What is Ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is the process by which a writer is hired via a ghostwriting agency or by establishing contact with an independent freelance ghostwriter, to tell a story in written form (usually a book), for which someone else will be credited. While one would want to hire a ghostwriter for the same reasons one would hire a copywriter or technical writer. The key difference in skill sets between a ghostwriter and these other modes of writing is the ability to mirror the intended tone of the person for whom the work will be credited.
Things with Which Ghostwriting Is Oftentimes Confused
There are 2 primary processes in the writing world with which ghostwriting is often confused: 1) publishing written work under a pseudonym and 2) editing. While the latter isn’t confused by definition, it is oftentimes what’s needed when ghostwriting is requested, so we’ll cover the latter first.
Ghostwriting vs. Editing: Key Differences
This may sound so obvious that it needn’t be stated, but we receive many inquiries on this ghostwriting services page for projects that are better suited for our editing services and pricing. This is worth mentioning because not only is ghostwriting more expensive than editing, the two processes are drastically different in duration, scope, and function.
While it’s tempting to “upsell” a prospective client from our editing services to a ghostwriting contract, our top priority is to give our clients exactly what they need. Editors are needed to improve preexisting written works for which the bulk of the content has already been produced, whereas ghostwriters are needed to shoulder the vast majority of both the writing and creative processes. If the prior of these two seems more fitting, visit our editing services page.
Publishing Works Under a Pseudonym
While similar to publishing work under a pseudonym, there’s a key distinction between this and ghostwriting: work published under a pseudonym, while indicating a name different from the actual author, is still produced by the same writer, whereas ghostwritten works involve 2 separate parties in the writer and person hired to complete the project.
It’s been rumored that some authors (e.g. Isaac Asimov and J.K. Rowling), have routinely published work under the pseudonyms Paul French and Robert Galbraith, respectively. Additionally, in eras of lesser intellectual egalitarianism, various women published writings under male pseudonyms, because they felt it was necessary to gain fair recognition for their work.
For example, it’s been hypothesized that Shakespeare was a woman, and that the Gawain Poet chose to remain nameless to conceal her gender in the process of gaining acknowledgment for her work. As fascinating as these examples are, most contemporary motivations for publishing written work under a name different than the one on an individual’s birth certificate have grown commensurately in variety and scope with the demand and supply of the marketplace for written works. Much like the underground economy, the true scale of ghostwriting’s prevalence today is impossible to measure given the confidentiality clauses built into most ghostwriting projects and contracts.
Ghostwriting Is Not Plagiarism
WordWoven employs a strict no-plagiarism policy. This means we neither accept payment to complete projects that constitute or overlook the practice of plagiarism. The difference is usually the context of the written work.
For example, if the intended audience of your work expects your work to be an original production of yours (e.g., a college essay or doctoral dissertation), and you attempt to hire us to complete the project for you, we’ll reject the proposal outright because it constitutes plagiarism. However, in commercial contexts, this rule almost always doesn’t apply. Visit our Services and Pricing section at the end of this page for more details about this distinction.
When Do I Need a Ghostwriter?
The need to hire a ghostwriter usually applies to book-length written works in the non-fiction genre. However, anything can be ghostwritten for a different medium and purpose. E.g., a copywriter may “ghostwrite” a series of articles for a CEO, and the latter of these examples may apply to your needs more than the former. While the reasons for seeking a ghostwriter are various, but at least one of the below conditions usually merits embarking on the process of finding the best ghostwriter for the written work you’d like to produce.
1. You’ve Wanted to Write a Book for a Long Time, and Haven’t
There’s a reason writers are paid well for their work: writing well can be brutally difficult and slow. If this applies to you, it doesn’t mean your story isn’t worth telling; it merely means you need help telling it. From having an original, central theme that needs to be outlined and fulfilled to having many facets of a story you’re having trouble tying into a cohesive message, this is the most common reason behind the ghostwriting inquiries we receive.
2. You Have Trouble Finding Your Tone in Writing
You may want to publish a memoir in the form of a book-length written work, but feel you’re better at capturing the tone of your voice in speaking out loud than you are in transcribing words to a page.
3. You’re an Industry Thought Leader In Search of a New Style for Your Next Book
Perhaps you’ve published a book in the past and are already familiar with the publishing process, but want to test a new tone in your next book (without giving away it wasn’t written by you, of course). In other words, While copywriters are responsible for similar processes in maintaining fidelity to the identity and tone of a brand, the purpose of ghostwritten content ranges drastically in purpose when compared to other forms of writing.
How to Hire a Ghostwriter
If you want to know how to get a ghostwriter for your book or find a ghostwriter for any other written work, you’re in the right place. It’s m9re difficult to vet a ghostwriter, because they must be discreet about previous ghostwriting projects they’ve completed for others. Furthermore, people aren’t likely to leave reviews of freelance ghostwriters on online platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, because doing so would reveal to others that they aren’t the author of the work in question. This means you have to do your due diligence, trust freelance ghostwriters when they describe their experience, or find a freelance writer whose tone and body of work is befitting of the needs for the work you’d like them to ghostwrite.
How Much Do Ghostwriters Cost?
This is one of WordWoven’s writing services with varying degrees of pricing, which hinge not just on the duration of the ghostwriting project, but also our writing staff’s familiarity with the subject matter in question and the frequency with which follow-up with our clients is needed to ensure the project is completed to the client’s liking.
A Sample of Our Book-Length Work: Customer Reviews
Our Ghostwriting Services and Pricing
WordWoven is a complete ghostwriting agency, with staff and connections necessary to secure the right information, tone, and story for the intended ghostwritten work. As a reputable writing and content-based company, we are among the most affordable ghostwriting agencies in the USA. If you hire WordWoven for a ghostwriting project, we’ll maintain such fidelity to your voice, story, and experience while harnessing your vision into a professionally conveyed message that nobody will suspect the work to be anything other than a byproduct of your imagination.
And, as our client, you will have as much control over the project as you desire. Given how well-versed our team is in ghostwriting for a range of projects with various degrees of control, our experience ensures you’ll be able to maintain your desired degree of involvement in the production and creative process of producing the ghostwritten work.
Memoirs – 30 (¢) Per Word
Unlike an autobiography, a memoir focuses on a particular portion of someone’s life in great detail. Most memoirs are at least 90,000 words, making the baseline cost for a finished memoir $27,000.
Autobiographies and Novel-Length Non-Fiction Works – 35 (¢) Per Word
While similar to a memoir in conveying personal experience to its audience, the autobiography follows a more comprehensive timeline that usually spans the length of someone’s entire life. Similar to the memoir in its average length of 90,000 words, the average cost for this service is $31,500. The slightly higher price per word is warranted by the amount of research and interviewing needed to successfully complete the project.
This ghostwriting service maintains the higher of the 2 pricing options from WordWoven given the fact this service requires less reliance on sheer writing ability (which we already have in droves) and more on specific subject matter expertise in a particular industry or reader interest.
Our General Policies for Ghostwriting Projects
While we are accommodating to client requests, ghostwritten works usually take longer to write given the fact that the final product usually culminates in a book-length ghostwritten work. Therefore, we’ll cover a couple basic processes important to a successful ghostwriting process before divulging pricing information.
Contracts Are Built to Avoid Major Mid-Project Changes
Given the extended period of time it takes to finish a ghostwritten work, WordWoven devotes more time to understanding and fulfilling initial portions of the ghostwriting process before writing the work itself, which may include research, informational interviews, story-finding, covering the objectives you’d like the ghostwritten work to fulfill, outlines, and more.
We devote such care to the pre-writing process to avoid major mid-project changes. While we’re happy to make changes inasmuch as the client is willing to pay extra for additional pivots, a new contract will be needed in the event that either or both of the following events occur: A) a requested change is made that differs drastically from the original contract in scope and B) requires an additional estimated 40 hours of labor or greater to fulfill.
We Will Not Plagiarize Work as Part of a “Ghostwriting” Project
Part of the WordWoven philosophy is that hiring a ghostwriter to complete a book or other written work under a different byline is ethical in most circumstances. Just as a homeowner may ask a construction company to build and tailor a home to one’s tastes, future visitors to this home won’t credit the construction company for the work – instead, they’ll tell the homeowner how beautiful their (the homeowner’s) home is. This concept can be applied to any facet or industry of the marketplace. Therefore, WordWoven feels ghostwriting is ethical in most circumstances.
However, there is one exception to this rule: submitting a ghostwritten work is unethical if the audience of the written work is responsible for giving credit from an institution, academic or otherwise, for the piece of writing under the expectation (not assumption) that the work is a) the original thinking, styling, and drafting of the person whose name appears on the final draft and b) the quality of the writing process itself holds weight in whether credit is given from the aforementioned institution. E.g., a doctoral dissertation or college essay. WordWoven will not complete unethical ghostwriting projects for clients under any conditions.
Your Free Ghostwriting Consultation
Each consultation is conducted by WordWoven's Founder and CEO, James O'Connor. Working as Go Solar Group's Vice President of Marketing in his previous role, James brings 12 years of writing, branding, SEO, content marketing, and organic lead generation skills to the table.
As a member of the Forbes Communication Council since Feb. 2020, James is also a published fiction author, poet, and short story writer. His work has been published under client bylines on some of the world's most prestigious platforms, including Entrepreneur, Inc., and Forbes.