Being a ghostwriter normally isn’t a controversial career choice. Most of the time, people I tell are fascinated – treating me like a creative Jacques Cousteau, exploring the great depths of story and imagination. Every so often though, the question inevitably arises: “Is ghostwriting someone else’s book even ethical?”
It all depends on what the word “ghostwriting” means to you.
1. You give me your college term paper assignment, pay me to write it, put your name on it, and turn it in.
2. You hire me to research and write a book about your industry, and then head off to Tahiti for a year after telling me to send you a copy of your book when it’s done.
3. You tell me your story in a series of personal, interactive, collaborative phone conversations, and then I weave your words into a carefully constructed book designed to inspire, entertain, and educate readers. It’s a team effort.
It’s ultimately your decision which scenarios are ethical for you. But I will tell you that the only one I offer, is number 3.
The ghostwriter is a floating satellite of the author’s soul. It’s your book after all – your words, stories, thoughts, ideas and impressions. Transforming the spoken word to the written word, transferring the pictures in your mind to the minds of your readers, I’m the language whisperer.
For the record, I don’t think it’s unethical. It’s an honor and a privilege, translating and documenting the human experience.