(And we don’t have to wade into sex-trade analogies here, or references to slavery. I’ve been paid to write a lot of stuff that didn’t have my name on it, but there was no lie attached. In the publishing industry, it’s the goal of willful audience deception that perverts the honorable practice of writing for money into a for-profit lie.)
5.Can you really make a living doing that?
6.How do you get paid?
That’s the questions I often get next because nobody quite believes me when I say I make a living as a ghostwriter (and I do.) Often, I am paid directly by the author/expert (that would be the person whose name appears in big type on the book cover.) Sometimes, I negotiate for a slice of the royalties, but not always. Generally, the bulk of my payment is made before the book even hits the shelves.
Writer-for-hire agreements are common. Somebody pays you X dollars, you write Y words, they own the copyright when you’re done. There’s nothing wrong with it, or with ghostwriting as a concept.
Everything has a dark side, however, and it seems to me that a job that conspires to profit by paid-for silence probably has more than a few dark alleys. I’ll be interested to see if the blog author addresses the inevitable shenanigans, or the broader ethical issues that are of concern to me.
— Mark Barrett