Ghostwriting Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve worked as a ghostwriter for therapists and other mental health providers for a while now and I’ve noticed there are a few fears that come up regularly. If you’re considering hiring a ghostwriter, but you’re a little nervous about it, keep reading.
“Wouldn’t it be better if I wrote it myself?”
Sometimes people think they are the only ones who can express what’s on their minds and hearts. They think they are the best people to convey ideas to the world, but that’s not true. I’ve worked as a journalist since 2006 and in that time have honed my interview skills. I know how to draw information from a person they may not think is relevant or interesting, which I also apply to ghostwriting.
There’s also the fact not everyone is a writer. Some people struggle to present their ideas in clear and cohesive ways, especially if they’re neurodivergent. By working with me, I can zero in on what matters and expand upon that information. Not only that, even people who are good writers struggle to find time to write! If you’re a therapist or mental health provider, you’re spending most of your day seeing patients so making time for writing can be stressful. That’s where I come in. I have the time to do what you cannot.
“If I didn’t write it, how can I claim credit?”
I hear this one a lot. People are worried that if they aren’t the ones putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard), that the content isn’t really theirs. They think they can’t claim ownership, or that it’s unethical to do so. I hear you. I’m an enneagram one so integrity is high on my list of values. The way I think about it is ideas are intellectual property.
The thoughts I’m writing about aren’t mine, they’re yours. I know a smidge about a variety of topics like attachment theory, internal family systems, and trauma, but you are the expert. I’m writing a skeleton blog or book that you fill in with lived experience. I’m the instrument for the idea, but the content didn’t come from me.
This is why I emphasize over and over again the importance of the ghostwriting relationship. I want to make sure I’m capturing your voice and that I understand what it is you want to convey. By doing so, I’m writing something as close to how you would phrase it as I can. That means when the blog or the book goes live, you can feel comfortable saying it’s yours. However, if that still makes you nervous, keep reading for point three.
“Will anyone know I didn’t write it?”
When I ghostwrite for busy professionals or therapists, I let them take the lead in how confidential they want our relationship to be. Some folks feel fine declaring they work with me as a ghostwriter whereas others want that to be kept between us. Whatever you, the client, decide is what goes. I won’t publicly declare I ghostwrote a piece unless I have express permission from you (and even then I will probably keep my lips sealed.)
If you’re worried about anyone finding out you hired a ghostwriter, let me put that fear to rest: They won’t. Unless you tell them. That’s also why I don’t rely on using ghostwriting samples when I pitch to potential clients. It doesn’t matter what I wrote for one of my most successful clients, Renee (not her real name), because I may not write in a way that works for you. In addition to emphasizing the ghostwriting relationship, this is also why I conduct a paid writing sample before working with anyone. If you don’t like what I wrote for you, then who cares what I’ve ghostwritten for someone else and how well it performed?
If I’ve assuaged your fears (and even if I haven’t), why not reach out to me about working together? What do you have to lose? And what do you have to gain?