Ghostwriting Services

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Bil Howard is a professional storyteller and freelance writer who has written several of his own books and novels. He has ghostwritten more than 100 books and more than 500 articles, blog posts, short stories, and product reviews. Check out the published titles by Bil Howard in the left-hand column below.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Is Ghostwriting Ethical? Dispelling Your Misunderstandings

You, just like most people, probably hesitate when it comes to using a ghostwriter to help you get the story in your head into a format that can be shared with your clients, potential clients or the wide world. There is some lingering doubt as to the ethics of using a ghostwriter, after all, your book, your article and your web site content should be your own words, right? Let’s review some common reasons why you might need a ghostwriter and dispel some of the misunderstandings you might have about it.

I Don’t Have Time to Write a Book

I used to work in the corporate world too and I work independently now. Believe me; I know what time constraints are. I’ve been a writer for almost 40 years, but I didn’t write my first book until I wrote one for a client 6 years ago. In 40 years, I had more than a dozen books started, but never finished. If someone who loves to write, and knows how, doesn’t have enough time to write a book, then why should you expect you to write a book?

There’s a simple phrase I like to use, “Starting a book doesn’t make you a writer, finishing a book makes you a writer.”

Let me ask a simple question. Do you have time to do your taxes? Many people don’t, so what do they do? They hire an accountant to do their taxes. The accountant takes all of the receipts and documents that are given to him or her and does what he or she does best, freeing up their clients to do what they need to do instead of laboring over doing their taxes.

Ghostwriters are the accountants of the literary world. 

As a ghostwriter, I take your receipts (ideas) and prepare them into a return (book), freeing you up to do what you need to do instead of laboring over writing a book. Is that any more unethical than what an accountant does?

I Don’t Know How to Write a Book

Most people don’t know how to write a contract either. There are technical skills, knowledge, understanding and tricks of the trade that the average person doesn’t understand about the law. Your ignorance or lack of skill in legal matters gets you into all sorts of trouble if you make certain contractual agreements without the technical skill to do so. What do you do?

Because you need professional help with something for which you lack skill, you hire an attorney. Do you consider that unethical?

 Who Owns Your Ideas?

That question probably caught you off-guard. It might take an example to help you understand why I put it in this post. Let’s suppose corporation Skimpy Pants needs a new design for their new line of capri pants. What do they do? They go to Jenny in the design department and tell her to come up with a new design. Jenny creates the new design, pitches to the owners of Skimpy Pants and the new design becomes Skimpy Pants Capris.

The Skimpy Pants Capris are not Jenny’s Capris, nor are they Skimpy Pants Capris by Jenny, Skimpy Pants Capris with Jenny, Skimpy Pants Capris As Ordered To Be Designed By Jenny. Jenny gets paid to do a job, design capri pants, and the company does the marketing, receives the credit for designing the greatest capri pants in the world, and they reap the profits from what they hired Jenny to do. Is that unethical? Not really, because Jenny knows that she’s trading her skill for a salary.

When you hire a ghostwriter, the idea is yours and remains yours. All you do, in essence, is hire someone to provide you with a product that you need, but don’t have the time or skill to produce for yourself. The idea is yours, you market it as yours, you receive the credit for writing the bestseller and you reap the profits.

Ghostwriting is no more unethical than what corporations do every day. I work under a non-disclosure agreement with a work for hire contract that is absolutely no different than what corporations expect from their creative employees.


Ghostwriting is no different than hiring an accountant or attorney to do the things that you do not have the time or skill to do. Ghostwriting your book is no more unethical than having an accountant do your tax return or an attorney write your business contract. Most ghostwriters do what they do because they love to write and they have the necessary skills to do so, they trade their talent for cash, just like everyone else, and they don’t worry over getting credit for what they did. If your view of ghostwriting was what was keeping you from finishing your book, there is no reason for you to continue to wait. Contact me today and let me tell your story.