The Ethics of Being a Freelance Ghostwriter

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Ghostwriting is one of those professions that is questionable for many. From one perspective, you’re getting paid to capture, write, and accurately express others thoughts. From another perspective, it could be considered as someone paying you to take the easy route out. Some professionals in the writing industry do not appreciate the latter at all.

However, ghostwriting has been done for centuries throughout various industries. Consider the President. He has a team of writers. At what point does ghostwriting cross the line of ethics? There are two sides: the writer’s prospective and the client’s perspective. Let’s review the ethical criteria of being a freelance ghostwriter to make an honest living.

Consider Your Own Principles

As a business ghostwriter of any piece, you need to consider your own principles. Is the client asking you to mimic another writer – one whom you also admire? Are they asking you to complete an academic assignment or touch it up via editing and adding a bit more relevant information to it? How do you feel about this? What is your stance on writing for others? Are you comfortable devoting all your effort and time just to not receive the credit tin the end?

Research Well

When you are being paid to ghostwrite a piece, you are required to do your part in researching. You are to be the expert on this subject and ensure you are not falsifying any information. Your research should be derived from original studies. Using another blogger or author’s opinion is not only plagiarism, but invalidating producing original content. Although no thought is original, rewording someone else’s is not acceptable.

Researching this particular project should be fresh and new. While it’s okay to use relevant left over research from another project, it’s not okay to reuse any research you’ve done prior to. This could lead to you plagiarizing, something that’s a big no-no in the freelance writing world.

Create Original Content

Now that your research is complete, you need to focus on original content. Not producing it will be an ethical violation to yourself, your client, and whomever you are plagiarizing. Plagiarism is not only easy to detect via software such as Copyscape, but a general Google search may bring the most popular info to light.

Also, consider formatting as plagiarism. If you take the formatted context and just create your own wording, it’s still considered plagiarism.

Don’t Breach Your Contract

Finally, if you’re hired as a freelance ghostwriter, you are stating that you are a ghost, an invisible and non-factor entity of the piece produced. Nowhere down the line should you discuss or show your ghostwritten pieces to potential clients to show them what you can do. Create your own portfolio of work you’ve published or have permission to show from other clients. It’s tempting at times to share with friends the big authors you’ve attributed pieces to. However, you must remain professional at all times and not disclose the project to others.

Keeping the above ethical considerations in mind will not only continue to land you happy clients, but ones that return for more of your ghostwriting talent.


+Ayodhyanath Guru holds a B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering and has worked with various prestigious clients in the IT industry and presently working as a Software Engineer. He is a part time blogger and presently authors the Jafaloo.Com blog. Being a tech enthusiast Guru likes to surf the web and blogs about interesting technical topics like How-To guides, freewares, Tutorials, Software, Gadgets, web applications etc. Apart from blogging he likes coding in Java/J2EE and PHP.

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