“If I was to write a novel about the paranormal, I think I would want to use a ghostwriter for greater impact.” (Michael Kroft)
This is something I love talking about. Is ghostwriting ethical?
I don’t think there’s a clear-cut answer and I know that some people have strong feelings about this, on both sides, so I’m just going to share my thoughts and how I see my role as a ghostwriter.
My sister was one of the first people to share her views that ‘it’s not fair’. She had her own reasons though as she is my biggest supporter and personal PR. She likes to tell people about the books I’ve written, mainly the ones that include her favourite canine, Reggie. Actually, it’s more about him!
As a ghost, I write on behalf of other people. I don’t ghostwrite fiction, so I am merely putting the lived experience and expertise of the people who hire me into book form. They’re not my stories, I’m the conduit, nothing more. I am collecting the words of the people who hire me and putting them in order!
The authors I work with as a ghost could absolutely write their own books if they wanted to. Just like, if I wanted to, I could do my own accounts. I have done the work, I have earned the money, it’s my business name on the submission, it’s just that I am not skilled with numbers. My accountant is incredible. She understands numbers and all things accounting. I happily pay her to make sure my numbers are in order and she completes the task in a fraction of the time it would take me. I don’t want to do them (insert a minor tantrum here) but I do want them to be completed.
I don’t feel there’s any difference with being a ghost, except it sounds much cooler! I love words, I love to write and I love that I can get earn a living doing exactly that.
There’s something exciting about seeing a book you’ve written on the shelf of a bookshop and nobody knows it’s your word-ordering that is contained inside the cover. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to living life as an MI5 operative. I was given Stella Rimmington’s book last year and have wondered how long I’d last undercover since reading it. Approximately three minutes, I reckon.
With the writing, I genuinely don’t feel that they are ‘my’ books and I love that the authors I work with can proudly hold their book and enjoy the journey it takes them on.
So, for me, ghostwriting is absolutely ethical. It’s a service that allows more people to share their wisdom and there can never be too much wisdom out in the world!