Ghostwriting

Beginning Writer’s Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman

If I agree to ghostwrite a book for a celebrity, do I get a cover credit? How about a percentage of the royalties? Are ghostwriters looked down on by other writers?

Unless the work is specifically intended to be an as-told-to book, ghostwriters generally don’t get a byline, and rarely receive any sort of public acknowledgment, even if they are established professionals. But because a ghostwriter must subdue his own voice, write entirely in the style of another person, and satisfy both subject and editor, he is recognized and respected in the publishing community.

While public acclaim is rare for ghostwriters, there are considerable monetary rewards. Ghostwriters usually receive a flat fee, rather than a percentage of the royalties. What that fee will be depends on the book publisher, the celebrity, the reputation of the ghostwriter, and the book’s salability, but it could be $25,000 or more.

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