At some point on your journey as a ghostwriter, someone is going to challenge you on the “morality” of writing not for, but as someone else.
I want you to be prepared to face this “ethical dilemma” head on. The truth is, there is no dilemma. But not everyone sees it that way.
“Do clients pay you to lie?”
This was a legit question a reporter asked me during an interview on the ethics of ghostwriting.
It was more of an interrogation than an interview. And the angle was clear — skeptical (and judgmental) of the craft responsible for changing my life.
The unfortunate reality is this is how most people perceive “ghostwriting.”
I’m going to tell you the same thing I told that reporter:
“You’ve got it all wrong.”
Let’s dive in!
Myth #1: “Ghostwriting is deceptive.”
No, it’s not.
- Every chart-topping song you hear on the radio
- Every mouthwatering recipe you find in a renowned chef’s cookbook
- Every speech the President of the United States gives to the country
They are all written, edited, re-written, and edited some more by an entire team of writers.
Which is just another word for “ghostwriters.”
Is this deceptive? Of course not. It would be ridiculous to assume that the highest-leverage contribution for each of these high performers is to sit there and debate adjectives and verbs
Myth #2: “Ghostwriting is inauthentic.”
If a client reads the words you wrote and says, “Yes! That’s exactly what I’m trying to say,” then it’s authentic.
Because it’s authentic to THEM.
It’s no different than a pop star working with a team of songwriters, collaborating and refining the message until the song is something they feel confident standing behind. The client decides whether or not the words they publish under their name are authentic.