The Ethics of Ghostwriting

Is Ghostwriting Ethical?

Ghostwriters often have to face the question whether it is ethical to write something which is ultimately has someone else’s name on it as its author. The general perception is that such act is unethical. However, unethical or not will depend on the circumstances and how it is accepted.

There are many areas where ghostwriting is accepted as a rule. For example, the speeches that any politician gives is written by a speechwriter; charities post appeals for fund raising which are penned by copywriters and corporate heads send memos to shareholders which are composed by their PR department. These things are open secret and the general people accept these without qualm.

Most of the people are aware of this. However, what they are not aware of is that some of the famous authors do not pen their own books. The general people take it for granted that the person named as the author in a book is the one who wrote the book. This can only mean that it is a question of perception rather than of ethics. If people are aware of the ghostwriting business then it will not seem so illusory. On the other hand there is some concern of ethics in ghostwriting which is not always clear.

Most wise people consider it unethical for persons to put his name as the author when most of the book has been ghostwritten. There should be some kind of acknowledgment for someone who did most of the writing. However there are some honest people who will give some credit to the ghostwriter and add a byline which names the person who has actually written the book.

There are some authors who narrate his thoughts to the ghostwriter giving him all the information that need to be incorporated in the book. The ghostwriter just put these thoughts and information in words in a book form. Many consider such cases as ethical and favor keeping the ghostwriter’s name out of the book.

There are many corporate celebrities who write a biographical type of book in order to boost their business careers. These types of writers who have their books ghostwritten prefer not to give any credit to the ghostwriter since doing so will dilute their credibility as these people tend to project themselves as some kind of specialist in their line of work.

However these days most of the people are aware that these executives are too busy with their career to have time to pen down their thoughts. As a result they consider hiring a ghostwriter another business decision and nothing to feel guilty about. On the other hand many fiction writers are authors themselves and prefer to hire editors to edit their writing instead of hiring a ghostwriter to write for them. Therefore, when the question of ghostwriting being ethical or not comes up, everything depends on the circumstances.

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