Seriously, what does a ghostwriter actually do?

If you’re looking into writing a non-fiction book, you may have come across the term ghostwriting. It’s pretty common—some research says 50% of best-selling non-fiction books are ghostwritten. But if you’re like most people who aren’t in the industry, you might wonder what a ghostwriter does. We’re going to clear that up!



I’m Liz, the writer behind Green Goose Ghostwriting, where online entrepreneurs get help to write books that build their businesses.

I recently had a call with a parenting coach who wanted to turn her process for working one-on-one with clients into a book. We had a great chat about her business, her audience, some ideas for the book, and how we could use the book to build her business. Then, at the end of the call, I said, "Do you have any questions for me?" And she went a bit bashful, then asked, "What does a ghostwriter actually do?”

And I thought, Oh. I need to explain this better.

So, what does a ghostwriter do?

A ghostwriter is someone who is hired to write on behalf of someone else. 

There are a few different ways that can look. Some ghostwriters write blogs, social media posts, and other online content for businesses or individuals. Some ghostwriters write speeches or video scripts for people. Others write books for people.

Whatever they’re writing, it’s usually because the person they’re writing for falls into one of three categories ...

You might see yourself in one of these descriptions

1. You have something to say but struggle to write it down.

You might be an expert in your field, but not so hot at the writing stuff. You know if you tried to write your ideas down yourself, you wouldn’t do them justice. What’s in your head doesn’t translate onto the page very well.

2. You just don’t like writing.

You might be a decent writer but that blank page intimidates you. Or bores you. Or you just don’t enjoy the process of getting words down on the page, and would rather have someone do it for you. You know the benefits of having a book, but life is too short to do things you don’t love.

3. You don’t have the time to write.

This is true for many of people who are already running busy, successful businesses. Maybe you like writing, maybe you don’t. Maybe you're good at it, or maybe not so much. But it doesn’t matter anyway because you simply don’t have the time to sit down and write. But you know a book would help your business. So, you do the smart thing and get a ghostwriter to help you with it.

So that’s what a ghostwriter does. It’s just a fancy word for someone who writes on behalf of someone else.

Do you have more questions about ghostwriting?

If so, stick your email address in the box below and sign up for emails from me, because I’m going to be answering some more common questions over the coming weeks. We’ll be talking about things like:

  • who gets the credit when you use a ghostwriter,
  • how do ghostwriters get paid, and
  • how do you work with a ghostwriter?

And of course, if you have a burning question you want to chat about now, you can always click here to shoot me a message.