A ghostwriter is a professional writer who writes stories, books, articles, web content, political speeches, or any other type of written material. The ghostwriter writes without receiving credit for the work. Famous people such as politicians, sports figures, and celebrities often hire ghostwriters to pen speeches, autobiographies, or other kinds of books. Some people work full-time as ghostwriters, making their living creating material that will never have their byline.
Ghostwriters can write about countless topics, whether they need to write a cookbook, a thriller, a biography, or an article. A ghostwriter may even serve as a book doctor, polishing the work of another author until it is publishable. This job may not be glamorous but can often pay well, depending on the client.
Some writers work for book packagers. Book packagers hire writers to write books from an outline or basic idea. Other writers may work for a web content company, writing keyword articles that will appear on a variety of web sites.
No matter what type of ghostwriting a writer completes, she rarely has her name on the finished product. Neither does she receive royalties from her work. Instead, a ghostwriter receives a flat fee for any work completed for either a company or individual.
If a writer wishes to become a ghostwriter, she often is required to "audition" for a company. This usually involves sending a writing sample to the company seeking new ghostwriters. If the company likes the writing sample, it will add the writer to its list of ghostwriters. Immediate work may be available for ghostwriters of web content. A writer who works for a book packager may need to wait until the packager has an opportunity that fits the writer's expertise or experience.
Well-known ghostwritten books include the Nancy Drew mysteries and books by V.C. Andrews. The "author" of the Nancy Drew books was Carolyn Keene, a pen name for a stable of writers who wrote the famous mysteries about the girl sleuth. When V.C. Andrews, the author of well-known Gothic novels died, her estate hired a ghostwriter to continue creating books under her name.
Ghostwriters must be excellent writers and have the ability to write quickly. They must be willing to remain hidden from the public eye, allowing celebrities or famous authors to take credit for the written work. Whether they are provided with a detailed outline, interview a person about his life, or write a book based on a general idea, ghostwriters are required to write quality material while staying out of the public eye.