Ghostwriters from the Inside Out
In other ways than this, ghostwriters are not too different from any other
writing-related professional you might hire, such as a marketing or ad agency,
copywriters, lawyers, or others.
In almost all of these situations, everything you pay for becomes your material
through a legal concept called “Work For Hire,” but there are often specific
restrictions on what you can do with the materials.
With a ghostwriter arrangement in most cases you can do whatever you want
with the materials, including present them as if you wrote them, cut up and
reuse the materials any way you like, or, and most importantly, sell them!
Who uses ghostwriters?
More people than you would think. Ghostwriting is an “open” secret, not only in
the world of consulting and internet marketing, but also in major publishing.
All the celebrity books that come out each year, for example, are almost all
written by ghosts, and sometimes this is credited openly and sometimes it’s not.
There are even well-known ghostwriters who work on any number of political,
sports or entertainment titles in a given year. Once they are known, of course,
they are “collaborators” or co-authors, but the idea remains the same. Hollywood
scripts are often rewritten by ghosts. The most famous of these recently is Carrie
Fisher – a “script doctor” – who is of course best known for playing Princess Leia
in the original Star Wars movies! Some of her rewrites are credited and many
others are not, though her involvement is usually known about among the
industry. And there are hundreds of lesser known writers doing this too.
Regardless of whether it’s a screenplay or a book on business ideas, unless you’re
borrowing the “expertise” of your ghostwriter to gain credibility, you generally
won’t want to use his or her name -- you’ll want to use your own.
Is this like hiring someone else to write a paper for you in school? Of course not,
although some entry-level ghostwriters actually do write school papers (and we
recommend against ever using a writer who is willing to do school papers – this
is a seriously grey ethical area to say the least).
There is however no ethical issue with using a ghostwriter for business writing
any more than there is in hiring a mechanic to fix your car or a landscaper to do
your lawn. You hire professionals to do what they can do better than you, when
it needs to be done right. Or in this case, done “write”!
© Copyright 2006 by Michael Rasmussen and Jason Tarasi - All Rights Reserved.