What Is a Ghostwriter? 9 Things, Plus!

What Is a Ghostwriter?

In brief, he’s an expert at writing books for other people.

Memoirs, business books, health books, books on art or history, philosophy or sports – any kind of book.

Although the book ghostwriter does the writing, only the client’s name appears on the cover and title page, and the client receives all the credit.

How much of the writing the ghostwriter does depends on the client.

Sometimes, the ghostwriter begins with nothing more than a simple concept provided by the client, and does all of the research and writing, rewriting and editing. In other cases, the ghostwriter works closely with the client, bouncing ideas back and forth, using some of the material the client wrote and creating the rest himself. Every situation is different.

So the quick answer to the question “what is a ghostwriter?” is simple: a ghostwriter is an expert in writing books for other people. But there’s really more to it than that.

What is a ghostwriter? Beyond just writing

Depending on what kind of book you wish to write, your starting point, and how your book will be published, the professional ghostwriter you hire may be many things, including:

  • An eager ear who wants to hear all that you have to say, then picks out the good stuff to put into the book.
  • An honest critic who tells you when your “hot idea” is actually kind of chilly. Someone who will tell you if the explanation, plan or program you’ve come up with isn’t up to snuff, or if your story line has drifted off course.
  • A “big picture thinker” who makes sure your concepts, explanations and/or stories connect to each other, with nothing left out and nothing overblown.
  • A researcher who can help fill in some of the gaps in your plan, explanations, story or knowledge.
  • An expert wordsmith who knows when to use “who” or “whom,” among other things.
  • A publishing consultant who explains how to work with a literary agent, should you wish to have your book published by a standard publisher. Or, if you prefer self-publishing, someone who can guide you through the process.
  • A team leader who coordinates with the author – that’s you – as well as the copyeditor, proofreader and anyone else who might be involved.
  • A coach who keeps you going when your energy flags – which happens often because writing a book can be taxing!
  • A nitpicker who makes sure every detail is just right.

And that’s just the beginning of the job description!

In sum, what is a ghostwriter? 

An expert at making you look great in print and making your dream of becoming an author come true. It’s well worth your while to find and work with a top-notch ghostwriter.

For a nice summation of what ghostwriters are and what they do, see Valerie Peterson’s article titled “Learn About Ghostwriting.”

If you’d like help writing your book…

Contact ghostwriters Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor. Use the contact form on this page to send us a message, or call us at 818-917-5362.

You can learn more about ghostwriters and ghostwriting in general on our “What is a Professional Ghostwriter?” page.