You can hire a ghostwriter to help you put your ideas and stories into words that will excite, inspire, inform or delight your readers. Ghostwriters will do all the writing work for you, from organization and structure to color and characterization – basically from your head and out the ghostwriter’s fingers.
But wait – isn’t that cheating? Some people think so. This goes back to school days, when having someone else write your term paper was cheating. (It still is.) But that was because having someone else write for you meant you were not learning, which was then your primary job. It was also cheating to use a calculator while taking a math test, because you were supposed to be learning how to do mathematics, not punch buttons.
This is no longer true. You can use a calculator now without guilt. You can also hire a writer to help you put your ideas on paper. (Of course they must be your ideas – it’s still wrong to steal others’ ideas and pass them off as your own.)
Hiring a writer is a little like hiring an architect. Say you are finally able to build your dream house. You have lots of ideas for this house. You know how many bedrooms you want; you know you want it on a wooded lot where the deer feed in the mornings; you know your kitchen must have a central island and space for at least two people to cook; you know you want natural gas heat; and you even know that your jacuzzi bathtub must overlook a private patio with a great view of the mountains. You know you like blues and tans and that your taste runs to impressionist art like Monet and Morisot, and you hate the pop-art of Andy Warhol. Your style is elegant and cool instead of funky and casual, and you admire the work of I.M. Pei.
Wow, you know a lot, don’t you? But can you draw up the plans to build this house? Do you know which materials to buy and which carpenters to hire? Do you know how to wire the house, and how the plumbing works, and where to apply for all the permits? Probably not. Can you learn? Sure – if you’ve got a few spare years.
So instead you hire an architect or a construction firm, and you tell them everything you want and what matters to you, and they translate your ideas into a living reality. But it’s still your house. It reflects who you are, not who the architect is. When someone admires the beauty of your house, they are admiring you – your taste, your plans, your ideas.
It’s the same with your book. Your original ideas and stories belong to you, therefore so does your book, even though you may not have written it all by yourself. This is why the copyright of your book belongs to you, not your ghostwriter. And be sure to get it in writing!