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"The second most-frequent writing request, after books, is for school papers.  We respond to all such queries by refusing to help a student cheat himself (or herself) out of an education."
David Leonhardt of The Happy Guy Marketing, as quoted in Maclean's

Freelance writer logo Are You Ready for a Ghostwriter?

By Debra Christian and

Everyone has a story to tell. But getting those stories written and published can be daunting. Choosing a topic, anticipating reader questions, developing a critical main point, and creating a unique style are just some of the challenges you will face.

An experienced ghostwriter can tackle these problems for you and turn your exciting idea into a publishable book. Working with a ghostwriter to complete your project is ethical, inspiring, and educational. You can learn enough about the business of writing to go on and completely write your next book on your own. Ghostwriters provide guidance and assistance that can bring your creative talent to fruition.

A word on ethics:

Remember, it is your story, your expertise in the subject and your message that is being written. The ghostwriter adds his or her writing expertise to help you communicate your message. This is completely ethical. However, a reputable freelance writer agency such as The Happy Guy Marketing does NOT ghostwrite educational assignments. Period.

Generally, authors can choose from two basic types of books to write: fiction and non-fiction. The fictional type includes stories that may be based on real life or are simply imagined. There are many fictional categories, with some stories blending more than one style, or genre, such as contemporary romance/historical romance, fantasy/science fiction, suspense/thriller, action/adventure, character/epic, and many more.

On the other hand, non-fiction writing comprises practical or self-help topics by experts or professionals, and may include cookbooks, how-to guides, relationships, child discipline, spirituality and religion, reference, history, biography, business and finance, etc.

In both the fiction and non-fiction areas, books can be geared toward children, teens, and adults of various levels of understanding, from novices to professionals in a given niche.

Although most people search ghostwriters for books, people seek ghostwriters for other texts, such as speeches, website copy, blog posts, articles and other documents that they simply do not have the time, skill or patience to write themselves.

What's your book idea?

Maybe you have the nucleus of an idea that needs further development. A ghostwriter can help you brainstorm the topic to see if a book thesis, or main point, will emerge. Some people just want to publish a book on a topic that is dear to them, like religious faith or raising children, and they hand over the idea to a ghostwriter who will develop an outline of possible chapter topics and submit them to the client for negotiation or approval, after which the ghostwriter goes on to complete the book with some (or no) input from the client. Actually, a number of scenarios can play out between author and ghostwriter:

  • Author submits an idea; ghostwriter massages it until a main point emerges.
  • Author submits an outline; ghostwriter develops book sections chapter titles.
  • Author submits a rough or partial draft; ghostwriter rewrites the draft for clarity, focus, and enhanced development.
  • Author submits a book manuscript; ghostwriter overhauls the manuscript to lengthen, shorten, improve, tighten, or focus the book.
  • Writing second or subsequent drafts is negotiated separately.
  • Editing and proofreading are negotiated separately.
  • Publishing and marketing are handled by the client and/or publisher.

Preparing for the ghostwriter

The more you have prepared in advance, the lower the cost will be for you. Ideally, the writer does not have to do any outside research, because you have done it all. If you provide your information in a complete and organized fashion, it saves time and money. Make sure all your information is provided, so that the writer has everything you want in the book. But don't just dump ten crates of newspaper clippings and scribbled notes on the writer's desk, because that will take a lot of time to sort through. Ideally, you can provide the following information:

  • The major points you want to get across to your readers.
  • A list of all the minor points, for instance in a how-to, self-help, biography or history book.
  • A list of each character and all the visual and personality characteristics important to you.
  • Details about location, weather, and other aspects of the environment in which the characters are seen.
  • How you or your characters felt or what you thought about everything that is happening in the story.

FREE: work sheet for describing your characters

FREE: work sheet for children’s book characters

Of course, the writer is a skilled artist who can create as much of this for you as you wish...and that is the key. How much of the details are important to you, and how much do you want the author to fill in. The more specific you are about anything important to you, the better job the writer will do delivering precisely the book you would have written yourself – your very own manuscript!

The author and ghostwriter, after discussing the state of the information and the expectations of the author, will agree on the work that is to be performed, resulting in a written contract that specifies some or all of the following:

  • Nature and/or scope of project (book, article, novel, series, etc.)
  • Length of completed manuscript (usually between 40,000 and 100,000 words)
  • Choice of genre (fiction v. non-fiction, etc.)
  • Intended audience, i.e., adult, youth, Christian, business, etc.
  • Specific tasks to be performed related to the project, such as interviews, research, surveys, graphs and charts, etc.
  • Estimated due-date of first draft and final product (if more than one draft).
  • Payment terms and rates.
  • Author’s rights, i.e., acknowledgement of ghostwriter, copy of work for ghostwriter, rights and royalties, etc.

An author may want to guide the process carefully and closely from the starting point. Or the author may choose to relinquish control to the ghostwriter, claiming sole authorship by the project’s conclusion. Most agreements fall somewhere between these two extremes, but it is the author's responsibility to make sure the project is proceeding along the lines he or she wants. It should also be remembered that the timeline is always an estimate, because the author might choose to delay things while considering options and direction. This is critical if the author is going to ensure his own satisfaction of the completed manuscript.

When you are ready to consult a ghostwriter, you have two options. You can hire one yourself, which means doing a lot of research into prices, services, and credentials. Ask about a free consultation with the ghostwriter, and you may wish to request published samples of the writer’s work.

The other option is to go through an agency such as The Happy Guy Marketing, which has already done much of this work for you. It is still a good idea to ask to see samples of the writer's work, and it is vital that you speak to him or her and decide if the two of you can work together to achieve the results you are looking for.

Why work with a book ghostwriter

In crafting an agreement to work with a ghostwriter, be prepared to discuss your availability for consulting on the project, your special goals for the book, and your objectives for choosing a ghostwriter instead of writing the book yourself. Many times, experienced authors seek help from ghostwriters simply because they are too busy to write a book or business document that they could handle very well on their own.

Here are a few reasons you might want to work with a ghostwriter

  • Writing skills to best deliver your desired message.
  • Publishing, writing, and editing experience.
  • Ability to objectively create a manuscript for your readers.
  • Knowledge of publishing trends and marketing niches.
  • Ability to work quickly and, if desired, independently, on various topics.
  • Specialization in your field(s) of interest.
  • Collaborative capabilities to round out ideas and book themes.

Feel free to contact us for more information. We have worked with dozens of satisfied clients to bring their dreams to life. We will be happy to discuss your book idea and help guide you in the right direction for getting it into print.

For more free writing-related articles for reprint, please see our article directory.

Note that we no longer allow reprinting on the Internet, as Google strongly frowns on this means of promoting a business. However, we often write helpful guest posts, so please feel free to send us an email if you are interested or if you wish to reprint offline.

Let our freelance ghost writers write the words that could have come from your very own mouth.

Ghostwriters for Hire

"How can I find a ghostwriter," you ask? We make finding a ghostwriter easy. If you are looking for a professional writer for your book, report, speech, marketing materials, website copy or other project, contact us for a free quote. The more details you provide, the better we can serve you:

Your name (required):

Your email (required):

Your phone number (required):

What type of book or other document is this? (required)

Desired length of finished document in number of words (required):

Details – please tell us how organized your information is and in what state you can provide it for our writer. This will have an obvious bearing on your cost. If there are other details, such as deadlines, special requirements, goals and the market for your book, please include them here:




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