Definition: A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.
I have tried to look at this from both sides, as a writer and even as a reader.
First, why would you want someone else to write your work? As an author, I could not imagine not writing my own stories. I mean, what is the point of calling yourself a writer, if you aren’t the one doing it? Seems a bit…deceitful. Think about it. Every writer has their own special style, and no matter how good that ‘professional’ writer might be, they are not you. They cannot capture your style precisely. And as a reader, I have caught onto that. I’ve read authors, only to be disappointed when it ‘feels’ as if it’s not them behind the story. Interpretation, even in fictional writing, is as adverse as fingerprints.
I can feel the guilt kicking in as well. To put my name on something that someone else wrote? Why? Why would I want to own something that, ultimately, had nothing to do with me besides my name? Hell, when you think about it, you would have to read what the ghostwriter wrote, just to answer questions about it. And if you aren’t thorough, you risk the embarrassment of people figuring out; you never wrote it in the first place. I say embarrassment, which would be how I would feel. If you have the gumption to blurt out that it was written by a ghostwriter, then by all means, go for it. That alone would embarrass me. It tells my readers that I didn’t take the time to pen a story worthy of their reading. It lets me readers know that I didn’t think highly enough of them, that they couldn’t figure out it wasn’t me.
Now, on the other side of the coin, why would you want to be a ghostwriter? Prestige? No, because the credit goes to someone else. Recognition? Again, no, because your name never appears. Money? Why be paid for something you wrote for someone else, when you could just as easily get paid for it with your name on the work? If you are a ‘professional’ writer, would you not want the pride that goes with seeing your name in publication versus someone else?
And don’t even mention the work that goes into writing. Where is this person who gets the credit when you are writing, researching, edit, re-writing and generally doing all the grunt work and providing the polished final product? They are there basking in the accolades if it is well received and pointing to the ‘ghostwriter’ when ridiculed. Accolades, or ridicule aside, I want the recognition of all the hard work I put into something, not hand it over to someone else.
All of this being said, I applaud anyone who is a ghostwriter. They are better people than I would be. I’m selfish. I want to be known for what I write. I can see where a ghostwriter would be selfless, allowing someone else to have the credit for their hard work. But I ask, again….why?