Is ghostwriting unethical?
“I wonder if I can hire a writer to do this. I’m stuck for words. But is that ethical?” Don’t worry about it. We are just another tool in the toolbox. Use us to help get your job done. Call Ghostwriters Central toll-free at 888-743-9939 10am to 6pm Pacific Time. Or send us a text message at 818-636-4173, we will reply right away. We can provide cost and turnaround time estimates in your first FREE consultation.
Fortunately, as time goes on, we here at Ghostwriters Central hear this question and others like it less and less. Reason being, ghostwriting has become more popular and better understood in the age of self-publishing, ebooks, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) filmmaking, TED Talks, and blogging.
But for anyone who continues to wonder, the answer to the question is NO. Ghostwriting is not unethical.
Here’s where the confusion happens:
People who’ve never known or worked with a ghostwriter picture the process unfolding in a raw, lame, and patently dishonest manner. For example, a hapless political candidate approaches the ghostwriter crying, “I have to give a speech but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO SAY! Can you please help me??”
At which point the ghostwriter, rolling his eyes, says, “Sure. I’ll come up with all the words, then when you win the race, you’ll just be an empty suit who owes your entire victory to your ghostwriter. Deal?”
Buckling with gratitude, the idiotic politician screams out, “DEAL!” Then he collapses into a puddle of his own tears.
Naturally, reality does not look remotely like this.
In reality, the ghostwriting client always knows Exactly What He Or She Wishes To Say. It’s precise. It’s specific. It’s vivid not only in terms of content, but in terms of the desired impact and emotion. So in reality, the politician or author or filmmaker or performer isn’t some clueless void. Quite the contrary, he or she tends to be smart, present, creative, entrepreneurial, and driven.
All that’s lacking is writing skill — and sometimes not even that. Sometimes time is lacking. Sometimes energy or focus is lacking. But rare is the client who dials us up and says, “I have no ideas whatsoever, but I want a screenplay!”
Has that ever happened before? Of course! And we used to do our best to accommodate such requests. But the problem is, it never once worked out. For the client would inevitably end up unhappy, as that’s what happens when a random writer is arbitrarily granted total freedom.
What happens, in other words, is a disaster.
Thankfully, 99 percent of our inquiries come from clientele who know exactly what they’re seeking to express. The content’s all there; it’s the form that’s missing. Accordingly, the expert ghostwriter comes in and matches that content with exemplary form.
So is it then a LIE when the client takes the credit? We don’t think so, for it’s not our content. It’s theirs. In fact, be that as it may, we’d feel silly getting the credit. For we didn’t come up with any of that stuff. Sure, we developed, toned, structured, deepened, and otherwise cultivated what was already there, but at best that puts us in a gray zone when it comes to credit. In any case, as time goes on, less of our clients are keeping us a secret. We get thanked in the acknowledgements. We get introduced to clients’ friends and relatives. Credit or no credit.
That’s because we haven’t a thing to hide. We’re in the business of human creative expression. The business of transmitting emotion, information, and inspiration.
And if that were unethical, then all of us would be doomed.