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Ghostwriting: The hidden art of the ghostwriter

Selling books with your name on the front isn’t the only way to earn money as a writer, advises ghostwriter Charlotte Bond

Tell people that you’re a writer, and they’ll have a wealth of questions lined up for you. However, tell people you’re a ghostwriter, and they have two questions: what’s a ghostwriter? And then, when you’ve explained it to them: who would want one of those?

The answers

A ghostwriter is someone who writes a piece of prose at the instruction of a client in return for a flat fee. The finished piece then goes out under the name of the client, rather than the writer. Most people associate ghostwriters with celebrity biographies. After all, just because an amazing football star or actor is good at, well, football and acting, it doesn’t mean that they’re any good at writing. That’s when they turn to a ghostwriter. They employ a ghostwriter who will interview them, take down notes, discuss chapters and layout, then go away and write the book the celebrity wishes they’d written themselves. It then gets published with the celebrity’s name in big letters on the cover, rather than the writer’s name.

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