Celebrities, executives, participants in timely news stories, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies , memoirs , magazine articles, or other written material. In music, ghostwriters are often used to write songs, lyrics, and instrumental pieces. Screenplay authors can also use ghostwriters to either edit or rewrite their scripts to improve them.
Usually, there is a confidentiality clause in the contract between the ghostwriter and the credited author that obligates the former to remain anonymous. Sometimes the ghostwriter is acknowledged by the author or publisher for his or her writing services, euphemistically called a "researcher" or "research assistant", but often the ghostwriter is not credited. Ghostwriting or simply "ghosting" also occurs in other creative fields.
Composers have long hired ghostwriters to help them to write musical pieces and songs; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is an example of a well-known composer who was paid to ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons. Ghosting also occurs in popular music. A pop music ghostwriter writes lyrics and a melody in the style of the credited musician. In hip hop music, the increasing use of ghostwriters by high-profile hip-hop stars has led to controversy. However, when credit is established for the writer, the acknowledgement of their contribution is public domain and the writer in question would not be considered a ghostwriter.
A consultant or career-switcher may pay a ghostwriter to write a book on a topic in their professional area, to establish or enhance credibility as an 'expert' in their field. Public officials and politicians employ "correspondence officers" to respond to the large volume of official correspondence. A number of papal encyclicals have been written by ghostwriters. A controversial and scientifically unethical practice is medical ghostwriting, where biotech or pharmaceutical companies pay professional writers to produce papers and then recruit via a payment or as a perk other scientists or physicians to attach their names to these articles before they are published in medical or scientific journals.
Some university and college students hire ghostwriters from essay mills to write entrance essays, term papers, theses, and dissertations. This is largely considered unethical unless the actual ghostwriting work is just light editing. Ghostwriters are hired for numerous reasons. In many cases, celebrities or public figures do not have the time, discipline, or writing skills to write and research a several-hundred page autobiography or "how-to" book.
Even if a celebrity or public figure has the writing skills to pen a short article, they may not know how to structure and edit a several-hundred page book so that it is captivating and well-paced. In other cases, publishers use ghostwriters to increase the number of books that can be published each year under the name of well-known, highly marketable authors, or to quickly release a topical book that ties in with a recent or upcoming newsworthy event.
Ghostwriters will often spend from several months to a full year researching, writing, and editing nonfiction and fiction works for a client, and they are paid based on a price per hour, per word or per page, with a flat fee, a percentage of the royalties of the sales, or some combination thereof. One such market is the shorter book, best represented at the moment by Amazon's Kindle Singles imprint: Writers on the level of Ian McEwan have celebrated this recent change, mainly for artistic reasons.
It was once financially impractical for publishers to produce such novella-length texts they would have to charge too much ; but this new market is, by , already substantial and has been projected to be a solid part of the future of book publishing.
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On the upper end of the spectrum, with celebrities that can all but guarantee a publisher large sales, the fees can be much higher. There is also the consideration of different benchmarks in different countries. Research fees are an extra charge on top of this minimum fee. A recent availability also exists, of outsourcing many kinds of jobs, including ghostwriting, to offshore locations like India, China, and the Philippines where the customer can save money.
In some cases, ghostwriters are allowed to share credit. Sometimes this is done in lieu of pay or in order to decrease the amount of payment to the book ghostwriter for whom the credit has its own intrinsic value. Also, the ghostwriter can be cited as a coauthor of a book, or listed in the movie or film credits when having ghostwritten the script or screenplay for a film production.
For nonfiction books, the ghostwriter may be credited as a "contributor" or a "research assistant". In other cases, the ghostwriter receives no official credit for writing a book or article; in cases where the credited author or the publisher or both wish to conceal the ghostwriter's role, the ghostwriter may be asked to sign a nondisclosure contract that legally forbids any mention of the writer's role in a project.
Some have made the distinction between 'author' and 'writer,' as ghostwriter Kevin Anderson explains in a Washington Post interview: Ghostwriters are widely used by celebrities and public figures who wish to publish their autobiographies or memoirs. The degree of involvement of the ghostwriter in nonfiction writing projects ranges from minor to substantial.
Various sources explain the role of the ghostwriter and how competent writers can get this kind of work.
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In some cases, a ghostwriter may be called in just to clean up, edit, and polish a rough draft of an autobiography or a "how-to" book. In other cases, the ghostwriter will write an entire book or article based on information, stories, notes, an outline, or interview sessions with the celebrity or public figure. The credited author also indicates to the ghostwriter what type of style, tone, or "voice" they want in the book.
In some cases, such as with some "how-to" books, diet guides, or cookbooks, a book will be entirely written by a ghostwriter, and the celebrity e. Publishing companies use this strategy to increase the marketability of a book by associating it with a celebrity or well-known figure. In several countries before elections, candidates commission ghostwriters to produce autobiographies for them so as to gain visibility and exposure. Two of John F.
What if I’ve written most of my book already?
Kennedy 's books are almost entirely credited to ghostwriters. A consultant or career-switcher may pay to have a book ghostwritten on a topic in their professional area, to establish or enhance their credibility as an 'expert' in their field. For example, a successful salesperson hoping to become a motivational speaker on selling may pay a ghostwriter to write a book on sales techniques. Often, battles over the money pale into insignificance next to the titanic clash of egos involved in taking on another's voice and character.
Some ghosts, who generally speak on conditions of anonymity, report that the subject they approach with utter dread is the fragile personality with pretensions to authorship. Who, after all, is not vulnerable to the tug of amour-propre? The ghost, who starts out as a hybrid of therapist, muse and friend, enters a psychological minefield. Accordingly, the ghost is advised never to forget that, at the end of the day, he or she ranks somewhere between a valet and a cleaner.
I recall, some years ago, a female pop star attending a book trade prize-giving for which her ghosted bestselling memoir had been shortlisted. Before this honour, she boasted she hadn't even opened, still less actually read, the book that bore her name. When she duly won, she left her ghost at the table and graciously collected her prize, all smiles, modesty and gratitude, the model author. When she returned to her publisher's table, the woman who had actually written the book reached out, instinctively, to touch the trophy.
The star snatched it back, clouting her ghost across the cheek to remind her who was boss.
When you pay the piper, you call the tune. Crofts has written some 80 books, sold more than 10m copies and appeared a dozen times in UK bestseller lists. In a rare interview with the Observer , Crofts described some 40 years of ghosting. An easygoing, youthful man in his early 60s, Crofts was educated at Lancing College, but says he was "too arrogant" for university, and stumbled into ghostwriting because, he says, "I didn't want to have a permanent job".
Ghosts, notes Crofts, lead episodic lives: You get the commission, have the adventure — anywhere from a palace to a brothel — and return to the security of your own home. At 17, on leaving school, he nurtured vague literary ambitions, wrote a novel "more Robert Harris than Virginia Woolf" , suffered the inevitable rejection and began writing PR copy.
With typical English self-deprecation, he describes himself as "an opportunistic hack" who would "do anything I got paid for". When pressed, however, he admits to taking pride in his craftsmanship and in having made "a good living as a writer for 40 years".
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When he started, he recalls, "'ghostwriting' was a dirty word". In , with the chutzpah of youth, he launched himself in business. His approach was simple and direct. He placed a three-word ad — "Ghostwriter for hire" — in The Bookseller , and waited for the phone to ring. In a hotel room in Paris, a doctor comes out of the shower and finds that his wife has disappeared.
He soon finds himself caught up in a world of intrigue, espionage, gangsters, drugs and murder. An actress attempts to convince a director how she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production. After hearing stories of her, a passenger on a cruise ship develops an irresistible infatuation with an eccentric paraplegic's wife.
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A political activist is convinced that her guest is a man who once tortured her for the government. A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia. An unremarkable ghost-writer has landed a lucrative contract to redact the memoirs of Adam Lang, the former UK Prime Minister. He lives on an island, in luxurious, isolated premises complete with a security detail and a secretarial staff. Soon, Adam Lang gets embroiled in a major scandal with international ramifications that reveals how far he was ready to go in order to nurture UK's "special relationship" with the USA.
But before this controversy has started, before even he has closed the deal with the publisher, the ghost-writer gets unmistakable signs that the turgid draft he is tasked to put into shape inexplicably constitutes highly sensitive material. This is a connoisseur's movie. It needs to be consumed slowly and deliberately to truly enjoy everything that has gone into it. Watch it carefully, there is a lot going on under the surface.
Yes, it's a thriller, and as such parts of it are fast paced, but what it does so well is to misdirect your attention for a while before snapping you back to focus. There are no wasted words, nor gratuitous scenes in this movie. Just like a Hitchcock movie, the scenes are all necessary, even if they are symbolic.
The acting is first rate, and I say that because much of the tension in the movie comes from the way the characters act, not special effects, not plot points hammered in over and over again. It is a very dark movie, and the darkness is nicely set off by humor and sarcasm in a few spots. Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet! Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends.
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