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Ghostwriting: Your Questions Answered


Many people feel they have a story to tell or an experience to share. But time is precious and not everyone can make the words sing on the page. But there are people who can make the whole experience hassle-free. A ghostwriter will do all the work while you get all the credit. Some common questions about the ghostwriting process are answered below.

What does a ghostwriter do?
A ghostwriter edits, writes, collaborates, and researches on behalf of someone else who becomes their client. Many biographies of celebrities and television personalities have been ghostwritten.

Why do I need one?
Not everyone knows how to or has the time to turn an idea into a book. A ghostwriter is a professional who has the time to turn your thoughts into a polished manuscript.

How does ghostwriting work?
You give the ghostwriter your ideas; s/he tells your story. Most people provide notes, digital recordings or audio tapes. Some may even have drafts of chapters or the whole book and ideas about characters and dialogue. The more information and material you provide, the closer the final product will be to your original idea. The ghostwriter turns your idea into something that people will enjoy reading.

Will the ghostwriter steal my idea?
No, that wouldn't be professional. Any ghostwriter who did that would soon be out of a job. A reputable ghostwriter will usually be happy to sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement.

Who gets the credit for my finished book?
It's your idea, so you take the credit. Many ghostwriters work behind the scenes. Of course, in some instances, you may want to share the credit - that's why many biographies are credited like this: Major Celebrity with Ghostwriter or Major Celebrity as told to Ghostwriter. But you call the shots and can opt to take all the credit.

How much does ghostwriting cost?
Each job is unique and that makes it hard to give more than general guidelines. The length of time the project is likely to take and the amount of research the ghostwriter will be required to do will affect the final cost. Many ghostwriters will charge a small up front fee, followed by payments at each stage of completed work. Unless you're a major celebrity with an iron-clad publishing contract already signed and sealed, a ghostwriter is unlikely to work for nothing.

What does a ghostwriter's fee cover?
It covers writing, research and any communication, but not usually travel or accommodation.

How long will it take to ghostwrite my material?
That depends on the material. Anywhere from 2 to 6 months is average depending on the type of book and how much work you've already put in. A short article may only take hours while a longer research report may take a year. You'll be able to discuss this once you've hired a ghostwriter.

What about publication?
Some ghostwriters help with publication as well, by sending query letters and so on. This will probably cost you extra. Other ghostwriters see the writing as their job and leave you to find your own publisher. Consider which option you prefer before signing the contract.

How do I know the ghostwriter is experienced?
Ghostwriters generally have to keep clients' names confidential, but you can look at other examples of their writing. If you enjoy reading these, then chances are that others will enjoy reading your material too.

See you in print!

Sharon Hurley Hall is a freelance writer, ghostwriter and editor. Sharon worked in publishing for 18 years, writing articles and editing and designing books and magazines. She has also lectured on journalism. For more information or to contact Sharon, visit http://www.doublehdesign.com/


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