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Ghostwriting: Brief Summary

Ghostwriting, sometimes known as ghosting, is the practice of writing content on behalf of an organisation or individual, who will then publish the work as their own. As a result of this agreement, the organisation or individual paying for the work takes credit for its creation. Ghostwriting services are increasingly popular and are used in the creation of books, articles, blog posts, web page copy, scripts, speeches, poems, music, emails, reports and many other types of content.

A ghostwriter will usually be paid for their work, but they agree in advance that they will not receive any credit for actually writing it. Once the work has been paid for and completed, the organisation or individual who hired the ghostwriter will typically secure the copyright too. This then allows them to use the content for their own purposes, modify it, re-purpose it, and attach either their own name to it, or any other name that they wish to use.

Ghostwriting: Detailed Summary

In simple terms, the job of a ghostwriter is to write content on behalf of someone else, while allowing that individual or organisation to put their own name to the work, should they choose to. Generally speaking, once the work has been paid for, a ghostwriter will surrender ownership of it, including the copyright. In practice, this means that the ghostwriter cannot re-publish the work they create, unless they have express permission from the owner.

Often, an individual offering ghostwriting services will not only charge for the creation of the content itself, but also for giving up any claims to the finished work. For this reason, ghostwriting services may be more expensive than several other types of content creation. It is also important to understand that there is a lot of skill involved with ghostwriting, because a ghostwriter will often have to adopt the tone and voice of the person commissioning the work.

An organisation or individual may pay for ghostwriting services for a number of different reasons, including time constraints, a lack of the necessary expertise, personal branding efforts and a desire to maintain consistency across a platform, or throughout the full duration of a project that may require multiple writers. Experienced ghostwriters are often skilled enough to create high-quality content quickly, in accordance with the project’s objectives.

One example of a situation when a ghostwriter may be used would be the creation of content for a website or blog. Here, the website owner, business or marketer may wish to outsource content creation to a professional writer. However, this writer does not work for the website or company, and it may make strategic sense to avoid crediting a third party. Ghostwriters can also help to meet the demand for regular fresh content.

It is important to understand that there is a fundamental difference between a ghostwriter and a co-author. A co-author will have some degree of shared ownership of the final product. They will also tend to have a greater amount of creative influence, such as having input into the overall vision of the project. By contrast, a ghostwriter is effectively bringing someone else’s creative vision to life and surrendering all ownership rights afterwards.

It is also vital to understand the distinction between ghostwriting and plagiarism. Although both describe situations where someone other than the original content creator takes credit for a piece of work, the crucial difference is that ghostwriting is done with the full permission of the ghostwriter, who knows in advance that they will not receive a writing credit. With plagiarism, someone else’s work is copied without permission from the creator.

Ghostwriters can be paid for their services in a number of ways. The most common option is to pay the writer by the word, meaning the two parties will agree on a fee per word, as well as a total word count for the content. Other options include negotiating a fee for the project in advance, or paying the writer by the hour. Ghostwriters with significant experience or demonstrable skill will usually be able to command a higher fee.

Those who require the services of a ghostwriter will also typically have several options for finding one. These options include content platforms, such as Textbroker, and this is often the most budget-friendly option, as well as one of the fastest methods. Within these platforms, there will typically be options to either approach writers directly through their profiles, or post the order into a pool of open orders and wait for a writer to claim it.

Alternatively, organisations or individuals could seek out professional content writers and speak to them directly about a project, place an advertisement and wait for writers to approach, or seek referrals from contacts who have used ghostwriting services before. The eventual decision may also depend on factors like how fast writers are able to complete the project, the level of protection that is in place for both parties, and the availability of samples.

Ghostwriting and Ethical Considerations

Ghostwriting is considered to be legal in the vast majority of cases, as long as both the ghostwriter and the party commissioning the content are in agreement about the nature of the project and how payment will work. Nevertheless, there are some interesting arguments surrounding the ethics of ghostwriting, especially in certain settings, and it is useful to explore some of these ideas and understand when ghostwriting may be considered unethical by some.

The practise of ghostwriting is generally considered to be acceptable in most settings. For example, website content written by a ghostwriter and attributed to someone who actually works for that website is unlikely to raise any strong objections on ethical grounds, as long as the ghostwriter understood the terms before agreeing to write the content. Similarly, speeches are often ghostwritten, even at the highest level of politics, and this is widely accepted.

Yet, the ethics of ghostwriting are brought into question more when there is a financial transaction involved, such as a customer buying a book – especially if the name value of someone who did not write it is being used to drive sales. It is common for celebrity autobiographies to be ghostwritten, and this is perfectly legal, but some argue that there is an element of deception involved, as customers are paying for the words of the celebrity, not the ghostwriter.

Additionally, by far the most controversial aspect of ghostwriting relates to academic ghostwriting, which is where a student pays a ghostwriter to write an essay, thesis or dissertation for them. This can be considered unethical for several reasons, including the fact that it allows students to achieve grades that they did not earn themselves. It also opens up the possibility of qualifications being awarded on the basis of who can afford the best ghostwriter.

The majority of academic institutions have rules in place, which outlaw ghostwriting services of this type and students caught paying for a ghostwritten essay, dissertation or thesis risk being removed from their course. However, such services continue to exist, and some students and ghostwriters attempt to get around the rules by using the ghostwritten essay as a foundation document, which the student then re-writes. Of course, this raises similar ethical concerns.


Ghostwriting services are used for the creation of a wide range of different content types and are usually completely legal. Although there are some questions about the ethics in certain circumstances, for the most part, it is an accepted practice. This is especially true when it comes to the creation of online content for a website or content marketing strategy. Here, acquiring the services of a ghostwriter can make a lot of sense, both practically and strategically.

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