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Ghosts of writing past, present and future

Do you have the skills to be a good writer - and are you naturally curious about other people? It could be that becoming a ‘ghost’ is just right for you...

Who uses a ghostwriter?

Well it tends to be people who lack writing skills but have good stories to tell, whether fact or fiction. It could be someone ordinary with an extraordinary story, an expert in an interesting field, or simply someone who doesn’t have time to write.

But of course it's celebrities who are best known for using ghostwriters. Although the book world doesn't exactly boast about it, it could be that fewer than one in five celebrities actually write their own books. Do readers actually care? (Anyone have an opinion?).

Publishers often want to market a celebrity book, as they're dealing with a 'name' who comes complete with a book-buying fan base. They are a pre-existing brand.

Why become a ghostwriter?

Publishers can pay hefty advances for ghosted books because they believe sales will be strong.

How much a ghostwriter earns will vary. If the project already has a publisher on board, the publisher will negotiate a percentage split between the ghost  and the 'author'. It's likely the ghost will receive a much lower percentage - but if they build a good reputation within the industry, that will increase.

So would you be a ghostwriter? You’d get to meet lots of interesting people and you'd be asking the sort of impertinent questions that nosey readers want answered. But would you be happy staying in the shadows? After all, it wouldn’t be you being interviewed on morning TV or signing autographs at guest appearances.

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