Familiar with the phrase “ghost writer” or maybe you’ve heard of “ghostwriting” ?
Whether you have or you haven’t, you may even be surprised to hear that the topic is somewhat controversial.
It’s definitely a mixed bag when it comes to how people feel about it.
Nevertheless, with that said, the first thing that I want to do is mention that after reading some posts on this topic, I came across a guest blogger on Jon Morrow’s Smartblogger blog by the name of Ali Luke who authored a very insightful piece on the subject.
Before I proceed, I want to also highlight for those of you that may not be aware.. Smartblogger is formerly boostblogtraffic.com and it’s a gem of a blog that provides great useable insight.
Additionally, while this is a complimentary plug for Jon and his blog, it is entirely unsolicited. I say this because reading his blog can only elevate a bloggers writing skillset as you continue to grow your blog assuming you’re a blogger or an aspiring one reading this post today.
My thoughts in this post are intended to extend, compliment and respond to some notable points Ali made in what she had to say and shared with so many that could be helped by her additional insight on the topic of ghostwriting.
Given the longevity of ghost writing, I was surprised that there isn’t as much demand for information on the topic as I had thought there might be, but that does not in any way dilute or devalue the importance of the topic at all either.
This could likely be due to it’s obvious and maybe not so obvious “con’” or unappealing aspect(s) of it if you will, but it still makes me wonder considering there are some decent advantages to experimenting and getting your feet wet in this area of writing.
One of the first things that caught my attention in Ali’s post was her reference to what if someone hired you to ghost write for them ?
Quite frankly even on my blog at this time, I’m not set up for it either and on many blogs I’ve read and come across in my blogging tenure, it’s not something that I see readily advertised.
Again, this could be due to a lack of interest or knowledge about what it is.
A ghost writer is someone who writes or develops content for someone else while also agreeing that the receiving person of that content will retain full, complete and official rights and exclusivity to those works. The ghost writer does not take any credit whatsoever for the content that has been written.
Ghost writing is the process of writing content by an individual that remains unnamed and publicly not associated with that content.
As Ali explains it succinctly.. you don’t get any credit at all.
Sounds awful doesn’t it ?
Well maybe not and as with a good many things in life, it may not be as bad as it seems. So much of this conversation relies on your perspective and digging into this a bit further.
With that said, the first thing that came to mind for me is understanding that whether you’re looking for someone to do guest posting or other variations of search queries associated with content development or contributing content to any other outlet besides the web properties you own or manage directly…
There’s writing going on by “other” authors all the time.
Granted, I do understand the elephant in the room is that those content authors are receiving credit for their accepted and published works, but also realize that ghost writers aren’t writing for free.
Consider this reality for those who ghost write that when you aren’t getting any credit whatsoever for the content you’re developing for someone else that it inevitably puts you in a very unique position to receive compensation on a higher level that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive let alone ask for or negotiate.
So without question, this addresses the money aspect and perspective on this subject and the truth is simple.. if you’re writing, making money as a byproduct of your efforts is a great bonus too.
Another great point Ali made that really struck me was about the other side of the equation… the audience.. the readers.
I personally think you can land in one of three scenarios on this one.
We all read and take in a variety of content everyday, several times throughout the day, but what happens when you read something and it’s not authored by who you thought it was by ?
How do you receive it and what happens when the content was not developed by the owner of that blog ?
Should that truly detract from what you’ve read if it still provides you with the answers to your questions that ultimately led you to the content in the first place or not ?
In my opinion:
Scenario 1 would be the individuals that don’t really feel strongly about it one way or the other because their bottom line was, did I get what I sought out to receive ?
Scenario 2 would be the individuals that lean into and place a high degree of conviction on the words that come from the author they have come to follow.
Scenario 3 would be everyone else that ends up in the middle ground where it depends on the content. There may be times they fall into the first scenario and other times where they fall into the second and I think even for me I’d be more of a scenario 3.
Even so, regardless of the scenario ghost writing doesn’t seem all that terrible to me.
In all transparency, Ali also points out that yes you lose some of the advantages of building your brand and your portfolio of works because you can’t claim any of the content you write but from my perspective sometimes the bigger picture for example and in this instance isn’t necessarily about me or even the money.
I firmly believe that there will always be times that the opportunity to write even without the recognition is far more important than getting named as the one who did it.
However, that’s my perspective and yours may be different and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but if you consider ghost writing, despite the ethicality that arises regarding why you should or shouldn’t do it, know your own why with respect to your decision to proceed or decline the opportunity when it knocks upon your door.
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