“I can’t wait to get your draft,” the client said. “I look forward to finding out what I have to say about this topic.”
Some people tell me that ghostwriting is unethical. Giving someone words that are supposed to be their own cheats the listener or reader. The audience wants an experience that is unmediated. They crave that direct connection.
Anything else is an outright lie.
I try to educate these people about why this is not the case.
If every celebrity, philanthropist, or business executive had to learn how to craft a speech or write a memoir on their own, years—decades, even—would pass before the product came on the market. Their 15 minutes of fame would be long gone and their message irrelevant.
And just because someone is an outstanding actor, or CEO, or made millions of dollars from a widget (or is a Regular Joe with a compelling story), doesn’t mean they are gifted storytellers. With some of them, getting the who, what, when, where, and why is like pulling teeth. They think in snapshots, not narratives. They have trouble sorting the important stuff from the fluff. They find hashing out things from the past boring, and get excited only when talking about future what ifs.
And they simply don’t have time. They got where they are by doing something very, very well. Once they get to the top, they have to focus on staying there. That takes all of their energy.
That’s where people like me come in.
Ghostwriters don’t make stuff up. Our expertise comes in knowing how to make the most effective and efficient use of a client’s precious time, and structuring the information we gather in a way that is purely in the client’s voice and offers a message of interest to the largest number of people. We know what they have to say, and what the audience needs to hear or read.
We are the ones who connect. We are intermediaries—and if we are good, you’ll never even know we were there.
--Ann Kellett, Ghostwriter