Every month, Google records at least 10,000 searches for ghostwriters.
People hire ghostwriters to write books, blog posts, and articles. Everyone from CEOs to hopeful authors and social media influencers pays other people to write content for them.
And they’re doing it because publishing a book or having an article appear in a major media outlet can catapult a person and their business to unimaginable heights. These individuals get content without having to spend hours researching and writing it themselves.
But hiring a ghostwriter has risks, and hiring a ghostwriter isn’t the right call for everyone or every company.
Below, we highlight some of the reasons you may want to think twice before hiring a ghostwriter.
They underestimate the cost.
When it comes time for businesses and entrepreneurs to hire someone, they often underestimate how much it will cost — both initially and long term. The same can be true for ghostwriters, too.
A ghostwriter may spend more time on a project researching, drafting, or editing than they anticipated. As a result, their initial estimate no longer covers the time and effort they put into the assignment, and their final bill to you exceeds what they quoted you.
To avoid this happening to you, review the contract or agreement you and the ghostwriter sign at the start of the project. Ensure the language is clear about what you’ll pay for their services and if the ghostwriter’s obligated to stick with the estimate they provided you.
If the contract doesn’t state how the ghostwriter will handle unexpected time and costs, ask.
You lose creative control.
Another reason not to hire a ghostwriter is that you may not have as much creative control as you would if you wrote the content yourself.
Some ghostwriters limit the number of rounds of revisions a piece will go through. Or, they have a set number of hours they’ll spend on edits or talking with you about the project.
These are details the ghostwriter should provide in their contract or agreement, so be sure to understand how the writer will handle edits and revisions. And be sure you’re comfortable with their approach.
If you like to be more hands-on and retain more creative control, you may want to work with a ghostwriter that’s flexible and accommodating when it comes to editing and revising their work.
You don’t own the rights.
Similar to creative control is owning the rights to what the ghostwriter creates.
Because they’re writing for you, under your name, you may assume the content the ghostwriter writes is for you to use as you see fit. But that’s not always the case.
Some ghostwriters have language in their contract stating they maintain ownership rights for their work. In these cases, the ghostwriter often permits you to use what they create for you for the purpose outlined in their agreement with you.
For example, let’s say you commission a ghostwriter to write an article to publish on your LinkedIn profile. The ghostwriter may state they maintain ownership of the article in their contract, but you can post it under your LinkedIn account.
Before signing a ghostwriter’s contract, make sure you know who maintains ownership of the content the writer creates for you.
The ghostwriter may not have industry experience.
Even the most skilled ghostwriters may not have experience in your industry.
Since they’re not an expert in your area, they may need more information from you to complete the project. And they may need to rely more heavily on outside sources and research for content.
The best ghostwriters are often masterful researchers, too. Give them just a little direction, and they should be able to deliver a well-written and well-researched piece.
But if you don’t have time to answer any questions or provide material or suggestions for a ghostwriter’s research, you may want to hire a writer who knows your industry well.
What to consider when hiring a ghostwriter
Ghostwriters can be an excellent option for leaders who want to raise their profile and build an audience.
By hiring a ghostwriter, you can receive professionally written content for publishing under your name on social media platforms, in media outlets, and more.
But not all ghostwriters are equal, and there are some pitfalls to hiring someone to write for you. Here are some things to consider when thinking of hiring a ghostwriter:
- Be clear what the ghostwriter will charge
- Make sure you maintain creative control
- Ensure you own all rights to the work
- Think about whether a ghostwriter needs experience in your industry
If you’re looking to get content written for your business but don’t want to spend the time researching and writing it yourself, hiring a ghostwriter may not be a bad idea.
Just make sure you have realistic expectations of them going in, so you both come out happy with the finished product.