Have you ever wondered how celebrities—surrounded by paparazzi, traveling around the world on tours, and balancing family and relationships—can possibly send out hilarious tweets every five minutes?
In most cases, these celebrities can barely spare a minute for social media or website content. Instead, they hire “ghostwriters”—people who produce content under the celebrity’s name. Many celebrities, businesses, and authors use ghostwriters to regularly produce mass amounts of content in short periods of time. By constantly posting online articles, tweets, blog posts, and other texts on the Internet, major brands keep audiences continuously engaged with the content to bring in revenue for advertisers.
Ghostwriting is not exclusively for celebrities or social media, but it’s easy to conceptualize the author-ghostwriter relationship using the analogy of a celebrity-writer relationship. The author’s name is a brand, similar to a celebrity, company, or product. This brand needs a public image. This image, in turn, needs to be positive and interactive, and one that engages with the audience and keeps it returning to increase traffic for revenue. Because the Internet is a space that offers nonstop communication and access, the brand needs to constantly maintain this image online. This is nearly impossible for one person to accomplish alone. To help the brand keep that attention, popular names will hire workers to maintain this image under the brand’s name. In publishing, the brand name is considered the “author,” while the person who produces the content under the author’s name is the “ghostwriter.” Not all authors use ghostwriters, but it is a common practice in today’s fast-paced publishing world.
Anyone can hire a ghostwriter for whatever part of the writing process needs work. For example, authors with an excellent idea might not have the time to write a book on their own, or they might lack the skills needed to put their ideas into words. This is where ghostwriting comes in: authors will hire a ghostwriter to use their preexisting idea to write the content. Sometimes, ghostwriting can be a way for authors to overcome writer’s block. Ghostwriters can also bring fresh ideas to the piece beyond the author’s initial vision. Whatever the reason, there is a large market for freelance writing work.
The process is collaborative and involves regular communication between the author and the ghostwriter. The author informs the ghostwriter of the requirements for the piece. It is up to authors to decide how much information they decide to give. They can provide the writer with as much as multiple pages of detailed research notes, or as little as a generalized topic that the writer must then research and write about. The two parties then need to build this relationship and maintain regular communication to remain on the same page.
For the author, hiring a ghostwriter provides an opportunity to focus on other aspects of the publishing process. Authors have many other responsibilities, such as promotions, sales, and contract negotiation. Writing in itself takes up a large chunk of the time needed to publish and create a brand. This time could easily be delegated to a professional ghostwriter, allowing the author to produce high-quality work quickly and efficiently while keeping the author’s original voice.