Is Hiring a Ghostwriter for a Memoir Ethical?

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Talk With a Ghostwriter

Although ghostwriting is prevalent in a variety of genres, some people question the ethics of using such a service unless a ghostwriter is hired to pen a political speech or a celebrity memoir. Not only does the public accept ghostwriting in those instances, but it expects it. 

This begs the following question: If ghostwriting is accepted as a legitimate service for public figures, why should it be viewed any differently for other authors? Anyone may need the help of a ghostwriter, from busy CEOs to everyday people with fascinating stories to tell. Most of us don’t have time for writing, and it’s not just a question of time—producing a full-length book is difficult, and most people lack the necessary skills to pull it off, especially if they want a book that will sell. 

Whatever kind of book you want to publish, you shouldn’t have any qualms about hiring a ghostwriter to help you put together something that people want to read. Whether it’s a business book or a memoir, you can rest easy knowing that not only is ghostwriting extremely common, but it’s also completely ethical. We’ll give you three reasons why you can feel comfortable using a ghostwriter. 

When you’re ready to get started on your memoir, hire a ghostwriter to receive professional help for your book, from start to finish.

3 reasons why hiring a ghostwriter is perfectly ethical

1. Ghostwriters are compensated for their work

One of the main reasons people may feel uneasy about ghostwriting is that the ghostwriter does not (usually) receive any writing credit. This can be confusing because they’re the one who wrote the book. However, their rate will reflect the compensation for which they’re willing to provide this service without credit. If a ghostwriter is happy with their payment, you shouldn’t have any qualms about hiring them and taking the writing credit.

Don’t forget that anonymity is at the core of ghostwriting—it has ghost in it for a reason. A ghostwriter is your invisible assistant, working behind the scenes to help you find the right words to tell your story and drawing on their extensive knowledge of the publishing industry to ensure your book is marketable. They expect no writing credit. If you’re nonetheless uncomfortable with the arrangement, you can choose to give your ghost credit—this will usually come with a rate reduction.

2. The words are theirs, but the story is yours

If you hired someone to not just anonymously write your story but also come up with the idea, that would indeed be unethical, but it’s not how ghostwriting works. The story has to come from the client—all the ghostwriter does is offer technical assistance in telling the story as effectively as possible. 

It’s not like the client does nothing throughout the ghostwriting process—they’re an active participant, even if they’re not the one putting the words on the page. The ghostwriter must make sure they understand the client’s vision for the book, interviewing them to learn the story they want told. The client provides the anecdotes, the ideas, and, in essence, the content of the book. Ghostwriting a memoir is a partnership, and the book should be seen as the result of a collaborative effort, not as the sole work of the ghostwriter.

3. Ghostwriters choose this line of work

When you hire a ghostwriter, you’re not tricking them into writing a book. This is the type of work they’ve signed up for—they have chosen ghostwriting as their profession. Just because someone is skilled at writing doesn’t mean they have their own stories to share. They may love writing and want to help others tell their stories—many ghostwriters derive fulfillment from getting to know their clients on a deep level and helping them share their stories more effectively with a wide audience. 

Ghostwriters depend on their clients to write—it’s the client who provides the ideas that the ghostwriter then helps turn into a book. As for the client, they likely have a compelling experience to share but may lack the writing skills or the time to get it on paper, which makes hiring a professional writer a perfectly reasonable decision. Ghostwriting is simply a service like any other—you pay a professional for work that requires their particular skill set.

Ghostwriters want to write your stories

The idea that ghostwriting is unethical gives this professional service a bad rap. Ghostwriters sign contracts they are happy with—they know the terms and are compensated accordingly. If they were bothered by the conditions of a given arrangement, they wouldn’t have accepted them in the first place. They want to write, and they rely on clients to provide great stories.  

If you want more information about the ghostwriting process, schedule a free memoir consultation, and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can help you write your book.

Talk With a Ghostwriter