Is Working with a Ghostwriter Cheating?
17 May

Is Working with a Ghostwriter Cheating?

If you prefer listening to the audio of this blog read by author Denise Michaels please click here now.

By Denise M. Michaels

Recently I got a comment on one of my blog posts on my website where the person who commented said they don’t like it when a book is ghostwritten.  He felt it’s “pretending” you wrote the book yourself when someone else did the technical task of writing. Here’s how I replied:

I understand your thoughts on ghostwriters. I used to feel the same way. Here’s what I’ve discovered since I began doing this work for my author/clients. There are brilliant people with dazzling ideas – but writing just isn’t their thing. A few years ago I wrote a book for a gentleman about overcoming addictive behaviors.

Not just common addictions like drugs, alcohol or gambling. His book also included insidious behaviors like getting in the same dysfunctional relationships again and again, being a workaholic when you’re already very successful, or continuing to handle problems in the same old ways that just don’t work.

It’s like Einstein’s quote personified, “Problems cannot be solved at the level at which they’re created.”

Successful WomanHowever, this gentleman has dyslexia. I’m familiar with dyslexia because my two brothers have this baffling condition of the optic nerve that makes reading and writing almost impossible. The book author was brilliant with incredible insight, experience that would knock your socks off and a great sense of humor. But writing will never be his thing. By the way my brothers are very successful, with lovely homes, great careers and families, but writing is a tremendous challenge and reading is tough as well.

I ghost wrote a book on real estate investing for a guy whose been doing it for thirty years. He’s made millions of dollars, lost a chunk of it in The Great Recession and now he’s back on top. It took a tremendous amount of tenacity and skill to do that.

His book reflects his experience including both the ups and downs in a warm, kind way like his personality. I could tell he cared deeply about the people who would read his book, but for all his terrific qualities, a writer he is not.

So you’re saying a person with wonderful ideas, years of experience and new strategies that can help countless people should be denied the possibility of becoming a book author because writing is a challenge for them? The technical act of writing is more important to you than the value of what they have to share with the world?

I don’t believe that’s true and neither do most people. If we were discussing ghostwriting fiction books well, then, yes. The craft matters because that’s why people read fiction. I don’t read or write fiction. I’m only interested in books authored to make readers’ lives better. The books I write are all about the value of the author’s ideas. That’s why people buy it, read it and implement what they learn on it’s pages.

I’ve always have a strict confidentiality clause on my agreements with my author/clients so no one knows a ghostwriter was involved unless they tell them. Recently I changed the agreement so the author has a choice. They can be the sole author. Or, the book cover may include my name below in smaller letters as a co-author. Either way is fine with me.

What’s most important is when their book is finished it’s emotionally compelling, creates a relationship of “know,” “like” and “trust” with readers and edifies the author as the go-to influential expert in their niche. Finally, I want my author/clients’ thoughts and ideas to shine through on every page of their finished books.

My “brand” is about helping people write books either as a ghostwriter or book coach. It’s not about being an expert in addictions, international oil policy, holistic wellness, real estate investing, financial management or any of the many other topics I’ve ghost written books about. I’m happy either way.

If you’d like to know more about how I keep the books I write focused on the authors’ “voice” please click here now.

PrintDenise M. Michaels is a ghostwriter and book coach. She helps CEOs, entrepreneurs, therapists, speakers and aspiring authors become more recognizable, influential and in-demand. Using the leverage a book provides – you can become the go-to expert in your niche. To contact Denise about your book or book idea click here now.

About the Author

3 thoughts on “Is Working with a Ghostwriter Cheating?

  1. TeamSpeak - July 6, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    What differentiates customers of ghostwriting services from other cheaters is that they are willing to go the extra mile to avoid detection. Turnitin and other plagiarism-detection services have all but eliminated the threats of copy-and-paste, duplication, and other modes of self-directed online cheating. Of course, students attempt all of these methods anyway. But educators do have a resource at their disposal that absolutely works.

    • Denise Michaels - July 9, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Plagiarism and the people who practice it make my blood boil. I work hard to create original content in everything I do. I never copy and paste anything unless I’m quoting another book and giving the author credit. And that’s pretty rare.

      I’ve worked with clients who’ve developed brilliant innovations and developments that’ll help a lot of people – however, writing just isn’t their forte. Using your standard you’d even prosecute someone who hires an editor because they don’t exactly know where the commas go. Or, they’re not great at spelling.

  2. CheckXML - July 18, 2016 at 5:29 am

    You can hire a ghostwriter, an editor, or a writing coach to help you put your ideas and stories into words that will excite, inspire, inform or delight your readers. Ghostwriters will do all the writing work for you, from organization and structure to color and characterization – basically from your head and out the ghostwriter’s fingers. Editors will take what you have already written and make it better. Writing coaches will guide you with suggestions while you write.


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