A ghostwriter is an expert who writes books for other people but doesn’t take author credit. Just like a ghost, a ghostwriter is invisible, and once the book has been written, he or she will disappear from view.

Ghostwriters write all kinds of books: memoirs, health books, business books, self-help books, biographies, sports books, books about art and history, and more.

No. Your readers won’t care whether you wrote the book by yourself or had help; they’re just interested in your ideas. In fact, it’s usually assumed that ghostwriters are involved in the books authored by athletes, politicians, executives, and entertainers.

That depends on the client. Some people come up with an entire manuscript before engaging a ghostwriter. Others work closely with the ghostwriter to hammer out the book together. Still others provide the general idea, then let the ghost create the manuscript. The way you work with your ghostwriter is up to you.

While the ghostwriter does most or all of the writing, the client—that’s you—owns the rights and receives all the credit.

Ghostwriters are generally paid in installments as the work progresses. Most professional ghostwriters do not work on spec; that is, they do not write your book in exchange for a percentage of its future earnings.

An experienced ghostwriter is an expert at turning ideas and information into books in numerous genres. It’s not necessary for a ghost to be an expert on the topic. What’s most important is his or her ability to understand the material and explain it clearly to the readers.

Thanks to the internet, you can work with a ghostwriter in any part of the world. We live in Los Angeles, California, but work with clients across the U.S. and around the world. We often begin by meeting with our clients in person, but after the initial meeting, we generally communicate via phone, Skype, email, and so on.

Ghostwriters may have contacts with agents, but they cannot guarantee that an agent will represent you. Agents make their decisions regarding representation based on the potential client’s work and marketing platform.

If you need help writing your book, or want someone to write it for you, hire a ghostwriter. If you need someone to improve or “clean up” your manuscript, look for an editor.

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