Do Ghostwriters Get Credit?

Do Ghostwriters Get Credit?
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The name of the author of a book is listed on the front cover, the title page, and in the copyright notice.

The author can be different than the actual writer. Some authors hire ghostwriters to write their book. In this case, the author is the person whose name is on the book while the ghostwriter is the person who actually wrote it.

In many, if not most, instances, ghostwriters are not listed as contributing to a book. This means the ghostwriter does not get credit for the work.

Should Ghostwriters Get Credit?

But isn’t that unfair? After all, the ghostwriter did the the work, right?

It’s true that the ghostwriter wrote the book and put in the effort and time to make it happen. However, the ghostwriter gets paid, generally upfront, to write the book (or other type of work) and that’s their compensation. They understand upfront that they’re name is not going to be associated with that work.

The writer, the person who hires the ghostwriter, is paying a subcontractor to do the work for them. There is no obligation to list the ghostwriter as a contributor.

Sometimes, however, ghostwriters are listed on the front cover or in the copyright notice.

You could see this as “Fred Johnson and Todd Smith”. In this case, it’s likely that Todd Smith is the ghostwriter (although they could be a co-contributor).

The book “The other guy blinked: how the Pepsi one the Cola wars” lists Roger Enrico as the author and Jesse Kornbluth as a contributor. The listing on the front cover is show as Roger Enrico and, in smaller text, Jesse Kornbluth.

Sometimes a ghostwriter will be listed in the copyright notice as a contributor. They might be shown as a book coach or an editor or even writing contributor or something else. I’ve been listed using several different titles in a few books that I’ve ghostwritten.

It’s also common for ghostwriters to be sank in the acknowledgments section.

How Do You Determine If A Ghostwriter Gets Credit?

Whether or not a ghostwriter is acknowledged or received credit is discussed during the negotiations, and is usually specified in the contract for writing the book. Some ghostwriters will give a discount to be listed on the front cover, although that’s not required by any means.

There are no legal or ethical requirements for determining whether or not to give the ghostwriter credit. It’s entirely up to the author, the person hiring the ghostwriter, and whether they want to keep the assistance of the ghostwriter confidential.

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Richard Lowe Jr

Richard Lowe Jr

Owner & Senior Writer, Copywriter, Ghostwriter, WordPress Implementation at The Writing King
Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 20+ books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.
Richard Lowe Jr

@richardlowejr

Author of Focus on LinkedIn, Safe Computing, Surviving Disasters, Help! My Boss is Whacko!, Insider Secrets from a Professional Ghostwriter and many others
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