What is a professional ghostwriter?

A professional ghostwriter is both an expert wordsmith and a “big picture” thinker who ensures that your book is written in a style appropriate to its subject and contains all the necessary material – but no more. The ghostwriter is also an eager ear, an honest critic, a researcher, and more.

To learn about the specific services ghostwriters offer, see “Ghostwriting Services.” 

What is the ghostwriting process?

In other words, how do you work with your ghostwriter?

That depends on you. You and your ghostwriter may sit down together to create your book from scratch. Or, the ghostwriter may do all of the conceptualizing and writing, while you simply provide some initial ideas and information. Or the ghostwriter may work from material that’s already prepared, turning a rough first draft into a polished manuscript.

For more, see “How Does Ghostwriting Work? Here Are Five Ways”

How do I get the most out of my professional ghostwriter?

In other words, how do you establish a great working relationship? This is important, for you want your ghostwriter to be enthusiastic about working on your project, talking with you, interviewing others, reviewing the manuscript over and over again, and going the extra mile to ensure that your book is as good as it can be.

Beyond treating your ghostwriter with courtesy and respect, remember to:

  • Regard the first draft as a first draft. Don’t attack the ghostwriter if you don’t love it, and don’t throw your hands up in despair. Ghostwriters often make  guesses in the first draft, just to see how you’ll respond. Welcome it as an opportunity to adjust course.
  • Don’t keep changing your mind about your book’s content and tone. Yes, there’s time for experimentation early on, but once you’ve set the parameters, stick with them unless there’s a compelling reason not to. Randomly ricocheting from one approach to the other slows things down.
  • Read each draft of the material as it is sent to you. Read it carefully, and respond with your critique punctually.
  • Behave professionally, and treat your ghostwriter as a professional.

For more, see “Working with a Ghostwriter.”

Who owns my book, if it was actually written by a professional ghostwriter?

It depends, and this issue should be addressed in the agreement between you and your ghost. Generally speaking, a ghostwriter is either paid a flat fee and does not own a “piece” of the book, or is given partial ownership of the book as part of the payment.

Who gets the credit?

Only your name appears on the book. The ghostwriter is “invisible” and fades away once the work is complete. Depending on the contract, the ghostwriter may or may not receive an acknowledgement in the book.

You always have the option, of course, of giving the ghostwriter “with” or “as told to” credit on the cover. This issue should be addressed in your ghostwriting agreement.

Is the ghostwriter allowed to tell people that he/she wrote my book?

That depends on your agreement. You may agree that your book can be listed on the ghostwriter’s website and resume as a ghostwritten project. Or you may stipulate that it can only be listed as “edited,” not “ghostwritten.” Or you may request complete confidentiality, which means the ghostwriter must remain silent.

How are professional ghostwriters paid?

Experienced ghostwriters almost always work on a fee-only basis. They rarely write on spec; that is, writing your manuscript without charging an upfront fee, in exchange for a percentage of the royalties you anticipate earning. That’s because books are always a gamble: even the most professionally-written manuscript, with an incredibly “hot” topic and created by a top ghostwriter, may not earn a lot of money.

For a look at what ghostwriters charge, see “What Does It Cost to Hire a Book Ghostwriter?”

How do I find the best ghostwriter?

Finding any old ghostwriter is easy thanks to the Internet. But finding a top ghostwriter, and one who’s just right for you, will take a bit of effort. The best approach is to make a list of experienced ghostwriters who can handle the kind of book you want to write, and who charge fees that are within in your range.

Then, talk to each one. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with, the ghost who has the personal characteristics that are most important to you. For example, you might want someone who is sympathetic and empathetic, has a good sense of humor, behaves professionally, is well-organized, and so on. This is crucial, for you must feel that you can trust this person to help craft your message to the world.

Equally important, look for a ghostwriter who will challenge you to make your book even better – the one who is eager to improve your concept and can actually do so. That’s a top ghostwriter!

For more, see “Looking for a Ghostwriter.”

Do I need a ghostwriter who lives nearby?

No, it’s not necessary to work with a ghostwriter who lives in your city. We are based in Los Angeles, California and work with people and companies across the U.S. and around the world. Thanks to the telephone, email and Skype, you are able to search the world to find the best ghostwriter for you.

What types of books do professional ghostwriters write?

All types, including business books, memoirs, health books, inspirational books, history books, art books, and works of fiction. No matter what the genre, your ghost will help you select the most effective writing style – which is often plain old English. For more, see “Readable Writing Review.”

Can a ghostwriter really be qualified to write on more than one topic? Even an experienced ghostwriter?

Yes. Remember, the ghost is an expert at converting information and ideas into a book; he/she doesn’t have to be an expert in the particular topic. The truly professional ghostwriter’s expertise is the ability to understand the material and explain it clearly to the average person.

For more, see “Selecting a Ghostwriter.”

Is it cheating to use a professional ghostwriter?

No. Readers of non-fiction books are interested in your ideas; they don’t really care whether you wrote every word by yourself, or had help. In fact, many people automatically assume that books authored by politicians, athletes, entertainers and business figures are ghostwritten.

You might enjoy reading this article on “Fantastic Ghostwriters and Where to Find Them,” which mentions some of the well-known people who have used ghostwriters.

What does a ghostwriting contract look like?

There is no set format for a professional ghostwriting contract. There are, however, several items that should be covered, including exactly what is to be written, who handles the research, who does the “main” writing, who gets authorship credit, when work is to begin, which benchmarks are to be met by certain dates, and more.

The contract is important; it sets the terms of your relationship, so read it carefully. And don’t be afraid to express your concerns or ask for changes.

For more, see “The Book Ghostwriting Contract.”

Should I hire a professional ghostwriter as soon as I get my idea?

Set aside the “how to hire a ghostwriter” issue until you’ve thought through some important questions, such as why you are writing your book, what you want from a ghostwriter, and whether you prefer standard or self-publishing.

For more, see “Before You Hire a Writer, Consider These 5 Questions.”

Thinking through these issues will prepare you to hire the best ghostwriter for you. Then you can go ahead and Google “professional ghostwriter,” “best ghostwriter,” “top ghostwriter,” “experienced ghostwriter” or something similar, put together a list of candidates, and start interviewing them.

For more, see “How To Hire a Ghostwriter in Six Steps.”

What’s the difference between an author, a writer and a ghostwriter?

The author is the person whose name appears on the book. For your book, you are the author. The writer is the person who actually writes it. If the writer is named on the book, she’s known as the coauthor; if not, she’s the ghostwriter.

Should I search for a “ghostwriter” or “ghost writer?” Is it one word or two?

In the United States we typically spell “ghostwriter” as one word, while other English-speaking countries use two words: “ghost writer.” Some “hire-a-writer” firms hedge their bets, using both “ghostwriter” and “ghost writer” on their sites.

How do I know if I need a professional ghostwriter?

If you don’t have enough time to write your book, you need a ghostwriter.

If you have a great idea but aren’t sure how to turn it into a full-fledged book, you need a ghostwriter.

If you’ve written or dictated a first draft but it’s not up to snuff, you need a ghostwriter.

If your writing is too technical for the layperson; if you have a wealth of knowledge and practical experience but can’t figure out how to organize and present it; if you want to make sure your message is delivered clearly, concisely and in a manner that appeals to the reading public, you need a professional ghostwriter.

One more time: People really use professional ghostwriters? Honestly?

Yes! Lots of people, from all walks of life, use ghostwriters. Even politicians. Senator Hillary Clinton, President John F. Kennedy, and First Lady Laura Bush are just a few of the politicians mentioned in the Washington Post’s article Who Wrote That Political Memoir? No, Who Actually Wrote It? For a quick look at celebrities and their professional ghostwriters, see NPR’s article, “So You Need A Celebrity Book. Who You Gonna Call? Ghostwriters.”

Are you ready to write?

If you’re ready to begin working with a professional ghostwriter to create your book, call Barry Fox or Nadine Taylor at 818-917-5362.

If you’d like more information, see what VIPs have said about our ghostwriting process on the Testimonials Page.

Think of us as your confidential “ghostwriters for hire” who will turn your ideas and experiences into an exciting, thought-provoking book. Our works include:

Make-Your-Best-Life, another project by professional ghostwriter Barry FoxAn inspirational memoir by the former president/board member of Toys “R” Us.
Diana and Dodi, another project by professional ghostwriters Barry Fox and Nadine TaylorAn eyewitness account of Princess Diana’s last romance and final days.
The Arthritis Cure, another project by professional ghostwriter Barry FoxA New York Times #1 bestseller that sold over a million copies.
another project by professional ghostwriter and editor Barry FoxElisabeth Kubler-Ross’s final book, which delves into the mysteries of life and living.