Ghostwriting: Does It Matter If You Don’t Get The Credit?

Many of you know me as a writer and blogger, but did you know about my ghostwriting? As well as several of my own e-books, I have written books and ebooks for other clients without a byline. And a question that people often ask me is — is the lack of credit as a ghostwriter a problem? I can’t speak for other writers but for me the answer is a resounding no. Here’s why.

Benefits of Ghostwriting: Knowledge Collection

As a ghostwriter, I get to work on a wide range of topics which are not always subjects that I would pick for my own books. Since I like learning new things and broadening my intellectual horizons, working on something like a management course or a book on consumer finance (both of which I have done) allows me to explore new interests and stockpile knowledge which might come in handy in another context. Ghostwriting is great for this.

Ghostwriting as an Expert Writer

In these cases, I am not so much a subject expert as an expert writer and sometimes it’s a case of collaborating with the subject expert to get the best possible book we can produce. Once it’s done and the client is paid the book belongs to that client. I get the satisfaction of having completed a project without having to think about the marketing and promotion which are important part of the self publishing process. I also get a lot of personal satisfaction out of helping others achieve their goals through my ghostwriting.

Beyond Ghostwriting: Getting The Credit

In contrast, I get a different type of satisfaction from publishing my own books and seeing my name on the cover. I remember what it felt like the first time I got a byline in my local paper. I was absolutely elated. Even after 25 years in the writing business, that’s still a thrill for me.

Beyond Ghostwriting: Writing as a Subject Expert

When I publish books in areas in which I have some expertise then obviously it matters to me to be identified as the author. An author credit enhances my professional reputation and my ability to reach out to and connect with a wider audience — something that doesn’t happen when you don’t get a byline.

Best of Both Worlds

My current writing and publishing career gives me the best of both worlds. Ghostwriting give me a chance to write on varied subjects while building a professional reputation in the areas that matter most to me via bylined articles and books.

Your Turn.

Have you ever tried ghostwriting? How is it for you?

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Sharon Hurley Hall

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About Sharon.H

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website or Google+.

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48 Responses to “Ghostwriting: Does It Matter If You Don’t Get The Credit?”

  1. Mighty Prose is Lawrence Ineno, and ghostwriting is his passion. As a Freelance Writer, Lawrence helps you meet your publication goals faster and more effectively than otherwise possible.

  2. Oh to see my name in print is a great feeling and i agree with you that you can get a lot of knowledge by ghost writing. however, creative writers should be careful of not getting stuck with pennies for the ghost articles… try to make your own mark which will pay you much more

  3. I never would want to be a ghostwriter of a topic of my choice. I enjoy writing for others as a ghostwriter. To say the truth, when I am done writing and I feel that nobody will know that I am the writer, it hurts a little. That’s why I always choose technological topics for ghostwriting.
    sakib recently posted..Nokia N9 ReviewMy Profile

  4. The only credit a ghostwriter gets is monetary compensation (if that is part of the agreement). Or, if the ghostwriter is lucky, she or he will get a heap of praise and thanks from the client who has benefited from the piece. But, ghostwriting is not something that a good writer must enter into if the writer wants to establish a name for himself or herself.
    Erich recently posted..Your Field Guide to the Best QWERTY Android Smartphones of 2011My Profile

  5. great blog…and you know what…it some times makes money as well.

  6. Not really sure about the definition I know about Ghostwriting. But from what I know, ghostwriters don’t really get any credit from any of their works. Actually, it’s a part of their condition I guess, so basically, it doesn’t really matter if they get credits or not.
    Michael recently posted..Kenmore Elite Stainless Steel Black Convection Microwave Oven ReviewMy Profile

  7. Some times it makes money as well.
    Dipendra recently posted..Rajesh Hamal JokesMy Profile

  8. having a credit does not mean being a ghost writer..just do what you think is right and be yourself always..thank you for this nice post…
    Gabriel Gutierrez recently posted..Ear ringing remediesMy Profile

  9. Getting credits boost one’s self but doesn’t mean being a ghostwriter would make you less of a writer. You know in yourself that you did the write ups and from there its rewarding already. :) Great post! I admire your write ups.
    Janey Dee recently posted..By: Boost Your Bust | How To Increase Breast SizeMy Profile

  10. Hi Sharon,

    I also don’t think that there’s a problem with the lack of credit in ghostwriting. I’m assuming that’s the whole point about ghostwriting. If anyone has a problem about it, then they shouldn’t do it. There are just some people who needs some article but are too busy to do it that is why they ask for some ghostwriting help. :)

    • Do agree with @Sharon, I do also believe that it’s not been a problem of ghostwriters to be not credited in their works as long as they have been just fully compensated with regard to the value of the work they did. And if they have any complaints or problems against lack of credit being given to them they should have their works with them and not give it to others.
      Mercy Heinz recently posted..Learning about Alienation of AffectionMy Profile

  11. I think I agree with Ana, if a ghost writer is getting paid then it’s the way it should be. I have host writers and many times you can’t even tell if I write the article or if they do. In fact I don’t’ think many people know what so ever. With that said I do feel a little weird getting a compliment on an article I didn’t write. I will not under no circumstances take credit.
    bbrian017 recently posted..Syndicate Your Content and Engage with BloggersMy Profile

  12. Hi Sharon. When I saw the title of your post, I have to admit that it called my attention :) Ghostwriting as I know it is precisely “writing” for others without revealing who actually wrote the article. Obviously, it does not make sense to write without getting any credit for it, unless you get paid. That said, and unless you are just in it for the experience (LOL), Ghostwriters should get compensated well enough because otherwise it defeats the purpose of “GhostWriting”, does it not?
    DiTesco recently – Content Curation Tool, Building AuthorityMy Profile

    • Hi DiTesco, you know, it’s always good to get another perspective on things. I was thinking about it from the point of view of writers who were thinking about this career but were concerned about not getting bylines. But you’re right, it only makes sense if you get paid. :)

  13. I haven’t heard about Ghost writing. I came to know about this, only after reading your post. Thanks for sharing the pros of it.

  14. I would still love to see my name on my posts but at start, it’s satisfying just to see my posts published.
    Sheen Edward recently posted..FEMA quickly replaces homes in BastropMy Profile

  15. I love writing and I’dont care about fame and status, then I pretend to be a ghostwriting in the future. I still have 25 years, I have time to write a compelling story. This article excited me to write as soon as possible.

  16. To me, ghost writing is a win-win situation. As what you have pointed out, you can help your client while enable yourself to learn new things in a much broader range. With that, you actually still get credit as a ghost writer. Excellent post Sharon.
    Extreme John recently posted..Weekly Link Dump 54: Business News Headlines You Could Learn FromMy Profile

  17. Hi Sharon,
    Nice post on ghostwriting.This post gives information to many bloggers especially to those who are new in this field.
    Pete Goumas recently posted..Manhattanite CouponsMy Profile

  18. i`m a ghost writer and get paid well for it, i don`t mind that that people don`t know who i am, i`m more concerned that they like my writing!! do others feel the same? excellent blog by the wy!

  19. I had a ghost writing job before, an ebook about weight loss. Well it became successful for my employer as I stated all of my personal experiences in the book. And I really regret it!

    Webmaster of Mass Cash Espionage Review
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    • I suppose that could happen, Greg. I did once do a Twitter report for a client and then think I could have done that myself, but that’s the way it goes. It did give me some great ideas for areas of expertise to add to my resume, though. :)

  20. If you are getting paid, and hopefully paid well I wouldn’t expect to get credit. Getting paid would be the credit. It would be nice to either be paid decently or earn some kind of annual payment or royalty type of thing. I don’t know enough about the world of ghostwritting to know whether that is a possibility or not.
    Ray recently posted..5 Tools to grade your website blog and accountsMy Profile

  21. I suppose if you are getting paid decently, it doesn’t matter. When charging for ghostwriting, you should bear in mind that the client will get paid for your work over and over again and you won’t get the money or the byline.
    Ana recently posted..Internet Marketing ToolsMy Profile

    • That’s true, Ana. One little article can be sold and resold in multiple formats. It’s strange when you see the article you wrote for a website turn up in an ebook on that site or somewhere else, but it’s all part of the life of a ghostwriter.

  22. Well done Sharon! I have never read before about how it feels to do ghostwriting from a ghost writer him/herself. You gave us a very fresh and interesting post today Sharon. The awesome about ghost writer is the fact that they can write a single article of 300 words all the way through to a 400 page book or more! This amazing.
    I would be interested to discuss some other time about the criteria of selecting a ghost writer. You may think about this Sharon. Thank you for sharing your experience.
    Nick Sotos recently posted..Wilderness Systems Tempest Sea Kayak Review and CouponsMy Profile

  23. Thank you for all the good conversation about ghosting. Among other things I ghost, I ghost write life stories for people to give to their families or for publication. I enjoy getting their voices just right so that everyone is sure that Grandpa or Grandma really wrote it. And the smiles I get from the “authors” are priceless.

  24. What a comprehensive post, Sharon! I just learned more about ghostwriting that I ever knew :)
    Darren recently posted..Lost Or Stolen University Laptop Computers Could Cost Your School A FortuneMy Profile

  25. Ghost writing is the best, because you don’t have to deal with the promotion and marketing, which is by far more confusing and hard.
    If i only could write articles and books like you do :) but i am doing my best to become an expert writer someday.
    Mihai recently posted..Fashion Editorial: Amy by Renkoh Sasaki 2011My Profile

  26. When I was in college, I’ve been told that my stories don’t sound good. But then I’m passionate about it and submitted articles to directories and had several blogs under different names. Eventually, I became a ghostwriter. I don’t mind not getting my name on the byline, I’m getting good pay for it anyway.

  27. Hi Sharon,

    I am not a ghost writer as my English isn’t that good. But, I do work as virtual assistant here and there and what you said about “Knowledge Collection” is totally true and it applies to most virtual assistants as well.

    I used to do a lot of SEO related jobs (link building, article submission and so on) and as a result, I learned so many things about SEO that it actually helped me to get my blog to rank #1 for some of my most competitive keywords.
    Satrap recently posted..How to Make Money OnlineMy Profile

  28. There are so many things we see eye-to-eye on, Sharon. Quite a bit of my business writing is ghostwriting and I love it.

    I admit I was a bit surprised how little the lack of a byline mattered to me. Sure, like you, I love seeing my byline, but I get the same satisfaction in seeing something I wrote published, even when I was the ghostwriter.

    I love working with people who are passionate in what they do and I am thrilled to be able to bring that passion to words.

    I plan on continuing ghosting for the foreseeable future.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Posts in Friday Lite ReviewMy Profile

  29. Not if you’re getting paid (and ghost writers are often paid well). It’s not unethical of the ghost writer, in any case – I can see why it MIGHT be considered so, for a lawyer or a doctor, if someone’s looking for their particular expertise and is under the impression they’ve found it. But one would assume they’ve at least endorsed it, if it’s published under their name – odds are, if ghost written, it’s either good or they’re really risking their own reputation more than anything else. For the writer, it’s a work for hire. Period. Have pen, will travel.

    I don’t ghost write for free, though. ;)

    Now, what I DO think is unethical (not to mention WEIRD as all get out) is people hiring a ghost writer to write novels for them. WTH? That’s a creative endeavor, and if you haven’t got it in you, why would you pay – or do it for someone else without getting credit? Weird. But it’s been done.
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted..One of These Days, I’m Going to Write a BookMy Profile

  30. Good points, Sharon! There was a huge dustup in my former profession (legal field) about ghostwriting blogs. There was a large percentage of lawyers who felt (unfairly, I thought) that ghostwriting was somehow unethical and sleazy. But Lord, lawyers are frantically busy – how are they supposed to make time for frequent publishing? Personally, I think it’s a great way to establish some good working habits, get clients, get PAID …
    Annie Sisk (Pajama Productivity) recently posted..Your Emergency Survival KitMy Profile

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