What Does Ghostwriting Mean?

Before you think it, ghostwriting doesn’t mean writing about ghosts – and yes, I have been asked that before. An easy mistake to make if you’re a literal thinker! But if it’s not that, what does ghostwriting mean? 

What is ghostwriting?

Simply put, ghostwriting is the act of writing on someone else’s behalf, without receiving credit/a byline. This is often in the form of books, articles, copy, or speeches, but is generally used to describe the process of writing a book under someone else’s name. More accurately though, it’s a collaboration between the client and the writer, where the client brings the idea and the writer brings that idea to life.

It might sound a little dodgy to start with, but it’s actually a pretty transparent process which benefits both parties – and can wind up being a really wholesome experience if both parties are on the same page. Excuse the pun. 

How does ghostwriting work?

Depending on the client and the ghostwriter, it can work in a number of ways. Generally however you can expect to have regular calls/in-person meetings with your ghostwriter so they can understand you, your tone of voice, your project, and your overall goals. 

It’ll also work slightly differently depending on the genre of your book. If it’s a memoir, there’ll be more in-depth interviews re you and your life story. If it’s a novel, the interviews will likely focus on developing the narrative and the characters. And if it’s non-fiction, the interviews will centre on the main topics, themes, and research you’ll have already conducted. 

Your ghostwriter will continue to check in with you as they write your book to make sure you’re happy with the way the chapters are forming and they’ll also do a full proof and edit once you have a first draft. Disclaimer: it’s extremely advisable to hire an additional editor before you proceed to publishing, particularly if you’ve decided to self-publish.

How much does ghostwriting cost?

How long is a piece of string? Or more accurately, how long is your book and how complex is it? Most ghostwriters charge on a per word or per project basis – and they also charge based on their knowledge and experience of the book writing world. 

Personally, at Killer Copy, I charge £175 per 1000 words plus between £2,000 and 5,000 for the initial preparation time – which largely depends on the complexities of your project. In the real world, this might look like something between £16,000 and £19,000 for an 80,000 word novel, or between £12,500 and £15,500 for a 60,000 word non-fiction book – just to give you an idea.

How to find a ghostwriter?

Google will likely be your first port of call, and I’d also advise looking on social media and asking for recommendations. There’s a lot of ghostwriting agencies about but the most important thing is having a strong relationship with your ghostwriter and this can be made difficult working with a third party provider. The key is to find someone you vibe with and who you trust to tell your story. 

Looking to hire a ghostwriter to write your first or next book? I’d love to chat with you. Feel free to have a mooch around my website, check out my Instagram page, and fill in my contact form so we can arrange a no-obligation call at a time to suit you.

Picture of Amy Killingbeck

Amy Killingbeck

With a background in Law and over 10 years’ ‘side-hustling’ as a freelance writer, Amy now runs her own copywriting business helping creative and authentic business owners find their unique brand voice, transforming it into meaningful, engaging copy that sounds just like them and attracts their dream clients.

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