Confessions of a Ghostwriter - ToughNickel - Money
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Confessions of a Ghostwriter

John has many years of writing experience in poetry, short fiction and text for children's books. Basically he just loves to write.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

What Is a Ghostwriter?

A simple meaning of the term "ghostwriter" comes from the Oxford Dictionary:

ghostwriter

noun

~ a person whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author ~

When people hear the term "ghostwriter," they usually associate it with someone hired to write, edit, or draft a famous person's or celebrity's memoir or autobiography. This is the lucrative end of the spectrum but it's only a small example of what ghostwriters are called to do.

In this article, I will endeavour to expand on that and give you more of an idea of what kind of work you are more likely to be given if considering offering your services as a ghostwriter.

Self-Publishing Boom = More Ghostwriters Needed

Ghostwriting services have always been in demand but the explosion of the Internet into our lives has also created the e-book phenomena and sites like Amazon Kindle and Lulu have promoted a boom in self-publishing of both hard copy and e-books. People who never considered publishing books before have suddenly jumped on the self-publishing craze.

Many of these people have little or no writing experience but see $$$ signs before their eyes in calling themselves "published authors" and hence the demand for the services of experienced ghostwriters has also skyrocketed. It makes me wonder how many claiming to be authors have never written a book, story, or poem in their life.

"Impossible!" you say, "surely this couldn't be the case?" Well, I assure you it is very possible, and I am speaking of experience here. Let me elaborate.

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Why People Hire Ghostwriters

  • Famous people hire them to write their memoirs or autobiographies.
  • Singers often hire songwriters to pen their hits, and they aren't always acknowledged.
  • Politicians hire them to write their speeches.
  • They often hired to carry on a series by a popular author who may be deceased e.g. James Bond 007 in lieu of Ian Flemming, or the Jason Bourne series originally by Robert Ludlum (though these are usually attributed).
  • To write the text for children's picture books often to be published by the illustrator themselves.
  • To write personalised verses for greeting cards.
  • If another writer has more work than they can manage by a deadline they may hire ghostwriters to help them complete it on time.
  • By people who aren't writers but think that publishing children's books showing them as the author may be lucrative.
  • The author may not be a native English speaker but wants his/her book written in "proper' English.
  • To write a love poem/letter to impress another or win their heart.

These are just some of the reasons ghostwriters are hired. I am sure there are many more.

The difference between a writer and a ghostwriter is the difference between a mother and a midwife.

— Derek Lewis

My Experience as a Ghostwriter

More Than 100 Children's Books

Going through my documents and "Writing Projects" files, I was surprised to find that I have written more than 100 prospective children's books. That's right ... and all for other people to claim authorship of. Sometimes I have written four or five stories for a returning client, but not once have I been acknowledged as an author or co-author.

A client may even negotiate a cheaper price by agreeing to attribute you as a co-author (especially if they, themselves are the illustrator), but even if you sign a contract to that effect, it is difficult to pursue as you have no idea when/or if the book will actually be published and, if it is, it could be under a different title.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. It is my choice to be a ghostwriter instead of publishing books for myself, but it does get you thinking. My clients are just a tiny drop in the ocean, but it shows how many people must be out there hiring others to write their books, stories, love poems, etc. Yes, I have even been paid to write poems expressing one person's love for another.

Maybe it's worth the cost of hiring a ghostwriter and even an illustrator to do all the work for you rather than spend time writing the book yourself. I guess it is worth it if the book sells, but how often does that happen? Maybe more than I know.

Some Requests I Have Received

I have been asked if I will both write and illustrate a children's book, but relinquish all rights to the client. I respectfully declined that request, as if I were to both write and illustrate a book I would be publishing it under my own name.

Another client wanted to publish a series of books but didn't have the time to write them himself (other than the first.) He wanted me to write one book, and hire a different ghostwriter for each one.

Often, I am hired to write a book because the client doesn't have a good grasp of English (it's their second or third language). A lot of these clients are based in the Philippines, but I am surprised that some are also located in the USA. In fact, one USA based client didn't even know what quotation marks were or why they were used... and this person would be listed as an "author??"

It is quite understandable if I am hired by an artist who has illustrated a children's book himself but requires a writer/poet to add the text (often rhyming verse) to accompany his illustrations. This is common with a number of my clients.

Occasionally, a client will give me a detailed story outline of say 500 words but want to pay me to write the story in 200 words. If this is the case, I insist it will have to be written as poetry in order to eliminate excess words.

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Some Famous Ghostwriters

It can be shocking and even heartbreaking to find out your favourite author may not have really penned most of the books attributed them on the cover. It's a bit like having the realization that Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny isn't real.

You may get some comfort, though, to know that a lot of those ghostwriters are, in fact, talented enough writers to be successful under their own names.

Here are a few:

  1. H.P. Lovecraft: (The Dunwich Horror, Necronomicon, The Call of Cthulhu) was approached by the editor of the pulp magazine Weird Tales to ghostwrite "true' stories by escape artist Harry Houdini. Lovecraft wrote "Imprisoned With the Pharoahs" in less than a week and earned $100 for his effort as well as Houdini's ongoing ghostwriting opportunities. Later this story was renamed "under the Pyramids" and Lovecraft was given a byline.
  2. Andrew Neiderman (The Devil's Advocate): was called in to complete the last book in V.C. Andrews Dollanganger series called Garden of Shadows when Andrews passed away from breast cancer before finishing it. Neiderman took over writing under the name V.C Andrews in 1986 and continues to write under that name to this day.
  3. Raymond Benson (The Black Stiletto, The Pocket Guide to Jethro Tull, and a novelization of the video game Metal Gear Solid): wrote 12 James Bond 007 novels between 1997 and 2002 including Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough. He also wrote the first two books in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series under the pseudonym David Michaels.
  4. Auguste Maquet (not exactly famous): but co-wrote The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers with Alexandre Dumas but remained uncredited for them. After a dispute over bylines and money, Dumas and Maquet parted ways—Maquet dying in obscurity 37 years afterwards. Dumas got the fame, but on Maquet’s tombstone in Paris' Père-Lachaise cemetery these words are etched: The Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo, and La Reine Margot.

(Credits: Reedsy.com - Understanding Publishing: Mentalfloss.com - Your Favorite Authors Are Frauds)

“I wrote this book without the aid of a coauthor or a ghostwriter (which is why it’s a good bet this is going to be my last book; I had no idea it would be so hard to do).”

— – IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?

Conclusion: Why Should I Become a Ghostwriter?

Ghostwriting can be many things: rewarding, frustrating, challenging, even fun. Above all, it should be seen as a learning experience for a writer as you are often called to write things you would never have otherwise considered. The job often requires you to research subjects you previously knew little about. In this way, it expands your writing repertoire and teaches you new skills. It isn't for everyone, but it certainly has its place in the field of writing.

Hopefully, one day I may take the plunge, stop procrastinating, and get around to publishing my own children's books. But until then, "Who you gonna call?"

"Ghostwriter!"

Who you gonna call?

Who you gonna call?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 14, 2019:

Well, ps, you were a ghostwriter long before me. It is a very interesting profession and more satisfying than many people think. Thank you for the angels.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 14, 2019:

Hey, Ghostwriter....I was a ghostwriter in college. Enough said. No longer am I one but it sounds like it would be interesting to engage in it all of these years later. Hoping today is a wonderful day. Angels are headed your way this early morning ps

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 30, 2019:

Hello Poppy, thank you for reading this. Ghostwriting, overall, is an interesting and satisfying profession. Good luck with it.

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on October 30, 2019:

This is fascinating! I recently started ghostwriting on a freelance website and find it a lot of fun. Mostly I've been approached by non-native speakers, as you mentioned in the article.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 18, 2019:

Thank you for the encouragement, Lawrence.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 18, 2019:

John

Finally got time to come back and comment again. I know what you mean with the Marketing, but the truth is you can do as much or as little as you want. If your friends want the books then they know where to go for them.

I decided to take the plunge with marketing a few months ago and I think this week I finally got to the point of breaking even, it feels great, but a little unnerving at the same time.

It takes a bit of learning, but you're worth the effort.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 18, 2019:

Tiyasha, I am glad this article was able to educate and inform you as to what it is to be a ghostwriter. Thank you for reading and commenting so generously.

Tiyasha Maitra from Gurgaon on October 18, 2019:

This is a very good article Mr. Hansen. It's informative and well written. Thanks. I didn't have a lot of idea about the concept before this, just a sketchy one.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 16, 2019:

Hi Cynthia. Glad you found this interesting. The majority of ghostwriters get no attribution I'm afraid.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 16, 2019:

John,

Fascinating! I have read a couple of books where ghostwriters were attributed but was not aware that attribution is not a "given."

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences in this well-written article.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2019:

Glad you found this interesting, Lawrence. Yes, I have two James Bond novels written by John Gardner too and I am very familiar with what James Patterson does. Marketing is what scares me about doing my own books.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 10, 2019:

John

This was fascinating, seeing the 'other' side of the fence as it were.

By the way, John Gardner also wrote a number of Bond novels and James Patterson writes nearly all his books this way. He hires a writer, gives them a 'brief' and lets them loose. They get to put their name on the cover, but in smaller print than his.

There is a side to writing thats seldom talked about, and where many authors come unstuck, the marketing, learn a little about that before writing, I'm working on that.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 02, 2019:

Thank you Rinita...it can be depressing if you look at it a certain way. But it has its pluses.

Rinita Sen on October 02, 2019:

It's depressing, but it's reality. Well, as long the pay keeps coming, eh?

Haha.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 28, 2019:

Thanks Steve. Yes, it is interesting work and gladness you found the article informative.

Steve Tyson from Byron Bay, Australia on September 28, 2019:

This is really interesting John. I've often wondered about this. I haven't done any ghost-writing but I got asked about it recently so I'll keep your words in mind if it amounts to anything...

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 18, 2019:

Thank you for your kind reply, Abitha, and for the follow. Cheers.

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 18, 2019:

John,

I would hardly label you a procrastinator judging by the variety of your bubs and your quick response to my comment here! Perhaps too many ghostwriting opportunities have come your way that kind of made your dream take a back seat. I hope to read your children's book one day until then will continue reading your articles here. Wishing you well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 18, 2019:

That is a good question, Abitha. I can think of a lot of excuses, but if I am honest, it is probably because I am procrastinating and keep putting it off. thank you for that wise comment.

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 18, 2019:

John,

I like the cool way you ended the article! What is stopping you from writing a children's book if I may ask? Especially when you are a sought after writer, who enjoys writing and spends a lot of time doing so!

Miel Reyes from Philippines on September 16, 2019:

Thanks and God bless John!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 16, 2019:

Hello Miel, I am glad this challenges you and that can only be a good thing. We all need to be inspired and encouraged by each other to be better writers. Good luck with your dream of publishing children's books too.

Miel Reyes from Philippines on September 16, 2019:

Thank you for your post, John. Anyway, somehow it also challenges me to improve my writing as well. I need to polish my skills. And we do have the same dream of publishing our own children's books.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 16, 2019:

Hey, Li-Jen. I do hope that this article does prove helpful to you in future. When you are young I think impulsiveness is a good thing and can get you far. I am too old to be impulsive lol. Thanks for the well-wishes about publishing my own children's books.

Li-Jen Hew on September 16, 2019:

Hi Jodah, you are a saviour to those in need of a ghostwriter! Grateful to you for sharing this article because if I'm interested next time, this article will come in handy. You are right about people who publish for the money. I admit I can be just as impulsive as them. Thanks for sharing this! Hope you get to publish children's books!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 13, 2019:

Hi Miel, I am sad to hear that some famous authors you have worked with failed to pay. Ideally, for major projects you should be paid a retainer or instalment at the very start and then at progressive intervals, before a final payment at the end.

I go through a service provider who ensures the client pays the agreed amount before the project is started, so that offers the writer some security.

However, the money is held by the middleman until a week or so after completion and there is still nothing from stopping the buyer saying they are unhappy with the work and wish to cancel. You can dispute this but then it has to go to mediation. Thankfully, this doesn't happen often. Most of my clents are appreciative and good to work with.

Miel Reyes from Philippines on September 13, 2019:

I don't mind being a ghostwriter. Been working with famous authors in the past and sad to say some of them don't pay afterward. I still ghostwrite at present, and I agree with you, it can also be rewarding :-)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 12, 2019:

Hi Amanda, it can be very satisfying especially when clients love your work and leave you great reviews. Thanks for reading and good luck.

Amanda Nechesa from Nairobi on September 12, 2019:

This is quite informative... Definitely making me Cosider being one debate it's challenges.. It seems like a fun job

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 12, 2019:

Brother Sean, what a fine complement to suggest we co-author something one day. Thank you for all the generous words. It doesn't really matter to me if people know my name, just that they read what I write and enjoy it.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on September 12, 2019:

There are ghostwriters and there are spiritwriters! You belong to the second, my dear brother! I am happy for all those people who have the opportunity and the blessing to read your work, even if it has not your name, because they have seen your true colours! Maybe someday we could publish something together! It's a dream for me, my name beside yours!

Respect and gratitude for all the beauty!

Sean

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 11, 2019:

Chitrangada, I am so glad you found this article informative and helpful. I never get any relevant job offers through Linkedin ...if I was offered a ghostwriting job there I may consider it. Thank you for your well- wishes too.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 11, 2019:

Excellent, interesting and informative article about the ghostwriters.

Of all the reasons, you have listed above, I think the learning experience, is the one, I would be comfortable with. I keep on getting offers for the job of ghostwriter, in my LinkedIn mails, though I have never accepted any, so far.

After going through your article, things are quite clear to me about this kind of job.

Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your own published work. Wish you all the best.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 10, 2019:

Thanks for reading MsDora. I forgot to mention that pride and satisfaction you get from sending a completed work to a client and they are so pleased with what you created the give you glowing feedback and, sometimes, even a tip.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 10, 2019:

Great presentation! Thanks for unveiling this image of ghostwriting. I see how it can interesting and exciting it can be to help someone achieve his or her goal of authorship. At the same time the ghostwriter enters in a pre-planned adventure. Sure, they'd be challenges, but I'd like the fun part and of course, the pay.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 10, 2019:

Hi MizB, yes, writing commercials, jingles, promos etc would be all forms of ghostwriting. At first I just called myself a freelance writer as I was writing a bit of everything, but most of my work now is writing the text for children’s books or educational material...I ave become “ghostly” haha. With your experience you could do it easily and there is big demand. Thanks for the encouragement to write my own book though.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on September 10, 2019:

John, how interesting. I didn't realize that you did ghostwriting. That is something to consider. As an editor of 34 years, ghostwriting comes easy to me. I've completed one ghostwritten book. We'll see how it goes. But writing commercials for broadcasting, which I did for more than 10 years, would be considered a form of ghostwriting, I suppose.

I would like to see you publish your own work. I think you would be a great success.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 10, 2019:

Mel, I had never thought about it like that. The reason children’s books seem to be the most popular is very likely for the reasons you stated. I am starting to get the hint here lol, I think I better seriously consider publishing my own book.

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on September 10, 2019:

It is time to spread your wings and give it a whirl. Children´s books seem to be the only market available for new writers these days. I have browsed through several publishers websites, and most of them are for children´s books. I believe the reason for this is because they force the kiddies to read in school. Past the age of 12 nobody reads.

Reading is a dying art, my friend. People like you and I are endangered species. Good luck on your ghostwriting and on launching your own brand, should you decide to do it.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 10, 2019:

Yes, Flourish, although the money isn't a lot it is reasonably steady work and not that hard. They usually have the idea for their story and I just have to write it usually in verse, often to accompany illustrations. Kid's picture books may only have around 20 words per page. I usually take a day just thinking it over in my head but once I start I can usually write the whole thing in an hour and charge $5US for 50words.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 10, 2019:

So what motivates you to write stories or poems and allow others to take credit for your work? Is it the money?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 10, 2019:

Hey Bill old buddy, I can always rely on you to give me a push in the right direction can't I? I do need to publish something new in my own name or I will forever be saying "What if..?" You are right, there is nothing to stop me doing both...publishing my own books and ghostwriting. Thank you for the voice of reason as always.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on September 10, 2019:

At the end of each of my arms John, I have a hand, which like you, I use as a tool in my writing. But today I have a different job for these two 'handy' little appendages. I intend to employ them to give you a push. With all my force I'm pushing you John Hansen, my friend. Pushing you to stop fighting with yourself on this issue and dive into it. Write some work that will be signed by John Hansen, the author. As for ghostwriting, there is nothing to preclude the author J.H. from putting on his spectral mask as often as he wants and scare up a bevy of ghostly articles, books, poems and yes, even illustrations. You can be both John and the Ghost. Your muse is more than strong enough to have two personas.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 10, 2019:

Marie, glad you got that children's e-book finished, and good luck with your B.A. too. Thanks for the encouragement and yes, I may use Jodah as a pen name.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on September 10, 2019:

I've tried my hand at ghostwriting as many people have good ideas but just don't know how to put them into words.

I did finally finish that children's e-book. My modest illustrations are what took so long. I usually never have trouble with words. I also used a pen name on that one because readers associate genre and voice with the name.

More often, I find myself editing. Sometimes that borders on ghostwriting because the original piece is poorly written.

Interesting enough, I sent my readmission form yesterday to MSU in East Lansing to finish my B.A. in English (creative writing). The degree has been neglected since 1974. Whether I actually keep my promise to myself in finishing the degree "before I turn 80" remains to be seen.

I'm glad you're having some success with the ghostwriting bit, John, but really I think you should spend more time excercising your heart and soul. That's where we really make a difference in the world, you know.

For children's books, I think the pseudonym Jodah would be excellent. Children like easy names to remember.

Blessings!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 10, 2019:

Yes, Nithya, sometimes you feel sad when you know others will get credit for what you wrote especially if you are proud of what you did. You have to try and distance yourself from the work if possible and move on, but it isn’t always easy. Thanks for your caring comment.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 10, 2019:

Ghostwriting can be a learning experience but it must be tough not to be acknowledged in the book credits. You have done the writing and someone else takes credit, breaks my heart. But I guess it is the writer’s choice. You should publish children’s books, I am sure it will be a great success.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 10, 2019:

Hi Liz. I’m glad I could give you more of an insight into what ghostwriting is all about. Thank you for reading my article.

Liz Westwood from UK on September 10, 2019:

Thanks for introducing us to the world of ghost writing. I was aware that it existed, but you have given much more insight on the subject in your interesting and informative article.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Hi Lora, I am glad you found this interesting and informative. There are a number of reasons that have kept me from publishing my own books. I did one on Lulu but wasn’t really happy with the process or finished product..though that could have been my own fault being completely new to the process. The problem with Amazon, well at least when they had Create Space, they would not pay direct to Australian accounts or through PayPal. They would only pay by check and charge $8 US for processing each check. If I only sold one or two e-books a month it didn’t even cover the check costs.

I may give it another go soon, and yes maybe using a pen name is a good idea too, to retain some anonymity. Thanks for the great comment.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Thank you, Mary..almost missed your comment, sorry. I was surprised I had written that many. I am not sure how many have actually been published though.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Thanks Linda :) I understand you needing to be careful, can’t be accused of slander that way.

Lora Hollings on September 09, 2019:

A very interesting article, Jodah! I really enjoyed reading about this process and just how prevalent the practice has become! You certainly engaged your reader with this candid, well written article that makes us think about doing some ghost writing for some extra cash and it sounds like it could be much fun as well. But you really have to keep your ego out of it. I think you should publish your own books but I can understand why you might not to as well. Maybe using a pen name is a good way around keeping your name private if you want to continue to hold on to the copyright and receive all the proceeds from selling your own books? Wonderful article! Both witty and enlightening. I was surprised to discover just how many well known authors use ghost writers. Thanks for sharing!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 09, 2019:

John, the initials are G.P. and her mother is also an actress. That should suffice.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Thank you Ruby, you are too kind.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 09, 2019:

I can envision writers hiring you to write for them. This was an interesting read. You should publish your poetry, it's that good!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Thank you for reading, Doug. It seems we are doing things the opposite way around haha. I see writing for my own books as more ambitious. I write for hire on Fiverr. Good luck with whatever you write.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Thanks for the kind words, Lori. Yes, James Patterson crossed my mind too. He churns out so many books with co-authors like Andrew Goss. It is impossible for him to have a hand in them all other than lending his name. I wrote an e-book of poetry called “I Laughed a Smile” with some of my early poetry from HubPages (on Lulu) but I wasn’t happy with the formatting or the finished product. I have about a dozen poems in an anthology called “The Creative Exiles - Let the Words Speak” on Amazon. I am considering doing another of my own.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Awww thank you, Shaloo. That is very kind. I hope that happens soon too.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

I agree with a lot of what you say, Linda. I have even been approached to write people’s collage assignments (on poetry) for them, but refused out of principle. I do hope to publish my own books at some stage. Please, whisper me the “health and wellness guru” you are referring to.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Hi J Beadle, impressing your wife is a start and not to be sneezed at. That’s where I started too, and for years she was the only person who read my writing. Keep doing what you love.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 09, 2019:

That's quite an achievement to have written 100 children's books. You are now the expert on this. I do hope you take the plunge and soon.

J Beadle from Wisconsin on September 09, 2019:

Good luck on getting your name out there. At least your stories are being read and you have a livelihood writing. I just write to impress my wife! So far, so good there.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 09, 2019:

Keep writing John. I want to see books with your name on them. Writing is not easy (everyone "does" it, but few do it well). Personally, I think that those who use the services of a ghostwriter are lazy, self-serving, greedy scum. (I guess I should stop soft pedaling and say what my feelings really are LOL).

There's a certain actress who is now a self-proclaimed health and wellness guru, and has "authored" several cookbooks. Good golly they're horrible--if not for the name she'd never have gotten a publisher to even look at her stuff much less publish it. (Now you're probably wondering who I'm talking about, aren't you?)

Chris Desatoff from USA on September 09, 2019:

Exactly right, man!

Shaloo Walia from India on September 09, 2019:

You are an incredible writer and I hope I see one of your children books being published soon!

Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on September 09, 2019:

Very informative. I am going to be honest. I find people who use ghostwriters to be lazy even shameful. James Patterson hardly ever writes his own books yet is reaping in millions of dollars and taking the credit. I don't understand how it's legal. You are a wonderful writer and your clients are lucky to have you. I hope you are paid well. As to the ghostwriter, it sounds lie there are benefits but you could go far doing your own books as well. Thanks for this information John. Keep writing. You're awesome. BTW, have you ever published your own book of poetry? You should.

Doug West from Missouri on September 09, 2019:

John:

A very informative article. I have written quite a bit (many books and articles) but always for myself. Maybe one day I'll get ambitious and start writing for someone else. I see lots of people writing for hire on Upwork and Fiverr.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Thanks for your comment, Chris. I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You have to make a choice which is best for you.

Chris Desatoff from USA on September 09, 2019:

Ghostwriting...ugh. It is what it is lol. Thanks for sharing your experience, John.

I've ghostwritten over 1,000 articles to date. And while I appreciate every dollar and every client, it also pains me when I think about where my monthly income might be right now if I had just published all those articles on HubPages.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Hello, Shauna. Yes, you are right that writers who work for "writers-for-hire" sites are also ghostwriters. Most of my work comes through one such site, Fiverr (though not exclusively for writing services.) You were fortunate to be allowed a byline.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Aww, Bill. That is a huge compliment coming from a writer as accomplished as you, my friend. Thank you always for your encouragement.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 09, 2019:

Thanks for sharing your experience, John.

If you think about it, writers who work with writers-for-hire sites are also ghostwriters unless the client actually gives the byline to the writer. When I was working with CopyPress, there was one client, Hipmunk, who actually gave the writer(s) the byline for copy written for their site. That was a huge plus for me. I was able to use those clips as examples of my professional experience.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Haha, Elijah, I like that, "taking breaks from your work by messing with us "ancient of days" people with nothing else to do." Glad I enlightened you on what a "ghostwriter" actually does, and yes, I spend too much time on the computer.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 09, 2019:

For yourself, or for someone else, you are one hell of a writer.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on September 09, 2019:

I had picked up on you being a "Ghostwriter" but never knew it meant anything other than being "the actual writer of a published book," thanks for correcting me.

No wonder you spend so much time on the computer, (LOL) taking breaks form your work by messing with us "ancient of days" people with nothing else to do.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Lorna, you made a very good point, "does a ghostwriter really put their heart and soul into a piece?" It would be hard to answer "yes" to that. let's just say you do your best. It is easier with some pieces than with others ... some you can relate to more than others, but in the end, it is not 'yours' and once it is written you may never look at it again. I know what I write on HubPages has a lot more 'heart and soul.' Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Anything is possible.

Lorna Lamon on September 09, 2019:

Such an interesting article John and from a 'learning' experience it might be worth it. However, and correct me if I am wrong, does a ghostwriter really put their heart and soul into a piece? I think we all have our reasons for wanting to write, personally I use it as a way to unwind, a hobby I really enjoy. I always look forward to reading your articles John and I am convinced that there are a lot of people who would love to see your name on a published work. Don't keep us waiting too long.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 09, 2019:

Pamela, thank you for being the first to read this article and comment. I am glad you found it interesting. I did write one e-book of my early poems from HubPages but wasn't entirely happy with how it turned out. I wrote a dozen poems in an anthology by the CreativeExiles, another site I belong to, but you are right, I should try my hand again. Thanks for the encouragement.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 09, 2019:

I found this article about ghostwriting to be very interesting. I think it would be a great idea for you to write your own books of poetry as you are a very talented writer, which you have proven over and over again.