don’t think think so. From celebrities to sportspeople to politicians to professionals, many of these use ghostwriters to write their books if they don’t have the time or skill to do it themselves.

How to find a ghostwriter

Unless you already know a ghostwriter, an internet search is a good starting point. However, as a very experienced writer and editor, the founder and author of the Beginners Guide to Writing website and the writer and publisher of two handbooks How to Write Your Family History Piece by Piece and Getting Started as Writer: Practical Tips for Writers of Nonfiction, I am now offering my services as a ghostwriter.

I have recently gained a Distinction in a Ghostwriting Business Diploma run by the Centre of Excellence and would love the opportunity to start working with my first clients. An internet search will reveal that the rates charged by some ghostwriters and ghostwriting agencies can be quite high but I would like to work with some clients at a reduced negotiable rate based on the length of the book etc. as an opening ‘new business’ offer.

If you are interested, please go to my Contact to find out how to get in touch with me.