I see ghost writers!

Do you have a book you’ve always wanted to write but don’t have the skill? Or maybe you don’t have enough time. Well, I have great news for you in the form of a ghost writer. Karen Cole is the same editor who guest posted for me two weeks ago about the various types of editing, and she agreed to do another post on ghost writing. So get your trick-or-treat sack ready for another treat.

So – What’s a Ghost Writer?
By Karen Cole
BOOOOOOOOOOOOO…I’m a ghost…LOL I’m kidding you! What I am is a ghost writer, not a dead person nor a creepy Halloween spook. And by now you’ve probably heard about ghost writing, due to the popular movie and the TV show as well.

A ghost writer is a professional writer, usually a freelancer, who creates copy for other people for which the ghost writer receives either no credit or limited credit. When ghost writing a book, a ghost writer may receive a cover credit such as an “As told to…” or even coauthor status, in which case the ghost writer’s name is usually below the client’s name. And sometimes a ghost writer receives a credit on the acknowledgments page of a book, often being listed only as the book’s “Editor” by the client.

With screenplays, the ghost writer may receive a simple screen credit near the client’s name. But credits do not usually replace pay for a ghost writer. The whole point behind ghost writing is to make money directly from the client, often through advance payments during the course of the ghost writer working on the client’s project. This is how I and most other ghost writers operate.

I have been writing off and on over the past thirty years or so, and I know a lot about what my clients need and what their expectations are. A lot of people seem to think they have the next bestselling book or idea for a screenplay for the next million dollar blockbuster, and although I hate to burst their bubbles, I generally have to. I can’t take only a percentage payment to work on a book manuscript, movie script or screenplay in 99% of all cases. There is just no guarantee of sales. Everyone has a dream, but you have to keep your expectations realistic in the overcrowded book and film markets. Basically, I almost never take a percentage to work on a project.

But I am willing to work on almost any type of book, and I send out screenplay work to talented, optioned screenwriters on our team. You see, ghost writing can be a quite lucrative profession, as it entails receiving your pay upfront as you create your client’s project. The amounts you get for your work can range from $2,000 to beyond $100,000, depending on many factors, so it’s a good money making field.

In order to become a ghost writer, you need to have some already published work, and it helps to set up a writer’s website – with a posted resume and a portfolio displaying your best work. Of course, you will need to basically be a good writer as well. It also helps to have a degree in English of some kind, and it helps to have previously published books under your own name and to have optioned scripts and possibly even received awards for your scripts and screenplays.

Being a ghost writer is fun, profitable, and above all else – you get to scare people! Just kidding, but the amount of income you can stand to make from ghost writing is indubitably scary, all by itself.


Thanks, Karen! I would love to have more of this kind of problem. I’ve had a few people suggest I become an editor, but for now I would rather exchange critiques with others as I write my own books. I’ve had two meetings with the local SCBWI group I started, and I’m starting to make better progress.  But for anybody who wants to publish a book but has no desire to learn how to write, hiring a ghost writer sounds like a good choice. The same goes for anybody who lacks enough time to tackle such a big project. Just remember it’s going to take some money. Start saving now, because if you wait too long, you’ll end up publishing posthumously! Alas, poor Yorick!

Click this link to reach Karen’s Ghost Writer Information page. You’ll find a contact form to submit your project and get matched with a ghost writer today. If you desire other editing services, read all about the different types Karen’s firm provides here.

I’d love to hear what you think about this post. And I wouldn’t want anyone to miss the chance to help me choose my own book’s hook for a chance at winning two prizes, one for best comment (chosen by me) to win a $10 Amazon book or ebooks prize, and another chosen by Rafflecopter to win my 600 follower contest, a whole box of books and chocolate including my ARC of Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules! Happy commenting and thanks for visiting!

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Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Wow! This is a really great post because i have heard of Ghost Writters but have never learned what they are. This really explains everything i wanted to know, so thank you! And the giveaway at the bottom is awesome too 🙂

  2. There’s a movie called “Ghost Writer”. I heard it’s good.

  3. Thanks, Ruby. Now you know in case you need one someday.

    Michael, you’re the movie authority and haven’t seen it? You’re slipstreaming!

  4. I heard ghost writers can make some really good money.

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