It’s an open secret that many high-profile celebrities, politicians, and executives outsource their nonfiction books to ghostwriters. Although ghostwriting is common in the publishing industry, it may not be the best way to share your message with the world. Even if you work with an experienced professional on your manuscript, they may not be able to capture your unique voice and fulfill your creative vision. Below we’ll cover the downsides of outsourcing your book and discuss why you shouldn’t entrust a ghostwriter with such an important project.

Hiring a Ghostwriter May Not Help You Publish Sooner

Many celebrities and executives work with a ghostwriter because they believe they don’t have room in their busy schedule to write a book. However, hiring someone else to complete your manuscript may not save you as much time as you think. In order to attempt to write from your perspective, a ghostwriter will need to interview you extensively, which can take hundreds of hours. Then you’ll have to review the book outline and provide feedback on each chapter as it’s completed. Even if everything goes smoothly, the writing and editing process often takes a year or longer. 

When you outsource a big project, there’s always a chance that you’ll hit unexpected bumps in the road. Problems like poor communication, missed deadlines, scheduling issues, and substandard work can further delay your book launch. In our experience, aspiring authors can write a top-quality nonfiction book in the same amount of time or less than it takes to work with a ghostwriter. Plus, authors who complete their own manuscript are usually happier with the end result because it reflects their brand and message better than outsourced writing.

Your Book May Not Capture Your Voice

Although a ghostwriter can ask you questions and perform research to better understand you, they’ll never know what it’s like to walk in your shoes. They don’t have the hard-won knowledge and experience that shaped you and enabled you to reach your personal and professional goals. As a result, their writing probably won’t bring enough emotional insight to the table or truly sound like you. 

At best, a ghostwriter’s work will be an approximation of the message you want to share with the world. An outsourced manuscript won’t reflect your innermost thoughts and insights. Plus, additional wisdom is often gained through the book-writing journey itself. Researchers agree that writing is a process of self-discovery that helps you revise your ideas and discover alternative perspectives. As you write, edit, and rewrite, you’ll gain newfound clarity and understanding that will significantly improve the quality of your book. 

Interviews with a ghostwriter are no substitute for the transformative experience of writing your own manuscript. If you want your book to capture the hearts and minds of readers and live up to your vision, you have to tell your story yourself.

You Lose Control of the Writing Process 

Outsourcing your manuscript means that you lose control of the writing process. Since you can’t look over a ghostwriter’s shoulder while they work, it’s possible that they may take shortcuts to save time. For example, it’s not uncommon for ghostwriters to subcontract their work to less experienced freelancers in order to scale their business. This practice often decreases the quality of the manuscripts that they turn in to clients. 

Similarly, some ghostwriters may be tempted to speed up the writing process by using ChatGPT, which produces subpar work. AI-generated content is often inaccurate and lacks the depth and emotion of human writing. If your ghostwriter uses AI without your knowledge, you could also face copyright issues down the line. 

The Copyright Office requires authors to disclose any AI-generated content included in their book. Failure to do so can cause your book to be stripped of its copyright protection, leaving you without legal recourse if someone steals your work. So if you want to be certain that your manuscript is original and copyrightable, it may be best to write it yourself. Maintaining control of the writing process will help ensure that your book is a high-quality reflection of your brand.

Ghostwriters Can Be Hard to Vet 

Ghostwriters can also be hard to vet because they may not be able to share much information about past projects with you. Clients often require ghostwriters to sign confidentiality agreements for privacy reasons, which may prevent potential candidates from telling you which books they’ve worked on. It’s difficult to gauge a writer’s abilities if they don’t have a robust portfolio to show you, so you may inadvertently hire someone who isn’t the right fit for your project. 

Another pitfall of the ghostwriting industry is that it’s rife with scams. Fraudsters frequently pose as bestselling ghostwriters and steal thousands from unsuspecting victims. 

On the other hand, we have a proven track record of publishing success. We’ve helped over 100 authors write, edit, publish, and promote world-class nonfiction books that will leave a lasting legacy. Since you can see our superior results for yourself, you can feel confident about your decision to partner with us.

A Ghostwritten Book Is Only as Good as the Interview

Writing your own book allows you to draw from years of personal stories, anecdotes, and insights to craft a compelling narrative. But ghostwriters don’t share your wealth of knowledge and experience, so they can only base their writing on background research and questions they ask you. Interviewing is an art that takes years of practice to master. Some writers may not have the skills necessary to ask insightful questions and get to the heart of your story, leaving them without enough material to write a great manuscript.

It can also be difficult to establish rapport with someone you’ve just met. You might have trouble opening up during the interview process, which can cause the final manuscript to lack depth. If you haven’t had much media training, you may also struggle to provide strong responses on the fly. Rather than trying to explain your life story and perspective to someone else, it may be easier to put it down on paper yourself.

Readers Want to Connect With You, Not a Ghostwriter

In the age of artificial intelligence and deep fakes, fans are craving authenticity from their favorite celebrities and thought leaders. They want to connect with you on a deeper level, not a middleman who wrote your book for you!

Although ghostwriting is fairly common, the general public isn’t in favor of the practice, as evidenced by the recent backlash Millie Bobby Brown received. The actress was widely criticized for collaborating with ghostwriter Kathleen McGurl on her debut novel Nineteen Steps. The book was based on a true story about Brown’s family, so she clearly contributed research and ideas to the project. But fans were still disappointed that she used a ghostwriter instead of tackling the book herself. 

If you decide to outsource your book, you could face a similar PR crisis that damages your public image and breaks your audience’s trust. Even if your ghostwriter signs a confidentiality agreement, they may be tempted to tell others about your working relationship to boost their resume. The minimal amount of time you’ll save by outsourcing your book likely isn’t worth the reputational risk.

You May Not Get Marketing Support 

Although ghostwriters charge up to $100,000 or more for their services, many don’t provide assistance with the book publishing and marketing process. If you need help getting your book out into the world after it’s written, you’ll need to hire additional professionals such as an editor and a marketer, which will increase your publishing costs. Plus, you’ll have to coordinate with your marketing team and take on the role of project manager, which can be a time-consuming hassle. 

Unlike ghostwriters who leave after the manuscript is done, we partner with you every step of the way. Our book coaching programs provide end-to-end support during your entire writing, publishing, and marketing journey. We empower you to share your story with the world and give you the tools you need to achieve authorial success. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.