The Subtle Art Of Ghostwriting


“Paper, Snow… A Ghost!”

Joey Tribianni, 2004

Ghostwriting. A hack? Deceit? Or merely an easier way for an author to deliver to his readers?

As a profession, ghostwriting has been around for centuries. It seems ludicrous when you hear it for the first time, but some of the most famous books we know today were ghostwritten.

You want examples? Well, for beginners, there’s The Count Of Monty Cristo from the year 1846. There’s also Nancy Drew from the 1930s,and of course, we can’t forget the fairly modern A Series Of Unfortunate Events from 1999.

All three of these and hundreds of others were written by people who haven’t officially authored them. But they’re still good reads. Even if the writers “ghosted” us, the final products we received were remarkable pieces of art. On the other hand, these art pieces could not have existed if the actual authors hadn’t hired people to bring their visions to life.

So, to sum it up, the contributions of both parties was necessary for us to get our hands on these amazing books.

But think about it. Why would someone write an entire book or large portions of a book and agree to not get credit?

It’s for the money. Ghostwriters get paid for their work by the hour.

If they do their jobs well enough, they’d ask for higher pay. This is why you’ll find that there are tons of individuals and businesses out there today that offer professional ghostwriting services for authors around the globe.

But why do authors pay ghostwriters to do their job for them? In the case of beginners, one of the major reasons is writer’s block or anxiety. But even famous authors sometimes outsource their projects. There it’s generally more about their busy schedules.

In either case, the book’s owners are still involved in the process to some extent, but they’d leave most of the work to other people.

But How Do Ghostwriters Do It?

Well, beneath each piece lies a process. It’s not as straight forward as it seems. You don’t simple write something and be done with it. In fact, a ghostwriter generally has tons considerations to go through before claiming a job well done.

Matching Client Intent

When a ghostwriter begins their journey, they need to dive deep into the imaginations of their clients to understand how the actual author sees things. This adaptability is what breathes life into a writer’s projects under the umbrella of ghost writing through varying genres and worldviews.

Accuracy And Integrity

Next, they have to immerse themselves in research to understand how it can all be merged into a well-written story. So, they explore unfamiliar territories, analyzing and investigating in order to assure authenticity and accuracy. Thoroughness is significant starting from historical events to technical details.

Immaculate Imitation

One of the biggest challenges facing ghostwriters is trying to match their clients’ voice and their style. They can’t write the way they usually do. The true ghost writers have no fixed identity but can easily become one with the author inside them. They have to get their clients’ tone and mannerisms exactly right. Only then would the ghosts be able to give the impression that authors penned their works themselves.

Balancing Creativity And Authenticity

However creative one might be, ghostwriting must always bend itself towards customers’ expectations or objectives. So, every writer adjusts to their client’s style be it informal or formal; because the art of ghostwriting goes beyond imitation – it also involves ingenuity and cooperation. They collaborate closely with their clients and keep refining until the work sparkles.

Is Ghostwriting All Fun And Games?

Well, it certainly may seem like it. But, unfortunately, ghostwriting comes with its share of challenges. So, it’s not for everyone. You can also strive if you’re passionate about creating impeccable literature at the cost of your anonymity. Plus, we can’t brush over the facts that…

  1. There are instances where ethical quandaries arise
  2. Revisions can prove demanding at times

Nonetheless witnessing the creation – knowing they played a part in bringing someone’s narrative to life – makes it all meaningful.

The Avenues Of Ghostwriting

There once was a time when it was all about books. But today, you might be taken aback by how wide ghostwritten content has spread out. It’s nearly everywhere in the digital spectrum today.

Whether you look at communication channels, social media posts, online blog content, celebrity autobiographies, or entrepreneur’s sessions… there is a lot of content that’s outsourced to save the time and effort of the person you see. To further exemplify…

  • When it comes to publishing, ghostwriters put across the stories that their authors might not have the ability or time to pen down on their own.
  • Plus, ghostwriters perform a very important role in creating corporate messages, to maintain clarity, cohesion, and consistency with corporate brands.
  • Through blog posts and social media content, ghostwriters also imbue the digital platforms with appealing stories that amplify a brand’s voice.
  • Underneath every successful memoir or autobiography, there are ghostwriters whose artistic touch turns bland stories into gripping accounts.

As I mentioned earlier, most wealthy people and businesses might review a ghostwriter’s content to ensure they get what they paid for. But they just don’t have enough time to personally write out every single thing they put out. So, it’s an easy way out.

Final Thoughts

I believe there’s no major harm in ghostwriting, as long as you get good end-products. But you do wonder… shouldn’t the actual writers receive recognition for their efforts?

And I agree to some extent. Some suggest increased transparency to allow readers to understand the authors behind the content.

But hey, anonymity is what they signed up for. So, ultimately, it’s up to the official author whether they want to reveal if their work was ghostwritten to begin with, and by whom.

And if a ghostwriter wants to become a public author, who’s stopping them from coming up with their own creative novels or short stories, right?

Yet, while the debate over transparency continues, one thing remains clear. Ghostwriters possess a unique skill set that enables them to craft compelling narratives across various genres and industries.

So, when you dive into a book or an article, keep in mind – there could be a ghostwriter shaping the narrative from the shadows.


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