Have you ever thought about hiring a ghostwriter but wondered if it’s cheating? I’m a ghostwriter so you would expect me to say, “No” – right? But actually, it’s a little more complicated than that…
It is definitely cheating when students are hiring a ghostwriter to write reports or dissertations that will inform their result in their qualification. That is cheating.
Hiring A Ghostwriter
Ghostwriting fiction is also skating on thin ice in my opinion. Look at any bestseller lists and there will be a known author in huge writing on the cover, with a tiny other name underneath. OK, so did the big-name author write the book? No, they may have come up with an idea or plot outline and then the person in the tiny writing did the rest. I’m sure that the author in tiny writing isn’t complaining because the big-name author will probably ensure far higher sales but it still feels a bit off to me.
According to Joseph Campbell there is only one story – the Hero’s Journey. Every story ever told is just a variation and his theory has been widely used in books and films. So, if there is just one story then surely the writing of that story is what creates the magic. I could come up with a cunning wheeze about a boy wizard but I’m never going to create Harry Potter in a million years. Sure, in fiction, the idea is important but the execution, in this case the writing, is where a good idea comes to life. So, I’m going to stick my neck out and say hiring a ghostwriter for fiction is also cheating.
But nonfiction is very different.
Great nonfiction books provide information, make knowledge accessible, or solve a problem. They inform and whilst they still need a strong structure and narrative arc so that the reader knows where they are and what to expect, there is no Hero, no story and no characters. Skill is still required for nonfiction but the Hero in nonfiction is the information. The only way for a ghostwriter to get that information is from the author. I can write about property development or share trading if I collaborate with a property developer or share trader – they have the information, not me. The author is the Hero in this case because they have the information. All I’m doing is getting that information out of their head and organising it in a way that will make sense to the reader, be engaging and inspire action. Don’t get me wrong, there is a skill in that ability, but I am not the Hero in this story. The author and their information are the Hero.
The resulting book is not my book, I couldn’t have written that book without the author. I didn’t have the knowledge or the insight. They did. Sure, I could have enrolled in a PhD but I’m writing books in three months not 5 years! I bring the writing and structuring skill, honed through over 80 books and the author brings their subject expertise to create a manuscript neither of us could have created alone.
Ghostwriting nonfiction is absolutely not cheating. It is smart outsourcing. If I need to revamp my website, I could faff about with it myself and end up with something that looks more like a high school project than a professional calling card or I could recognise that I am neither a designer nor an IT expert and hire someone who actually knows what they are doing. At no point in the decision-making process do I wonder if I’m cheating if I hire a professional! So, if you have a nonfiction book in you, but don’t have the time to excavate it, hiring a ghostwriter may be the perfect solution. Contact me today to find out how I can help.